Closer view of a festive berry trifle in a trifle dish on a light background.

You cannot beat this light and fresh patriotic dessert recipe for summer holidays! Not only does it come together in a flash—no baking required—but it’s packed full of fruity flavor that is decadent enough to satisfy a sweet tooth, but light enough to be perfect for the scorching heat of summer. This is the perfect dessert to make ahead and bring to a Memorial Day, 4th of July, or Labor Day potluck or barbecue.

We liked using store-bought pound or angel food cake to make it easy (and not heat up the kitchen!), but you can also make your own at home if you prefer. Let’s get cooking!

A spoon loaded with cubes of cake, slices of strawberries, fresh blueberries, and cream cheese whipped cream.

What you’ll need to make this recipe

You’ll want to add these items to your grocery list:

  • Granulated sugar
  • One large fresh lemon
  • Vanilla pound cake or angel food cake. To keep things simple, we get one premade from the bakery section of the grocery store.
  • Cream cheese
  • Powdered sugar
  • Whipping cream
  • Vanilla extract
  • Eight cups of fresh berries. We used blueberries and strawberries here.

Protip: Use whatever berries are in season!

Any berries that are in season will shine in this trifle. Fresh blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries—any and all of them are great in this simple dessert!

What kind of cake does this berry trifle use?

We’ve made this trifle with both pound cake and angel food cake, depending on what was available at the grocery store and what we felt like. The pound cake makes for a richer trifle, while the angel food cake feels lighter and airier. For peak summer heat situations like the 4th of July or Labor Day, we’d opt for the angel food cake—it feels a little more refreshing.

A berry trifle served in a glass trifle dish showing the layers of cake, berries, and cream.

What kind of serving dish will I need?

A trifle bowl is the gold standard here—these are typically large, footed glass bowls with straight sides. You’ll want one that holds around 120 ounces. If you don’t have an official trifle bowl, then a large serving bowl, punch bowl, or other deep serving dish will work. Try to choose something transparent so you can see the beautiful layers of the trifle!

How to make berry trifle

There are a few components to prepare for this trifle, but because it is a no-bake dessert, it will still be ready in no time!

  1. Make the lemon syrup. Simmer water, lemon juice, lemon zest, and granulated sugar together until the sugar is dissolved. This will be your lemon syrup.
  2. Make the cream cheese whipped topping. Use a stand mixer or a hand mixer to beat cream cheese with powdered sugar. Add whipping cream and vanilla extract, and beat until medium-soft peaks form.
  3. Cut up cake and fruit. Cut the cake into 1″ cubes. Hull and slice the strawberries. Remove any stems or leaves from the blueberries.
  4. Layer. Put half of the cake in the trifle bowl, and drizzle with half of the lemon syrup. Add half the blueberries, half of the whipped topping, then half of the strawberries. Repeat the layers.
  5. Cover and chill. Cover the trifle dish with a bowl cover or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Protip: Make it festive!

For a more festive dessert, arrange the top layer of berries in a decorative pattern.

A large serving spoon scoops berry trifle from a large straight-sided glass serving dish.

How do you serve trifle?

A serving spoon with a long handle is your best bet. You want to be able to scoop all those delicious layers up at once!

Can I make a trifle in advance?

Yes! We recommend making trifles at least an hour before serving but no more than 8-12 hours in advance. This window of time allows the flavors of the various trifle layers to really meld together without the cake getting soggy.

Top view of a festive berry trifle showing a red, white, and blue design using fresh strawberry slices and blueberries arranged in rings over the white cream topping.

How do I store leftover berry trifle?

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days. After that, the cake will start to get pretty soggy, and you’ll probably want to toss it.

Want more easy summer holiday recipes like this one?

 
Closer view of a festive berry trifle in a trifle dish on a light background.

Red, White, and Blue Berry Trifle

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

Fresh, juicy berries are layered with cake and cream cheese whipped topping in this festive berry trifle.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Juice and zest from one large lemon (about 3 tablespoons juice and 2 teaspoons zest)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 premade (16-ounce) vanilla pound cake or angel food cake, cut into 1” cubes (about 8 cups worth of cubes)
  • 4 cups fresh blueberries, plus more for garnish if desired
  • 4 cups hulled and sliced fresh strawberries

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, lemon juice and zest, and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and the powdered sugar in a medium-sized bowl until well combined.
  3. Add in the heavy whipping cream and vanilla extract, and beat on medium-high speed until medium peaks form—about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  4. In the bottom of an approximately 120-ounce trifle bowl or another large bowl, layer half the cake cubes. Drizzle half of the lemon syrup over the cake cubes.
  5. Top the cake with half of the blueberries. Spread a layer of half of the cream mixture over top of the blueberries, then top with half of the strawberry slices.
  6. Layer in the remaining cake cubes, drizzling with the remaining lemon syrup. Top the cake with the remaining blueberries, the remaining cream mixture, and then the rest of the strawberries, arranging them in a decorative pattern if you desire (you can use a few more blueberries here to make a pretty patriotic design).
  7. Cover the trifle and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving. Can be made 8-12 hours in advance.

Notes

  • Both pound cake and angel food cake work well for this trifle! The pound cake makes for a rich dessert, while the angel food cake is a lighter option perfect for those hot summer holidays!
  • Feel free to mix up the berries used! Blackberries and raspberries are also great additions. Fresh and in-season berries are the best, so use whatever you can get your hands on.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 325Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 120mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 3gSugar: 24gProtein: 4g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

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