Try this gingerbread trifle recipe, then check out our Christmas trifle, Baileys trifle, sherry trifle and more Christmas dessert ideas.

Craving more gingerbread? Check out our easy gingerbread men, gingerbread cupcakes and classic gingerbread recipes.

This indulgent trifle recipe involves a little bit of clever cheating, as you only make the custard and gingerbread trees from scratch. For the caramel cream, put the double cream and Carnation caramel in a large bowl and whisk until it holds soft peaks.


  • 2 x 245g loaves McVitie’s Jamaica ginger cake
  • 2 tins pears in juice, drained and cut into large pieces


  • 500ml whole milk
  • 4 strips orange peel
  • 30g cornflour
  • seeds removed and ground to make 1 tsp cardamom pods
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 100ml spiced rum, plus extra for brushing and drizzling


  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 50g soft dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 125g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • a pinch ground nutmeg


  • 600ml double cream
  • 397g Carnation caramel


  • 300ml double cream, whipped to soft peaks


  • STEP 1

    To make the custard, put the milk and orange peels into a large pan, bring to a simmer and remove from the heat. Meanwhile, put the cornflour, cardamom, caster sugar, vanilla, eggs and egg yolks into a large bowl, and whisk together until smooth and combined. Once the milk is at room temperature, pour through a fine sieve over the egg mixture and whisk to combine, discarding the orange peels. Pour the custard back into the pan, heat gently and whisk constantly until thickened. Pour the custard back into the bowl and stir in the rum. Press a sheet of clingfilm onto the surface of the custard and chill until needed.

  • STEP 2

    Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. To make the gingerbread Christmas trees, put the butter, brown sugar and golden syrup into a small pan, and heat gently until melted and combined. In a large bowl, mix the remaining ingredients. Pour over the melted butter mixture and stir together to form a dough. Put the dough between two sheets of baking paper and roll until 3-4mm thick. Peel off the top sheet of baking paper and use Christmas-tree-shaped cookie cutters to cut out as many trees as possible. Put onto a baking-paper-lined baking tray and bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned around the outside of the trees. Remove from the oven and cool.

  • STEP 3

    Cut the Jamaica ginger cakes lengthways into 2cm-wide slices and use the Christmas tree cookie cutters to cut out enough trees to fit around the inside of the trifle bowl. Cut the rest of the ginger cake into small pieces. Brush one side of each ginger cake tree with rum and stick it to the inside of the trifle bowl.

  • STEP 4

    For the caramel cream, put the double cream and Carnation caramel in a large bowl and whisk until it holds soft peaks.

  • STEP 5

    To assemble, layer up the pears, caramel cream, chopped ginger cake and the custard, either in one layer of each, or make it more intricate by doing two thinner layers of each element. When adding in the small pieces of cake, you can make the trifle boozier by drizzling them with a little extra rum.

  • STEP 6

    To finish, top the trifle with the remaining whipped cream. Press the gingerbread trees into the cream. Once assembled, the trifle can be refrigerated for up to a day but add the trees just before serving.

Try all of our Christmas desserts recipes

Christmas Dessert Recipe For Custard Tart Recipe with Eggnog

We've also got plenty more ginger cakes and bakes

Jamaican ginger and caramel cake


Three photos of Edd Kimber, his One Tin Bakes book and a brownie in a tin
Edd KimberBaking columnist

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