The official Coronation trifle created for the coronation of King Charles III wasn’t well promoted but I went ahead and made an easier to follow and make version of the Strawberry & Ginger Trifle anyway! This Cheat’s Coronation Trifle retains all the essence and flavour of the original but with less effort, cost and time.
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After the runaway success of my Cheat’s Platinum Jubilee Pudding in 2022, it was always on my mind to create a new trifle for the next big celebration which would likely be the coronation. I’m not sure any of us expected that to be happening just a year later but here we are.
This time round the crown has released 3 official recipes for the coronation (no competition this time) and one of them is a trifle. I hoped it would be much simpler than the last one but alas, this is not the case.
Instead it is “written” by a Michelin starred chef (his name is on it at any rate) and it might be even more of a pain to make than the last one. The recipe is horribly written in a weird order with key pieces of information missing. I don’t want to sit here and just rinse it but I am very disappointed.
I actually had to rewrite this entire post after the official recipe pdf was silently replaced with a new version around 3 weeks after being first released. It’s sort of better than the first draft but I tried the elements and I still think its very unhelpful.
(Update! Version 3 has stealthily replaced version two. Its mildly better again. I’m writing this with just under 2 months to go to the big day, if they replace it again, I’m simply not going to look and just risk looking a fool during the rest of this post!)
Plus by following that recipe, you’ll end up with something that looks nothing like the photograph – its quite simply a different recipe entirely.
And so this Cheat’s Coronation Trifle was born. It retains all the essence and flavour of the original but with less effort, cost and time.
More Coronation Recipes!
In a last minute turn of event, the royal family have released an official coronation quiche recipe. So of course I had to make a cheat’s version of that too! I’ve also put together a collection of my recipes which are perfect for celebrating the coronation and a little round up of all the official recipes.
How To Use This Recipe
Scroll to the bottom of the post or use the “Jump to Recipe” button at the top to head straight to the ingredients list and step by step instructions for how to make my cheat’s version of the recipe.
I’ve created a cheat’s version taking key shortcuts whilst retaining the strawberry and ginger flavours and the general look of the trifle. It can be made as one larger trifle serving 8, scaled up as you pleased, halved if you prefer and made in individual glasses if you like.
I’ve split this post by layer. For each I’ve talked about the official recipe and the changes I’ve made to make it simpler. I’ve also created some recipes so you can make the trifle from scratch but using recipes and quantities that actually make sense.
Plus I’ve also given suggestions for any ways you can cheat even further and make an extra easy version. You can also mix and match difficulty level of the layers as you please.
Cheat’s Coronation Trifle Layers
The final recipe at the bottom of this post uses all the options I’ve chosen which for me balance time and money spent vs keeping fairly true to the spirit of the original recipe.
- Cake layer – Parkin
- Fruit layer – Strawberries
- Jelly layer – Strawberry jelly
- Custard layer – Ginger custard
- Cream layer – Whipped cream
Any guidance and measurements given below are based on a trifle serving 8 people. If you change the servings amount in the main recipe card, remember to also adapt the measurements given for any variations you choose to use.
Cake layer – Parkin
Parkin is similar to gingerbread (the cake, not the men) but includes oats. I find it generally to be a little less sticky than gingerbread but the flavours are largely similar. Its a rather odd choice for a spring time celebration in May but here we are.
I made the original official parkin recipe and it was enough to make trifles to serve 30. It’s since been halved but it is still twice as much as you need. I also found the recipe incredibly sweet. On the upside, version III of the recipe now at least specifies a tin size.
I set to testing a new recipe and have come up with something a little deeper in flavour, slightly less sweet, perfectly moist and importantly; the correct quantity to make this trifle.
The obvious cheat’s option was to use store-bought ginger cake. Parkin isn’t an option – it is out of season and I’ve not been able to source any parkin that is available in supermarkets nationwide.
You may be able to find a version in a local shop or garden centre. But this recipe is for everyone so I want to use something easy to find. Mcvities Jamaica Ginger Cake is the answer. If you have another rich ginger cake available to you, you can absolutely use that instead.
