Three cherry Swiss roll trifle

Three cherry Swiss roll trifle

V is for Vegan

Yes, you can make vegan trifle. The jelly is set with agar agar, so do pay attention to how many grams of agar powder you put in, otherwise it sets as solid as a rock, which isn’t what you want in a jelly. There is also a split between those who think the jelly should be on top and others who believe the jelly should be the bottom layer. One could write a PhD on this kind of thing.

Sour cherries aren’t easy to get hold of, but you can buy them tinned, in a jar or frozen from Middle Eastern suppliers.

As you assemble, make sure the coils of Swiss roll can be seen through the sides of the glass bowl. This should be a billowing froufrou dessert in red and white.

You will need a Swiss roll tin, or a baking tray plus non-stick baking parchment.

Obviously the Swiss roll and the jelly can also be served as separate desserts.


Quantity Ingredient

For the Swiss roll:

Quantity Ingredient
260g self-raising flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 ripe bananas, peeled
1 lemon, juiced
220g caster sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
100ml olive oil
120ml water

For the filling:

Quantity Ingredient
200g vegan margarine
150g icing sugar
150 tinned or frozen sour cherries, drained and stoned

For the jelly:

Quantity Ingredient
400ml cherry juice
200g caster sugar
100g cherries, stoned
200ml sloe gin, malibu or cherry brandy
2 level teaspoons agar agar powder

To assemble:

Quantity Ingredient
150g morello or black cherries, pitted
250ml vegan whipped cream, (from a can is best)
50g fresh cherries, left whole with stems
icing sugar, for dusting


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a Swiss roll tin or baking tray with good-quality baking parchment.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside. Then in another bowl or in your stand mixer, beat together the bananas, lemon juice and sugar, then beat in the vanilla paste and olive oil. The mixture should be fluffy.
  3. Gradually fold the flour mixture and the water into the creamed banana mixture, then pour into the lined tin and spread it flat with a palette knife. Bake in the oven for 10–12 minutes or until the top is springy to the touch.
  4. Remove it from the oven and clear a space on your worktop to do the next very important stage of making a Swiss roll. Sprinkle the 2 tablespoons caster sugar over the sponge while it is still hot. Put another sheet of baking parchment over the sponge and, grabbing each side of the still-hot tin with your oven gloves, flip it over quickly. Remove the tin and leave the sponge to cool for 5 minutes, still covered on both sides with baking parchment.
  5. For the filling, in a bowl or stand mixer, beat the vegan margarine with the icing sugar, then add the sour cherries. Combine until you have a fluffy pink cream.
  6. Remove the top sheet of baking parchment from the fairly cool sponge. Spread the filling, using a rubber spatula or a palette knife, over the sponge. Then, starting from the short end and using the bottom layer of parchment to aid you, carefully roll up the sponge and cream layer into a roulade shape. Imagine you are rolling sushi! Still in its parchment, wrap the Swiss roll tightly in clingfilm and chill in the fridge until ready to use.
  7. To make the jelly, put all the ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, then take off the heat and let it cool. It’s important not to use too much agar agar powder or it will set too hard and have an unpleasant mouthfeel; better to have slightly less than more, and every brand has its own strength, so it’s hard to see until it sets whether it has gelled or not.
  8. To assemble, remove the Swiss roll from the fridge and take off the clingfilm. Using a sharp knife, slice the roll into 1.5 cm slices. Line the bottom and the sides of a glass dish with the slices. Then fill the bottom with a layer of morello or black cherries. Pour in the cooled jelly to cover the cake and cherries, leaving space on top for the cream, and put it in the fridge to set (you may not need all the jelly, depending on the size of your trifle dish).
  9. Once the jelly has set, either squirt or pipe thick vegan cream onto the jelly, dotting it around the edge and the centre. Add the fresh cherries, stems up. Dust with icing sugar and serve.
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