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!

lemon berry trifle

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.)

overhead image of lemon berry trifle

Video Tutorial: How to Make Lemon Berry Trifle

Today’s lemon berry trifle is my latest kitchen creation. In terms of flavor, it reminds me of this lemon berry yogurt cake. I assembled and photographed it when friends came to visit. It was an instant hit, so I made it again for my mother-in-law’s birthday. 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.

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, 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.

lemon pound cake cut into slices on a white cutting board

overhead image of cubes of lemon pound cake in the bottom of a glass trifle dish

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.

Lemon cheesecake filling in a glass bowl

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!).

homemade whipped cream in a glass stand mixer bowl

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

Comments on Lemon Berry Trifle

  • Lemon is not overpowering
  • Just the right amount 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!!

lemon berry trifle with a serving spoon and a serving of trifle on a white plate

serving of lemon berry trifle on a white plate with a fork

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! You’ll also love tiramisu, too!

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lemon berry trifle with a serving spoon and a serving of trifle on a white plate

Lemon Berry Trifle

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: serves 12
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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!


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
  • 56 cups fresh berries (I use blueberries and raspberries)
  • optional: additional berries and lemon slices for garnish

Instructions

  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 3.
  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.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: 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.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Tilt-Head Glass Bowl | KitchenAid Hand Mixer | Glass Mixing Bowls | Trifle Bowl
  3. Shortcut: To save time, you can use store-bought pound cake or angel food cake.
  4. 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.

42 Comments

  1. Kelli Culpepper says:

    Oh my goodness Sally, this was divine. My husband and son made this for my mother-in-law and me today for mother’s day. They made Ina’s lemon cake for it and used blueberries and strawberries. Your recipe for the curd. Wow! Two thumbs up. Feel certain we will make again and again. Might have trumbled Ina’s lemon bars.

  2. Made it yesterday for mother’s day. Home made Gluten free pound cake ( since we have Celiac in the family) with the rest of the recipe exactly yielded an excellent dessert both delicious and beautiful in presentation. Thanks for a wonderful recipe Sally. I got my nine year old to assemble the whole thing which was double the fun.

  3. This was a PERFECT recipe! Every element was so delicious on its own, and when it came together it was a hit test everyone loved. It may be my favorite dessert. The only thing I changed out of personal preference was making the lemon cheesecake layer more tart because I like a looot of lemon. It could be that my lemons were pretty small though. I just added juice of half a lemon when mixing the curd into the cream cheese and it was perfect. Thanks for another delicious recipe!!!

    1. It’s totally ok to make the lemon flavor stronger if that’s what you like! I’m so happy you tried this!

  4. Alana Pradhan says:

    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!

  5. Emily Schmidt says:

    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!!

  6. Hi! Although I LOVE lemon pound cake, I’m not so sure my family will. Was thinking I can swap it out for your brown butter pound cake recipe and then also omitting the lemon curd out of the cheesecake filling. How do you think this would come out? Maybe I can add something strawberry related in somehow? Or just keep the filling as is or add some more sugar? Please advise! Thanks

    1. Brown butter pound cake, cheesecake filling, and berries would be delicious! You can even add in some strawberry compote. You can get as creative as you wish when making trifles!

  7. Can this be layered in glass cups to make mini trifles? I don’t own a trifle bowl, as I don’t make them all that often (I should, though!), and I would hate to layer it in one of my plain metal mixing bowls. Those beautiful layers shouldn’t be hidden from view! And with minis, everyone can have their own trifle, which I think could be fun. Also, I’d like to layer leftover lemon curd in with everything else for extra lemon flavour; will there be enough leftover curd to do this? Thanks, Sally!

    1. Hi Erin! This lemon berry trifle is excellent as mini individual trifles! I recommend that you make an extra batch of lemon curd to be sure you have enough.

  8. Wow, wow, wow. I made this for Easter dinner. It was amazing, if I do say so myself. I will definitely be making this again. Worth every step. Thank you for an amazing recipe. Yum

  9. Hi Sally, can I keep the trifle in fridge or in room temperature? I’m thinking of make it for church event tomorrow.

    1. Best to keep in the refrigerator if you prepare it ahead of time. It can be at room temperature for a couple hours while serving though.

  10. I saw it. I made it. It was beautiful and so worth the time! Will make again! The homemade poundcake and lemon curd-outstanding!

  11. Val Rogosheske says:

    Mine turned out dry…seems like I should put something wet on the bottom of the bowl before the cake pieces. I also ate some right away instead of waiting for 2 hours. Maybe it will be better tomorrow. Taste-wise, the lemon curd was great…I think the cream cheese watered down the taste too much. Had fun doing it with grandkids, though!

  12. Hello Sally from sunny Darwin, Australia!
    Made this for my stepdad’s birthday because he loves trifle but the rest of us hate it!
    Well as you may guess it disappeared within 10 mins! It was absolutely delicious and won everyone over!
    Thanks for your recipes, everything I’ve made so far from your website has come out perfectly!!!
    Look forward to lots more compliments coming my way thanks to you 🙂

  13. Maria McMahon says:

    Hi, I was wondering, would it ruin the recipe to add a sprinkling of Cointreau to the cake portions? I live in the UK and trifles usually include some form of alcohol. I’ve been asked to bring a trifle for a Christmas party and this one looks amazing, but I think I might be given the side-eye if I omit the booze!

