This Black Forest Trifle combines our favorite fudge chocolate brownie with cherries, pistachios, and whipped cream. Optional to add the sherry!

clear bowl of layered Brownie Black Forest Trifle

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Friends, when I think about desserts this time of year, trifle always comes to mind. The ultimate chocolate-cherry dessert! Or, you can always size this EPIC Christmas Dessert Board to the number you are feeding!

Black Forest Trifle

Today I’m sharing a Brownie Black Forest Trifle your family will love. It serves around 10 people. And if you’re looking for a black forest trifle with cream cheese, this recipe does not have cream cheese.

Brownie Black Forest Trifle iin clear trifle dish

Why we love this recipe

This Brownie Black Forest Trifle is a great holiday dessert, and easy to bring to a party.

You can also make ahead and pop in the fridge.

Make ahead the brownies to cool, or you can even keep the “brownie chunks” in the freezer!

You can make this recipe into black forest individual trifles if you don’t have the large parfait (trifle) bowl. Looking for a trifle bowl for the holidays? You can order a trifle bowl here.

Brownie Black Forest Trifle

Ingredients for Black Forest Trifle

  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Creme fraiche’ (optional)
  • Vanilla
  • Kosher salt
  • Powdered sugar
  • Brownies: make your favorite recipe
  • Chocolate instant pudding
  • Dark sweet cherries: optional to use regular cherry pie filling
  • Cream sherry (optional)
  • Pistachio nuts: finely chopped

layers of brownies, whipped cream, pudding, cherries

What’s the best cream sherry?

Here are a few brands that are recommended, and it’s optional (of course).

  • Don Benigno Cream Sherry
  • Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry
  • Christian Brothers Cream Sherry
  • Savory & James Cream Sherry
  • Osborne Cream (Sweet Oloroso) Sherry

brownie chunks, cherries and pistachios on Brownie Black Forest Trifle

Tips and substitutions:

It’s optional to add the creme fraiche, but it does make the cream more lush, creamy, and tart.

Use store-bought brownies or make your family favorite recipe. You can use a one box mix brownies for this recipe.

Swap out the cherries for your favorite fruit. You can use canned cherries, apples, etc.

Make ahead for easy entertaining! 

Thanksgiving table 

Counting our blessings

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, which was much quieter, with fewer people around the table this year, my husband read these great words by Anne Lamott from his iPad.

Before we dug into the amazing feast that Abby cooked for us, these words rang true.

No matter how you say it, grace can transform an ordinary meal into a celebration—of family, love, and gratitude. You can read more here: Counting Our Blessings and Why We Say Grace (and maybe read at your family table this Christmas season?) 

glass trifle dish of Brownie Black Forest Trifle

Layers of brownies and whipped cream

The layers in this Black Forest Trifle all combine into an amazing combination of chocolate and cherry and cream, which makes the richest flavor.

Trifle reminds me of Paul’s family, because every year together (which were only a few) before his parents passed away, his mother Betty would make trifle!


clear bowl of layered Brownie Black Forest Trifle
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Get the Recipe:

Brownie Black Forest Trifle

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yield: 8
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  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream, whipped
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche’, optional
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 9x13 pan brownies, cut into 1” chunks, divided
  • 1 5.9 oz chocolate instant pudding, divided (make according to package directions with milk)
  • 2 15 oz cans dark sweet cherries, drained
  • 1/3 cup cream sherry, optional
  • 1 Tbsp. pistachio nuts, finely chopped


  • Make the brownies according to package directions. Allow to cool.
  • Soak the drained cherries in the cream sherry. If you don’t want booze, then just drain and set aside.
  • Make the instant pudding according to package directions (add milk), and refrigerate.
  • Whip the cream until thick, and then add in creme fraiche, vanilla, salt, and powdered sugar. Gently mix and set aside. [It’s optional to add the creme fraiche, but it does make the cream more lush, creamy, and tart).
  • In a trifle dish, or a large clear glass bowl, layer half of the brownies, half of the pudding, and half of the cherries. Then spread half of the whipped cream on top.
  • Repeat the process with remaining ingredients, ending with the whipped cream, 1/2 cup of brownie chunks, and a sprinkle of pistachios!
Cuisine: American
Course: Dessert
Did you make this recipe?Tag @reluctantentertainer on Instagram and hashtag it #reluctantentertainer!

brownies and cherries on black forest trifle