Trifle (with no cream)

Location: Cradley Heath
Era: 1950

“During the war we didn’t really celebrate birthdays very much – it was just a case of survival with food. But after the war I remember having a party with my friends and my Mother fetched ice cream from a place called Bishop’s Sweet Shop on Lower High Street in Cradley Heath where they used to make their own ice cream. Mother would make sandwiches and trifle. The trifle would be made of sponge, fruit, jelly and custard on the top. We didn’t use much cream but there would be custard on the top and perhaps some tinned oranges on the top to decorate the custard. It was very simple food in those years. There was never much of a fuss made about a birthday cake in those days. Nothing fancy, perhaps sausage rolls. I can remember the parties and children running around.”

Joan Tromans


  • 2 packs of flavoured jelly
  • Boiling water
  • Sponge fingers
  • Fresh fruit
  • Canned fruit
  • Bird’s custard powder
  • Milk
  • Sugar
  • Orange


Prepare your liquid jelly as per the packet instructions, although I tend to use a little less water so that jelly sets well. Set aside.

Line the bottom of a decorative glass bowl with sponge pieces.

Layer your mixture of fruit on top of this – you could try to slice your fruit decoratively and press it up against the sides of the glass bowl so that it looks pretty once set.

Pour your jelly mixture over the top of the fruit, let it sink in and ensure that all of the fruit is covered.

Put the bowl of sponge, fruit and jelly into the fridge to set.

Meanwhile, make up your custard as per the packet instructions. Again, I would use a little less milk to make for a good think custard. Allow the custard to cool.

Once the jelly is set and the custard is cool, spoon the custard on top of the jelly, smoothing it out with a spatula. Pop back in the fridge until just before serving.

When you take it out of the fridge to serve, decorate the top of the trifle with slices of orange or sprinkles.