Paleo Trifle [Dairy free, Gluten free, Grains Free, Sugar free)


Growing up in a multi-cultural home with my extended families, had it’s advantages :)  My dearest maternal gran (bless her cotton socks),  Mary Patricia, was Catholic – with strong roots in the Catholic church and strong Christian principles too!  Christmas Eve meant midnight mass, which offered the most beautifully serene and inspiring church services I have ever attended, and I loved accompanying my gran in her younger days.   These are memories from my pre-teen life, indelibly inspiring!  I digress though as this blog entry is meant to be about Christmas trifle!  My gran handed down her recipe to my darling mum, who made the best trifles in my opinion, which were alcohol free (based on her Muslim upbringing – see I mentioned multi-culturalism! ) and included her home-baked sponge cake.  This recipe, is dedicated to both these inspirational women who have taught me all I know about cooking, the uniqueness in flavorings and spices and to always cook with love… and then some more!

Making this trifle on the eve of Christmas is brave, very brave for a first try out, but it came to me as a thought while I was making the traditional Christmas trifle for my non-Paleo family, taking a few cooking shortcuts in using bakery sponge cake…and thinking about how to create a Paleo sponge without resourcing on the internet or recipe books.  It dawned on me that a day or two old sponge cake serves the trifle well, used as a base spread with lashings of Apricot jam, according to my moms recipe with fresh fruit juice poured over…and an Einstein moment occured – my microwave vanilla muffin, zhoosed up would work well.  I increased the quantities of the 1 minute cake and cooked for just over 4 minutes.  Voila!  Paleo sponge cake.  Having no Paleo apricot jam in my fridge, I made some from scratch.  The important jelly was made with pineapple juice, freshly juiced.  I used both my Paleo Custard and Paleo Cashew-Yogurt for the custard layer.  Combined with fresh peaches, walnuts and berries – this is a winning Paleo trifle, old school-style inspired and amazing tasting too.

This recipe is described in steps, as I made the trifle.

Trifle Sponge Cake

This is an adaptation of my Microwave Chocolate Cake for One, for a vanilla flavoured trifle “sponge” which also includes almond flour.  The addition of flax flour helps to bind the cake better but may be omitted if preferred.  While this cake should preferably be eaten once cooled, it worked well in this trifle as the other ingredients layered over it, add moisture to the cake.  These quantities make a sponge cake the size of a 8cm x 8cm square heat resistant dish.


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90g almond flour

50g coconut flour, sifted

3 tblsp flax flour (flax seeds ground to a powder)

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2 tsp cream of tartar

about 1/4 tsp Himalayan or Sea salt

6 tblsp coconut oil, melted

2-3 tblsp date paste or raw honey

3 eggs

2-3 tsp vanilla extract

Here’s How

  • Add all the dry ingredients (first 6) into a medium sized bowl and mix well to combine.
  • Whisk together the coconut oil, date paste / honey, eggs and vanilla extract, until well blended and add to the dry ingredients and mix well.

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  • Spoon the cake batter into a greased heat/microwave resistant small 8cm x 8cm square dish or similar and microwave on high power for 4 minutes 30 seconds.

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  • Allow the cake to cool, then remove from the dish, cut into desired slices, cover and keep aside.

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 Pineapple Jelly

I tried a different method making this pineapple jelly, using only the juice of a 600g fresh pineapple.  The juicing yielded about 350mls of fresh juice.

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To make the jelly, bring 200ml of juice to the boil in a non-stick pot on the stove top. Stir in 3 teaspoons of preservative and sugar free gelatine powder, whisking with a fork until dissolved. Add the remaining juice, and stir until well combined. Pour jelly mixture in a serving glass dish or individual glasses / dessert bowls and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours to set.  An alternative to this jelly, is the fruit jelly in the recipe for Coconut-Berry and Mango jellies.

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For this recipe, I chose to chill until just about half set and assemble the trifle and chill till the jelly was set, in the manner I watched my mum and grandma  make their trifles.

Apricot Jam (without Chia seeds) to spread on the sponge cake,  Paleo Custard and Paleo Cashew Yogurt and fresh fruit of  indivdual choice, used to assemble.  Click on the individual link to see the recipe.  A small quantity of freshly squeezed fruit juice of your choice to drizzle over the sponge cake (remember to spread apricot jam on the upper surface of the cake) , which is the base of this trifle, to lightly moisten the cake, if not using a slightly liquid jelly.   I would have used some of the the basil and spearmint infused water that I soaked the dried apricots and dates in for the apricot jam had I used a fully set jelly.

 Coconut Cream

about 250ml -350ml coconut cream, refrigerated overnight (preservatives and sugar free)  This should have thickened well overnight

If using canned coconut milk, open the can and scoop out the cream minus the watery liquid, just empty it out. Whip it with an electric hand held blender for 1-2 minutes with vanilla extract and fresh lemon juice to taste.

 Assembling the Trifle

Traditionally the trifle is a layered dessert, beginning with the apricot jam-smeared cake, with a layer of sliced fresh peaches, followed by the half set jelly, custard, chopped nuts, and repeated for a double layered bowl of delight with  final layer of whipped cream and nuts and fruit.

I assembled in a single layer, ending with the whipped coconut cream, topped with fresh strawberries, chopped walnuts and pan-toasted coconut slices.  The trifle is then refrigerated overnight, allowing the jelly to set fully.

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 Be sure to enjoy! :)

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Prava Singh

A Mom, daughter, wife, sister, aunt and friend experiencing life through an evolutionary body with a revolutionary mind... A recent past former Type 2 insulin dependent and hypertensive walking time-bomb for 13.5 years, I have made positive lifestyle changes that has aided and abetted my health status for my overall betterment. Passionate about all things food, with a proud Indian heritage, I regularly blog my culinary attempts that have worked for me in my endeavours to break the shackles of food addictions and food slavery. Passionate about people too, my decision to share these endeavours is driven by informing others that a lifestyle change through food is indeed possible. I have indeed survived high school and survived life too in the most interesting and thought-provoking ways. Having lost over 50kgs of excess weight in just under a year, I have reclaimed my life and am thoroughly enjoying the journey.

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