How To Make Strawberry Trifle


How to make Strawberry Trifle. I’ve had my fair share of trifles to know that this recipe is a winner. This is definitely one for the recipe books. I think this would be perfect for a garden party, as during summer months its always nice having something on hand that can be made in advance and will feed a crowd.

How To Make Strawberry Trifle

how to macerate strawberries
how to make strawberry trifle with pound cake

The sweet strawberries, creamy pudding and pound cake really come together and scream deliciousness in this super easy strawberry trifle with pound cake recipe.  This strawberry dessert will be a complete hit with all your guests!

Strawberry trifle with pound cake

Easy Strawberry Trifle With Pound Cake Recipe:

Don’t you just love strawberry season?

I’ve written about it a few times before, but we have a fantastic little strawberry farm about 30 minutes down the road. I’ve taken the kids there every year since my youngest was 2. (I have some of the cutest pictures of them in the strawberries.) 

In the last few years we’ve timed our visit so we were able to pick strawberries, blackberries, potatoes and a couple of times, even peaches.

We plan to hit the farm up for strawberries and blackberries this coming Friday since will be out of school. (No peaches this year, we had a late March freeze that froze all the blooms.)

So in the meantime, I’ve been having to make my strawberry recipes with just regular ol’ grocery store strawberries.  (Poor me, lol.)

The Best Dessert Recipe For Fresh Strawberries:

Today I want to share a favorite dessert recipe for fresh strawberries: this easy Strawberry Trifle with Pound Cake Recipe.  (And yes, at one point, I totally had to google whether trifle was pronounced with a short I or long I, lol.  Listen how to pronounce trifle here.)

Strawberry Trifle Recipe:

Is Strawberry Trifle Made With Angel Food Cake Or Pound Cake?

Traditionally, trifles are made with a type of sponge cake and soaked with sherry.  There are plenty of easy trifle recipes out on the web. Some use angel food cake and others use pound cake. (Angel food cake is similar to sponge cake, but without egg yolks and pound cake is a sponge cake with butter.)

In my opinion, and the reason I use pound cake in this recipe, is that the pound cake holds up better and helps the trifle last longer in the fridge.  Pound cake also just tastes better -rich, buttery – yum! (After all, pound cake gets its name from the pound of butter used in the original recipe.

How Many Layers Does A Trifle Have?

This strawberry trifle recipe has 3 layers of 3 ingredients, so 9 layers total. (Pound cake layer, pudding layer, fruit layer, then repeat the layers 2 more times.)  The good news is, trifle recipes are super flexible.

Depending on the serving dish, you could do one set of three layers (like a banana pudding would be) or 2 sets of three, 3 sets of three, etc.  Whatever works for you.  The taste will be the same, but the presentation will look different.

What Is The Best Dish To Serve A Trifle In?

Believe it or not, the dish I used in these photos is called a Trifle Bowl. A trifle bowl is made of clear glass and usually has straight sides and a flat-ish bottom to show off the layers of your recipe.

I am pretty sure I purchased my trifle bowl from a Walmart store.  In case you are wondering, the bowl I used is 8 inches in diameter and 5 inches deep.  Here is a similar trifle bowl on amazon.  (I also have the mini trifle bowls, I love them, but I didn’t have enough to do this recipe in. I mainly use those small trifle bowls when making pudding – everybody gets an equal serving.)

Easy Strawberry Trifle with Pound Cake

What’s The Secret To Making The Best Trifle?

The secret to why this trifle recipe is so yummy is I use macerated strawberries, which makes the strawberries even yummier. By adding sugar to fresh strawberries, the sugar pulls the liquid out of the strawberries and makes a strawberry sugar syrup. You then will pour the strawberry syrup over the pound cake layers. The pound cake absorbs all that yummy strawberry sweetness for an even better flavor!

Ingredients In Strawberry Trifle:

If you’re heading to the store, these are the ingredients to add to your list:

  • 2 lbs container of Strawberries
  • sugar
  • large box of instant vanilla pudding (the one with 6 servings)
  • tub of cool whip
  • 16 oz pound cake

How To Make This Easy Strawberry Trifle:

You’ll love how easy this is to make!

  1. Start with your quartered strawberries and add the sugar to start the macerating process.
  2. Slice a store-bought pound cake into cubes.
  3. Make the pudding mixture and give the strawberries and pudding about 30 more minutes in the fridge.
  4. Put together your layers and Voilà! You’ve made a Strawberry Trifle!
strawberry trifle

How amazing would it have been if I had added a layer of blueberries to the trifle for a red, white, and blueberry trifle!

