This Chocolate Trifle is an easy dessert recipe that’s totally decadent! It’s made with layers of homemade cake, chocolate pudding, and whipped cream.
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This Chocolate Trifle is one seriously decadent dessert! It looks like you’ve spent a pile of time on it, but it’s one of the best easy desserts for a holiday party or family gathering.
We love all things chocolate, so this layered chocolate dessert is right up there with these Best Homemade Brownies, this Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, and this Chocolate Sheet Cake.
It’s made with homemade chocolate cake cubes layered with chocolate pudding, whipped cream, and whatever chocolate candy bars or drizzles your heart desires.
Keep it classic or let your imagination run wild!
You can use cake mix or prepared cake in a pinch, but this cake recipe is divine!
- Granulated Sugar: it makes our cake, cake!
- Oil: use a neutral flavored oil like canola oil to add moisture to the cake.
- Milk: whatever you have on hand will work, dairy or non-dairy.
- Eggs: binds the ingredients together so the cake can hold its shape.
- Vanilla: adds flavor depth and sweetness.
- All-Purpose Flour: fluffed and leveled so you don’t end up with too much flour.
- Cocoa Powder: use high-quality, unsweetened cocoa powder for the richest chocolate flavor.
- Salt: cuts the sweetness and enhances flavor.
- Baking Soda and Baking Powder: we’re using both leavening agents to keep the cake texture so light and fluffy.
- Hot Coffee: or hot water. I recommend the coffee because it enhances the chocolate flavor of the cake, but water will work just fine.
- Chocolate Pudding: we’re making the pudding layer with instant chocolate pudding mix and milk.
- Whipped Cream: we’re throwing together a homemade whip made up of heavy whipping cream, powdered icing sugar, and vanilla extract. Feel free to use Cool Whip if preferred.
- Optional Toppings: get creative! I love crushed Oreos, crushed heath or skor bars, maltesers or whoppers, and chocolate sauce or chocolate shavings.
How to Make a Chocolate Trifle
This decadent dessert is so easy to prep! Full instructions can be found in the recipe card below.
- Prepare your cake according to the directions in the recipe card, or use a cake mix if you’re short on time.
- Cake layer: cut cake into cubes and place a layer in a trifle dish or glass bowl.
- Pudding layer: mix the pudding and pour half over the cake.
- Whipped cream: top with whipped cream and repeat the layers once more.
Chocolate Trifle FAQs
Chocolate Trifle is a layered dessert made up of cake cubes, pudding, whipped cream, and optional toppings such as crushed cookies or candy bars.
Once the trifle is fully assembled, I recommend serving it right away because of the whipped cream. It will last a few days but the cream may start to deflate slightly as time passes.
I do suggest you make the cake a day in advance! This way so the cake can cool completely before assembling.
A finished trifle will last covered in the fridge for up to 3 days. I recommend adding the whipped cream just before serving to preserve its texture. If you use cool whip, it will last a little bit longer.
Tips and Notes
- Grease and flour the pan. Lightly grease the pan, then coat it in flour, tapping out any extra. This makes it much easier to remove the cake.
- Don’t over-measure the flour. I recommend fluffing the flour up, then leveling it off gently with your finger. This helps prevent it from getting too packed in. Too much flour makes for dry cake.
- The batter will be thin. Don’t panic. That’s how it’s supposed to look!
- Check for doneness. Use a toothpick to check that the cake is done. Just insert it into the center. If it comes out clean, the cake is good to go.
- Cool the cake completely. If you try to cut it into cubes while it’s still hot, you’ll just end up with mush.
More Trifle Recipes You’ll Love
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- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup canola oil
- 1 cup milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ¾ cup all purpose flour (fluffed and levelled) (230 grams)
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup hot coffee or water
- 2 boxes instant chocolate pudding mix (4 serving size)
- 3 ½ cups milk
- Whipped Cream
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup powdered icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- crushed oreos
- crushed heath or skor bars
- maltesers or whoppers
- chocolate sauce or chocolate shavings
- Lightly grease and flour one 9×13" pan, tapping firmly to remove any excess flour once coated. Set the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and oil until combined.
- Add milk, eggs and vanilla and whisk until smooth.
- Add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and baking powder and whisk until combined.
- Slowly stir in hot coffee until batter is smooth — it will be thin.
- Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick in the center comes out dry or with moist crumbs. Set aside to cool completely before proceeding with the recipe (I prefer to do this the day before).
- Once cool, cut into 1" cubes.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together pudding mix and milk until completely smooth.
- In a medium bowl, whip the cream, sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form.
- Place half of the cake cubes in the bottom of a trifle bowl or large glass bowl. Top with half of the pudding and half of the whipped cream. Add desired optional toppings.
- Repeat, using remaining ingredients in the same order. Top and garnish as desired.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve. This trifle is best served the day it is made because of the fresh whipped cream. If you use cool whip, it will last a little longer.
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Barbara Cohen says
I have been making this for more than 45 years! Depending on the diners; I drizzle some coffee liqueur over the cake layer. Sometimes I add mini chocolate chips to the layers or nuts. I call this my winter trifle. The summer version is angel food cake, fruit cocktail (no liquid), coconut flakes, vanilla pudding and whipped cream. I like to make them the night before so the flavors have a chance to mix.
It also gives you a chance to own a beautiful trifle footed bowl!!!!!!