Recipe: This Chocolate and Cherry Trifle Cake is a slice of heaven!

There are a few steps involved in making this cake, but it is so worth the effort!
Recipe: This Chocolate and Cherry Trifle Cake is a slice of heaven!
Picture; Larry Cummins

This dessert is almost a cross between a Black Forest Gateaux and a trifle — I guess you could call it a Black Forest Trifle Cake. The sponge is denser than traditional sponge, which makes it even more delicious and perfect with the thick vanilla custard. Decorate this with chocolate curls or shavings and cherries if possible. 

There are a few steps involved in this, but it’s worth the effort as it can all be finished a day before it is needed. First strain the cherries, keep the juices and chill. Next, prepare the chocolate sponge, and finally prepare the custard, and then immediately add the gelatin to the juices so they start to set up at the same time.

Chocolate and Cherry Trifle Cake

Chocolate Sponge


85g caster sugar

3 large free-range eggs

25g cream flour

35g cocoa powder


Pre-heat oven to 200C.


  • Butter the base and sides of a 9inch spring form tin.
  • Line the base with a disk of parchment paper.
  • Sift together the flour and cocoa powder, set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar until thick and pale.
  • Gently fold in the flour (try not to knock the air out of the mixture).
  • Scrape into the prepared baking tin, shaking the tin gently to level the mixture.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes, or until springy to the touch, check by inserting a skewer into the centre — it should come out dry.
  • Once cooked, turn out onto a wire rack to cool, removing the disk of parchment paper.
  • Once fully cool, cut in half horizontally.

The Vanilla custard


70ml cream

70 ml milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

33gr sugar

2 egg yolks

1 leaf gelatin 2.5g

70gr whipped cream


  • Put the milk and cream and vanilla in a small pot and bring just to the boil.
  • Beat the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl until pale and the sugar is slightly dissolved.
  • Put leaf gelatin in cold water to soak.
  • Prepare a sieve over a clean bowl and sit the clean bowl into another with cold or iced water (this is to help cool the custard quickly so it doesn’t curdle.)
  • Carefully, a little at a time, add the scalded milk and cream to the egg yolk mixture.
  • Pour into a clean pot and cook gently over a low heat, stirring all the time until the mixture thickens.
  • Once the mixture coats the back of a spoon, remove from the heat, quickly lift the softened gelatin from the water, squeeze to remove excess water and add to the hot custard.
  • Stir until the gelatin is dissolved, strain through a sieve into the clean bowl, then allow to cool.
  • While it is cooling, start the cherry jelly, (this needs to be setting up about the same time as the custard.)
  • As the custard cools, it will begin to set, once it is fully cool and thickening fold in the whipped cream.

Cherry Jelly


2 tins of pitted dark cherries drained, chilled

500ml of strained cherry juices chilled

Leaf gelatin

2 to 3 tbsp of brandy or kirsch


  • Cut the cherries in half.
  • Soak the gelatin in water, until soft.
  • Bring 100ml of the cherry juices to the boil.
  • Drain the gelatin and squeeze out any extra water, then add to the boiled juice.
  • Stir until melted then add in the remaining cherry juice and cherries.
  • Chill until it begins to set

To assemble

  • Place one layer of the sponge in the base of a clean 8-inch spring form tin (you may need to trim the cake slightly.)
  • Cover with ½ the cherries and their jelly. (This is a bit messy but it will taste better than it looks).
  • Cover with the vanilla custard, spreading evenly.
  • Top with the next layer of sponge pressing down gently.
  • Spread the second half of the cherries on top of the chocolate sponge.
  • Chill to set completely while you prepare the chocolate mousse.

Dark Chocolate Mousse


23gr 70% chocolate drops

67gr 55% chocolate

80ml pouring cream

175 ml cream for whipping to soft peaks

1 ½ (3.75gr) leaves gelatin


  • Soak the gelatin in cold water.
  • Boil the cream, lift the gelatin out of the water and squeeze away the excess water, add soaked gelatin to the boiled cream and stir until dissolved.
  • Pour cream mixture onto the chocolate (allow to sit for 2 to 3 minutes) then stir until smooth and melted. If it doesn’t melt completely, place the bowl over a pot of barely trembling water to heat a little.
  • Allow the chocolate to cool until it is nearly set.
  • Remember to stir occasionally using spatula.
  • Meanwhile, whip remaining cream to soft peaks.
  • When chocolate mixture is nearly set, fold in whipped cream and spread or pipe onto the gateaux. Decorate if you wish with chocolate shavings or curls and fresh cherries.
  • Serve with whipped cream.

You can email Mercy Fenton at

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