Vegan raspberry, almond, sherry and saffron trifle

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This glorious vegan trifle recipe is perhaps the ultimate comfort food dessert. Beautifully rich coconut cream, custard and a raspberry compote add bags of flavour, with a decent boozy hit provided by Pedro Ximénez sherry. This recipe is taken from Mildreds Vegan Cookbook, published by Mitchell Beazley. Images by Matt Russell.

First published in 2018

There is nothing quite like a trifle to round off a special meal with all its glistening layers of sponge, creamy custard, bright fruit compote, cream and toasted nuts. The raspberries make it a summery dessert, but you can use any seasonal fruit you like – we’ve made a lovely spiced cranberry version and one with poached peaches. To cut down on labour on the day, you can make the sponge and raspberry compote in advance. If you prefer, you can forgo the compote and just use a layer of fresh berries, though it does create a real depth of flavour




Vegan sponge

  • 200g of self-raising flour
  • 160g of caster sugar
  • 60g of ground almonds
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 250ml of soya milk
  • 100ml of oil, (such as groundnut or sunflower)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Saffron custard

  • 1.5l almond milk
  • 180g of caster sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch of vanilla seeds, scraped from the pod
  • 1 pinch of saffron, (about 10 threads)
  • 80g of cornflour

Berry compote

Coconut whipped cream

  • 800ml of coconut milk, (full fat) or 4 160ml cans of coconut cream, chilled in the fridge overnight
  • 50g of icing sugar
  • 1 pinch of vanilla, (seeds scraped from the pod)

To assemble


  • 23cm springform cake tin
  • Stick blender
  • Fine sieve
  • Food mixer with whisk attachment


Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Line a 23cm (9-inch) round cake tin with baking parchment
Place all the dry ingredients for the vegan sponge in a large bowl and mix together with a small balloon whisk. Measure out the wet ingredients into a jug and again mix together with the whisk. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture and mix until well combined, then pour into the lined cake tin. Bake for 30 minutes until well risen and the sponge springs back to the touch
Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes in the tin, then turn out on to a wire rack and leave to cool completely
To make the custard, put all the ingredients, except the cornflour, in a pan and heat gently, stirring frequently, until warm
Mix the cornflour with enough cold water to make a smooth paste. Add to the almond milk mixture and cook for a few minutes, stirring until thickened. Remove the pan from the heat. You can strain the custard through a sieve to remove any lumps. Leave to cool
To make the raspberry compote, put half the berries with the remaining ingredients in a saucepan and bring up to a simmer. Cook gently for 10–15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the berries have totally broken down and the liquid is glossy
Take the pan off the heat, leave the compote to cool a little then blend with a stick blender. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the seeds, then mix with the remaining berries
To assemble, cut the sponge into slices 2.5cm thick and use to line the base of a glass trifle dish, 20cm in diameter with a flat base, evenly. Pour the sherry evenly over the sponge, then spoon over an even layer of raspberry compote
Leave in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or so to settle before carefully spooning over the custard. Cover and leave the custard to set in the refrigerator for a few hours
When the custard is almost set, make the coconut whipped cream. Open the can of coconut milk and scoop off the thick cream from the top (usually around 200g) into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Do the same if using creamed coconut, although there will be less liquid
Sift the icing sugar into the bowl and add the vanilla, if using. Whisk on a fairly high speed until the mixture comes together, being careful not to overwhip
Pipe the freshly whipped coconut cream on top of the trifle. Alternatively, add in small spoonfuls and spread out evenly across the top, then heat the spoon in hot water and use it to smooth the surface of the cream. Finally, scatter with the toasted almonds and decorate with the raspberries if you like

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