Autumn, Winter, Sweet

Passion Fruit Trifle

This stunning dessert would make a worthy centrepiece at any gathering. Passion fruit is is often thought as a summer fruit, thanks to its tropical colour and flavour, but it's actually in season in autumn. It's a great alternative to berries, and this dish makes a nice change from traditional apple- and pear-based desserts.

Here, a light sponge is infused with lime zest and soaked with spiced rum, then topped with a passion fruit compote, fresh passion fruits, and plant-based custard and vanilla cream.

I couldn't resist adding a retro sprinkling of silver balls, flaked almonds and maraschino flavoured cocktail cherries. I like to make one big dessert, as it looks so impressive, but you can also make this in individual pots. I promise you'll love it.



Dry ingredients

1¾ cups plain flour

1 tbsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ cup caster sugar

Pinch sea salt

Wet ingredients

1½ cups soy or oat milk

½ cup light oil or coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

Zest of 2 limes

Juice of one lime

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

For the passion fruit compote

150g passion fruit pulp

200g caster sugar

300ml water

For the custard

1 pint (600ml) packet custard, made up with oat milk

For the cream

400ml oat cream

1 tsp vanilla bean paste/extract, or seeds from ½ a vanilla pod

To finish

100-150ml dark spiced rum or sherry

3-4 passion fruits

7 cocktail cherries

1 tsp silver balls

Toasted flaked almonds


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/Gas 4, and grease a 30x20cm cake tin.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Combine the wet ingredients in another bowl, and whisk them into the dry ingredients until just combined, being careful not to overmix.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin, and bake for 20 minutes. Check the cake is ready by inserting a skewer into the centre. If it comes out clean, it's done – if not, give it another 5 minutes and try again. The cake should be lightly golden on top and come away from the sides.
  4. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool completely.
  5. While the cake is cooking, add the ingredients for the passion fruit compote to a pan and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook for about 20 minutes, until all the pulp has come away from the seeds.
  6. In a small bowl, combine the cornflour with a little water to form a thin paste, and add this to the passion fruit compote, stirring continually until thickened and glossy. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  7. Make the custard as per the pack instructions, adding a little more custard powder to make it thicker. Lay a piece of clingfilm directly on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming, and set aside to cool.
  8. Whip the cream with the vanilla bean paste/extract or seeds, and set aside.
  9. Cut three quarters of the sponge into large chunks, add them to the bottom of your serving bowl, then evenly pour over the spiced rum and allow it to soak into the sponge.
  10. Top with the cooled compote, a thick layer of cooled custard, the pulp from 3-4 passion fruits, the whipped cream, then your garnishes.
  11. Chill until ready to serve – or you can make each element of your trifle a day ahead and assemble it on the day.

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