This brownie trifle is one tasty, showstopper of a dessert. It’s made from layers of rich chocolate brownies, blended chocolate chia mousse, and homemade whipped cream. It’s most definitely a crowd pleaser and perfect for any party, holiday or gathering.
I love trifle recipes as they’re easy, can be made ahead and are highly adaptable. Make sure to read some of my variation ideas below!
What Is A Trifle?
So, what exactly is a trifle and where does it come from? The term trifle has been mentioned in a few different “sweet” recipes in the late 1500’s. But since then, it has evolved into a traditional English dessert made from layers of fresh fruit, sherry-soaked sponge cake, and egg custard.
I guess you can say a trifle is similar to a parfait. A beautifully layered dessert that’s perfect for feeding a big crowd, especially during the holidays!
What Are The Layers In This Trifle?
Nowadays, there are so many new variations when it comes to trifle layers. Instead of using sponge cake or fresh fruit, there’s layers of cheesecake, chocolate cake, brownies, carrot cake, crushed cookies, caramel sauce, or cream cheese. The possibilities are endless!
But today, I’m creating a brownie trifle that’s not only rich and decadent, but also gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and paleo friendly. Here’s what’s in it:
- Chocolate Brownies – I cut up 1-inch brownie cubes made from a Simple Mills brownie mix. Using a boxed mix is a quick and easy way to bake this brownie layer, since there’s no need to gather separate ingredients. And Simple Mills uses the exact same ingredients I use in my baking!
- Chocolate Chia Pudding Mousse – This layer is my original chocolate chia pudding recipe blended into a smooth and dreamy chocolate chia mousse! This creamy, velvety texture is perfect for a trifle layer.
- Coconut Whipped Cream – Ah, my famous homemade coconut whipped cream that I’ve used in countless recipes. And here it is again to create a middle layer in the trifle, as well as a heavy garnishing on top. Make sure to read that recipe post for tips and tricks to create the best coconut whipped cream.
How To Make This Brownie Trifle
Now for those who have never made a brownie trifle, it may seem intimidating to make. But it’s a lot easier than you think. Just prep the layers ahead of time and assemble in 10 minutes the day of your event or party.
First, create the layers a day before. This includes the chocolate chia mousse, coconut whipped cream and two brownie pans. Place these 3 ingredients in the fridge to chill overnight. It’s better to work with chilled ingredients for layering, otherwise the layers will mush together.
With all your ingredients pre-made, here’s how to layer it the next day:
- Layer the brownie squares at the bottom of the serving bowl. Squish them in tightly, making sure it’s a dense enough layer to hold up the wet ingredients.
- Add a layer of chocolate chia pudding mousse.
- Add a layer of coconut whipped cream.
- Repeat the brownie and chocolate chia mousse layers.
- Dollop the rest of the coconut whipped cream on top.
- Garnish with fresh dark chocolate shavings and you’re done!
While you can prep your layers ahead of time, you can also create the entire trifle a day before the big day. Just cover the bowl before dolloping the second half of the coconut whipped cream, then refrigerate. When you’re ready to serve, add the top dollop of cream, sprinkle the chocolate shavings and you’re good to do!
Brownie Trifle Recipe Video
While this trifle recipe is easy to make, it always helps to watch a step-by-step video. In the video below, I’ll walk you through each individual step and how to properly layer it. Give it a watch!
Holiday Trifle Variations
While a brownie trifle looks beautiful served in a large glass trifle bowl, small mini trifles bowls are sometimes simpler and easier for serving to your guests. Plus, they look great sitting next to each other on your holiday dessert table.
For these small trifles, I’ve switched out the chocolate chia mousse for pumpkin pie chia pudding mousse. This gives it a warm pumpkin spice flavor with every chocolatey bite. And of course I had to add Simple Mills cinnamon cookie crumbles on top for that added crunch.
If you’re not dairy-free, you could of course substitute the coconut whipped cream for dairy whipped cream. And if you’re vegan, you can use an egg replacer in the brownies. Super easy!
More Holiday Dessert Recipes
If you’re in charge of desserts for any of your holiday gatherings, whip up any of these recipes for a wow-worthy dessert.
- Paleo Chocolate Cake
- Vegan Caramel Cheesecake
- Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Coconut Amaretto Crepe Cake
- 2 simple mills brownie mix
- 1 cup coconut oil, butter or ghee, melted
- 6 tablespoons water
- 4 eggs
Chocolate Chia Pudding Mousse
- 3 cup milk, any milk, including dairy-milk, cashew milk, almond milk or coconut milk will work
- 3/4 cup chia seeds
- 6 tablespoons cacao powder
- 6 tablespoons maple syrup
- 3 teaspoon vanilla extract
Coconut Whipped Cream
- 4 13.5 ounce cans full-fat coconut milk , chilled 24-48 hours
- 4 tablespoon maple syrup, honey or other sweetener
- 4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- chocolate shavings
Chocolate Chia Pudding Mousse
- Add all of the ingredients to a high-powered blender.
