Sarah is an avid home cook and enjoys developing and sharing delicious recipes the whole family can enjoy. She is from South Carolina.
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.
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
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:
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- 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
- 1 angel food cake, cubed or torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1 vanilla instant pudding, large box, 5.1 oz.
- 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
Step-by-Step Photos for Making Southern Summer Fruit Trifle
How to Make Trifle
- Follow box directions and make pudding. Stir in sour cream and 1/2 cup Cool Whip. Set aside.
- Place strawberries in a small bowl and sprinkle with 1/4 cup suger. Mix.
- Place peaches in another small bowl and sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar. Mix.
- Place 1/3 of the angel food cake in bottom of a trifle bowl, and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of Amaretto.
- Spread 1/3 of the pudding over cake.
- Spread pineapple over pudding layer.
- Add a layer of cake, and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of Amaretto.
- Spread 1/3 of pudding over cake.
- Add a layer of blueberries.
- Add a final layer of cake, and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of Amaretto.
- Spread remaing pudding over cake.
- Add a layer of peaches.
- Spread remaining Cool Whip over peach layer.
- Add slices of strawberry around edge of bowl as shown in the picture. Add one strawberry slice in the center of the trifle.
- Notes: This recipe is best if made the day before. For an even creamier pudding, stir in 1/2 cup of Cool Whip.
- 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
Mini Fruit Trifles
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!