Summer Berry Trifle
This summer berry trifle is a fun and easy no-bake seasonal dessert! It’s filled with layers of fresh berries, whipped cream and store-bought vanilla cake.
If you’re looking for a summer dessert that everyone will love, this is it! It’s easy enough for anyone to put together, looks incredibly beautiful, and feeds a crowd.
You can find almost endless trifle variations out there, but this one is very simple and straightforward. It doesn’t include a cooked custard or vanilla pudding mix, and there’s no required chill time before serving.
This trifle is all about showcasing fresh summer berries with homemade whipped cream and store-bought cake (for ease and convenience).
Table of Contents
What’s in this berry trifle
Here’s the 3 delicious layers you’ll find in this berry trifle recipe:
- Fresh berries. Use any combination of raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and chopped strawberries. Add sugar to help them release their juices, along with lemon juice and orange liqueur for even more flavor.
- Whipped cream. Sweetened vanilla whipped cream is “stabilized” with cream cheese to help it hold up to assembly, storage, and serving. It won’t deflate or weep out liquid.
- Store-bought cake. You can use pretty much any vanilla cake! Pound cake or angel food cake from your supermarket bakery are both great options. You can also use a yellow cake mix prepared and baked in a 9×13-inch pan.
Ingredients you’ll need
baking tip:How to quickly bring cream cheese to room temperature
Cold cream cheese can result in a lumpy batter or frosting. Letting the cream cheese rest at room temperature for about 60 minutes is ideal, but in case you forget to pull it out of the fridge on time, here are a few ways to speed things up.
- Cut cream cheese into small cubes and spread out on the packaging or a plate. Let sit at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes.
- Remove cream cheese from any paper packaging but keep it in the foil packaging. Place in a bowl and cover with warm water. Let sit for about 10 minutes.
- Remove cream cheese completely from all packaging. Microwave in 10 second bursts, flipping it after each burst, for about 30-40 seconds total.
How to make berry trifle
First, you’ll need to get all 3 components of the trifle prepped, and then I’ll show you step-by-step how to assemble it.
Prep berries, cream and cake
- Macerate berries. To “macerate” means to marinate fruit in sugar to release its natural juices, making them super juicy and sweet. Add about half of the berries to a large bowl with the sugar, and gently mash with a fork until they’re lightly smashed. Add the rest of the berries, the lemon juice, and the liqueur. Give it a good stir and then let it sit while you get everything else ready.
- Whip cream filling. Beat softened cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth, then transfer to another bowl. Beat heavy whipping cream to soft peaks, then decrease speed and add cream cheese mixture by the spoonful until combined.
- Chop cake. Cut whatever cake you’ve chosen to use into roughly 1-inch cubes. You’ll need roughly 8-10 cups.
Assemble the trifle
Now let’s put it all together, and I’ll show you how to layer a trifle. (Go slowly and carefully to make the layers clean and even.)
- Start with a layer of cake. Place an even layer of cake cubes in a trifle dish.
- Add berries. Spoon the berries on top, making sure to drizzle on some of the yummy berry juices too.
- Spread whipped cream on top. Starting in the center and working your way outward keeps the glass free of any accidental cream smears.
- Repeat 2 more times. There should be 3 layers each of cake, berries and cream.
- Finish with whipped cream. The fluffy cream on top is not only a beautiful finish, but it also “seals” in the layers beneath it, keeping the cake and berries fresh.
- Add decorative berries on top (optional).
- Serve and enjoy! This trifle looks its best if it’s served within 24 hours of assembly. To serve, spoon into individual bowls.
FAQs for this recipe
If you don’t have a classic trifle dish, you can use a large glass mixing bowl or straight-sided glass vase.
If you prefer not to use liqueur in this recipe, simply leave it out and add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the macerated berries.
This recipe really is best with fresh berries. Frozen berries will have too much liquid once thawed and the trifle will be quite soggy. If you want to use frozen berries, I recommend searching for another recipe online that uses them.
If you are serving this recipe within about 1 hour of assembly, you can leave it at room temperature. Otherwise, it should be store in the refrigerator. When it doubt, put it in the fridge!
I prefer to serve this trifle the day it’s made, but it will keep for about 24 hours. After than, it starts look a little soggy and isn’t as pretty, but will still taste great for about 2 more days.
More berry desserts
- Berry Crumb Bars
- Angel Food Cupcakes with Whipped Buttercream and Berries
- Black and Blueberry Pie
- Vanilla Cupcakes with Berry Swirl Frosting
- Lemon Berry Shortcakes
- Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Roasted Berries
Get the recipe
Summer Berry Trifle
Macerated Berries Layers:
- 1 lb fresh strawberries , chopped (455 grams, about 2½ cups)
- 1 cup fresh raspberries (140 grams)
- 1 cup fresh blueberries (160 grams)
- 1 cup fresh blackberries (140 grams)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar (50 grams)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 Tbsp orange liqueur , such as Gran Gala or Cointreau (optional, see Notes)
Whipped Cream Layers:
- 8 oz cream cheese , softened to room temperature (226 grams)
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream , cold (455 grams)
- ½ cup granulated sugar (100 grams)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 8-10 cups cubed store-bought vanilla cake , such as pound cake or angel food cake (about 455 grams, see Notes)
To prepare macerated berries:
- Add half of berries to a bowl with sugar and mash gently with a fork until lightly smashed and sugar is dissolved. Add remaining berries, lemon juice and liqueur (or vanilla) and stir until combined. Let berries sit for 20 minutes while you get everything else ready.
To make whipped cream:
- Using an electric mixer beat cream cheese with sugar and vanilla until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Transfer mixture to another bowl and set aside. Do not clean mixer bowl.
- Beat heavy whipping cream to soft peaks on medium high speed. Reduce speed to low and add cream cheese mixture a spoonful at a time while the mixer is running. Mixture will be a little lumpy at first, continue to beat until smooth and fluffy.
To prepare the cake cubes:
- Slice cake into 1-inch pieces.
To assemble berry trifle:
- Add a third of cake cubes (about 2-3 cups) to the bottom of a trifle dish. Top with a third of the berries, making sure to get some of the juices and drizzle them over the cake. Spread a third of the whipped cream over the berries.
- Repeat 2 more times so you have 3 layers each of cake, berries and cream, ending with the whipped cream. Go slowly to keep layers looking clean and even in the dish.
- If desired, add some berries on top as a garnish before serving. Serve right away or within 24 hours for best results (store in the refrigerator if serve time is more than 1 hour after assembly).
- Use any combination of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and/or blackberries for this recipe. You’ll need about 4-5 cups total.
- If you don’t want to use liqueur, simply leave it out and add 1 tsp vanilla extract to macerated berries.
- Exact amount of cake can be varied, based on your trifle dish and size of store-bought cake. The trifle dished used to develop this recipe was 8 inches and held about 3 quarts.
- A yellow boxed cake mix will also work well for the cake cubes in this recipe. Prepare and bake in a 9×13-inch pan, cool, and cut into cubes. You will need about 2/3 of the cake for this recipe.