The only thing to do is open the packet, cut the cake into pieces and pop them in the trifle dish. It can’t get any easier.
Fruit layer – Strawberries
The original official recipe called for “Strawberries, roasted” and then said to put 3 in the dish on top of the cake. The revised recipe just says “fresh strawberries”. Still doesn’t tell you how many but it did feel like a good revision and now it matches the recipe image. Update! Recipe version III now tells you to use defrosted frozen strawberries which matches no image.
I initially thought that roasted strawberries were a horrible idea. I imagined them to be dry and rubbery, but I was wrong. Before the recipe was revised, I researched how best to roast strawberries and tried it myself. They’re moist, form a little glaze and make a great soft layer in a trifle.
So I came up with a recipe for the perfect amount of roasted strawberries for this 8 serving trifle. If you want to have a go making them, you can make them up to 4 days in advance. I would suggest alternating the layer order of the trifle if you do this and spoon them on top of the set custard. Then add the cream on top as normal.
I know that this is not in any way a cheat version of the current recipe. But as it would make a great addition to the trifle, I’ve linked to my recipe anyway.
Cheat’s Option (ish)
I liked the idea of the strawberries having a slightly different texture. So I’m recommending to use macerated strawberries. Do not panic – this simply involves sprinkling over a little sugar and leaving them to sit for 20 minutes.
The macerated strawberries soften and release some of their juice. As there is no alcohol to soak the sponge of this trifle, these juices do the job instead which I really like. I’ll talk about the alcohol situation in the FAQ section of this post.
So yes, my recipe is actually adding to the official recipe but I think the effort of sprinkling some sugar is totally worth it. I think it was a mistake to not add a liquid to soak the cake like in a regular trifle so this maceration goes someway to rectifying that.
Extra Easy Options
- You can use straight up sliced or quartered fresh strawberries.
- You can use frozen strawberries. Allow them to thaw then slice and add to the trifle. If any juices get released as they defrost, add them to the trifle too.
- You can even use tinned strawberries. If they are at all large I would again slice or at least halve them. You can also use some of the juice they come in but I would go easy, you may not want to use it all. You could add any extra to the jelly in place of some of the water however.
- You could alternatively also use a canned strawberry (or other red berry) pie filling. Like with the roasted strawberries I would add this on top of the custard rather than underneath the jelly.
Jelly layer – Strawberry jelly
The official recipe went from the sublime to the ridiculous. The first version required all manner of unobtainable ingredients including malic acid(?!) and an awful lot of strawberry juice.
The revised version simply sets sweetened strawberry pulp and isn’t actually a jelly at all. I did make it and it was bullet hard and a tiny quantity. I really hope people aren’t too disappointed when they make it. Update! Recipe version III now has you sieve it so that’s a start although now it’ll make an even smaller quantity.
So I don’t have a more reasonable scaled down recipe for this jelly layer. As far as I’m concerned, its jelly concentrate or nothing for me.
I’ve used a block of strawberry flavoured jelly concentrate. You simply melt the cubes with a little water in the microwave, top up with cold water and leave to chill. Once cool it can be poured onto the cake and strawberry layer and then left to properly set in the fridge.
I’ve added less liquid to the jelly than the packet instructions to make a slightly firmer jelly – this holds up better under the weight of the custard and the cream.
If you don’t want to use the jelly cubes, you can use the powdered sugar free sachets. The instructions are exactly the same as in the recipe using a 23g sachet of the crystals. If you are in the US, you need to use half a regular box of strawberry Jell-o.
Extra Easy Option
You can buy ready made jelly pots, use a knife to cut them up and put cubes of jelly on top of the strawberries. I’d estimate that you’d need around 500g (4 x 125g pots) for this size trifle.
If you can be bothered, you could microwave the jelly from one pot to make it liquid and pour that over the cake and strawberries. This will bring the trifle together a little more than if you just add the jelly straight on top.
This is slightly quicker but is highly unlikely to be cheaper so please don’t assume this. Either way, this isn’t going to create the most pretty layers but it will taste good and get the job done!
