If whiskey-soaked cake cubes aren’t enough reason to make this incredible trifle, the homemade orange-scented custard and tipsy cherries will send you running to the kitchen. For best results, use a fresh pound cake from the bakery, not the frozen kind. To make the trifle alcohol-free, omit the whiskey from the cherries and substitute an equal amount of orange juice for the whiskey.


Credit: Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe Summary

4 hrs
1 hr 20 mins
45 mins
Serves 12




Instructions Checklist
  • Prepare the Custard: Whisk together sugar, flour, and salt in a saucepan. Whisk in milk and egg yolks. Cook over medium-high, whisking constantly, until mixture begins to bubble, about 10 minutes. Continue to cook until thickened, about 4 more minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in butter, orange juice, vanilla, and bitters until smooth. Transfer to a heatproof glass bowl. Let stand at room temperature until slightly cool, 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Place plastic wrap directly on surface of custard; chill until cold, at least 4 hours. 

  • Prepare the Cherries: Stir together cherries, preserves, and whiskey in a bowl. Set aside at room temperature.

  • Prepare the Trifle: Combine whiskey and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high, whisking occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat; cool to room temperature, 20 minutes. Place cake slices in a single layer on a work surface. Brush with cooled whiskey syrup; let stand 5 minutes. Cut cake into cubes.

  • Layer one-third of the cake cubes, one-third of the Custard, and one-third of the Cherries in a 4-quart trifle dish. Repeat layers twice. Top with whipped cream and orange peel twists. Serve immediately, or chill up to 12 hours.