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Chocolate, cherry, kirsch, swiss roll, chocolate custard delicious goodness all make one perfect festive dessert – black forest trifle! 

Christmas baking

When I think of Christmas I think of chocolate orange, candy canes, gingerbread, cinnamon and black forest. All of these flavours are my favourite sort of thing to have at this time of year and I am not ashamed to admit I LOVE IT. 

Black Forest is the delicious combination of all things chocolate, cream and cherry in my opinion and it is the best. I remember years ago when I went on a family holiday to Switzerland I had a proper black forest gateaux and it was INSANE, and I have loved it since. 

Black forest bakes

My love has grown and grown for Black Forest related bakes since starting this blog with my black forest cheesecake being one of my favourites, along with my black forest loaf cake. Honestly, I question how I used to think the flavour was icky, because now it’s one of the best. 

This recipe has been requested over and over and although there are many amazing recipes out there, I thought I would post my own version on to my blog as you guys seem to want it! 


For this recipe it is relatively similar to my Terry’s chocolate orange trifle because I just love how that works together – instead of the orange obviously we have cherry and kirsch.

I know not everyone who reads my blog consumes alcohol so don’t worry there are kirsch free options as well! But on the flip side, others love a boozy trifle and I get so many comments when I don’t make a boozy trifle that its not just right!


For the base of the recipe I use a jumbo chocolate swiss roll, and brownie bites.You can obviously use chocolate cake, or something you have made yourself but something such as trifle is meant to be quick and easy to make and using ready made ingredients is no bad thing! 

I decided to cut my Swiss roll into 1-2cm thick strips, and drizzle over some kirsch. If you manage to buy the cherries in kirsch jar, you can use the kirsch from the jar to do this. If not, you can buy kirsch from the alcohol aisle in the supermarket. If you want to leave it out, just skip this step. 

Custard and cream

For the custard, I bought a good quality ready made custard from the chilled aisle – I chop up some dark chocolate finely (it’s good to use dark chocolate even if you don’t like dark chocolate because the flavour lightens a lot in the custard). You add the two to a pan and heat together until the chocolate has melted! 

For the cream, I used double cream and whipped it together with some icing sugar for a slightly level of sweetness and to stabilise the cream – you can add kirsch to this too if you want but it’s not essential and I didn’t this time. If you wanted chocolate cream however you can add 1 heaped tablespoon of cocoa powder

Brownies, cherries and decoration

For the rest of the trifle I used a tub of brownie bites from the bakery aisle, the cherries from the jar of cherries in kirsch, fresh cherries for the decoration, cherry jam, and some grated chocolate and sprinkles. 

If you want to avoid using kirsch, you can use tinned cherries that are in syrup, or the cherry pie filling. Or, you can de-stone fresh cherries! It is entirely optional, and where all you are doing is layer different bits, it is very easy to use what you want. 


I start by layering the Swiss roll at the bottom and around the bottom edge because it looks pretty, then I pour over some of the chocolate custard. Then, I add some of the cherries soaked in kirsch, and some of the brownie bites. 

Then, I add one some of the whipped cream, and one layer of cherry jam. Then I repeat this process, finishing with the whipped cream on top – Decorate the top with the fresh cherries, some grated chocolate and some sprinkles. 

You can of course layer it and put it into your bowl or trifle bowl how you please – but this is just how I do it! I always obsess over how it looks from the outside compared to the inside, but I think we all do haha!

Black Forest Trifle!

Chocolate, cherry, kirsch, swiss roll, chocolate custard delicious goodness all in one... The perfect festive dessert - Black Forest Trifle! 
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Category: Dessert
Type: Trifle
Keyword: Black Forest, Chocolate
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Setting Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 10 People
Author: Jane's Patisserie


Chocolate Custard

  • 150 g dark chocolate (chopped)
  • 500 ml ready made custard

Whipped Cream

  • 600 ml double cream
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar

Chocolate Cherry Swiss roll

  • 1 x jumbo chocolate swiss roll
  • 4-5 tbsp Kirsch (optional)

Everything Else

  • 400-600 g cherries in kirsch/cherries in syrup/cherry Pie filling
  • 200 g fresh cherries
  • 200 g cherry jam/conserve
  • 1 x tub brownie bites
  • 25 g grated chocolate



  • Pour your ready made custard into a pan, and add in the chopped chocolate.
  • Heat on a low heat and mix together until smooth.
  • Pour into a bowl and leave to cool fully.