Custard layer – Ginger custard
16 eggs! Need I say any more about the original recipe?! The revised recipe has been exactly halved and uses ground rather than fresh ginger which looks much more sensible.
For anyone wanting to make a custard from scratch, I’ve come up with a ginger custard recipe made using less eggs. It also uses cornflour as part of the thickening process as well as double cream which also makes it gluten free. I have of course made sure that the quantity is correct for this 8 serving trifle.
It’s rich, delicious and a little bit decadent without being ridiculous. I don’t expect many people to use this in their trifle but I do implore you to make it another time for with a sponge pudding – it really is very good!
I did a lot of testing with this. I always default to using Bird’s custard but I found that the flavour was too strong to add ginger flavouring and it not taste weird. Then I tried ready made custard mixed with melted white chocolate to make it thicker. The flavour was better although rather sweet. But whichever way I tried it, it was a pain to make.
I settled on simply thickening ready made custard with cornflour at the same time as adding ground ginger for flavour. I use the microwave for ease. You do need to wait for the custard to cool but it sets thick and smooth which is what we want in a trifle.
I make sure that the jelly setting and custard cooling is done at the same time so this doesn’t actually add any time to the overall cheat’s recipe.
Note – I’ve had feedback from several people that they’ve found the ginger flavour overly strong. The ginger that I used wasn’t overly strong at all but not all ground ginger powders are equal in strength. If you are concerned, start with 1 tsp and then add more if you feel like you do want the flavour to be stronger.
Extra Easy Option
You can simply use straight out of the carton or tin custard. It won’t set up as thick or have that ginger element.
I haven’t had great success at adding in the ginger flavour to cold custard, it doesn’t meld well. If you’re going to do this, I’d actually recommend adding an extra layer to the trifle. Either some more ginger cake on top of the custard layer or a layer of finely chopped stem ginger. Around 2 large or 3 small balls would be about right.
Cream layer – Whipped cream
I’ve got no massive issue with either original recipe here – its a fairly classic Chantilly cream recipe. It calls for a sensible amount of double cream whipped with icing sugar. It does call for use of a whole vanilla pod which as they’re £3 each nowadays is rather bougie.
I don’t actually find that a Chantilly cream is necessary on top of a trifle. I much prefer the cream to provide a less sweet counter balance to all the sweetness below. So I’ve simply whipped cream with a very small amount of icing sugar and left things there.
The reason a little icing sugar is still used is to stabilise the cream – this helps it to not split or weep as the trifle waits to be served. I think this is a good balance.
Extra Easy Option
I don’t think there is actually an easier option here. Ready whipped (squirty) cream loses its shape in about 5 minutes so you’d just end up with a pool of not terribly nice liquid cream.
This section of the recipe has been a wild ride!
The original official recipe called for candied pistachios to decorate the trifle. I tested the original and then created an easier (and smaller) version. And then the new version was released with just “nuts, chopped” listed.
Whilst I’m here to try and make the overall recipe easy and simple for you, I have to ask if a smattering of chopped nuts is befitting of a trifle for a street party or to celebrate a Coronation. I don’t actually think it is!
So I’ve put together a number of suggestions for different toppings you can use to decorate. You’ll see in the images in this post that I opted to mix and match fresh chopped strawberries, candied pistachios and crystallised ginger pieces. .
I’d already written the recipe, it turns out they take 10 minutes to make and are actually rather nice. So I threw some on my trifle.
This really felt like a no brainer to me, especially with strawberry quite literally being in the title of the trifle.
You can add them whole, sliced and as many or as few as you wish. I went with with a generous pile of sliced strawberries in the centre.
If you made roasted strawberries, you could actually add some of them and drizzle a little of the juice too.
I originally thought that this was a really nice and easy option to replace the candied pistachios. Its readily available in supermarkets, delicious to eat and you can use it straight out of the packet/jar. And of course it keeps in with the flavour profile of the trifle.
So I used some crystallised ginger with the pistachios and fresh strawberries for the extra flavour, colour and variety.
