We Love Non-Dairy Trifle (And You Should, Too!)

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wkendcookingFor Weekend Cooking we are paying tribute to the Victorian poet Christina Rossetti for National Poetry Month. According to the Poetry Foundation, Rossetti likened one of her works to “a Christmas trifle,” a traditional treat of her time. See more about the poet and suggested activities for children to celebrate Poetry Month at Wrapped in Foil, our sister blog.



Trifle is traditionally served on holidays and consists of layers of cake, fruit, jam and pudding or whipped cream. Our trifle departs from the classic, however, because we have taken out all the dairy products.

Strawberry Non-dairy Trifle

You will need:

1. Cake

Many trifle recipes call for sponge cake. Over time, I have found that pound cake (recipe below) actually holds up better to the pudding and moist fruit, plus it is easy to work with. Pound cake also re-introduces some of the richness taken out by not using cream. If you want to make the dessert lighter, by all means use sponge cake. If you can’t use eggs, a white cake made with egg substitute will also work.

2. Fruit

Fresh strawberries are a must. Raspberries, blackberries. blueberries, and/or mangos are also good choices. Wash, hull and slice at least 16 oz. of fresh fruit. Frozen can be substituted if thawed and drained.

3. Pudding

Make a non-dairy pudding using soy, almond, or coconut milk (recipe below).

4. Jam

Our Fast Berry Syrup is a fresh-tasting alternative to commercial jam that works great. I recommend doubling the recipe.

5. Equipment

This special dessert is often served in a glass trifle bowl, which has relatively straight sides and stands on a pedestal (image is affiliate link). It really shows off what can be a beautiful creation.

Special bowls are, however, not absolutely necessary. Any big, deep bowl will work.

Lemony Pound Cake

Makes two loaves


  • 1 1/2 cups Earth Balance (or butter if dairy is allowed)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Grease two loaf pans (approximately 9x5x3 inch) and set aside.

In a glass mixing bowl, soften the Earth Balance in the microwave (about 30 seconds on high). Measure in the sugar and mix together. Stir in the vanilla and zest. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the flour and baking powder, and mix well. Separate roughly half the batter into each loaf pan. Place in the oven and bake for 50 minutes or until done. (The top will split like a quick bread).

Let the pound cakes cool and remove them from the pans.

Non-dairy Pudding


  • 2 cups vanilla soy, almond or coconut milk
  • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch (substitute another thickener, such as flour, if corn not allowed)
  • 1/3 cup sugar or to your taste (sweetened flavors will require less)

Measure the ingredients into a saucepan and whisk them together. Place over high heat and stir constantly until mixture boils and begins to thicken. Remove from heat and allow to cool briefly before use. Refrigerate if not used immediately.

Assemble the Trifle

Trifle is all about layering. Cut the pound cakes into even slices. Lay down a layer of pound cake slices to cover the bottom of the dessert bowl. You may need to cut some of the slices to make them fit.

Spoon in a layer of fresh fruit (about half you prepared). Cover the fruit with our Fast Berry Syrup or strawberry jam. Spoon in half the non-dairy pudding and spread out to create another layer.

Continue to build layers with another layer of slices of pound cake, the rest of the fruit, berry jam or syrup, and the rest of the pudding. Even out the pudding.

Finish the trifle with another covering of pound cake slices. Top with jam or fresh berry syrup.



Serve or refrigerate immediately. Trifle tends to be better when freshly made.

In case you are wondering, it is definitely worth the effort.

 Are you participating in National Poetry Month? Who is your favorite poet?


  1. Beth F says:

    I haven’t made a triffle in ages and now you have me craving one. We eat dairy but several of our relatives really have to watch milk products, so this would be great for them. Thanks for sharing this alternative.

    • admin says:

      Trifle bowls are so pretty and can be used to display fruit or other decorative items when not in use. Mine was really not expensive at all. I found it on clearance.

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