Can Trifle Be Made The Day Before?

Technically, you can make a trifle the day before, but this recipe is at its best between 4 and 24 hours. so plan your preparation accordingly. (This trifle recipe will last 3 to 4 days in the fridge.  It will still taste great, but the older it gets, the looser the trifle becomes as the strawberries begin to soften more. (Sugar is a natural preservative and by macerating the strawberries, it not only intensifies the flavors of the berry, but it also helps extend the life of the berries.)

strawberry trifle dessert

How good does that look?  The sweet strawberries, creamy pudding, and pound cake really come together and scream deliciousness in this super easy strawberry trifle recipe.  They say a photo can speak 1000 words, and I just don’t think I can say more than the photo below does, lol.  You have to make this trifle recipe at your very next opportunity.

Strawberry Trifle

This is a very light dessert recipe from my friend, Ellen. It is so easy to make and is the perfect ending to a heavy meal.

Strawberry Trifle
Strawberry Trifle Debbie

Recipe Summary


15 mins


4 hrs


4 hrs 15 mins




1 trifle


Decrease Serving

12Increase ServingAdjust

Original recipe yields 12 servingsIngredient Checklist

  • 1 (5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 3 cups cold milk
  • 1 (9 inch) angel food cake, cut in cubes
  • 4 bananas, sliced
  • 1 (16 ounce) package frozen strawberries, thawed
  • 1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed


Instructions Checklist

  • Step 1Prepare pudding with milk according to package directions. In a trifle bowl or other glass serving dish, layer half the cake pieces, half the pudding, half the bananas, half the strawberries and half the whipped topping. Repeat layers. Cover and chill in refrigerator 4 hours before serving.

Easy Strawberry Trifle Recipe

Recipe Overview

Why you’ll love it: This trifle is easy, surprisingly light, and stunningly beautiful.

How long it takes: 15 minutes plus 2 hours to chill
Equipment you’ll need: trifle bowl, mixing bowl, electric mixer, measuring utensils
Servings: 10

Strawberry trifle in clear glass trifle bowl against white background.

How To Make A Strawberry Trifle

Strawberry Trifle

With its beautiful layers and bright red strawberries, a strawberry trifle looks like a work of art. Maybe you could call it a work of art although that would imply that it takes a lot of effort to create.

This trifle definitely does not take a ton of effort. It’s basically strawberry shortcake in a fancy bowl.

Once fresh strawberries hit the market, I start thinking about this trifle. It’s one of my sister’s favorites so we often make it for her birthday. It kind of looks like a fancy layer cake in a bowl so we stick a few candles in it and sing Happy Birthday!

Strawberries are so lovely but a trifle can made with other summer berries, like raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries. I love peach desserts in the summer like this peach crumble, and sliced peaches are fantastic in this trifle, too. Try combining fruits for your own stunning creation. Blueberries and strawberries make a stunning patriotic dessert. Try using bananas and banana pudding for a banana twist!

About This Layered Dessert

The three simple building blocks of this dessert are:

  1. angel food cake
  2. strawberries
  3. whipped cream + pudding

What makes it look so stunning is:

  1. seven easy layers
  2. a clear glass trifle bowl that displays all seven layers so artfully.

You look like a dessert genius and it’s really all so simple. It’s a no-bake recipe, perfect for summer!

I’ll run you through the basics in the next few paragraphs, but as always, the full printable recipe can be found at the bottom of the post.

Strawberry dessert viewed from above, topped decoratively with slices of strawberries.

What You Need

  • Angel Food Cake: Bake your own from scratch, use a mix, or buy an angel food cake already made from the grocery store. It doesn’t really matter which one you choose.
  • Strawberries: Red ripe strawberries add so much beauty and flavor to the trifle. Slice the strawberries thinly.
  • Whipped Cream, Instant Vanilla Pudding, Milk, and Plain Yogurt: The homemade whipped cream is stabilized by the pudding mix so that this trifle can be made ahead.
  • Orange Zest: Finely grated orange zest is stirred into the creamy whipped pudding mixture to add citrusy flavor. Lemon or lime zest is good, too.
  • Trifle Bowl: A clear glass large straight-sided bowl is indispensable to display this beautifully layered dessert. A regular bowl won’t have the same “Wow!” effect but, you know what, the dessert will taste (and look) the same once it’s scooped out — absolutely delicious!
Overhead view of ingredients needed for recipe.