It feels very rude to mention trifle and not talk about the most classic of toppings – the toasted flaked almond. You can buy them both toasted and untoasted. Please don’t be tempted to use them untoasted.
If you buy them untoasted, you can follow these simple instructions to toast them yourself – it only takes a few moments.
Another traditional topping – I used cherries on my Sherry Trifle Cheesecake recipe for maximum classic kitsch. I could not in good conscience write this post without suggestion them. Which leads me to…
If you’re a sprinkles on your trifle kind of person then you should sprinkle away!
Cheat’s Coronation Trifle Frequently Asked Questions
- How many does this cheat’s coronation trifle serve?
- How far in advance can coronation trifle be made?
- What size serving or trifle dish is best for cheat’s coronation trifle?
- Equipment needed to make cheat’s coronation trifle
- How to store leftover strawberry & ginger trifle?
- How to make a vegetarian coronation trifle?
- How to make a vegan coronation trifle?
- How to make a free from coronation trifle?
- Does the coronation trifle contain alcohol?
- How to make individual cheat’s coronation trifles?
How Many Does This Cheat’s Coronation Trifle serve?
This recipe is designed to serve 8 generously. It could easily serve 10 to 12 smaller appetites or as part of a dessert buffet.
How Far In Advance Can Coronation Trifle Be Made?
There are several elements that you can make quite far in advance. If you are choosing to make parkin and/or candied pistachios, they can be made a good week in advance. The custard can be made several days in advance.
The whole trifle can be made an assembled up to the custard layer up to 48 hours in advance of serving. It needs to be properly covered and refrigerated.
You shouldn’t whip and add the cream until around 3 to 4 hours in advance of serving if at all possible. You can decorate then too if you have to but last minute is better.
What Size Serving or Trifle Dish is Best for Cheat’s Coronation Trifle?
Any 3 pint / 1.7litre trifle dish will be perfect for this recipe. If you need to use a bigger dish, aim for something that is taller rather than wider. It doesn’t matter if the trifle doesn’t rise over the rim of the bowl.
I’ve made this recipe in a glass soufflé dish which holds 3 pints or 1.7 litres, has a diameter of 18cm/7inch and height of 8cm/3inch. The fact that it has straight sides made the layers really stand out. I can’t find exactly the same dish to link to online. This Pyrex Soufflé Dish is the same type but a little larger.
You could alternatively just use a regular glass mixing bowl – you don’t need to have something fancy for a trifle. And you may well have something like this in your kitchen anyway.
Just be aware that many of the fancy dedicated trifle bowls are massive and designed to hold quantities of trifle more to serving 20. And if you can’t get hold of, or don’t have a glass bowl, any high sided dish will do. You might not be able to see the pretty layers but it’ll still taste delicious!
Equipment Needed To Make Cheat’s Coronation Trifle
You don’t need much in the way of special equipment to make this trifle at all. A microwave is helpful but you can melt the jelly and thicken the custard in a small saucepan on the stove if you need to.
A 1pint/500ml Pyrex style measuring jug is a staple piece of kitchen equipment. You can measure and use in the microwave without any hassle.
An electric hand mixer will make whipping the cream a breeze. You can use a regular whisk and do it by hand, it’ll just take a little longer.
A comprehensive list of the equipment used to make this recipe is included in the main recipe card below. Click on any item to see an example. There are no hard and fast rules so many items can be sensibly substituted to achieve the same results.
How to Store Leftover Strawberry & Ginger Trifle?
Any leftovers should be well covered and stored in the fridge. It’ll be fine for around 2 days but the cream obviously won’t be as fresh.
If you want to enjoy leftovers at their true best, I’d scrape off any remaining cream and serve with some that’s freshly whipped. Or just use pouring cream or even ice cream. It won’t be as pretty but it’ll taste better and will reduce overall waste.
How to Make a Vegetarian Coronation Trifle?
The only non vegetarian element to the trifle is the jelly due to the gelatine used. Asda and Ocado sell vegan strawberry jelly powder. I’m sure you can get similar elsewhere too. You can switch the regular jelly for this and the trifle is veggie suitable.
