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Recipe: Anita’s Cherry and Rum Trifle

In case you’re stuck in a recipe rut this month, here’s a fail-safe favourite to add to your repertoire. Happy cooking and eating!

Serves 10

From: Dr Anita Soosay of The Aesthetics Centre

cherry trifle
Tasty trifle

“This trifle is always a hit with my guests!”


  • 2 16-ounce (473g) cans of dark, sweet cherries
  • 8 tbsp dark rum (or brandy)
  • 800ml custard (can make from custard powder or use ready-made custard)
  • 600ml thickened cream
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 pack of 30 ladyfinger biscuits
  • 100g flaked almonds (for topping)
  • Optional: raspberries for topping

Preparation of ingredients:

  1. Drain cherries and soak overnight in the dark rum; reserve the excess cherry syrup to use the next day during assembly of trifle
  2. Make 800ml of custard based on the manufacturer’s instructions on the package, using full fat milk for a creamier custard. Prepare at least one hour prior to assembly of trifle so that the custard has time to completely cool down.
  3. Add icing sugar and vanilla essence to the thickened cream, and whisk until it firms and forms soft peaks. Do not over-whisk, as the cream will become grainy; if this happens, just add a bit more fresh cream to the mixture and whisk a little to smoothen it.
  4. Lightly toast the flaked almonds in a frying pan until golden brown. Let the flakes cool completely before storing in an airtight container until ready to use as a topping.

Assembly instructions:

Tip: A deep trifle bowl works best so that you can see the layers.

  1. For the first layer, arrange 15 sponge fingers at the base of the bowl. Drizzle a small amount of the reserved cherry syrup and alcohol from the soaked cherries on to the sponge fingers; don’t wet them completely, as the trifle will become too soggy.
  2. For the second layer, arrange half of the drained, alcohol-soaked cherries over the ladyfingers; focus on placing some cherries neatly on the outer part of the bowl so that they show nicely.
  3. For the third layer, arrange half of the custard over the cherries. Note: Make sure the custard has cooled completely; if the custard has thickened, just use a manual whisk to smooth it out.
  4. For the fourth layer, gently dollop half of the whipped, thickened cream over the custard layer, then slowly smooth it out with a spatula; be careful not to ruin the custard layer!
  5. Repeat the layers again.
  6. Cover the trifle with cling film. Refrigerate for at least four hours, or overnight for a tastier trifle.
  7. Sprinkle the toasted almonds on top just before serving, and top with raspberries if you choose to include them.


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This article first appeared in the March 2017 edition of Expat Living Singapore. Subscribe now!