From the Kitchen

Sweet Summer Trifle Ideas

I love using fresh fruit in summer desserts. One way to enjoy I love to enjoy summer fruit (besides eating it out of hand) is to include it in a Sweet Summer Trifle.

Last summer I made a Red, White and Blue Trifle for the 4th of July.  It was so delicious and fun I decided to make it again this year.  I’ve included the recipe below and a few ideas on how you can put together a great summer trifle.

We love trifle. Trifle is an English dessert that originated out of using up bits of sponge cake, custard, a little dribble of booze (or a lot), and jam or fruit. (I’m paraphrasing here.) It has since evolved.

I like to make trifle for special occasions. Really, the sky is the limit on this dessert. You can take shortcuts, if you like, but taking the time to make things from scratch will give you the very best trifle. For instance, we never make ours with pudding, but you can. I will still like you, I promise.

For summertime I like to use lemon curd in place of a custard.  From there you can add in whatever combo of summer fruit you can find.  And it’s up to you if you choose to add the splash of booze or not.  (I don’t do this if I know there will be kids eating it.)

Note: The trifle shown in the picture is a bit smaller than a normal trifle made in a trifle dish.  I don’t own a traditional trifle dish, so I used a straight-sided glass bowl.  You may need to make adjustments to the recipe according to the size of your bowl.  You may not need all the cake, or other ingredients.  It’s okay.  They are perfect for snacking.

Sweet Summer Trifle


1 prepared recipe sour cream pound cake, sliced or cubed (recipe follows)
1 prepared recipe lemon curd, chilled (recipe follows)
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, cold
16 oz. fresh strawberries, sliced
2 pints fresh blueberries


Beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar. Add the heavy cream and continue beating until thick. Chill until ready to assemble trifle.


Layer in a trifle dish or large bowl–

Half the sliced pound cake–use smaller pieces to fill in the gaps
Half the lemon curd
One third of the blueberries and strawberries
Half the whipped cream mixture

Repeat with the remaining cake, lemon curd, another 1/3 of the berries, and whipped cream. Top with the remaining 1/3 strawberries and blueberries.

Let chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

Serves a bunch.


I’m sharing more ideas for your summer time fun with baking. Try one, (or all) of these delicious dessert!

Sour Cream Pound Cake

adapted from The Joy of Cooking

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
6 eggs, separated and at room temperature
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 8″ square baking pans or a 9″ Bundt pan.

Whisk the dry ingredients together and set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter until creamy. Add the sugar and continuing beating until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. (Don’t skimp on this step.)

Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating for at least 1 minute between additions. Add the vanilla extract.

Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients, beat just until it disappears into the creamed mixture. Add 1/2 of the sour cream. Beat to combine. Repeat with remaining flour and sour cream, making sure to end with the last 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Set aside.

In a separate bowl beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar a little at a time. Continue beating until stiff, glossy peaks form.

Carefully fold in 1/3 of the egg whites to the batter using a large rubber or silicone spatula. (It’s okay if there are some streaks of egg white. This is to lighten the batter before the remaining egg whites are added.)

Add the remaining egg whites by gently folding, being careful not to deflate the whites.

Spread the batter into the prepared pan. If using 8″ square pans, bake for about 35-40 minutes. (Don’t open the oven at all during the first 30 minutes or the cake will fall in the center.) If using the bundt pan, bake for 60-75 minutes. Tent the pans with foil if the top browns too quickly. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.

Let cool for a few minutes in pan before removing the cake to a wire rack to finish cooling. Cake gets better the longer it sits. Be sure to wrap it well in foil or plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out.

Lemon Curd

from my husband’s aunt

Juice of 3 lemons
Zest of 3 lemons
1 cup granulated sugar
3 whole eggs
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled

In a bowl, rub the lemon zest with the sugar until wet and sandy. Whisk in the eggs. Add the juice. Add the melted butter.

Transfer the mixture to a stainless steel (or other non-reactive) pan. Cook over medium heat while whisking constantly until the curd thickens. (It will be about the consistency of thin yogurt.) Quickly remove from heat. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Press plastic wrap on the surface and chill until ready to use.


Cakes you can use for Sweet Summer Trifle:

Angel Food Cake
Sponge Cake
Chiffon Cake
Butter Cakes (chocolate, yellow, white, coconut, spice, etc.)
Pound Cake (if you decide to purchase it, make sure it’s a good one)
Leftover cupcakes
Gingerbread (this is great with lemon curd and cream)
Brownies (I’ve seen this done, but haven’t tried it myself)
Lady Fingers
Crumbled hard cookies–shortbread, amaretti, etc.

For the creamy layer:

Cream Cheese mixed with whipped cream
Vanilla or flavored whipped cream
Chocolate Mousse (bittersweet, milk, or white)
Homemade or store-bought pudding
Pastry Cream (plain or flavored)
Ricotta mixed with a little sugar

For the fruity layer(s):

Fruit curds–lemon, lime, passion fruit, pineapple, etc.
Fruit butters–apple, pumpkin, rhubarb
Sliced or whole fruit–apples, pears, peaches, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, currants, cherries, apricots, plums, papaya, pineapple, kiwi, banana, etc.

