Yummy Devil’s Food Toffee Trifle Recipe

Recently, I was invited to a small dinner party, a gathering of friends.  I was asked to bring dessert, specifically the Cranberry Trifle I made for this past Christmas.  You’ll find the recipe for the Cranberry Trifle here:  Yummy Cranberry Trifle.   You’ll find a post about the Christmas dinner party here: Christmas Dinner Party

Guess what I discovered?  You can’t find fresh cranberries in February.  The guys at my local Publix said, “They aren’t in season right now” to which I replied, half the stuff in the produce department isn’t in season right now.  ๐Ÿ˜‰  Next I tried Kroger, same answer, no cranberries.  I didn’t try Harry’s or Whole Foods since time was running out.  Instead, I pulled out a tried and true recipe I haven’t made in ages, my Devil’s Food Toffee Trifle.

Here’s a handy little picture in case you would like to pin this recipe for future reference.

Devil's Food Toffee Trifle

I took lots of pics while making the trifle which was really overkill because this is the easiest trifle in the world to make.  Actually, I’m not sure there is a hard-to-make trifle, which is probably one reason I love making them so much.  It doesn’t hurt that they look beautiful and you’re guests will think you fussed all day? ๐Ÿ™‚   Pssst:  You’ll find a printable copy of this recipe at the end of this post.

To make this trifle, you’ll need a coffee-flavored liqueur.  I always use Kahlúa which unfortunately you can’t see very well since it’s hidden behind the cake box below.  You’ll need a Devil’s food cake mix, I always use Duncan Hines.  You’ll need 2 small bags of toffee bars (I use Heath candy bars) and a couple of the family-sized whipped topping.  You could probably get by with just 1 bag of Heath bars but I like a lot of toffee in my Devil’s Food Toffee Trifle so I usually use approximately 1 1/2 bags.

Devil's Food Toffee Trifle

To make the cake for the trifle, you’ll need 3 eggs, 1/3 cup vegetable oil and 1 cup water.  Just follow the directions on the back of the box to make the cake.  I always make it in a 13 x 9 inch pan but you could make it in regular cake pans if you prefer.

Devil's Food Toffee Trifle

Start by making your cake.  This can be done a couple of days in advance, if you like.  If I’m having a party and know I’ll be rushed,, I love being able to make some of the food/dessert in advance.  Just feels good knowing you’ve got one thing done early.

Devil's Food Toffee Trifle

After the cake is done and completely cooled, cut it up into squares.

Devil's Food Toffee Trifle

Drizzle your Kahlúa all over the cake.  I spread the slices apart a bit as I’m doing that to make sure the Kahlúa gets down inside and doesn’t just run off around the edges.  This should be done 5-6 hours in advance so the Kahlúa has time to really soak in.  I usually do it the night before I plan to assemble the trifle.

Devil's Food Toffee Trifle

While watching TV, I unwrapped all the Heath bars from the two small bags I had purchased.  If you can find them, you can use 8-10 full size candy bars.   I can never locate those and always end up using the small ones.

Devil's Food Toffee Trifle

I normally crunch up the Heath bars in my large Cuisinart, which really works best and is faster.  This time I used the smaller one and did it in 2-3 batches.

Tip:  I always break the small bars in half and use kitchen shears to cut them up a bit more before tossing them into my mini-Cuisinart.  It just makes it a bit easier.  Even if you’re using a full size Cuisinart, I’d still at least break them in half before tossing them in.    You don’t want to pulverize your toffee.  So I crunch it up for a while, then open the Cuisinart, dump it out, pull out the larger pieces that didn’t chop up that well and toss them back in for another go.  If you just chop and chop the first time around until everything is chopped up, you may end up with powdered toffee instead of nice, small pieces.

So, my recommendation is to stop when it’s looking pretty chopped up, dump it out into a bowl and pull out the larger pieces and run those through again.   The larger chunks will soften up once they are inside the trifle for a while, so don’t worry that you’re leaving some bigger pieces.  You want your guests to know they are eating the toffee when they come across it, so leave lots of small pieces/chunks of toffee when chopping.