How To Put A Trifle Together

First off, cube your cake. Cut it into one inch squares. Some people like a more rustic look so they tear the cake into pieces. That’s fine, too.

Cubed angel food in a clear glass mixing bowl.

Next, prepare the strawberries. Rinse them off and hull them (remove the green cap). Slice them thinly, about 1/8 inch thick, from top to bottom.

For the next part, you’ll need a couple of large bowls and your mixer. Whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.

In the other bowl, blend together milk, yogurt, and instant vanilla pudding mix.

Pudding in a clear glass mixing bowl.

Gently fold in the whipped cream and grated orange zest.

Pudding, whipped cream, and orange zest in a clear bowl.

Cooking Tip

Make sure you gently fold in the whipped cream! If you stir, stir, stir, the whipped cream will deflate and the mixture will be soupy instead of fluffy.

Very pale yellow orange mixture in a mixing bowl.

Time to layer! Start with half the angel food cake, then a third of the strawberries, then half the whipped cream/pudding mixture.

Repeat all three layers, and decorate the top with the remaining strawberries. You’re done! How beautiful is that!

8 photo collage showing steps to layering a trifle.

Cover the bowl tightly and refrigerate until ready to serve. The trifle is best if you give it a couple of hours in the fridge.

Remember, presentation is everything with a trifle. Set the bowl in the middle of the table and let everyone ooh and ahh.

Trifle made with layers of strawberries, angel food cake, and pudding whipped cream mixture.

Once that moment has passed, stick a big spoon into the trifle and give everyone a plate and a spoon. Dig in!

Trifle scooped into a small white bowl and topped with a strawberry.


What is the definition of a trifle?

This dessert has its origins in England. A trifle usually consists of sponge cake drizzled or soaked with wine, brandy, or rum, preserves, fruit, whipped cream, or custard. Most are layered in a tall sided glass bowl.
There are many recipes for trifle. Martha Stewart has twelve holiday trifle recipes!

What are the layers in a trifle?

Cake, fruit or preserves, custard or whipped cream are the classic layers in a trifle.

Can you leave a trifle overnight?

A trifle made with custard or pudding can be made up to twenty-four hours in advance but needs to be stored in the fridge.

How To Make This Trifle Your Own

  • For a mixed berry trifle, combine raspberries, blueberries, black raspberries, and strawberries. Use all four or any combination of berries you like. Sliced peaches are great, too.
  • Add sliced bananas to make a strawberry banana trifle.
  • If you’d like to make your trifle with cream cheese, use the whipped cream and cream cheese filling from these No Bake Lemon Berry Cheesecakes. The creamy layer in the cheesecakes works perfectly in a trifle.
  • Prefer custard? Try this simple custard from All Recipes, or my vanilla pudding.
  • Instead of angel food cake, try brownies. These Raspberry & Brownie Mini Trifles are amazing.

Easy strawberry trifle

  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Prep:1 hr and 10 mins
    • chilling in the fridge
  • Easy
  • Serves 8

A classic strawberry trifle without alcohol, so perfect for kids, but tastes just as delicious. Make your own sponge and custard to make it extra special! Top with whatever you like; strawberries, sprinkles or chocolate shavings


For the jelly and sponge base

  • 135g strawberry jelly cubes (I used Hartley’s)
  • 2 eggs
  • 60g sugar
  • 60g flour

For the custard

  • 135g strawberry jelly cubes (I used Hartley’s)
  • 2 eggs
  • 60g sugar
  • 60g flour
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 30g sugar
  • 300ml milk
  • 2 tbsp cornflour

For the topping

  • 135g strawberry jelly cubes (I used Hartley’s)
  • 2 eggs
  • 60g sugar
  • 60g flour
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 30g sugar
  • 300ml milk
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 300ml double cream
  • Strawberries, sprinkles, crushed biscuits, chocolate shavings, dolly mixtures


  • STEP 1 – Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and line the base of a 20 cm round cake tin. Whisk the two eggs and 60g sugar with a handheld whisk until pale and fluffy. Fold in the flour well, being sure to scrape to the bottom. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 10-12 mins.
  • STEP 2 – Prepare the jelly with the water. Cut out rounds of your sponge and place in the bottom of the trifle dish. Pour over all of the prepared jelly. Leave in the fridge for 6+ hours, preferably overnight. If you are in a rush, freeze for 1 hour then place in the fridge until set.
  • STEP 3 – Make the custard. Whisk together the egg yolks and 30g sugar. Heat the milk until almost boiling, then gradually pour over the yolks and sugar. Whisk in 2 tbsp cornflour. Return to the heat and whisk on low for 10 minutes until the custard is thick. Leave to cool for 30 minutes then pour over the jelly sponge. Place in the fridge to chill.
  • STEP 4 – Remove the trifle from the fridge when cool. Whip the cream to soft peaks, and spread over the trifle. Decorate with the toppings in a decorative pattern. Chill for 2+ hours before serving with a large spoon.

