+ Healthy Trifle Recipe (gluten, grain & dairy free)

Healthy Trifle

Trifle is a dessert that brings back very fond memories for me.  It was my Nanas favourite dessert and she was always the nominated bearer of trifle at any family celebration. and always at Christmas time.  I haven’t eaten trifle in a very long time, but I have been asked by a few readers to come up with a healthy, intolerance friendly trifle so here it is.

Traditional trifles vary from the very, very bad (those made with processed ingredients like jelly, ready to eat custard and those horrendous 30+ ingredient jam rolls with a shelf life of many years), to the not so bad with each of the ingredients being homemade, albeit loaded with refined sugar.

My trifle is all made from scratch, a little finicky but certainly not at all difficult.  I have endeavoured to cover most of the main dietary intolerance’s but feel free to add any I’ve missed (in the comments below).

It’s certainly nourishing without scrimping on deliciousness.  Without further-a-do, a Well Nourished Trifle…

Makes one large bowl or 6 – 8 individual servings

2 cups of hot water, from the kettle
85 grams (1/4 cup) of sweetener (maple syrup or rice malt syrup)
2 cups of raspberries (defrosted if frozen), pureed and pushed through a sieve to remove the seeds
2 tablespoons of grass- fed gelatin (I only use Changing Habits Organic Gelatin).  Because gelatin is derived from animals, I like to know I am consuming the best quality product with the least chemical loading. Find out more or shop for it here.

I used my Vanilla Bean Cup Cake recipe (gluten, grain, dairy, nut and fructose-free option) and baked it in a 20-30cm tin, lined with baking paper.  I think it was perfect for the job (as it contains egg, it is not vegan).

Or my basic healthy cake recipe (gluten, grain, dairy, legume and fructose-free option) here.

Vegan, dairy, gluten, egg and grain-free custard
2 mangos, peeled and flesh pureed
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
125ml (½ cup) full-fat coconut milk

Traditional gluten-free custard (with dairy-free option)
500ml (2 cups) milk (for dairy-free replace half nut/coconut milk)
2 tablespoons sweetener (maple or rice malt syrup)
2 free-range or organic eggs
2 tablespoons gluten-free cornflour (or arrowroot for grain-free)
1 tablespoon of vanilla powder or extract


  1. Combine the hot water and sweetener until it is dissolved.
  2. Sprinkle the gelatin over the raspberry puree and mix until well combined.
  3. Add the hot water/syrup mixture and stir well until the gelatin is dissolved.
  4. Pour into a glass container and refrigerate to set.


  1. Bake your sponge and once cooled cut into cubes.
  2. It is entirely up to you, but you can do as my Nana would have and soak the cubes in sherry.  Or for a non-alcoholic syrup, combine 85 grams (1/4 cup) of maple syrup or rice syrup with 1/4 cup of boiling hot water stirring until combined.   Add the juice of either a lime or orange and spoon over the cubes to soak your cake as you assemble it.

Vegan, dairy, gluten, egg and grain-free custard

  1. Blend the mango, vanilla, and coconut milk until well combined.

Traditional gluten-free custard

  1. Heat your chosen milk and sweetener until just starting to simmer.
  2. Remove from the heat.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and cornflower (or arrowroot).
  4. Add to the hot milk whilst whisking.
  5. Return the pot to a low heat and stir continually until the custard thickens to your desired consistency.
  6. If you do end up with any lumps, you can pass it through a sieve.

To assemble

  1. Place a layer of jelly in the bottom of the bowl or glass.
  2. Arrange the cake on top and cover with a layer of custard.
  3. Add another layer of jelly followed by a layer of whipped cream, full-fat natural yoghurt, Coyo coconut yoghurt (vegan and dairy-free), or cashew nut cream (vegan and dairy free).
  4. Top with fruit and edible flowers and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.


Choose rice malt syrup as your sweetener and low fructose fruits.

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Healthy trifle

  • Kerry

    trifle was always a favourite and I often think about it. My mum made the best trifle, I’d eat that always over pavlova or anything else. But yes, it was the traditional unhealthy trifle, with homemade custard and jellies, though still with refined ingredients. I dream to make a trifle and believe it or not, in a very similar way to what you have Georgia, but now you’ve made it even easier for me, no thinking involved 🙂 I use the word ‘dream’ because I am strictly adhering to gaps and am still in the early stages. One day…. this awaits. much love.

    • I surprised myself with this one – it really hits the mark. Hope you get to enjoy it soon, G x

  • Nic

    Only one problem and that is the canellini beans in the cupcake as we are legume free too- trying to find an alternative for either the beans or sponge – would almond flour with an egg make an ok substitute ?

    • Yes I would try an almond meal based cake Nic. It’s your best bet if avoiding grain and legumes. G x

  • Kelly Berghella

    Hi Georgia, thanks for the recipe, they look divine and I am planning on making them Christmas Day as part of my dessert offerings. Just a question on preparation – how far ahead would you suggest making them? I was thinking about preparing each layer the day before and assembling on Christmas Day? I would prefer to assemble Christmas Eve, but just afraid they might go a bit soggy and yucky?

    • Kelly, you’re welcome. I would prep each part a day or two before and assemble on Christmas morning. I ate these ones the day after I made them and they were really good (though I didn’t liquor the sponge). Just keep it all in the fridge before and after prep (including the cake). G x

      • Kelly Berghella

        Thanks Georgia, that is helpful. I have just made my jelly and custard (going to do alternate raspberry and mango jelly layers mmm). Have a Merry Christmas x

        • Sounds perfect – enjoy Kelly and Merry Christmas too! G x

  • Lucinda

    This looks amazing!! I malabsorb fructose so will use almond meal for the sponge (such a shame as I love the vanilla bean cupcakes). What do you recommend instead of mango?

    • Hi Lucinda, I’d use a traditional custard sweetened with RMS. I’m posting a cracking almond meal cake this week which would work perfectly too for the cake. G x

  • Yarrow

    Hi Georgia, I have never made jelly before and was wondering if I could substitute the raspberries with blueberries, mixed berries etc or will this change the setting of the jelly?

    • Absolutely fine to sub the type of berry Yarrow, enjoy G x

  • Cherrylussh

    I logged into the iHerb website to buy the gelatine, but before I place the order, is there anything else you recommend from this site so that I can get more bang for my postage buck? Many thanks in advance Georgia.

    • I have only bought from Great Lakes direct before – only came across this (cheaper than what I paid) after wards and Gelatin lasts a long time so haven’t needed to restock mine yet. They have a massive range of products, just haven’t shopped form them yet. Make sure you have the red one . Sorry can’t help more G x

  • Kylie

    I just received this recipe in my email – thank you so very much! My youngest is allergic to dairy, nuts, eggs, rice, strawberries and artificial colours/flavours (she gets hives from a kids antihistamine syrup because of the flavours!).
    And I & my eldest are dairy & wheat intolerant, So finding traditional type Xmas desserts to suit everyone is so hard! But not anymore. I have a muffin/cake recipe I can use that suits my youngest so now I can make trifle to suit everyone.
    Can’t wait to try this out.

  • SO happy to be able to help Kylie. Even the mango custard is surprisingly very custard like (once mixed with the other trifle ingredients). I’m planning it myself, enjoy and Merry Christmas G x

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