Devil's Food Toffee Trifle


Assemble Your Trifle:

To assemble your trifle, place a layer (1/3rd of the cake) in the bottom of your trifle bowl.

Devil's Food Toffee Trifle

Add a generous amount of whipped topping on top.  I’ve always used whipped topping in this recipe and not real whipped cream.  I love whipped cream and prefer it for many desserts but since this one has the whipped topping layered in between, I’m just not sure it would hold up as it should.

If you do decide to try real whipped cream, don’t put the last layer (the top layer) of whipped cream on too far in advance.  Whipped cream can look a little funny if it’s been there too long, it looks better when it’s really fresh.  That’s another reason I just go with the whipped topping for this recipe.  The whipped topping tastes great and you can make it several hours before the party.

Devil's Food Toffee Trifle

Next add a layer of the chopped up Heath bar.

Devil's Food Toffee Trifle

As you can see below, I use a pretty heavy layer of the toffee.

Devil's Food Toffee Trifle

Repeat the layers again: 1/3rd of the cake followed by whipped topping followed by another layer of toffee (Heath bar).  You’ll notice I have about 1/3 of the cake still left in the pan.

Devil's Food Toffee Trifle

For your final layer, add the last of the Devil’s Food cake on top.

Devil's Food Toffee Trifle

Cover the last of the cake with a nice layer of whipped topping.

Devil's Food Toffee Trifle

Take a few of your left over Heath Bars, break them in half and cut up a few smaller pieces with your kitchen shears.  Sprinkle these larger pieces over the top of the trifle.  You could cover the whole top if you like.  I just placed a little in the center.

Devil's Food Toffee Trifle


Store your trifle in the refrigerator until it’s ready to be served.  It’s best to not assemble your trifle more than 3-4 hours before you plan to serve it so the Heath Bar inside will not dissolve down too much.  When I’m having a party and plan to serve this trifle, I usually bake the cake 1-2 two days in advance and store it in the refrigerator.  The day before the party I cup the cake in squares as mentioned earlier in this recipe and I drizzle the Kahlúa over the cake and recover it.  Also, you can crunch up your Heath Bar the day before the party, too.  Then the day of the party, about 3-4 hours before the party is set to start, assemble your trifle and place it back into the refrigerator.  It only takes about 20 minutes (if that long) to assemble the trifle the day of the party because you’ve already done the prep work in advance.

Devil's Food Toffee Trifle


Make copies of your recipe because your guests will want to know how it’s made. Enjoy!

Devil's Food Toffee Trifle


Here are two more Trifle recipes to enjoy.

Peach Bourbon Trifle, Made with Fresh Peaches

Cranberry Trifle, Great for the Holidays

Devil's Food Toffee Trifle
Print Recipe
5 from 8 votes

Yummy Devil's Food Toffee Trifle

This trifle is super easy to make but looks like you fussed all day. Your guests will want to know what's in it so print out some extra copies of the recipe to share.
Course: Dessert
Servings: 12
Author: Susan (Between Naps on the Porch)


  • Duncan Hines Devil's Food Cake Mix
  • 1 cup Kahlua coffee-flavored, rum-based liqueur
  • 1-2 bags of small Heath candy bars or 8 large Heath bars
  • 2 family size whipped topping
  • For the Cake Mix you'll need:
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water


  • Bake Devil's Food cake in a 9 x 13 inch pan the day before you plan to serve the trifle.
  • After cake has cooled, cut it into squares about 1 1/2 to 2 inches square.
  • Leaving cake (sliced up) in the pan, pour Kahlua all over the top of the cake, getting the liqueur down in-between the slices.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and put in refrigerator overnight.
  • Next day, 2-4 hours before serving time, assemble trifle in a large bowl or trifle dish as follows.
  • Layer of cake (one third of cake)
  • Layer of whipped topping
  • Layer of Heath bar (I layer it on pretty heavily)
  • Repeat above layers twice more but only put a light sprinkling of Heath Bar on the top when completing the last layer. I always mound up the last layer of whipped topping, it just looks pretty.