- Blend on high for a minute, or until the pudding is creamy.
- Transfer the pudding to a bowl, cover and chill at least 4 hours.
Coconut Whipped Cream
- Place your can of coconut milk in the refrigerator for 1-2 days before making this whipped cream.
- Chill your mixing bowl for 30 minutes, then open your can of coconut milk and scoop out the hardened coconut cream. Pour the coconut water into a separate storage container and use that in a future smoothie recipe.
- Using a hand mixer, fluff up the coconut cream for one minute. Then add any sweetener and vanilla extract and mix for an additional minute.
- Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and grease two 8x8-inch or 9x9-inch square baking pans.
- Mix the coconut oil or butter and water together in a large bowl.
- Whisk in the eggs and then add the baking mix. Stir until it's combined.
- Spread the mixture evenly into the greased pans and smooth it out on top.
- Bake the brownies for 20-25 minutes and let them cool completely.
Layering The Trifle
- Cut the brownies into 1" squares and create a double layer at the bottom of the container. Make sure to create a dense layer, with each cube sitting tightly next to each other.
- Add 1/2 of the chocolate chia pudding and spread evenly into one layer.
- Add 1/2 of the coconut whipped cream and spread evenly into the middle layer. If you're just doing a big dollop of cream on top, you can add more coconut cream to the middle layer.
- Repeat the brownie and chocolate chia pudding layers.
- Add the remaining coconut whipped cream into a large dollop on top of the chocolate chia pudding.
- Garnish with chocolate shavings and serve!
This post was created in partnership with Simple Mills. A brand I’ve loved and used for years.
Hello! So I tried making the chocolate pudding without chia seeds.. it’s in the refrigerator and it’s not turning creamy! Help! Lol
The chocolate pudding needs the chia seeds to thicken up. You could also use my chocolate avocado pudding too if you don’t have chia seeds.
I couldn’t find the simple mills brownie mix. I was able to grab two boxes remaining of the pillsbury gluten free brownie mix. can i use this to make the brownies as the box reads or should i make them as the instructions say in your recipe? It’s my bosses 60th so i want to make it perfect for her.
If you’re using a different brownie mix, I’d say follow the instructions on the Pillsbury box. Then make the rest of the trifle layers as is.
Absolutely delicious! I thought the brownies might be a bit dry (I used a different mix ‘cos I’m in the UK) but with the coconut cream and chia pudding it was incredible! Great recipe and definitely a show stopper. Thank you!
Any idea how long this would last in the fridge? It’s just two of us here but this looked like a wonderful dessert for Valentine’s Day next month so we could use the trifle dish we got for Christmas.
This should last between 3 to 4 days in the fridge.
Looks fabulous! Am I interpreting this correctly when I read this to be 480 kcal / 12 = 40 kcal per portion?!
Hi Marius – No, the nutritional information will always be per serving. So one serving is 480kcal.
This is a awesome dessert! It looks great & yummy. I made this for my son’s 22nd birthday. My family have gluten & daily allergies. This is great for my family. We had happy time. Thank you.
Happy to hear everyone enjoyed these brownies!
This recipe is our new New Years Eve dessert tradition. It was SUCH a delicious hit last year. Easy enough with easy to find ingredients (most we have on hand anyway). Thank you Lisa! As always, your recipes do not disappoint.
Aw, I’m so glad to hear this was a success Keely!
Love this dessert! It’s very decadent while still being light and fluffy.
Perfect for the holidays!
Turned out delicious! Thank you!
SOOOO good!! Thank you so much for this recipe! Such a show stopping dessert- and healthy!
Hi Hannah- Wonderful! Happy to hear you loved this dessert. It’s definitely a show-stopper!
Omg!!! So so so delicious!!! Why didn’t I try it earlier.. my favorite now!!! Definitely making it for the next party!! As always thanks Lisa your the best!!!! I am kinda on a chocolate high now :)
Hi Monica- I’m thrilled to hear you loved this brownie trifle! It’s definitely a show stopper dessert and will be perfect for any event.
LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!! Made this several times. The only thing I’ve done differently was that I didn’t make my own whip and instead used the ready Coco Whip by So Delicious and it worked out perfect! A keeper in my book for sure!!! Thanks Lisa!
I am on a Keto diet and my birthday is the 27th of June and currently looking for my favourite desserts (but as low carb as they can get).
Thank you for all your recipes! Your videos are always presented in an entertaining and instructive way, which makes it easier to follow and makes me more motivated to try some of these.
(I made my first poached egg using your video, the spiral effect with apple vinegar works really well!)
