Some trifles contain a small amount of alcohol such as port, or, most commonly, sweet sherry or Madeira wine. Non-alcoholic versions may use sweet juices instead, as the liquid is necessary to moisten the cake layers.
One popular trifle variant has the sponge soaked in jelly (liquid-gelatin dessert) when the trifle is made, which sets when refrigerated. The egg and jelly bind together and produce a pleasant texture if made in the correct proportions.
A trifle is often used for decoration as well as taste, incorporating the bright, layered colours of the fruit, jelly, egg, and the contrast of the creamy yellow cream.
Trifles are often served at Christmas time, sometimes as a lighter alternative to the much denser Christmas pudding.
A Creole trifle (also sometimes known as a 'Russian cake') is a different but related