Tip: Break the toffee bars up with your fingers and use kitchen shears to break up some of the larger pieces before chopping it up in a food processor. That way you won't have to over-chop the toffee to get it crunched up into small, bite-size chunks. The toffee softens up inside the trifle and it's nice to come across it while eating the trifle.


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  1. This looks delicious! Thanks for the recipe. I look forward to making this. Cherry Kay

  2. Yummy indeed. This will be present at my Easter Table. Going to try with fresh whipped cream because I love it.

    Thank you for sharing!

  3. It looks so good. I would like to have this a try.

  4. I’ve used this recipe for years and it always gets RAVE reviews. The only difference is that I drizzle each layer of cake with a little Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup before the whipped cream goes on. It’s. To. Die. For.

  5. I have to say … this is the most yummy looking dessert I’ve seen in many a moon! Printed, ready to purchase ingredients! Thanks so much, Susan.

  6. rosemary palmer says

    I usually use fresh whipped cream in most things, but to me the frozen stuff works best in this type of dessert. I do a peach cream trifle using Cool whip. I tried the fresh once and it didn’t seem to hold up. Can’t wait to try this one.

  7. Hummm!!! Comment rรฉsister en voyant un tel dessert ?! Je ne peux pas ! je suis trop gourmande…
    Gros bisous

  8. Beautiful! I love making trifles. One of my favorites is using a mixture of tropical fruits – I live in Hawai’i so many of them are in season year ’round…

  9. I always purchase extra bags of cranberries in November. They freeze beautifully.

  10. Thanks for the delicious recipes. I can’t wait to try them. Oh Susan, I just love your blog. Yours was the very first blog that I began following and I still enjoy it so much. Thanks for always sharing such wonderful things.

  11. Susan, this looks delicious. I have never made a trifle but my mother-in-law used to make them at the holidays. I am now ready try. As an aside, I had to giggle because between the content on your blog and the comments section is an ad on how to get rid of belly fat…not with trifle, I’m betting.

  12. Your devils food toffee trifle sounds & looks delicious. I’d love to make it, but have a few problems, as I live in France I’d need to make a few changes. could the heath toffee bars be substituted with something similar ? what sort of texture is the toffee is it similar to Dime bars ?

    • Barbara, Heath bars are really rich tasting…kind of like if you could imagine hardened, crunchy caramel…or a bit like peanut brittle, but without the peanuts. I bet any type of hard, crunchy type bar would work, depending on the flavor. The candy bar you use needs to be crunchy and kind of hard to start with or it would probably be too mushy and soft inside the trifle. The Heath toffee bars work well because they are very crunchy/hard and soften up just the right amount inside the trifle. I hope you’re able to find something similar to use. I didn’t realize Heath bars weren’t available everywhere. Wonder if you can order them online?

      • Re the Heath Bars, don’t think they have them here in Canada either but I suspect that a Crispy Crunch Chocolate Bar (by Cadbury) would be similar in taste and texture. May not have to use as much as they are somewhat sweet. Have used them as you have in a whipped cream filling for a layered chocolate sponge cake.

  13. It’s too bad that you can’t send each of us a bite! I am going to make this for our next lunch at work. I know it will be a big hit. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Susan, Heath bars are our absolute favorite candy bar, and they are getting harder to find! So I know that we’d love this trifle. Can’t wait to try it and thanks so much for the recipe! Pinning this one, for sure!

  15. Wow, that looks delicious! I usually make a fruit trifle (aka “punch bowl cake”) at least 3 times a year and it is a big hit everywhere I go. This will be even a bigger hit with the chocolate lovers in my family. I love the idea of putting a little chocolate syrup on the cake layers. Thanks so much Susan!

