Fresh, unadulterated seasonal fruit will always be the best choice for a healthy, simple dessert. But for holidays and other special occasions, where “oohs” and “aahs” are the desired effect, something extra special that takes a bit of effort is in order, and this beautiful Vegan Tropical Fruit Trifle couldn’t be better!
The classic English dessert known as trifle is fairly easy to assemble and definitely has a “wow” factor. Traditionally made with layers of sponge cake or lady fingers soaked in sherry or Madeira, then topped with custard, raspberry jam, whipped cream, candied fruit, nuts, and grated chocolate. Here we’re going to go in a lighter, sunnier direction.
To transport this recipe from cold, damp England to a warmer locale, this Vegan Tropical Fruit Trifle showcases fresh, vitamin-rich fruits that conjure up an island vacation. Along with delicious dairy-free versions of cake and pudding, juicy pineapple, mango, and kiwi are layered with toasted coconut and macadamia nuts and topped with a coconut whipped cream, taking all of your senses on a quick trip to the tropics.
Feed a crowd from a large, impressive, glass serving bowl, or make as many or few individual servings required for the number of guests at your table. And while other fancy desserts require stressful precision, trifle allows for imperfections that will be undetectable to everyone but you.
This tropical version is outstanding, but there are endless ways to make a trifle your own. Choose flavors of cake, pudding, fruits, nuts, and other embellishments, and take your trifle in whatever taste profile, direction, or destination you want. Anyway you layer it, trifle, full of lots of colorful, compatible flavors and textures, is a showstopper you and your guests will savor.
Vegan Tropical Fruit Trifle
Vanilla Almond Cake
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tbs vinegar
Fruit and Nut Filling
- 2 cups fresh mango cubed
- 2 cups fresh kiwi cubed
- 2 cups fresh pineapple cubed
- 2 cups macadamia nuts toasted
- 2 cups shredded coconut toasted
Vegan Vanilla Pudding
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 3 tbs cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 2 1/2 cups coconut milk
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Coconut Whipped Cream
- 1 can coconut cream refrigerated overnight
- 1/4-1/2 cup powdered sugar
- For the pudding, combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in a saucepan. Over medium heat add the coconut milk, whisking until thickened. Add the vanilla extract and cook/whisk another 3 minutes. Pour pudding into a bowl, cool to room temp, and refrigerate until firm.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2-8” layer cake pans with cooking spray and set aside. Sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt into a mixing bowl. Whisk the almond milk, extracts, oil and vinegar together, and then add to the dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Bake cakes for 30 minutes or until toothpick put into cake center is clean. Remove cakes to cooling rack and cool completely before removing from pans. Cut cakes in half horizontally and set aside.
- In a tall, glass serving bowl, place 1 cake half-layer on the bottom, and drizzle with a little fruit juice. Spread the cubed mango over the cake. Spread 1 cup of pudding over the fruit. Sprinkle ¼ of the toasted coconut and macadamia nuts over the pudding. Repeat process, using kiwi on this layer. Repeat process, using pineapple on this layer. Finish with remaining half-layer of cake.
- Make the coconut whip cream by first removing the lid of a refrigerated can of coconut cream. Scrape out the thickened cream into a chilled mixing bowl, leaving any liquid behind. Beat the thickened cream for 30 seconds to 1 minute until creamy. Add ¼ cup of powdered sugar and beat for 1 minute. Adjust sweetness if needed.
- Top the trifle with coconut whipped cream and garnish with remaining toasted coconut and macadamia nuts. Refrigerate trifle at least 1 hour before serving.