This Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Cherry Trifle is so easy to make, super delicious, and perfect for the festive season!
It was inspired by my Strawberry Trifle recipe, but this one is a slightly more Christmassy version! I absolutely love the combination of the sweet and slightly boozy cherry jelly, gorgeously rich chocolate custard, and light, fluffy coconut whipped cream.
The bottom layer starts with a tin of cherries in syrup, then all you need to do is add some agar to turn it into a jelly. Not only is agar vegan-friendly, but it’s also happens to make them much healthier, too! Agar is a natural jelly-like substance that comes from algae that grows in the sea. It was first discovered in Japan in the 17th century, where it is known as kanten. It’s very healthy as it’s around 80% fibre.
You will be able to find agar flakes in most local health stores or Asian supermarkets, if not your local supermarket. I use this one by Clearspring, which you can buy in supermarkets and health stores in the UK.
I decided to make a chocolate custard, because chocolate and cherries are such good friends. This custard is super easy to make and delicious enough to be devoured by the spoonful. My secret for making it taste delicious without the richness of cow’s milk is this Plenish unsweetened cashew milk that I’ve absolutely fallen in love with. It’s become my go-to milk for making hot drinks because it becomes deliciously rich and creamy when it’s heated up. So I decided to use it for this custard, and it didn’t let me down!
I then used coconut whipped cream for the topping. If you’re pressed for time, you could use a thick coconut yogurt (like this vanilla Coyo coconut yogurt) instead, but I’d really recommend making your own coconut whipped cream because there’s no sour, yogurt-y flavour, and it’s much lighter and fluffier. I like to add some vanilla bean powder for extra flavour and add some maple syrup to sweeten (you don’t need very much though, as the coconut is already very naturally sweet).
Please make sure to try out this Chocolate Cherry Trifle this Christmas season, it definitely won’t disappoint!
If you try out this recipe or anything else from my blog, I’d love for you to take a photo and tag it #rhiansrecipes on Instagram! It would really make my day to see what you come up with!
- 400g tin cherries in syrup
- Splash of sherry, to taste (or sub anything else similar)
- 1 teaspoon agar powder
- 2 heaped tablespoons cocoa powder
- 20g dark chocolate (ensure dairy-free if necessary)
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 500ml cashew milk (or sub any other milk)
- 5 tablespoons cornflour
- 400g tin full fat coconut milk
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean powder (or vanilla extract)
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or sugar), to taste
- 1 tablespoon cacao nibs, to decorate
- Place the cherries (and the syrup) in a saucepan and bring to a simmer
- Once simmering, add the agar powder and mix well
- Pour the jelly mixture into either one large serving bowl or 8 smaller individual ramekins and leave the jelly to cool and set
- Add all ingredients to a saucepan and mix well, before heating
- Cook on a low heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring constantly, until a thick custard has formed
- Making sure that the jelly has set completely, pour the custard mixture on top of the jelly mixture and once again, leave to cool and set
- You’ll need to keep your tin of coconut milk in the fridge overnight for the rich creamy bit to separate from the watery bit at the bottom. Make sure it is full fat coconut milk, otherwise this separation won’t happen and you won’t be able to make this cream!
- Open the tin upside down – the coconut cream will be at the bottom and you can just pour off the watery liquid (save this for adding to smoothies)
- Place the thick, creamy part into a bowl with around 3 tablespoons of the water
- Add the maple syrup and vanilla extract
- Use an electric whisk (or a manual one and a lot of elbow grease) to whip up the coconut cream until light and fluffy
- Ensuring that the custard has cooled down and set completely, pour the coconut whipped cream on top of the trifle
- Sprinkle with cacao nibs to decorate
- Best served after having been kept in the fridge for a few hours
- Keeps covered in the fridge for up to a few days
- *Use a thick coconut yogurt instead if you’re pressed for time