  16. Did anyone miss the cranberries? I think not. Susan I just love these wow recipes. I also love that you told us what not to do. I find what not to do is as important as the recipe. So tell us what your friends said.

    As a side note, which you may already know – use powder sugar with whipped cream. It will help stabilize the cream for a little longer.

    • Thanks, Madonna! They loved it! Folks always try to figure out what’s in it. ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t know if I took a picture later when it was half gone…will have to check. I’ll be posting some pics from the party later this week. I didn’t know that about the powdered sugar…interesting!

  17. Hi Susan!
    I have been making a version of this for years, for team dinners when my daughters played soccer and basketball in high school. I made the recipe using boxed brownies instead of cake, along with choc pudding and different types of sweets to layer with. The kids always liked the dessert using Heath candy pieces (already crushed in the bag, near the chocolate morsels in my grocery store) and for the 2nd layer I would crush Oreo cookies or chop mini Reese cups. The possibilities are endless so be creative! Mini choc morsels, M&M’s and choc chip chookies can be used as well! After baking the brownies according to the box, cut up brownies and place pieces in the bowl, layer w/ choc pudding next, candy/cookie pieces, Cool Whip and repeat. I have also made this with pound cake, vanilla pudding and used fresh fruit- strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and bananas as well, but the teens always preferred the chocolate version!
    Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I forgot to mention you could buy the toffee already crunched up. I always do it myself because I want to have control over the sizes of the toffee pieces and I like A LOT in the recipe. ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s what I love about trifles…so many ways to make them! Thanks for sharing your versions. Yeah, I’m with the teenagers…can go wrong with chocolate!

  18. That looks absolutely delicious. I love toffee and you are giving me some other ideas. Like for St. Patrick’s day, perhaps tinting the whipping cream a pale green. Yum! I may just do this one. Thanks so much for sharing.

  19. Susan,
    Everyone loved your trifle after dinner….it served 10 that night…. (8 at dinner & 2 neighbors) plus I enjoyed it for two more short days to boot. Cool whip held up great as left over in the refrigerator, where I suspect real cream would not, which is something to consider. I could not resist the left over & it was as good as freshly made. I was delighted to have it and YOU at my table….thanks again!!

  20. Looks and sounds wonderful!! Thanks for the recipe!

  21. MUCH easier than the trifle recipe I use; I’ll be pinnin’ and makin’!!!

  22. Thanks for the recipe – it looks wonderful. I found out about the cranberries a couple years ago when I wanted to make some fresh cranberry relish after the holidays and no one had them. So now what I do is buy 2 or 3 bags before Christmas is over and pop them into the freezer and you can have cranberries all year. Just let them defrost and your good to go.

  23. Looks wonderful, just wondering how do you serve this so it looks nice in the individual serving bowls?

  24. It may be easy, but the lusheousness makes it so prefect and a pretty dessert too, Susan. Thank you for the tutorial and recipe. I will give it a try soon..I also need the bowl with pedestal, lol.. Big hugs,

  25. Susan, this looks so pretty and decadent. Love toffee and chocolate together. This has to be one fabulous dessert. Your peach trifle post popped up at the bottom of this post. ‘-) Yum on that count too! ~ sarah

  26. Hi Susan! This looks wonderful! Please don’t laugh…how do you serve it?? I’ve never had one, so I don’t know! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Hey Donnamae,
      I’ve always just served it with a large spoon (serving spoon) and it can be served on a small dessert plate or a bowl, whatever folks prefer. You can also make individual trifles in small glasses or parfait style glasses. Those are cute and great for summer picnics, cookouts, etc….
      That’s a great question!

