Video shot by Jared Sych, styled by Julie Van Rosendaal 

This trifle recipe comes from London pastry chef Ivan Aleksandrov—who recreated the lemon-elderflower wedding cake for journalists covering the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The layers of liquor-spiked sponge cake or ladyfingers, fruit, custard and cream are assembled in myriad flavour combinations, with many regional variations.

Recipe for Ivan Aleksandrov’s Holiday Trifle

Serves 8 to 10


  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 4 cups whipped cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 12 oz pound cake, crusts trimmed
  • 1/2 cup Marsala wine or sherry
  • 1/2 cup Amaretto
  • 4 cups fresh or thawed frozen raspberries
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • Raspberries and mint for decoration


1. For the crème anglaise, heat two cups of cream with the split vanilla bean in a saucepan until gently bubbling. Remove from heat and cool slightly. In a medium bowl, beat the yolks and sugar until ribbons form. Gradually whisk in one cup of the warm cream. Return créme mix to the saucepan, add the remaining cup of cream and cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

2. Remove créme from heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer, discarding the vanilla bean. Press a piece of plastic against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Cool slightly. In a medium bowl, whip the remaining two cups of cream with the icing sugar. To assemble the trifle, cut the cake into 1/2-inch thick slices to fit tightly into the bottom and about an inch up the sides of a trifle bowl. Sprinkle the cake with Marsala and Amaretto.

3. In a bowl, toss the berries with two tablespoons of Marsala, stirring to bruise the berries slightly. Top the cake with 1/3 of the crème anglaise, followed by 1/3 of the raspberries. Repeat the process, layering the remaining ingredients. Top with the freshly whipped cream.

Tip: Try using seasonal fruit; berries in the spring, stone fruits simmered with sugar in summer and sautéed pears in fall.


This article appears in the December 2018 issue of  WestJet Magazine.