How to Make a Vegan Coronation Trifle?
There are several swaps needed to make the trifle vegan.
Cake – I can’t see an obvious milk and egg free ready made option available to buy so you’ll need to make something from scratch – try this Vegan Parkin recipe.
Jelly – Vegan strawberry jelly powder is available to buy.
Custard – There are many vegan custard alternatives available so swap in one of these.
Cream – Again, there are several whipping cream substitutes available to use. Please do double check that whichever you’re buying that it will actually whip up as they won’t all do that.
How to Make a Free From Coronation Trifle?
Gluten Free Coronation Trifle: You can buy gluten free versions of ginger cake or you could make Gluten Free Parkin. You should also double check that the custard you buy doesn’t have any sneaky gluten. That’s actually true for all ingredients.
Nut Free Coronation Trifle: Just don’t use any nuts to decorate. And of course double check the ingredients of all the other ingredients. There shouldn’t be nuts in anything but you never know.
Dairy Free Coronation Trifle: Check out the vegan swaps below as they are the same to make a dairy-free trifle.
Egg Free Coronation Trifle: You will need to look for a vegan ginger cake to use as McVities uses eggs. Or you can make a Vegan Parkin recipe. There shouldn’t be any eggs in ready made custard but as always it is worth checking.
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above and any variations suggested have not been tested unless otherwise stated. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
Does the coronation trifle contain alcohol?
No, there is no alcohol in this trifle recipe.
Can you add alcohol? Yes! I certainly would. The only reason I haven’t is to keep as close to the official recipe layers as possible.
But I absolutely think the ginger cake layer would benefit from a good dose (3 to 4 tbsp) of ginger wine, sherry or even whisky. If I was using whisky, I would dilute it by 50% otherwise it will be very strong.
How to make individual cheat’s coronation trifles?
Simply split the ingredients for each layer into 8 serving dishes. Or you can halve the recipe to make 4 individual portions – I’ve written a recipe specifically for this to make it extra easy.
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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Cheat’s Coronation Trifle – Strawberry & Ginger
- Glass Trifle Dish 3 Pint/1.7litre
For the Cake Layer
- 225 g Ginger Cake - I use McVitie's Jamaica Ginger Cake
For the Fruit Layer
- 400 g Strawberries - Fresh or Frozen
- 2 tbsp Sugar
For the Jelly Layer
- 135 g Strawberry Jelly Cubes - or 23g jelly crystals/3oz Jell-o powder
- 400 ml Water - approximately
For the Custard Layer
- 2 tbsp Cornflour (Cornstarch)
- 2 tsp Ground Ginger - halve this if your ginger powder is strong/spicy
- 2 tbsp Water
- 500 ml Ready Made Custard
For the Cream Layer
- 300 ml Double Cream (Heavy Cream)
- 1 tbsp Icing Sugar (Confectioner’s Sugar)
For Decorating – Pick One or Mix and Match
- Candied Pistachios
- Fresh Strawberries
- Crystallised Ginger
- Flaked Almonds - toasted
- Glace Cherries
- Please read these instructions the whole way through before starting. To read without seeing the images – use the above camera toggle. The recipe is written so you can make it as quickly as possible, with as little down time (chilling time) as possible. You can assemble the trifle up to the custard layer up to 48 hours before serving. Adding the cream and decorations is best done no more than 3 to 4 hours before serving. You can make and cool the custard several days in advance. If you have decided to make your own ginger cake and/or candied pistachios, you can do these tasks up to a week in advance.
Make the Strawberry Jelly
- Cut 135g Strawberry Jelly Cubes into their marked cubes then cut each cube into quarters (I use scissors). Add to a microwaveable measuring jug which is at least 500ml in size.
- Add water up to the 200ml mark on the jug (or 1¼ cup). Microwave for 30 seconds on full power then stir. If any of the jelly hasn't yet melted, keep microwaving in 10 second bursts then stirring again. If you don't have a microwave, you can do this in a small saucepan but make sure to use your measuring jug so you don't add too much water.
