Boysenberry and Mascarpone Trifle

A trifle is an English dessert and in the 1970’s they were so ghastly they quickly went out of vogue.  But the humble trifle is making a comeback and it’s a lot more sophisticated.  Gone is the bought sponge chock full of preservatives, the custard out of a carton, the bilious green jelly, the tinned peaches and the whipped cream fired out of a can.

A Christmas favourite

Even in the 70’s, trifles always carried a ‘wow’ factor, as they were brought from the fridge to the table with all their pretty layers and colours.  It’s no surprise trifles have graced many Christmas tables.

Boysenberry Trifle

Last Christmas I was assigned the role of bringing dessert.  With numbers of nearly 30 I knew I’d have to make at least two desserts.  There would have been an outcry if I didn’t make the yearly favourite, a white chocolate frozen Christmas pudding so making that was definitely put on the to-do list.

White Chocolate Frozen Christmas Bombe

I contemplated many options for a second dessert and decided on a trifle.  This boysenberry trifle is an adaptation and a blend/merge of two trifle recipes I found in issues of Gourmet Traveler Magazine.

Boysenberry Trifle

This is a very large trifle so it serves many and is also gluten-free.  However, it’s not the cheapest dessert to make – the quantities are large and the ingredients (in my part of the world), expensive.


But…this dessert definitely has the trifle ‘wow’ factor and the boysenberry jelly is such a pretty hue it’s absolutely worth the cost.

A good option for Christmas

I decorated mine with a variety of berries and as it was Christmas, chose red currants for the top of the trifle as they are very festive and look like holly berries.


Having had a period of absence, I think it’s time trifles graced our tables once again.

Decorate with fresh berries

5.0 from 13 reviews
Boysenberry and Mascarpone Trifle
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20
A stunning trifle made with layers of boysenberry jelly, mascarpone cream and almond meringue cakes.
  • Begin the recipe a day ahead.
  • You will need a 6L capacity trifle bowl.
  • Tip: A bowl with straight sides is easiest.
  • For the cake:
  • 10 egg whites
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 2½ cups icing sugar
  • 2 cups almond meal
  • ½ cup cornflour
  • For the jelly:
  • 1kg boysenberries
  • 1½ cups castor (superfine) sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 10 gelatine leaves, titanium strength
  • 300mL pink moscato
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 80mL blackberry liquor
  • 200mL blackberry liquor, extra
  • 500g boysenberries, extra
  • For the cream:
  • 1.5kg mascarpone
  • ⅔ cup of milk (only if necessary to thin the cream)
  • Finely grated rind of 2 lemons
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • ⅓ cup icing sugar
  • To decorate:
  • A variety of berries
  1. For the cake:
  2. Preheat oven to 160C
  3. Grease and line 2 cake tins with baking paper that are the same size as your trifle bowl.
  4. Whisk egg whites and a pinch of salt in an electric mixer until soft peaks form (2-3 minutes), then gradually add castor sugar and whisk until glossy (2-3 minutes).
  5. Fold icing sugar, almond meal and flour into egg white.
  6. Spoon into cake tins and bake until centres spring back when lightly pressed (20-25 minutes).
  7. Cool completely in tins.
  8. Cakes will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
  9. For the jelly:
  10. Combine berries, sugar, vanilla bean and seeds and 1.1 litres water in a large saucepan, simmer over low heat until infused (50 minutes).
  11. Strain through a fine sieve (discard solids), transfer 1 litre hot liquid to a bowl (reserve remainder). Squeeze excess water from gelatine, add to bowl, stir to dissolve.
  12. Add moscato, lemon juice and blackberry liquor.
  13. Strain half into trifle bowl, scatter over 250gm berries and refrigerate until set (2-2½ hours).
  14. Chill remaining berry jelly, removing from refrigerator if it starts to set.
  15. Reduce 250ml remaining liquid (discard excess) over high heat to 50ml or until syrupy (10-15 minutes), refrigerate until required.
  16. For the cream:
  17. Combine mascarpone, rind, icing sugar and remaining vanilla seeds in a bowl, adding milk if necessary until spreadable.
  18. Spread one-third over set jelly, top with one of the cakes, drizzle with 100mL blackberry liquor. Scatter over remaining berries, pour over remaining jelly (mixture should be starting to set). Refrigerate until set (2-2½ hours).
  19. Top with half the remaining mascarpone mixture, then remaining cake.
  20. Drizzle with remaining blackberry liquor, top with remaining mascarpone mixture.
  21. Cover, refrigerate overnight.
  22. Serve scattered with extra berries and drizzled with blackberry syrup.