    1. Hi Maria, There are a few ways to make it boozy! You can make a simple Cointreau syrup to brush over the warm cake after it bakes. Or you can also soak your berries in your choice of alcohol. Enjoy!

    2. My in-laws are English and yes, I wanted to make this for MIL when she comes to visit but her trifle consisted of lady fingers soaked in sherry…. So will have to adapt this! I think the lemony part of this sounds amazing!

  14. This was an absolute hit last year and I was just discussing our Christmas plans with my mother. We both know dessert is already sorted! Honestly tempted to do a “trial run” even though this turned out perfectly because it’s sooooo delicious.

  15. Hi Sally! I made your lemon cupcakes and froze the leftovers a while back. Could I use these in place of the pound cake or are they too delicate? Thanks!

    1. They’d be wonderful in this trifle!

  16. Nancy Williams says:

    Loved the look of this trifle and had to make it. I loved the addition lemon curd to the cheesecake filling. Perfect. Shared my photo to Instagram and tagged you. Thanks!!!!!

  17. I made this last week and it was a major hit. I decided to make it again, but with a few tweaks. I subbed angel food cake for the pound cake, mandarin orange curd for lemon curd, and canned mandarin oranges instead of berries. It was divine and tasted just like a dreamcicle!

  18. I love this recipe! I made it this past Easter and I will be making it again for Memorial Day. I’m planning on making a flag design on top with the blueberries and raspberries! If anyone is looking for an in-between of store bought and homemade lemon pound cake, the Duncan Hines one is amazing! It’s about 5 ingredients, just look it up and you will find it. By the way I love using my trifle dish and if I could I would like to put in a request for more trifle recipes! Haha

  19. Could you make this in individual jars?
    Thanks
    Trish

    1. Sure can, Trish!

      1. I dipped the cake pieces in Bacardi Gold Rum as I was assembling the cake. I used strawberries and blueberries. It was outrageous!

  20. Melonie Ann Gueller says:

    Simply amazing! This recipe popped up when I Goggled “Top 10 Trifle Recipes”. I am glad it did! I followed the recipe and made lemon pound cake and lemon curd two days in advance. Everything came out fantastic! My piping was off but was fine because the taste was great! We used blueberries, raspberries and blackberries as per my daughter’s request. I was curious to maybe adding remainder of lemon curd as a layer on bottom of bowl, but I’ll see how it goes next time. I’m excited to try more lemon recipes from your site!

  21. Crystal M Hein says:

    Hi Sally,
    I have your lemon layer cake frozen in my freezer. Im wondering if you think that it would taste ok to use that cake instead of the lemon pound cake since i already have it made??
    Thank you!!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Crystal, That should be fine. You will only need one layer of the lemon cake. Enjoy!

  22. I made this for Christmas dinner, it was amazing. I found the whipped cream was a bit too much so we only used half of the recommended to cover the top. I redo and marketing it the day ahead to let the cake soften. We will make this again

  23. Hi Sally! I made it this weekend and it was a massive hit! My trifle bowl was a tad smaller and so I made another mini trifle with all the leftovers. Since this doesn’t contain any jelly, do you think I can freeze it for a week? Thanks again for the recipe!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sam! Thrilled to hear the trifle was such a hit. We fear the trifle will get quite messy during the thawing process, but if you’re not concerned about presentation, you can certainly try it. But for best results, we recommend within the next few days!

  24. Hi, getting ready to make this and wonder if I should make the glaze for the pound cake or leave it off? Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Leigh, you can leave the glaze off the pound cake. Enjoy!

  25. Hello, I know your recipe calls for full fat cream cheese, but I accidentally purchased reduced fat cream cheese (1/3 less). I really want to make this recipe. Will it be okay to use the reduced fat cream cheese?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jean! The cheesecake layer may be a little more thin with a reduced fat cream cheese, but should work OK in this recipe. Let us know if you give it a try!

  26. Kelly Baumgartel says:

    This LEMON BERRY TRIFLE was spectacular. I used store bought lemon curd, but baked Sally’s Lemon Pound Cake for the trifle.
    I was looking for direction on whether to glaze or not to glaze the LEMON POUND CAKE, after careful scrutiny of the comments, I glazed !
    DEFINITELY GLAZE THE LEMON POUND CAKE before use in the LEMON BERRY TRIFLE!
    You (and your team) are brilliant!
    I have never enjoyed baking this much! Thank you.

  27. I am not exaggerating when I say this is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. I would give it 10 stars if I could. As fate would have it, I am obsessed with lemon, berries, whipped cream and cheesecake. I want to be buried alive in this trifle so that I can eat my way out of it. It’s also super reasonable to make. I made it for my husband’s birthday and we annihilated it- I demanded it be made for my birthday, too. 😉

  28. Judy Marshall says:

    I made this for a special event a couple of weeks ago. Everyone loved it. I wish I would have been smart, though, and made the cake and curd ahead of time. Certainly worth the effort and time. I will make it again and again. Thank you.

  29. Carla VanWitzenburg says:

    Great recipe! I used store bought poundcake due to being short on time. I used your recipe in every other detail but added freshly grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons) in the cheesecake mixture to give it a boost in flavor and it gave it that little extra tart lemon flavor. Lovely, light and delicious dessert, thank you!

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