- Add more water to make the jelly up to 500ml (2 cups) in total volume. Place in the fridge and allow to chill.Keep an eye on the jelly, Once it is thoroughly cool, take it out of the fridge even if you are not yet ready to assemble because you don't want it to start to set.
Prepare the Macerated Strawberries
- Remove the tops from 400g Fresh Strawberries. Cut very large ones into 4 slices or quarters, large ones into three and medium and small strawberries in half. If using frozen berries, you will need to wait for them to thaw first but otherwise treat them the same. Don't discard any juices that may be released during defrosting.
- Add the strawberries to a bowl and sprinkle over 2 tbsp Sugar.
- Give the strawberries a good mix and set aside. They can sit at room temperature and need at least 20 minutes to macerate properly.
- You'll see a change in the texture of the strawberries and that they have released some of their juice.
Prepare the Cake & Start Assembling
- Cut 225g Ginger Cake into 2cm/1"cubes. I sliced my loaf cake horizontally then lengthways into three before cutting across to create cubes.
- Put the cake cubes into the bottom of your trifle dish. Make sure that they make it all the way into any corners and make sure there are no big gaps around the outside or the bottom of the dish. Press them down a little, again to make sure there are no big air pockets but make sure to not compress the cake or it won't allow the jelly to soak in.
- Spoon in the macerated strawberries. I start around the edges then fill in the middle. It is again worth spending a moment making sure that there are strawberries flush with the sides of the bowl and filling any gaps. Make sure all the juices are poured over the cake too – waste nothing.
- Give the cooled jelly a good stir then pour over the cake and strawberries. I do this nice and slowly moving the jug around the outside then spiralling into the centre. This is to make sure that all the cake cubes get a chance to absorb some of the liquid.
- Cover the dish and place in the fridge to set the jelly – this will likely take at least 2 hours. You might be able to speed this up using the freezer but you must set a time, you mustn't forget and freeze it!
Make the Ginger Custard
- Measure 2 tbsp Cornflour and 1 tbsp Ground Ginger into a microwave safe bowl,
- Add 2 tbsp Water and mix to form a paste.
- Pour in around ⅓ of the 500g Ready Made Custard. Stir until everything is well combined.
- Add the rest of the custard and mix thoroughly.
- Microwave on full power for 3 minutes. Stir then keep heating in 30 second bursts stirring each time until the custard starts bubbling and visibly thickens. This should take around 5 minutes in total.
- You must see that bubbling and active thickening. If you don't reach that stage, the cornflour will have been pointless and the custard won't set thick.
- Pour the hot custard into a clean flat dish. This will help the custard cool more quickly. Spread it out then cover with cling film. The cling film must touch the custard to prevent a skin from forming.
- Allow to cool to nearly room temp then refrigerate until fully cold.
Optional – Prepare Decorations
- If wanting to decorate with Candied Pistachios, follow these instructions >> Easy Candied Pistachios.
- If using toasted Flaked Almonds, toast them in a dry pan then allow to cool if they aren't already toasted.
Add the Custard Layer
- Only once the jelly is fully set and the custard fully cool should you proceed to this stage!
- Give the cooled custard a quick stir then start carefully spooning it onto the jelly. Go slow and start with the edges before filling in the centre. I use a small spoon so I am not tempted to go too quick. This is so you don't end up with any air gaps.
- Smooth over the top. You can cover with clingfilm (again touching the custard) if you are making in advance. Store in the fridge for up to 48 hours.
Finish Assembling & Decorate the Trifle
- Whisk 300ml Double Cream with 1 tbsp Icing Sugar until if is soft and light. Be careful not to overwhip. You are looking for loose cloud like cream.
- Pile the cream onto the chilled trifle using a large serving spoon. Do it in sections for maximum texture. Please don’t dump all the cream on and then try to spread it.If you are a piping bag demon, go ahead and create some pretty patterns!
- Decorate however you please. I've used a mix of fresh strawberries, candied pistachios and crystallised ginger for maximum excitement.