This recipe was given to me about 50 years ago by a British nanny named Margaret who lived with us for several years. She claimed the recipe was at least 200 years old! In any case, this is an adult dessert, perfect for parties. I have made Trifle for a party of 50 people!
Keep in mind that to do this right you should make the custard from scratch using the recipe below. Store bought custard will work, but there's something about homemade custard that just can't be matched. This method takes 2 full days to prepare.
Custard preparation: In a heavy saucepan combine sugar and cornstarch. Gradually add milk, stir until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture is thickened and comes to a boil. Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat. In a bowl, beat egg yolks. Gradually add a little hot mixture, beating well. Stir egg mixture into saucepan, cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and 2 tablespoons sherry. Strain custard immediately into a bowl. Refrigerate until well-chilled overnight.
Split spongecake layers in half crosswise - sprinkle each layer with sherry. Spread all but top layers with preserves and almonds. Stack layers, jam side up, spreading each layer with custard. Top with plain layer then remaining custard. Decorate with whipped cream and cherries. Refrigerate until serving time. Yield: 8 to 10 servings unless I'm there and then it's 4 to 6!