Limoncello trifle – a dessert for grown ups

I have fond childhood memories of going to granny’s house for Christmas dinner. My sister and I playing with our new toys in the ‘good room’ while the smell of homemade soup and turkey filled the air.

There were two constants you could always be assured of; the gravy would be delicious and Christmas dinner would conclude with a bowl of trifle.

Trifle is an old English dessert, with layers of sponge, fruit, custard and cream and some might consider it a little old fashioned these days, but for me it is as synonymous with Christmas as mince pies and mulled wine.

In a modern twist, I have been working on two new boozy alternatives to a traditional fruit trifle.

If you like a little alcohol in your dessert, read on for my Limoncello recipe or boozy Baileys chocolate trifle on this post.

Limoncello trifle


Lemon Syrup

  • 100ml limoncello
  • 50ml lemon juice
  • 20 grams caster sugar

Lemon Curd

  • 175 grams caster sugar (add an extra 50grams if you like your jam sweeter)
  • 125 grams of butter
  • 3 lemons
  • 2 large eggs


  • 200 grams trifle sponge
  • 250ml double cream
  • 125 grams mascarpone cheese
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon

*This recipe requires 4 to 6 good sized lemons*


  • To make the lemon syrup, mix together the caster sugar, lemon juice and limoncello and leave to dissolve, this will take roughly 20 to 30 minutes.
  • I make the lemon curd using a bowl over a saucepan of hot water, this reduces the risk of curdling. See this post for method.
  • Lay the sponges across the bottom of a trifle bowl and drizzle over half of the lemon syrup, turn the sponges and drizzle over the remaining syrup to make sure there are no dry parts.
  • Put the trifle sponge in the fridge for 30 minutes to absorb the syrup and set.
  • Pour the lemon curd on top of the sponges and allow it to drip down into any spaces between the sponges.
  • In a bowl mix together the double cream and mascarpone, if you prefer your cream sweet add a teaspoon of icing sugar.
  • Spread this across the trifle mixture and finish with a touch of lemon rind for an extra lemony kick.
  • Return to the fridge for an hour to set.

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