Other fun additions:

Chopped candy bars or cookies
Nuts–pistachios, macadamia nuts, pecans, walnuts, almonds
Caramel, chocolate sauce, marshmallow cream
miniature marshmallows
Maraschino cherries


*Raspberry-Peach Melba–vanilla sponge or pound cake, sliced peaches, raspberries, whipped cream or vanilla custard (splash of raspberry liqueur)

*Black Forrest–chocolate cake, poached cherries (or bottle pie filling), whipped cream and/or vanilla custard, toasted almonds

*Pina Colada–coconut cake, pineapple curd, coconut custard/pastry cream, fresh pineapple slices, toasted coconut (splash of dark rum)

*Aunt Robin’s Tropical Trifle–coconut cake, tropical fruit (lychee, mango, papaya, kiwi, passion fruit), custard/pudding, whipped cream/Cool Whip (she sometimes uses Twinkies, but I prefer cake)

*Rainbow Trifle–layer cake with cream and fruit of every color of the rainbow (strawberries, mandarin oranges, bananas, kiwi, blueberries, blackberries)

*Stone Fruit Trifle–almond cake or cookies, cream/custard, stone fruits (cherries, apricots, peaches, plums, etc.), toasted almonds, (a splash of amaretto)

*Liza’s Toffee Trifle–chocolate cake, caramel sauce and/or hot fudge, chopped Heath or Skor bars, whipped cream

*Baklava Trifle–honey cake, cardamom or rose water cream/custard, toasted pistachios or walnuts, apples or pears

*S’mores Trifle–brown sugar/honey cake (or chocolate cake), chocolate sauce, marshmallows (or marshmallow cream), chocolate chunks/chips, whipped cream. topped with graham cracker crumbs

More Trifle Ideas


(picture–Pina Colada Trifle)

*Make individual servings in tall, straight-sided glasses or individual trifle dishes (wine glasses also work for this)

*Have a trifle bar–let guests make their own trifle.  Set out various ingredients in buffet fashion and supply a bowl or large glass for each person.

*Originally posted 6/24/09


  1. Wonderful ideas. I have been baking/cooking for years without my own trifle bowl although I’ve always wanted one. I was thrilled last month at Old Tyme Pottery when they had them in stock and even better when they were on sale for only $6.99 so I bought two of them and gave one to my son’s fiancee.

    Now I have all sorts of new options to use my new trifle bowl for. Thank you.

  2. I love the lemon curd! I made the triffle with pineapple, mango, strawberry, tangerine and roll sponge cake (with strawberry jam). The combination between the curd and the cream is perfect. Definitely making it again!

  3. About time! Anyone with some tips on this. You’d imagine judging how in need Comic Book Videos are these days, some facts would honestly be fairly convenient to locate. Surprisingly not. Anyway, thankyou for this! A great deal appreciated!

  4. Vegetable trifles! Dressings can be on the side. Layer colorful veggies (shredded carrots, lettuce, mushroom slices, cukes, red/green/orange peppers, halved cherry tomatoes). Looks gorgeous and makes a great alternative to a plain old bowl of salad!

  5. Banana Split trifle
    Angel food cake
    vanilla pudding with crushed pineapple mixed in
    sliced strawberries and bananas
    cool whip
    hot fudge drizzled on each layer
    topped with pecans

    1. Oooh this sounds really good too. Thank you.

      I bet if the pecans were oven toasted a few minutes they would add a nice crunch and I think I’d add some over each layer. Of course, I LOVE pecans so the more, the better in my mind. haha

  6. I love trifles. I haven’t thought of using lemon curd, I’ll have to do that! I also love the variations you have on the traditional trife. Great!

  7. This is a wonderful blog—i love trifle and this makes it seem so easy because there are so many ideas!!

  8. Here in Australia the “jam or fruit” layer is almost always Jello cubes. (In most places outside of the US Jello is called jelly, so if your original recipe calls for jelly they actually mean Jello.) Blech! I might like trifle if I follow your recipe instead, because it looks really yummy!

  9. Gosh, so many good ideas. I’m not sure where to start. Do you believe I own a trifle bowl and have never used it! The s’mores trifle sounds really good and I love the idea of individual trifles. Also, I’ve never made lemon curd and will try your Aunts’. Thanks so much!

  10. Um, anything! Lemon curd is great on toast, biscuits, scones, swirled into ice cream or cheesecake, waffles and pancakes, as a dip. There are endless uses. And you can sub lime juice for lemon.

  11. Beautiful pictures and great ideas. I am drooling on my keyboard. : ) Any other suggestions for what to eat lemon curd on?

  12. Thank you for some ideas on how to replace the pudding! I have a trifle bowl and I love trifle, but I’m the only one in my family who likes pudding, and pudding is in most of the recipes I’ve seen. I’ll have to try playing with something different and see if they enjoy it!

  13. Oh, that does sound good! And it looks very festive as well! It will definitely become a popular item at our 4th of July picnic! :) Thanks for posting!

  14. Do you know this might be the best blog post in entire blog land?? Oh how I love trifle all different kinds. I add strawberry jam to my berry one. But you know I have never thought of making the cake part I always buy it! I am going to make one of these for a picnic this weekend… which one….

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