  • Add your double cream to a bowl, add the icing sugar and whisk to soft peaks. 

Swiss Roll

  • Slice your chocolate swiss roll into 1-2cm size slices. 
  • Sprinkle over 4-5tbsp of kirsch if using. 


  • Start building your trifle - I put the slices of the swiss roll around the edge of the trifle bowl at the bottom, and a few on the bottom as well. 
  • Pour over half of the chocolate custard and spread. 
  • Add on half of the cherries from the tin/jar, and half of the brownie bites.
  • Spread on half of the whipped cream, and pour on the one layer of cherry jam.
  • Repeat this again, finishing with the rest of the whipped cream on top.
  • Decorate the top with the fresh cherries and some grated chocolate!
  • Leave it to set for an hour in the fridge so the custard isn't as runny. Enjoy!


  •  This will last for 3 days once made, but is best eaten fresh. 
  • If you can't find cherries soaked in kirsch you can make your own by soaking fresh cherries in kirsch over night before baking, but it is not essential. 
  • You can use tinned cherries in syrup or cherry pie filling instead. 
  • The kirsch is entirely optional.
  • Quantities for this recipe are complete estimates as it entirely depends on your trifle bowl!
  • I recommend using this trifle bowl!


Find my other Recipes on my Recipes Page!

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J x

© Jane’s Patisserie. All images & content are copyright protected. Do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words and credit me, or link back to this post for the recipe.


  1. Amanda Hudson on December 24, 2023 at 11:57 am

    I know it completely changes what it’s is but my mams not a fan of cherries!! Do you think it would work with strawberries?

  2. Mary Mitchell on December 13, 2022 at 6:44 pm

    I made this for Boxing Day last year took it from the northwest to northeast for a teatime treat through hail rain snow and fog .my son and I put it in a large bucket to keep it safe never lost a cherry .Happy Xmas all the best for 2023 🎂🎂🥂🥂

  3. Jane on November 8, 2021 at 11:09 pm

    Hi, how do you”pour” the cherry jam? Do you hear it first so it’s runny, or just dollop it on, ? Thanks

    • Sa on December 21, 2023 at 7:10 pm

      I would like to know this too.

  4. Margaret Walton on October 20, 2021 at 11:47 am

    This recipe looks gorgeous but I just want to check how many grams of cake I need as I don’t want it to dry out.?

  5. Clare Batchelor on August 4, 2021 at 11:43 am

    Hi Jane, Do you think you it would work with something else other than chocolate brownies? 🙂 X

  6. Qurrat on April 30, 2021 at 6:17 pm

    Hi Jane can we make this a day before and refrigerator over night. Thanks.

  7. Nic | Nic's Adventures & Bakes on December 19, 2020 at 11:27 am

    5 stars
    Thanks for sharing, this looks lovely perfect to use up a jar of cherries in kirsch from a couple of Christmas ago 🙂

  8. Annette Tennent on December 17, 2020 at 1:35 pm

    Hi Jane I have some tins of ambrosia chocolate custard would that work or do you think it would be too runny. Thanks

    • Jane's Patisserie on December 17, 2020 at 6:29 pm

      Yeah I think that would work fine! x

  9. Nida-ul-nasar Mirza on December 16, 2020 at 12:00 pm

    Hi jane i love ur recipes and try them too i have a question that i have opies coktail cherries can i use that in black forest trifle and black forest cake?will it effect the taste?thanks

    • Jane's Patisserie on December 16, 2020 at 12:44 pm

      Cocktail cherries are a lot sweeter and taste quite different in my opinion, but if you like them it would work.

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