Traditional English Trifle

English trifle

Prep:20 mins

Cook:0 mins

Chill Time:60 mins

Total:80 mins

Servings:6 servings

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

An English trifle is a quintessential dessert that has graced British tables for more than four centuries. This decadent-looking treat is simply luscious and often made with alcohol, some with jelly and some not, while the fruit is a must-have for some and a turn-off to others.

Essentially, an English trifle needs sponge fingers or pound cake, perhaps soaked in sherry—but this is optional only if children are not involved. It also needs jelly (aka Jell-O in the U.S.), a thick layer of creamy custard, and a deep layer of lightly whipped fresh cream. The rest is all about personal preference.

A trifle made with jelly might be more appealing to children, and many adults love it too, because as it soaks into the cake, it gives it more texture. If you prefer a trifle without jelly, simply proceed without it—this will be quicker to make because it doesn’t need to set up in the fridge. Both are equally delicious.

A footed trifle bowl is traditional and makes an elegant presentation for the famous British dessert. If you don’t have one, make it in any large glass dish, or assemble it in individual glasses.

Click Play to See This Recipe Come Together

“I’ve had trifles before, but never one made with gelatin. I wasn’t sure I’d like it, but I think I prefer it. I made this recipe twice using both unflavored (Knox) gelatin and strawberry Jell-O. Both were good, though I preferred the look of the flavored version. It’s a great make-ahead dessert that looks elegant.

Traditional English Trifle Tester Image

A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 6 sponge fingers (or 6 ounces sponge cake or pound cake), halved horizontally and cut into thick slices
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons sherry, optional
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries or strawberries (do not use frozen)
  • 2 cups jelly or Jell-O made to packet instructions (or make your own)
  • 2 cups thick homemade custard (or canned)
  • 2 cups softly whipped cream
  • Whole raspberries or strawberries, garnish
  • Toasted sliced almonds, optional garnish
  • Grated chocolate, optional garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.English trifle ingredients
  2. Line the bottom of the trifle bowl or glasses with the sponge fingers or cake in a nice even layer. If you want to use sherry, now is the time to add it. Brush it on the sponge and let it soak in for 5 minutes.Line the bowl with sponge fingers or cake
  3. Cover the fingers with a thick layer of raspberries or strawberries. Slowly and gently pour over 1/3 of the liquid jelly and put into the fridge—doing this will set the sponge and fruit into the bottom of the bowl. Once this layer is set, pour over the remaining jelly and leave to set.Add a layer of fruit
  4. Once set, spoon a thick layer of custard on top.Thick custard spooned over the jelly
  5. Finish with a thick layer of whipped cream either spooned over or piped using a piping bag.Whipped cream over a thick layer of custard
  6. All that’s left to do is to decorate as you wish, with fresh fruit, maybe almonds or chocolate, that is up to you.English trifle in a glass bowl showing layers
  7. Serve and enjoy.Serve the English trifle topped with raspberries


  • If you don’t have sponge cake, you can use 6-ounce/160-gram packages of trifle sponges or sponge fingers instead.
  • If you have some trifle leftover, cover the dish and store it in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to three days. The sponge will soak up the layers, and it will not look as beautiful, but it will remain delicious.

Recipe Variations

This traditional British trifle recipe is just the beginning, and you can take it anywhere you like.

  • Some people add multiple layers of fruit and custard.
  • Brandy, Madeira, or a sweet white wine can replace the sherry.
  • Explore other trifle recipes such as a decadent chocolate trifle, a rum-infused panettone trifle featuring the Italian fruitcake, or enjoy the seasonal taste of a pumpkin and gingerbread trifle.
  • The trifle is so popular that other desserts have been adapted to this form. For instance, there’s a red velvet trifle, a banana split trifle, and a black forest brownie trifle that happens to be gluten free.

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