Easy Zuppa Inglese (Italian Trifle) Recipe

Zuppa Inglese (Italian Trifle) Recipe is a super easy dessert made with rum soaked cake and layers of flavored custard. Decadent, elegant and easy.

Zuppa Inglese | Italian Trifle

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Italian, Mediterranean
Cook Time: 20 minutes
chill: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 483 kcal
Author: Kelly DiMascio

This elegant dessert makes an impressive showing at any dinner but is so easy to make you can easily serve this anytime since it's even better when you make it a day ahead and let the flavors come together overnight.

Zuppa Inglese or Italian Trifle features spiced rum-soaked pound cake layered with 2 different types of custards - chocolate hazelnut and citrus vanilla custards. This makes 6 individual trifles.



Pastry Creams

  • 2 cups full-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 oz semisweet chocolate chopped
  • 2 t Frangelico or hazelnut extract
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t orange peel finely grated
  • 1/2 t lemon peel finely grated

Rum Syrup

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup spiced rum
  • 1 9 inch pound cake 3 inches high
  • Chocolate powder optional
  • Chocolate hazelnut candies for topping optional


For Flavored Pastry Creams:

  1. Bring milk and 1/4 cup sugar to boil in a heavy large saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar.
  2. Remove from heat.
  3. Whisk egg yolks with 1/4 cup sugar in large bowl to blended.
  4. Sift flour into yolk mixture and whisk to combine.
  5. Gradually whisk in warm milk mixture.
  6. Return mixture to the saucepan and whisk over medium heat until custard boils and thickens about 2 minutes.
  7. Divide hot custard between 2 medium bowls.
  8. In the first bowl add chocolate and Frangelico to custard and stir until chocolate melts.
  9. In the second bowl add vanilla, orange and, lemon peel to custard, stir to mix.
  10. Cover each bowl with plastic wrap and press plastic wrap onto the surface of each custard and chill until cold, at least 4 hours or overnight.

For Rum Syrup:

  1. In a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat combine water and sugar and heat until sugar dissolves.
  2. Remove from heat and mix in rum.

To Assemble and Serve:

  1. Cut sponge cake vertically into slices and cubes to fit your serving dishes.
  2. Place a layer of citrus custard on the bottom of your serving dish,
  3. Arrange enough cake slices to cover custard in a single layer.
  4. Brush rum syrup over the cake, then top with chocolate hazelnut custard.
  5. Add another layer of cake and brush with rum syrup.
  6. Top with a thin layer of chocolate custard, then a thin layer of vanilla citrus custard.
  7. Garnish with chocolate powder and chocolate hazelnut candy, if desired.
  8. Repeat for remaining servings.
  9. Chill for 2 hours or overnight

Recipe Notes

If you’d rather make one large trifle follow the same directions but increase the number of cake layers to fit your dish.

Nutrition Facts
Zuppa Inglese | Italian Trifle
Amount Per Serving
Calories 483 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Fat 12g18%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 222mg74%
Sodium 313mg14%
Potassium 234mg7%
Carbohydrates 79g26%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 60g67%
Protein 9g18%
Vitamin A 425IU9%
Vitamin C 0.4mg0%
Calcium 154mg15%
Iron 2.7mg15%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


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