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Simple Berry Trifle Recipe with Pound Cake

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This simple Berry Trifle Recipe is a super quick and easy layered dessert of fresh summer berries and rich and delicious pound cake with heavenly pastry cream. Minutes in the making, it’s perfect for summer gatherings especially as you can prep it in advance to assemble at a moments notice!

Closeup side view of Layered Berry Trifle Recipe

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Celebrate summer with this oh-so-easy summer dessert, whether that be for a red, white, and blue 4th of July, a summer afternoon tea, or even a wedding reception. Honestly, this is the perfect Summer Berry Trifle recipe!

It’s a perfect, make-ahead friendly, or serve immediately dessert recipe to last all season. 

What is a Trifle?

This trifle has three layers of delicious summer goodness. A rich and flavorful pastry cream lines the bottom of a trifle bowl, which is topped with cubed pound cake and fresh berries. That layer is repeated one more time, ending with pastry cream. Berries and mint sprigs will make a pretty decoration on top. 

Why I love this recipe

  • Serves a crowd
  • Makes a beautiful centerpiece for the table
  • Truly, it takes mere minutes to make with bright and festive colors
  • It’s utterly delicious!

Perhaps my favorite part of this summer trifle recipe is that it’s very forgiving. It doesn’t require perfection in any form. If the layers are not perfect, all the better. A simple to make summer dessert that’s beautiful, tasty and fun to make!

How To Prep A Trifle To Make The Day Before

Trifles are simply made to be prepped in advance. In fact, many believe it’s at its peak flavor from 4 to 24 hours after making. However, because whipping cream can become soft, for the best presentation of the trifle, I generally prefer to prep the ingredients ahead of time and assemble them shortly before serving.

Here’s how I prep a trifle the day before I’m serving it:

Washed berries on a towel lined sheet pan to dry

Berries:
Wash the berries the night before. Place two layers of paper towels on a sheet pan, then lay the washed berries on the top. This helps to absorb additional moisture. You want the berries as dry as possible when making a trifle.

Pound Cake:
If you’re making the pound cake, be sure to make that ahead. Let cool, and then cut into about 1-inch cubes. If using store-bought pound cake, cube the night before and store in a ziplock bag. 

Trifle Recipe ingredients in bowls and trays on the kitchen countertop.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

Pound Cake:

Store-bought pound cake makes this recipe minutes in the making. While I love to make my own, for a trifle, I find myself buying it at Costco and using about 1 and 1/2 loaves of a 7 x 3-inch pack of three. Here is my go-to pound cake recipe if you want to make your own.

Angel food cake or Ladyfingers (Savoiardi) can also be substituted for the pound cake, making it a bit lighter.

Cubed pound cake for trifle with a whole pound cake sitting next to the cutting board.

Berries:

Summer trifles are always pretty in red, white, and blue. Perfect for the 4th of July and summer gatherings. While we’ve used strawberries, blueberries, and a sprinkling of blackberries, substitute your favorite fresh summer berries.

Pastry cream for trifle recipe

Pastry Cream:

This pastry cream is a sweet and rich cream that is absolutely heavenly. Perfectly balanced with vanilla, cream cheese flavor, and utterly silky texture, it’s the key to this trifle.

And it takes only minutes to whip.

For a store-bought substitution, or if you want a lighter trifle, whipped topping is an option. You would need about 16 ounces. But… the flavor, richness, and texture are quite different.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you make a trifle without a trifle bowl?

If you don’t have a trifle bowl, any deep bowl, like a salad bowl or punch bowl works just as well. Or consider making individual trifles in glass cups or mason jars. 

Trifle recipes are wonderful during the holidays, and I love having access to one. I’ve linked a couple of my favorites in the recipe card below. My favorite is one I purchased at Crate and Barrel but Target has a good one too.

How long will leftovers keep?

If you have leftovers, the trifle will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Berry Trifle pictured side on to show the layers.

More Summer Dessert Recipes We Love

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Closeup side view of Layered Berry Trifle Recipe

Simple Berry Trifle Recipe

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

This simple Berry Trifle Recipe is a super quick and easy layered dessert of fresh summer berries, delicious pound cake, and heavenly pastry cream.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound cake (store-bought or homemade), sliced
  • 2 (6-ounce) containers of blueberries (about 2 cups)
  • 1 ½ quarts strawberries
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • fresh mint sprigs

Instructions

  1. Hull and halve the strawberries. Reserve 1 cup of mixed berries to garnish the top of the trifle.
  2. Cube the pound cake.
  3. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  4. Into another bowl, add the room temperature cream cheese and confectioner's sugar; beat until smooth and creamy. Then, beat in the vanilla and 1/3 of the whipped cream. With a spatula, fold in the remaining whipped cream until combined. I like to add the pastry cream to a large ziplock bag with the corner snipped off. It makes it easy to add the cream to the trifle dish with smearing it on the sides.
  5. Assemble the trifle: Begin and end with a pastry cream layer as follows: Add 1/3 of the pastry cream to the bottom of the trifle dish. Top with 1/2 of the cubbed pound cake and 1/2 of the berries. Then add a second layer of pastry cream, followed by remaining cubed pound cake and remaining berries. Add a final pastry cream layer to the top.
  6. If serving immediately, top with reserved berries and add sprigs of fresh mint. If serving later, cover and store in the refrigerator up to 24 hours. Just before serving, decorate the top with berries and sprigs of mint.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 368Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 75mgSodium: 148mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 3gSugar: 29gProtein: 4g

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2 Comments

    1. Hi Lucy! I’m just getting caught up from a busy weekend– Thank you!! I’m so glad you liked the Trifle! It’s a summer staple for us and I’m thrilled you found it helpful. Thank you for trying it!

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