Winter Ale Trifle

Image: Caroline Hughey

Image: Caroline Hughey

Serves 6-8. This is a bit of a twist on an old favourite, English sherry trifle, a stunning end to any meal! I couldn’t get the Framboise we used for the previous version of this trifle, so I bought a bottle of Great Lakes Winter Ale and suggested that it be used as a substitute to  make the trifle.

At a recent dinner party, all guests said it was an absolutely brlliant trifle, possibly the best ever! And then when we told them what the surprise ingredient was, they gasped! Wow. Great Lakes Winter Ale. Here’s how to make this fabulous dessert courtesy of Caroline Hughey.

Ingredients Milk sponge cake

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sifted flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk, scalded
1 teaspoon butter, added to scalded milk to melt

1/2 of 750 ml bottle Great Lakes Winter Ale, about 13 ounces
Bird’s custard, prepared as per box instructions
250 to 300 ml raspberry jam, about 8.5 to 10 ounces
1/4 cup whipping cream


Preheat oven to 350 ºF. Beat together eggs, sugar and vanilla until light and airy. Mix together dry ingredients and fold into flour. Add scalded milk and butter. Bake in a 350 ºF oven for about 30 minutes, or until an inserted knife is clean when withdrawn.


When sponge cake is cool to the touch, cut into 1-inch strips and place in bowl in a single layer. Cover with a thin coat of raspberry jam. Pour Great Lakes Winter Ale over sponge cake and jam. Let soak into cake for 15 minutes. Prepare a Bird’s custard and pour over cake. Cover bowl with cling film and refrigerate. Just before serving, whip cream and cover trifle with final layer of richness. Serve immediately to great applause.

Serve with:

Great Lakes Winter Ale from the Great Lakes Brewery in Toronto, Ontario, is a true winter warmer, weighing in at 6.2 percent abv, with a rich chestnut colour and a distinctive ruby hue. Handcrafted with a variety of specialty hops and malts, combined with generous amounts of cinnamon, ginger, honey and orange peel, this beer pours with a thick crop of almond coloured foam, while releasing enticing aromatics of fruit, spice, Christmas pudding notes, cedar and sappy, fresh cut wood. This fairly full bodied ale delivers notes of port, a dash of warming alcohol and a late hit of ginger dryness. The complex compendium of flavours make the Great Lakes Winter Ale a very fine brew indeed. The impressive packaging, a limited edition, stencilled 750 ml bottle with foil wrapping complete the picture. Some decent cellaring potential here.