  27. That tuitorial made it look so easy to make that I’m going to try to make it at the next birthday event with my neighbors. I know this is a stupid question but what type of dishes do you use to serve it in? I have some small and large sizes of sundae dishes, plus some small glass bowls that could be used. The next birthday party will be in May and strawberries should be in season then coming from Plant city, Fla. I like the idea of the kahula! I’ve never used a glass baking dish like you have for brownies, but it looks like they bake so well in it. Those brownies look so perfect. No crusty end pieces. How do you avoid that?

    I bet the peach one is delicous too with fresh peaches.

    • Betty, I like the crusty end pieces…that’s the best part of brownies! ๐Ÿ™‚ I actually made this trifle with cake but I bet brownies would be yummy. I usually serve this on a dessert/salad size plate but a bowl would be great. The peach trifle is one of my faves. I will def be making it or something similar again this summer. You can’t beat fresh Georgia peaches!

  28. This would look beautiful in our Longaberger Trifle Bowl and Pedestal! Another delicious opportunity to use it.

  29. Oh, Susan,
    this looks very yummy! A real competitor to my beloved “Tiramisรน”! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Too bad, Kraft Cool Whip isn’t available here in Germany, do you think I could use “Mascarpone” cheese instead of it? Or is it too creamy? Hmmm… I will look for an alternative.
    Susan, your bowl looks beautiful, but I think I will be making it in individual mason jars because…
    1. lately, my German friends seem to love desserts made as individual portions in jars or mugs or cups… (Don’t ask me why… ๐Ÿ™‚ ) and…
    2. I don’t own such a big bowl with pedestal! (Just a smaller one with potpourri in it! ๐Ÿ˜‰ )
    ~Hugs to you~

    • Cecilia, trifles do work great in small, individual containers so that would work well. Don’t worry about getting a really big bowl. I think Mascarpone would work great…would be yummy as long as it’s a little sweet. I haven’t use Mascarpone…is it sweet?

      • No, it isn’t sweet at all. For “Tiramisรน” cake you make it “sweet” because of the sugar you have to add to it, but actually Mascarpone cheese can be a great addition to some “pasta” dishes, too.

  30. Oh yum Susan. I usually make an *English” trifle at Christmas time with sherry over the jam sponge cake, but this would definitely be a great change. We do not have those toffee bars here, but I bet I could find something similar. I usually serve mine in small glass dishes and sometimes I put a chocolate lacey *thingy* on top!!
    BTW, aren’t you a clever girl for adding an actual print recipe!! ๐Ÿ™‚
    A question here, why do I have to put in my name and e-mail address, each time I comment? It was just there before. It comes up if I type the first few letters.

    • Megan, I’m not sure unless the caching system cleared. I know every so often the caching plugin clears itself and that may clear out the names, etc… Try this. When I leave a comment on some blogs, if I just click in the blank where the email goes, it pops up and I can just click on it without typing it. Oh, I just thought of something. Some browsers remember what you type in and save it. For example, Firefox is good about that and will hold the info you type in normally and you don’t have to retype it unless you clear the browser cache on your end. Chrome probably does the same thing. Did you by any chance clear your browser cache recently? Try just clicking in the name box and the email box and see if your name and your email pop up so you can just click on them instead of entering them. I think your browser will store that info unless you have it set to never save it.
      I like the chocolate lacey idea…that sounds so pretty!

      • Hi Susan, thank you for the info. I haven’t cleared my cache but when I type the first letter, it does come up. Not sure why it does not stay there any more.

  31. I came across a website some time ago that gave several ways to stabalize whipped cream. I have only tried the cornstarch and it worked well. I didn’t realize there is a product designed to do just that that the chef used when she worked in a restaurant. This is the website if anyone would like to try additional methods.


  32. Have printed the recipe off as it looks and sounds delicious. Thank you! -Brenda-

  33. Have been making this recipe for years but drizzled caramel ice cream topping and condensed milk where you put kahlua. Its so rich! I will definitely try the kahlua next time. Thanks for sharing! LOVE your web-site.