I hope you have a wonderful day and please keep the videos coming, you’re doing a wonderful service to the low-carb community.
God bless and be safe!
Hi Samuel- I’m so glad you’re enjoying all my videos so far! Congrats on making your first poached egg and I hope this recipe will make it for your birthday treat :)
Thank you for this recipe post – I am having a friend over who is gluten-free and vegan and was excited to see this. I know it’s tagged as vegan but with the eggs it’s technically not. I’ll try an egg replacement to make it vegan :) Looking forward to giving it a try!
Hi Rebekah – yes, I mention in the post that you can use an egg replacer for the brownies. :) I hope you and your friend enjoy the recipe!
I made it 3x since you released this AMAZING dessert! Of course I had do a test before and your detailed tips were perfect! I made for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Everyone LOVED it! Even my mom who is not a fan of chocolate or brownies! I will be making this again and again! Thanks for the hard work of testing it out till perfection 😊 😋
Hi Cami – Wow! I can’t believe you’ve already made this 3 times already! I’m thrilled to hear you and your family have enjoyed this trifle :)
Made this to celebrate Christmas today, looks amazing and cant wait to try it! I didn’t blend the chia seeds in a blender so my mousse layer is a bit thicker but still layered nicely and hoping picky bone won’t notice the seeds !
Hi Jessica – I hope everyone at Christmas enjoyed this trifle! :)
Yummm! I made mini versions and it was super simple!
Hi Nicole – I love that you made mini versions :) I’m glad you found this simple to make as it is the perfect dessert for holiday parties!
Hi, can you tell me how well this recipe keeps? We are going to have a major snowstorm and want to make it ahead a day.
Hi Trudy – you should have no problem making this trifle the day ahead. Just keep it in the fridge covered until you’re ready to serve. :)
Hi! I am from Kenya and we are having a cookery competition, whereby our dish should be a sweet gluten free and a healthy one. Have opted to do the above trifle, looks too good. Will be using cassava flour to make the brownie recipe as also shared by you where you have used tapioca flour, hope that is ok. Am to take it on Sunday morning at 10.00.
Would it be ok if I plate it the day before or should I do it in the morning?
Is it fine to have it kept out of the refrigerator for 2 hrs as temperatures here are 28-32 degrees. And it’s humid.
Hi Sukayna – you can certainly make the trifle the day before. Just keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to take it. And at 32 degrees (I’m assuming you mean celsius) the coconut whipped cream would definitely melt, so just be aware of that. Also, cassava flour and tapioca flour are two different flours (even though they’re both from cassava root). They do operate differently in baked recipes and they’re not a 1:1 substitution. You may have to alter some of the other ratios in the brownie recipe to get them to turn out. Just wanted to give you a heads up. :)
Hi Lisa, this looks/sounds awesome! We’re hosting Christmas this year and we are all chocolate lovers but my little boy is allergic to eggs, so we’ll need to try an egg replacer…have you tried this with any egg replacement? What would you recommend as the best one to get the right outcome? I’m completely new to egg replacers but am guessing the eggs are mainly for binding and moisture in this recipe…so would I be ok using applesauce? Or would something like ground flax seed, gelatin eggs or aquafaba be better?
Many thanks from Kate in the UK
Hi Kate – As an egg replacer, you can use mashed bananas in this recipe! Also, I will be working on an egg replacer video sometime next year so stay tuned!
Brilliant, thank you, will give that a go! :)
Hi Lisa, we will have guests on Boxing Day (26th Dec) and I’d love to try this desert on my daughter and family! They need dairy free but love chocolate so it fits perfectly.
Watching you pack in the little squares of brownies make me think that if you turned the serving bowl upside down on the square baked brownies and pushed down it would have cut the perfect size to fit the bowl – no drips or leaks once the liquid layers go on!
Thanks for another lovely recipe!
Carol in the UK
Hi Carol – This trifle will be perfect for boxing day! You and your family will love this recipe, especially if they need dairy free. As for cutting the brownie using the trifle, you can definitely do that, almost making it like a layered cake! The only thing is that you will have a large chunk of brownie in each serving versus little brownie chunks :) If you don’t mind that then you’re good to go!
Would love to know if you can swap out all or some of the oil in the brownies with applesauce or something else? Looks very rich!
I haven’t tried that substitution. But if you do, let me know how it turns out!
I cannot wait to make this!!!
Hi Kaitlyn – You are going to love this recipe, especially if you’re a chocolate lover! Do let me know how you end up liking this 😊
OH EM GEE!!! This looks amazing! I seriously wish I could just climb into my computer screen and face dive into that trifle bowl.
Hi Vanessa – Ah! I’m so happy to hear that 😊 Can’t wait for you to whip up this recipe!