Throwback Thursday: Ridiculously lavish strawberry trifle

Throwback Thursday: Ridiculously lavish strawberry trifle
Photo: Louis Pieterse

Here’s a different kind of throwback recipe: we’re going back to December 2018, when this extravagant trifle was featured in the very first edition of the TGIFood newsletter, which celebrates five years this week.

This recipe was featured in the debut edition of the TGIFood newsletter five years ago, on December 19, 2018. It’s pure indulgence, huge, and designed for a party. You’ll need a very large bowl to accommodate it.

You need to allow plenty of time for various elements to set, so allocate a whole day. (You can cook other things in between.)

You could halve most of these quantities for a more manageable trifle.


2 bought fruit cake loaves, crumbled

⅓ cup Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey liqueur, for the fruit cake layer

Enough marzipan to make a layer all the way across the fruit cake layer (reserve a fistful of marzipan for the decorative leaves)

1 quantity of homemade strawberry jelly (recipe below), or a similar quantity of prepared berry jelly from packets (2 packets should do it)

500 g fresh strawberries, hulled and halved

⅓ cup liqueur of your choice, for macerating the strawberries

About 20 additional fresh strawberries, hulled and halved, for the jelly, and about 14 more for decoration

2 litres custard, either homemade or bought

2 quantities of this chocolate mousse recipe

5 green marzipan leaves (directions below)

Fresh raspberries for decorating

Icing sugar


First, macerate 500 g halved strawberries overnight in a liqueur of your choice.

Next, make the jelly and leave it to cool: I made jelly from a homemade syrup infused with fresh halved strawberries: Bring 4 cups water and 2 cups sugar to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add 20 halved ripe strawberries and simmer for about 10 minutes on low. Cool until lukewarm and stir in gelatine that has softened in 2 Tbsp water, stirring until dissolved (doing so on a very low heat will help). I used 2 sachets of powdered gelatine, or use two leaves.

Start assembling the trifle with a layer of fruit cake: put the crumbled, bought Christmas cake at the bottom, and pour the Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey over that.

Top this with a layer of bought marzipan, reserving some to make the four leaves.

On top of the marzipan, pour the jelly (with its strawberries) that has cooled to room temperature but not yet started to set. 

Refrigerate for the jelly to set. This may take a few hours.

When fully set, top with a layer of the macerated strawberries. Refrigerate again.

Next, add a layer of the custard. Refrigerate.

Now make chocolate mousse for your top layer, according to this recipe (but double the quantities), but ignore the instructions for serving. Ladle on top of the custard. Refrigerate for a few hours to set or leave it in the fridge overnight and come back to it in the morning, to decorate it.

We decorated it with green marzipan leaves, raspberries and strawberries. To make marzipan leaves, shape a fistful of bought marzipan into a little bowl and add a few drops of green colouring essence. Carefully work it with your hand, squeezing in your palm, until the colour runs evenly throughout. Roll out thinly and use a sharp knife to cut into leaf shapes. Refrigerate until needed.

We made 5 leaves and placed them in a circle in the centre of the trifle, surrounding a little pile of fresh raspberries. Halved strawberries decorate the circumference. Dust with icing sugar.

The quantities (we’d bought this really big bowl, see) could have fed much of the Karoo. DM

Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Writer 2023, jointly with TGIFood columnist Anna Trapido.

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.


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