  34. Hi Susan, I am a totally non talented cook, but even I can usually make a triffle! And you are right, they look as beautiful as they taste– scrumptious! I can hardly wait to try this one, I love Heath bars, yet haven’t had one for years, don’t know why! One of my adult daughters taught me to make a trifle with banana pudding, vanilla wafers, whipped cream, and real bananas of course! Its beautiful, and always a hit! My husband will be so happy I read your blog and got inspired! I’m finally blogging again also, and mentioned your blog in mine yesterday, refering to your mention of spring coming early in Georgia, while we ‘re still shivering here in North Carolina! So close, yet so far! LOL Thanks for sharing, you continue to inspire me! Helen

  35. I’ve been trying to get off a few pounds by eating less sweets…you are killing me here! I am purring just looking at the pictures. I love a good trifle. I usually do mine with angel food cake or pound cake and vanilla pudding and fruit…but today, that chocolate one looks amazing to me!

  36. This looks like a great desset for my MS girls to make. Any suggestions to replace the Kailua? I wa glad to see the very detailed directions. I will always cringe in memory of dinner party mistake. Years ago, I got a triffle reciepe from a friend for a business dinner party we had. I had only eaten hers and never made one before. The reciepe had incomplete instructions so my beautiful trife was not so tasty. She did not include the part about crunch this and crumble that. She was stunned that I didn’t know any better. Was I embarrassed! Again. Since then I am so careful about my directions. Thanks!

    • Linda, I’m the same way…love detailed instructions. It’s really easy to make so you would do great! Beth, in a comment a few up from yours said this: “Have been making this recipe for years but drizzled caramel ice cream topping and condensed milk where you put kahlua.” So maybe you could do that, instead? It sounds yummy!

  37. I make this same trifle, but I use a large family size brownie mix instead of the devils food cake mix. For Linda above, I have used 1/2 cup Kahlua and 1/2 cup coffee to keep it from having such a distinctive Kahlua taste. It’s always beautiful and such a hit at parties. I’ve also substituted Butterfingers when I couldn’t find Heath bars and they’re every bit as good!

  38. I make a similar trifle and it is my husband’s favorite. I just can not use Cool Whip anymore…is there a substitute that would still work? Would real cream whipped liquify or would it work.

  39. Elizabeth Dale Markham says

    I make this at Christmas and New Years Eve. Our family calls it yummy goodness. I entered it in a desert contest at my husbands office Christmas party and won. It gets 5 stars.

  40. Arleen Obrien says

    The only room in our home that isn’t used much by me is the kitchen. However this recipe looks so good, I will make it!

  41. Looks so yummy.. im gonna do it for a farewell party this Saturday.. hope it turns out good.. since there are gonna be kids im thinking of replacing the kahlua with Hearsey Chocolate syrup.. will the classic whip cream that come in tall spray can be sufficient just in case i cant find the whip topping..

    • Joyce, I’m not sure the kind in the can would work quite right. Plus, it would take a lot of it, which would be pretty expensive. Usually the grocery stores do carry the Cool Whip, so I hope you can find that.


    I just had this wonderful Dessert at my Granddaughter’s wedding, but it was made with Chocolate Pudding, no Kahl’ua when do I layer the pudding over the Cake or over the Cool Whip? Thanks so much.

  43. Carrie Johnson says

    when using Chocolate Pudding and no Kahl’ua, how do you layer it?

    • I’ve never made it with chocolate pudding but if I did, I would just put the cake in first, then the pudding on top of the cake, then the whipped topping, then finally the chopped up Heath bar. Then repeat those four layers again. Depending on the size of your trifle bowl, you may be able to repeat the layers a third time. The third time after you add the whipped topping, just add a few broken up pieces of Heath bar atop the whipped topping.
      So it would be: Cake/Pudding/Whipped Topping/Heath Bar/ Cake/Pudding/Whipped Topping/Heath/Cake/Pudding/Whipped Topping…ending with a few larger pieces of Heath Bar.
      That would probably be pretty yummy.

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