Lemon Berry Trifle

This show-stopping lemon berry trifle recipe includes lemon pound cake, fresh berries, a lemon cheesecake filling, and fresh whipped cream. Use store-bought cake if you’re short on time!

This show-stopping lemon berry trifle recipe includes lemon pound cake, fresh berries, a lemon cheesecake filling, and fresh whipped cream. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Trifles are an ideal party dessert, especially in the spring and summer. Served in a lovely glass bowl or trifle dish, the presentation is equally impressive and beautiful. You can prepare trifles in advance and even though I recommend homemade cake for those layers, you can definitely get away with store-bought. Especially when you take the time to make homemade whipped cream and homemade lemon curd!

Trifles are as show-stopping as tall layer cakes, but worlds easier to assemble. There’s always an exciting new layer to discover and unlike Rachel’s trifle, each layer is pretty pleasant!!!

She made half an English trifle… and half a shepherd’s pie! (Lol that’s two Friends desserts in a week.)

This show-stopping lemon berry trifle recipe includes lemon pound cake, fresh berries, a lemon cheesecake filling, and fresh whipped cream. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Today’s lemon berry trifle is my latest kitchen creation. I assembled and photographed it a couple weeks ago when friends came to visit. It was an instant hit, so I made it again for my mother-in-law’s birthday this past weekend. The whole family gathered at our house to celebrate, so I chose this dessert not only because it feeds a lot, but for its ease of preparation. I also baked this easy funfetti cake with chocolate buttercream. Both desserts only had 1 serving left!

After preparing this lemon berry trifle for two separate large groups, I have some helpful make-ahead tips for you. But first, let’s discuss the layers.

Lemon Trifle Layers

  1. Lemon pound cake: I use and recommend my lemon pound cake recipe. You can prepare the cake a day or 2 in advance. Since there are other homemade components to the recipe, feel free to use store-bought pound cake or even angel food cake.
  2. Lemon cheesecake layer: The lemon cheesecake layer is the star of the show. It’s light, fluffy, and a pleasing balance of sweet and tart. It’s prepared with cream cheese, homemade lemon curd, vanilla extract, and homemade whipped cream. I strongly suggest using homemade lemon curd and homemade whipped cream in this lemon berry trifle. Both taste considerably more appetizing than their store-bought counterparts. Homemade lemon curd can be prepared up to a week in advance and the whipped cream is only 3 basic ingredients!
  3. Fresh berries: No extra steps here, just layer fresh berries right into the trifle. Whichever berries you use, I recommend using fresh. Frozen berries are a convenient substitution when fresh berries are not available, but they leak juices in the trifle layers regardless if you thaw or not before layering. Think about how you want the fruit to taste and go from there.
  4. Whipped cream: Always homemade whipped cream. Prepared with heavy cream, a little sugar, and vanilla extract—you can’t go wrong with fluffy and lightly sweetened homemade whipped cream. Half of the whipped cream is beaten into the lemon cheesecake filling and the remaining half is spread or piped on top of the trifle. I used my Wilton 1M tip for piping.

This is my homemade lemon pound cake. Slice and cube the cake after it cools. The pound cake is the foundation of the trifle.

Deliciously moist lemon pound cake recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Lemon pound cake for lemon berry trifle on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Lemon Cheesecake

The lemon cheesecake layer was everyone’s favorite. It reminded us of lemon mousse– very light and very airy. Homemade whipped cream not only tops the entire trifle, but is beaten into the cheesecake layer itself. This addition incorporates air into the lemon cheesecake layer, promising a fluffy texture instead of a heavy texture. All of the lemon flavor in this layer comes from lemon curd, so I definitely recommend using fresh. And all of the sweetness comes from the lemon curd and whipped cream. Store-bought versions of both, made with who the heck knows what, will quickly over-sweeten the entire dessert.

The lemon cheesecake layer uses 1 cup of my lemon curd recipe, so you’ll have 1/2 cup leftover.

Other Ways to Eat Lemon Curd

And if you don’t have plans to eat right away, you can freeze lemon curd for up to 3-6 months.

