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Neapolitan Trifle

Neapolitan Trifle. A luscious collision of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry; reminiscent of the favorite tri-colored ice cream flavour. Perfect for serving large groups.

Neapolitan Trifle single serving in a clear glass dish

Neapolitan Trifle

In trying to name this delicious trifle experiment, I immediately went to the flavours of strawberry, chocolate and vanilla contained in it, like the combined flavours of Neapolitan ice cream. I then thought, “What does chocolate, strawberry and vanilla have to do with Naples, Italy?”

It seemed an odd combination of flavours to be native  to that area. So, Mr. Google told me that three common flavours in the late 1800’s in Naples were cherry, pistachio and chocolate and they were sold together in traditional spumoni style ice-cream.

When spumoni style ice cream was introduced to the US in the 1870’s this flavour combination didn’t really take off. It is thought that ice cream makers borrowed the idea but combined the more popular American flavours of strawberry, vanilla and chocolate to appeal to North American tastes. 

Chocolate Sponge Cake close up image

Chocolate Sponge Cake

That definitely seems to have stuck, as over 100 years later this flavour combination still persists and works extremely well in this decadent trifle. It also makes excellent use of yesterday’s Perfect Chocolate Sponge Cake as the base upon which to layer chocolate ganache, vanilla custard , whipped cream and fresh strawberries.

Dark Chocolate Chips, to melt and dip the biscotti

I like dark chocolate chips in this recipe but you can use any kind you like..

This recipe makes one large impressive trifle or equally impressive single servings as shown in the photo above which look best in clear serving dishes or even parfait or wine glasses. I confess that I love custard, so I sometimes add extra to mine.

Love chocolate desserts? Be sure to browse this incredible collection of Favourite Chocolate Recipes from the past 10 years on Rock Recipes.

Best Chocolate Dessert Recipes image collage with title text for Pinterest

Best Chocolate Dessert Recipes

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Neapolitan Trifle photo with title text for Pinterest

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Neapolitan Trifle
Yield: 16 servings

Neapolitan Trifle

Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Neapolitan Trifle. A luscious collision of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry; reminiscent of the favorite tri-colored ice cream flavour. Perfect for serving large groups.


To make the trifle you will need to prepare the following components:

  • One Perfect Chocolate Sponge Cake (See link to the recipe at the beginning of the instructions below.)
  • Chocolate Ganache Sauce
  • 1 pound sliced macerated strawberries
  • Vanilla Whipped Cream

For the Macerated Strawberries

  • 1 pound sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar

For the Vanilla Custard

  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 slightly beaten extra large egg yolks
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract

For the Chocolate Ganache Sauce

  • 2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup whipping cream

For the Vanilla Whipped Cream

  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 4 tbsp icing sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract


Get the Chocolate Sponge Cake Recipe here.

To prepare the Macerated Strawberries

  1. Toss the strawberries in the sugar and let stand at room temperature for a couple of hours, stirring occasionally.
  2. The strawberries will start to release their juice and combine with the sugar to form a sugar syrup. After a couple of hours or overnight, strain the berries and reserve the syrup.

For the Vanilla Custard

  1. Scald the milk in the microwave or on the stove top to almost boiling. Microwave works best as there is no chance of burning the milk.
  2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan combine the flour, sugar and salt.
  3. Over medium flame slowly add the scalded milk in about 3 portions whisking constantly. As the custard begins to show signs of thickening, add the next portion of scalded milk.
  4. Continue to cook over medium heat until mixture begins to slightly thicken. At this point remove from heat and pour about a half cup of this mixture onto the beaten egg yolks whisking constantly.
  5. Pour the egg mixture immediately back into the pot, continuing to constantly stir. Cook for an additional minute or two until pudding consistency and remove from the flame.
  6. Stir in the butter and vanilla extract. Cool thoroughly.

To prepare the Chocolate Ganache Sauce

  1. Scald the cream to almost boiling before pouring it over the chocolate chips. Let stand for 5 minutes before stirring until smooth.

To prepare the Vanilla Whipped Cream

  1. Whip all ingredients together until soft peaks form.

To construct the trifle

  1. Construct the trifle in two layers of each component. Start with half of the cake cubes in the bottom of the trifle bowl.
  2. Pour on half of the strawberry syrup, followed by half of the strawberries.
  3. Next drizzle on half of the chocolate ganache sauce followed by half of the vanilla custard. Repeat these layers again before topping with all of the vanilla whipped cream and garnishing with strawberries and an additional drizzle of chocolate ganache sauce if desired. Chill for at least a couple of hours before serving.
  4. This recipe can also be constructed in individual serving dishes as shown in up to 16 individual 8 oz dishes.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size

1 grams

Amount Per Serving Calories 551Total Fat 29gSaturated Fat 18gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 123mgSodium 138mgCarbohydrates 42gFiber 3gSugar 35gProtein 6g

The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by third party software and is meant as a guideline only. Exact accuracy is not guaranteed. For recipes where all ingredients may not be used entirely, such as those with coatings on meats, or with sauces or dressings for example, calorie & nutritional values per serving will likely be somewhat lower than indicated.

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Saturday 27th of September 2014

Thank you Barry. Love this recipe.


Thursday 17th of January 2013

I just love your website! Yours is one of my most favorite pages on Facebook! :)

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