  1. This definitely has a “wow” factor. Such a gorgeous topping. I haven’t made a trifle in yonks. Must rethink this…though perhaps the season has passed. Will store this for the future.

    Wishing you and yours the best of 2017, Charlie.

  2. Stunning dessert and presentation. Makes me want to make a trifle now. I’m a big fan of berries of any sort and blackberries are underappreciated in my mind. I don’t think I’ve ever had boysenberries before.

    My trifle bowl (which could be reversed and used as a cake cover) was the victim of a tragic accident years ago and has never been replaced so I just make individual trifles, especially as I’m on my own, with footed glasses of different sizes. I have half of a sponge cake in my freezer right now which I’d planned on cutting up and using in a trifle as it was a bit dry on standing. I just have to make some sort of curd for it, which is my custard substitute. 🙂

  3. I didn’t know that trifles were passé. I’ve made one occasionally – they’re so good to make ahead of time for when one has company. But I never used the canned and bottled stuff. Yours looks involved but well worth the trouble. Happy New Year!

  4. Hi charlie. They must have been very happy when they saw this dessert. how did you fit it into the fridge with all the other stuff?. I used to make a brownie mascapone trifle but it was so expensive to make i haven’t made it for some time. I do love a beauty like this one. happy New year

  5. That’s a gorgeous trifle. I’d never had trifle before moving to Australia and one day John’s parents were coming and he thought I should make one. By the time I made homemade jelly, the sponge and whipped the cream, I was exhausted. Thankfully I’d already made the raspberry jam. You’re a queen for making such a lavish dessert at Christmas when time is so precious.

  6. I did not know trifles were out of vogue either. Though I am not a dessert-eater friends often are and I still oft make this. But have to admit yours must be one of the prettiest and most appetizing I have probably ever seen 🙂 ! So, so elegant and I love the use of boysenberries . . . . and knowing the price of ingredients here I would not like to do the maths either !! Still, not needing six litres of trifle at any one time some quiet reworking of the recipe will hopefully bring your delightful result without the attendant price-tag!! All the best for the New Year and hope you will have the chance to post once more ere all the lecture-jazz resumes!!!!

  7. What a gorgeous re-make, Charlie. My dear Mom learned how to make trifle from her British friend, Marg and like you, it was all home-made (unlike Marg’s). I love that you made it gluten free too, I know I will reference this lovely recipe in the near future form my BFF from Uni as she is gluten intolerant. I don’t have a pedestal trifle bowl (have always wanted one but I have no space to store it!) so I’ll just have to use one of my crystal bowls that we received as a wedding gift. It is definitely a beautiful and summery dessert. I love the way you just piled the berries on top, and that one little rogue berry, so pretty!

  8. Just stunning! Almost just too pretty to eat. Wishing you a super 2017!

  9. This is definitely a show stopper!!! I’m a huge fan of trifles and thank goodness missed the 1970’s version! I think my first trifle was in Scotland and it was made with fresh raspberries from our hostesses back yard. Yours is even more impressive!!! xo

  10. I’ve had a dozens of trifles since the 1970’s and never one that came close to this recipe, Charlie. I can’t wait to create a show stopper next occasion. It’s absolutely sumptuous!

  11. Happy New Year Charlie!
    I never have been a fan of a trifle made with storebought sponge cakes which turned me off from trifles for many years. Then a few years ago I had one made from scratch and my opinion of trifle took an about face. I love that you made one from scratch and added the boysenberry. What a beautiful dessert! I’m sure it taste as good as it looks.