Homemade lemon curd on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Lemon cheesecake filling with whipped cream and lemon curd on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Homemade Whipped Cream

Homemade whipped cream is the finishing touch. You can use heavy whipping cream instead of heavy cream, but with its slightly higher fat percentage, heavy cream makes a sturdier whipped cream. If you’re using your stand mixer, don’t walk away from it. While beating heavy cream into whipped cream takes a few minutes, there’s only a few seconds between perfectly whipped cream (delicious!) and over-whipped cream (lumpy!).

Rescue tip just in case: you can always fix over-whipped cream.

Deliciously soft and creamy homemade whipped cream on sallysbakingaddiction.com

As we finished dessert on Sunday, I asked for everyone’s opinion.

Comments on Lemon Berry Trifle

  • Lemon is not overpowering
  • Just the right about of sweet
  • I’m having seconds
  • The pound cake is really good on its own AND with all the layers
  • The whipped cream is really creamy!
  • My new favorite dessert
  • So simple, but so good
  • When can you make it again?

That last comment was my favorite!!

This show-stopping lemon berry trifle recipe includes lemon pound cake, fresh berries, a lemon cheesecake filling, and fresh whipped cream. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

This show-stopping lemon berry trifle recipe includes lemon pound cake, fresh berries, a lemon cheesecake filling, and fresh whipped cream. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

So there we have it. Lemon berry trifle is a stunning dessert that can be prepared in advance and impresses anyone who takes a bite. In my eyes, that’s the sweetest ending to any party meal!

Lemon Berry Trifle

Ingredients:

Pound Cake

Whipped Cream

  • 2 cups (480ml) heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Lemon Cheesecake & Berry Layers

  • one 8-ounce block (224g) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup lemon curd (homemade or store-bought), at room temperature
  • 5-6 cups fresh berries (I use blueberries and raspberries)
  • optional: additional berries and lemon slices for garnish

Directions:

  1. Slice the lemon pound cake into 9 1-inch slices. Cut into bite-sized cubes. Set aside.
  2. Make the whipped cream: In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract together on high speed into stiff peaks, about 3 minutes. Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to use in step 4.
  3. Make the lemon cheesecake layer: In a large bowl using a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed until creamy. Add the vanilla extract and lemon curd and beat on medium-high speed until combined. Lastly, beat in half of whipped cream (about 2 cups) that you prepared in step 2. Cover and store the remaining whipped cream in the refrigerator until used in step 5.
  4. Assemble: This trifle has 3 layers of pound cake, 3 layers of berries, and 2 layers of the lemon cheesecake mixture. Begin with a base of lemon pound cake cubes. Top with an even layer of fresh berries, then half of the lemon cheesecake mixture. Repeat. Finish with final layer of lemon pound cake cubes followed by a final layer of berries. Spread or pipe remaining whipped cream on top of the trifle. I used Wilton 1M piping tip to pipe the whipped cream on top. (Whisk the whipped cream to reincorporate any liquid if needed.)
  5. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 6 hours (see make ahead tip if you wish to store longer). You can refrigerate uncovered for 2-4 hours, but I recommend loosely covering if storing longer than that. The time in the refrigerator gives the flavors a chance to settle and allows the pound cake to soak up some of the lemon cheesecake mixture.
  6. Garnish with extra berries and/or lemon slices and serve cold. Cover and store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.

Make ahead tip: I suggest making the homemade lemon pound cake 1 day ahead of time. Let it cool, then cover and store at room temperature overnight. You can prepare the lemon curd up to 1 week before using. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to use. After assembling the trifle, you can refrigerate for up to 6 hours before serving. If you wish to refrigerate for longer than 6 hours, I suggest making the whipped cream in two parts. To do so, only prepare half of it in step 2 (simply halve all the ingredients). Use this for folding into the lemon cheesecake layer in step 3. Prepare and assemble the trifle, then cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 day. When ready to serve, prepare the remaining whipped cream and add it on top of the trifle.

Recipe Notes:

  1. To save time, you can use store-bought pound cake or angel food cake.
  2. Interested in using frozen berries? Frozen berries are a nice substitution, but they will thaw and leak their juices in the trifle layers. If you thaw them before layering, they'll still be extra juicy.

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

SHOP THIS RECIPE

Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.

KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Tilt-Head Glass Bowl | KitchenAid Hand Mixer | Glass Mixing Bowls | Trifle Bowl

62 Comments

Comments

  1. Alana Pradhan on June 19, 2018 at 6:59 pm

    Saw this BEAUTY on Instagram and had to make it! Long time Sally fan. first time posting. Trifle was a childhood favorite of mine but this recipe was better than anything I had as a kid. Definitely make the pound cake and curd ahead of time. This will make day of assembly a cinche. This was the bell of my Sunday afternoon bbq. It still tested fantastic 2 days later when I brought it into work. Thank you again Sally!

    • Sally on June 20, 2018 at 3:48 pm

      So happy you tried this trifle and I agree, it’s best to prepare the cake and curd ahead of time. Thank you so much for reporting back!

  2. Kristen on June 22, 2018 at 5:06 am

    Hi Sally, this trifle looks absolutely AMAZING. Lemon and blueberry is one of my favorite combinations. I’m really want to make one of your creations (either this or the layer cake) this weekend to take to a luncheon we’re hosting to show our appreciation for the cleaning and security staff at our school. My problem is trying to decide what to do. Trifles are so much easier to transport, but I don’t have a dish that will really let me layer properly, which sort of ruins the effect.

    Then I had a thought – why not combine the two! Is it possible to use the cheesecake layer from this recipe in place of the cream cheese frosting on the layer cake? Will it hold up the same? If not, can I use it as a filling if I make cupcakes instead of a layer cake?

    Thanks for the help!

    • Sally on June 25, 2018 at 10:13 am

      Hi Kristen! This is a wonderful question. This cheesecake filling is a little too thick to frost a cake. You can use it to fill the lemon blueberry layer cake though. You can also use this cheesecake filling layer as filling for cupcakes, yes.

  3. Emily Schmidt on August 8, 2018 at 11:03 am

    I made this yesterday for some dinner guests and it was great! Not too difficult to make but stunning visually and everyone loved it! Will definitely be making this one again!!

    • Sally on August 8, 2018 at 1:15 pm

      I’m glad it was such a hit at your dinner party, Emily! 🙂

Reviews

  1. Alana Pradhan on June 19, 2018 at 6:59 pm

    Saw this BEAUTY on Instagram and had to make it! Long time Sally fan. first time posting. Trifle was a childhood favorite of mine but this recipe was better than anything I had as a kid. Definitely make the pound cake and curd ahead of time. This will make day of assembly a cinche. This was the bell of my Sunday afternoon bbq. It still tested fantastic 2 days later when I brought it into work. Thank you again Sally!

    • Sally on June 20, 2018 at 3:48 pm

      So happy you tried this trifle and I agree, it’s best to prepare the cake and curd ahead of time. Thank you so much for reporting back!

Questions

  1. ReneeW on May 9, 2018 at 9:35 am

    Sally, does the (homemade) lemon curd need to be room temperature before blended with the cream cheese? I can’t WAIT to try this. YUM!

    • Sally on May 9, 2018 at 9:37 pm

      Hi Renee! Great question. I recommend the lemon curd is at room temperature so it blends nicely with the cream cheese.

  2. Jeannette Riss on May 9, 2018 at 11:13 am

    Sally – is your lemon loaf (without the glaze) a suitable substitute for the lemon pound cake or is the density of the pound cake a necessity?

    • Sally on May 9, 2018 at 9:36 pm

      The lemon loaf from my cookbook? Yes, absolutely! It would be wonderful in this trifle.

  3. Sally on May 9, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    Hi Sally,
    I’m very excited to try this recipe, I’m from
    NZ and trifle is a staple at Christmas!
    Is there any reason you use granulated sugar instead of powdered sugar in your whipped cream? I always make my own but have only ever used powdered sugar.
    Thanks,
    Sally

    • Sally on May 9, 2018 at 9:31 pm

      Hi Sally! I make whipped cream both ways and never notice a difference in taste or texture. So, really, it’s personal preference! If I’m making whipped cream for a certain recipe that already uses granulated sugar or confectioners’ sugar, I’ll just reach for that one 🙂

  4. Bernice P on May 10, 2018 at 8:58 am

    Hi Sally, This looks delicious. I am going to try it for Mother’s Day Brunch this weekend…. quick question.. If I assemble it the day before will the blueberries ( fresh) breakdown and make the cake portions purple looking . Will top with whipped cream the day of the brunch… Thanks so much.. Love all of your recipes…

    • Sally on May 10, 2018 at 10:45 am

      Hi Bernice! The fresh blueberries will not break down overnight, but I do recommend waiting to top the trifle with whipped cream until the day of. See my make ahead tip. 🙂

  5. Eva on May 13, 2018 at 10:45 pm

    Hi Sally, I’ve been looking for an excuse to make this and I have my mother coming from overseas and a gathering of in-laws. I just need to get everything done a week before as I have too much going on so my question is can I freeze the lemon pound cake? I’m thinking of making everything else with the exception of whipped cream a few days ahead, will that work? And could I get away with making whipped cream a day before??

