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Easy Desserts: Summer Fruit Trifle Recipe

Sarah is an avid home cook and enjoys developing and sharing delicious recipes the whole family can enjoy. She is from South Carolina.

This layered trifle is the perfect summer treat!

This layered trifle is the perfect summer treat!

Trifle Desserts

Trifle is a fantastic dessert any time of year, but especially during summer when the fruit ingredients are in season. Trifle has gained popularity in the last few years and some really tasty and creative variations have followed. I have seen Chocolate Trifle, Red Velvet Trifle, and even Red, White, and Blue Trifle. The glass trifle bowl is like a vase, displaying the colorful contents within. For this reason, trifle makes a beautiful dessert centerpiece for a party, luncheon, or family dinner.

Gelatin and jam are often used in traditional English trifle

Gelatin and jam are often used in traditional English trifle

Traditional English Trifle

My recipe and other modern trifle desserts are different from the original English version. To find out what traditional English trifle was like, I asked my British friend to describe what she had growing up in England. It is always fun to translate the British to American English when we talk. She described her family's trifle recipe as follows:

  • bottom layer of "sponge fingers" (must be like ladyfingers)
  • layer of "jelly" (gelatin)
  • layer of "tinned" (canned) fruit, usually peaches
  • layer of custard
  • whipped cream on top

Some British recipes call for a layer of jam over the bottom layer of cake. I have found American recipes from years ago that include jam (or preserves), but it seems to have been phased out along with the Jello. In my area, many recipes call for yellow cake as the base, though angel food cake (the American version of sponge cake) is very popular. Angel food cake can be made from scratch or a box mix, but even the store-bought one works fine for a good trifle.

Fresh Fruit for Trifle

I like to make trifle when peaches, blueberries, and strawberries are in season.

I like to make trifle when peaches, blueberries, and strawberries are in season.

Summer Fruit Trifle

Most trifle recipes call for a layering of ingredients for a spectacular presentation, not to mention the delicious and refreshing taste. The trifle I make is special for several reasons. To keep the recipe quick and easy, I use store-bought angel food cake, boxed pudding mix, and Cool Whip. Don’t be turned off, though! My secret ingredients transform the dessert into something special. I use:

  • sour cream and Cool Whip to make the pudding thick and rich
  • Amaretto liqueur that soaks the cake and adds a kick
  • fresh peaches for an additional Southern flair
  • fresh berries when available

My easy no-bake recipe is below, as well as a mini trifle idea for kids.

Angel Food Cake

Store-bought angel food cake can be used for a quick and easy trifle recipe.

Store-bought angel food cake can be used for a quick and easy trifle recipe.

Cut cake into cubes as shown, or simply tear into bite-sized pieces.

Cut cake into cubes as shown, or simply tear into bite-sized pieces.

Ingredients

  • 1 angel food cake, cubed or torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 vanilla instant pudding, large box, 5.1 oz.
  • milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, regular
  • 6 tablespoons Amaretto, divided
  • 1 can of crushed pineapple, 15 1/4 oz., drained
  • 1 cup peaches, sliced
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 container Cool Whip, divided

How to Make Trifle

  1. Follow box directions and make pudding. Stir in sour cream and 1/2 cup Cool Whip. Set aside.
  2. Place strawberries in a small bowl and sprinkle with 1/4 cup suger. Mix.
  3. Place peaches in another small bowl and sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar. Mix.
  4. Place 1/3 of the angel food cake in bottom of a trifle bowl, and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of Amaretto.
  5. Spread 1/3 of the pudding over cake.
  6. Spread pineapple over pudding layer.
  7. Add a layer of cake, and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of Amaretto.
  8. Spread 1/3 of pudding over cake.
  9. Add a layer of blueberries.
  10. Add a final layer of cake, and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of Amaretto.
  11. Spread remaing pudding over cake.
  12. Add a layer of peaches.
  13. Spread remaining Cool Whip over peach layer.
  14. Add slices of strawberry around edge of bowl as shown in the picture. Add one strawberry slice in the center of the trifle.
  15. Notes: This recipe is best if made the day before. For an even creamier pudding, stir in 1/2 cup of Cool Whip.
  16. Substitutions: Try sherry instead of Amaretto. Try raspberries instead of blueberries. Change the order of the fruit, or mix fruit together for layers. Frozen peaches and berries may be used if fresh is not available.

How to Order the Trifle Layers

(top to bottom)

Strawberries around the rim

Cool Whip

Peaches

Pudding

Cake

Blueberries

Pudding

Cake

Pineapple

Pudding

Cake

Mini Fruit Trifles for Kids

Trifle bowls even come in mini sizes, which are perfect for individual servings. Leave out the Amaretto and let the kids make their own trifle desserts. Set out the fruit, cake, pudding and Cool Whip on the counter and let the kids take over. They can tear the cake into small pieces and layer the ingredients however they want. Add a twist by substituting white cheesecake pudding for the vanilla flavor. Everyone loves a good trifle!

How do you like this recipe?

Comments

Athlyn Green from West Kootenays on December 21, 2015:

Looks fab. Now you have me motivated!

rose-the planner from Toronto, Ontario-Canada on May 04, 2013:

This looks delicious! I have always wanted to make one. I will have to try your recipe. Thanks for posting.

Hendrika from Pretoria, South Africa on December 01, 2012:

In South Africa we make our trifle with layers more or less the same so that even if you do not dig to the bottom you get a little of everything. It may not look as spectacular, but it prevents someone getting all the same in one try.

Dianna Mendez on June 30, 2012:

I gave this one a 5 star rating for the wonderful idea and the fruit ingredients. I would love to have this tomorrow.

Sarah Johnson (author) from Charleston, South Carolina on June 28, 2012:

Thumbnails seems to be working now!

Sarah Johnson (author) from Charleston, South Carolina on June 28, 2012:

Hi, Time2Spare. I'm wondering if it is an issue with HP. The system seems very slow today. Thanks for the tip - I will check on it.

Time2Spare from Richmond, Virginia on June 28, 2012:

It looks really delicious and can't wait to make it! Thanks for the recipe and I hope to make it soon. the thumbnails aren't working for me too.

Sarah Johnson (author) from Charleston, South Carolina on June 28, 2012:

Hi, clairewait. I really have seen all kinds of things in trifle, but most here in the US have some kind of cake and pudding layered throughout. Fruit is common, but the chocolate and peanut butter ones look pretty awesome too! Not sure about the thumbnails - they can be slow when I have a bad connection.

Sarah Johnson (author) from Charleston, South Carolina on June 28, 2012:

Hi, Global-Chica. Trifle may have started here as a Southern dessert, from the English settlers, of course. About 20 years ago, my aunt was visiting a friend up north and at a dinner gathering announced that she had made trifle. Another lady patted her hand and said "I think you mean truffles, dear." But, no, it was trifle and no one had heard of it yet. They loved it!

clairewait from North Carolina on June 28, 2012:

I just saw this on MasterChef the other night and wondered exactly what goes into it. Nice hub. (Quick note: the picture thumbnails aren't working for me to view.)

Anna from New York, NY on June 28, 2012:

All I have to say is wow! I've never hear of trifle but sure am glad you've introduced me to it. It looks really delicious and I can't wait to make it! Thanks for the recipe and I hope to get a chance to make it soon.