  12. It looks stunning – I have definitely gone through the shudder at 70s trifles to appreciating how good they can be but I did not have a piece of my mum’s trifle this christmas because when faced with lots of desserts I was not so interested – but yours does look festive and delicious – I would probably have to have a serve thank you very much!

  13. trifles are def not my thing unless they are made like yours charlie with real jelly and custard etc. all too often they come out of packets and tins. YUK. but i love the real fruit etc here. sometimes it’s just worth the extra $ to get it right:)

  14. Absolutely sensational trifle Charlie!
    Have a beautiful week.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  15. This looks amazing and I am certain tasted just as good! I love that you make your own Jelly… it is so worth the cost for the taste. I often make my own jellies with inexpensive fruit, but for Christmas the wow factor is definitely worth it!
    Liz xx

  16. Trifle isn’t my favourite dessert but recently I’m starting to come around to it when I had a great one at a restaurant. I many have to change my mind about it!

  17. This is beautiful and looks delicious. My sister-in-law made one several years ago. But it was of the 70s variety you describe. 🙁

  18. HI Charlie, I have never had the opportunity to try a trifle, will pounce on a slice first chance I get, looks delicious.

  19. Happy New Year Charlie!!!
    I agree, trifles need to make a comback – especially when they look as regal as this one does! I so love the red currants/holly berrie wannabes on the top! I made a sugar-free trifle for my mom this year for Christmas – but it wasn’t quite as decadent as this! Gorgeous!

  20. Happy Christmas and New Year Charlie. This certainly sounds more sophisticated than the trifles I knew as a child and looks very pretty and festive x

  21. I tried to make a TRIFLE once. Have you ever seen Friends? Remember when Rachel tried to make a Trifle? Yahhhhhhh… LOL

  22. Fantastic, Charlotte! Thank Heaven, the poor excuses for trifles and unholy versions of ‘tiramisu’ make with Twinkies, instant pudding and Cool-Whip have disappeared.

  23. Great looking dessert! Trifle has never been that popular in the US, and ghastly does describe most that I’ve had. And you’re right — most of those were back in the 70s and 89s. But lately — by which I mean the last decade — I’ve been seeing trifles again, and they’ve been uniformly good. I guess we finally figured out how to make them here! This looks terrific — perfect for a celebration. Thanks!

  24. Yours certainly does have the wow factor, I’m sure it disappeared quickly.

  25. Damn delicious!!!
    quite an effort but iguess it must be worthed

  26. Gorgeous dessert,
    which will Never go out of style.
    Can I come have some? x

  27. You’re right about the “Wow factor”, Charlie. This trifle would be perfect to end a holiday meal. Love that you topped it with currants. On the side of the Pacific, the mascarpone would be expensive but it’s easy enough to make and the cost is much cheaper. I’ve shared the recipe, as have others. One day when you have some spare time (Ha!) check them out. Once you make your own, I doubt you’ll buy mascarpone again. 🙂

    • I remember when you were posting cheese recipes. I should have thought to look up your recipes. I do remember you saying mascarpone is easy to make. I’d love to make this trifle again making my own mascarpone.

  28. Berrylicious! Love how the tartness of berries helps curb the rich sweetness of desserts. It usually means you can fit in a second serve!

  29. Very nice. Funnily enough, I happen to like an old fashioned trifle, even with red jelly and store bought custard. There’s something comforting about it.

  30. I love to make trifles and you’re right, they definitely carry a “wow” factor. Yours is gorgeous!

  31. Hey ya Charlie! I am a little slow with catching up on all my fave foodie friends, sorry about that. I do hope you’ve been kicking 2017 goals and having a blast. Now… lets talk about this trifle, holy yarm it looks the goods. I haven’t seen this dessert served in a restaurant ever, but have enjoyed it many a time at family gatherings etc. But Christmas just gone, I saw it featured loud and proud on the buffet at Daydream Island. It was amazing. 🙂 Although it was nowhere near as pretty as yours. I’ll have to forward the link to Chef. 🙂

  32. Wow! This is a finger-licking treat! My mouth is watering right now!

  33. so delicious dessert. thanks for sharing this recipe i would try it.

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