    Thanks for this lemon beauty of a dessert!

    • Sally on May 14, 2018 at 5:51 am

      Hi Eva! You can bake, cool, + freeze the pound cake. Then thaw and cut into cubes as directed. Or even cut into cubes and freeze those. Whichever is easier for you. I don’t recommend making the whipped cream a day before, but a few hours ahead is perfectly fine. Have fun with your family!

  6. Deb on May 27, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    Hi Sally, I’ve made lots of your recipes! I just made the trifle for a Memorial Weekend gathering today. I used a store-bought angel food cake and just strawberries since they’re on sale and available. I also made an instant vanilla and lemon pudding (1 small box of each) mixed with cream cheese and whipped cream to replace the curd. It made a lot more than your curd, but it layered in very nicely, has a nice lemon flavor and I have leftover pudding to mix with just berries!

    Your picture doesn’t show the strawberries lining the trifle bowl but I’ve seen pictures of some trifles that show the fruit circling the inside of the bowl – a sliced strawberry standing up. My question is, how do you do that without the filling oozing around the sides of the strawberries? It doesn’t totally ruin the effect, but it spoils it just a little! I tried inserting some strawberry slices around the top layers after I was finished but the filling got a little bit in front of the berries. How else can it be done? Do you stick the strawberries into the lower layer just to stand them up and then shovel the next layers in like crazy, hoping the fruit doesn’t fall over?

    Believe me, I’m fine with the way it turned out and it’s a beauty! I wish I could attach a picture! But curious about that final effect of the fruit ringing the bowl. Thanks! As we get further into summer season I look forward to making it with different types of berries and peaches!

    One final note, if you don’t have kids eating the trifle, I add splashes of Strawberry Fragoli on top of the cake layers. I’ve also used Orange liqueurs i.e. Triple Sec or Cointreau. Thanks again!

    • Sally on May 29, 2018 at 1:56 pm

      I have never tried to present the strawberries like that so unfortunately I don’t have any tips. But thank you for idea of adding liquors on top – sounds delish!

    • Kristen on June 23, 2018 at 2:15 am

      I made a trifle a few years ago where the strawberries were standing up… If I remember correctly, I put in the whipped cream for that layer first, then slid the strawberries carefully down the side of the trifle dish, rounded side down. I cut them to probably around 1cm thick. They bent to the curve of the bowl as I pushed them, and the moisture of the strawberry sort of cleaned the glass along the way. It wasn’t 100% perfect, but it worked pretty well, especially on the second layer when I realized what worked best. You can see the photo I took if you go here: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/37436240624051604/ (though I don’t recommend following the link to the recipe. It’s definitely changed since I made it)

  7. Kristen on June 22, 2018 at 5:06 am

    Hi Sally, this trifle looks absolutely AMAZING. Lemon and blueberry is one of my favorite combinations. I’m really want to make one of your creations (either this or the layer cake) this weekend to take to a luncheon we’re hosting to show our appreciation for the cleaning and security staff at our school. My problem is trying to decide what to do. Trifles are so much easier to transport, but I don’t have a dish that will really let me layer properly, which sort of ruins the effect.

    Then I had a thought – why not combine the two! Is it possible to use the cheesecake layer from this recipe in place of the cream cheese frosting on the layer cake? Will it hold up the same? If not, can I use it as a filling if I make cupcakes instead of a layer cake?

    Thanks for the help!

    • Sally on June 25, 2018 at 10:13 am

      Hi Kristen! This is a wonderful question. This cheesecake filling is a little too thick to frost a cake. You can use it to fill the lemon blueberry layer cake though. You can also use this cheesecake filling layer as filling for cupcakes, yes.

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