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, 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! You’ll also love tiramisu, too!

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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

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.

85 Comments

  1. Sally, the second I saw the word ‘trifle’, my mind jumped straight to Rachel! “It tastes like feet!” I laughed out loud when I read your post and your trifle looks amaaaaazing and I’m sure tastes equally great! I’ve been thinking of making one with fresh mangoes because it’s the only good part of summer in India 😀

    1. Hey gayatri we both are thinking alike! Wanted to check how the mango version tasted? Did you use the lemon pound cake or the regular one? Would love to hear back from you!

  2. I love the simplicity of this dessert and the combination of flavors. I will definitely be making this over the weekend and can’t wait to taste this beauty!! Finding your new site easy to use and love the trending now section because some of those recipes I had forgotten about☺

    1. Thank you so much Wendy! I hope you enjoy making this dessert – let me know what you think 🙂 I’m thrilled you are loving the new site – I really appreciate your feedback!

  3. Lemon and blueberry together are so satisfying! This looks beautiful and I look forward to trying it.
    I’m upset because you clearly forgot the layer of beef sautéed with onions and peas. Everyone knows you put beef in a trifle. Lol.

  4. 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!

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

  5. I have wanted to make a trifle for a very long time so am soooo happy you’ve posted this delicious looking dessert. Really looking forward to make it. Your desserts are delicious and so easy to follow. Thanks Sally!

  6. 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?

  7. Wow! This looks so yummy. I think that I will make this mini by serving these in tiny mason jars. Thanks for another great recipe!

  8. 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

    1. 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 🙂

  9. I’ve never been a fan of trifles (mainly because the versions I tried were way tooooooo sweet for my teeth). But this one looks so appealing! I will definitely try it. Besides it is easy to make – it’s like crumbled cake with heaps of frosting. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  10. I love lemon trifles and this one looks fabulous! Also, I’m loving the new blog layout!

  11. Is it too early to bookmark this as this year’s Christmas dessert? Perfect for an Aussie summer Christmas, a trifle I’ll ACTUALLY love (I hate jelly!)

      1. 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.

  12. Every time I see a Trifle I always think of that Friends episode, lol. And this is so perfect for Spring! I made your lemon pound cake last year and even my husband (who is not a huge lemon fan) could not get enough!

  13. 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…

    1. 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. 🙂

  14. I made this today. Unfortunately I have a gluten intolerance so I couldnt use your pound cake recipe. This trifle was absolutely out of this world amazing. You are seriously a baking wizard. Your recipes are un-be-lieve-able!! I’m a terrible baker, don’t know why but I find difficult to get consistent results. But when I use your recipes they turn out perfect every time! Just thought you should know.

  15. 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.

  16. 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!

    1. 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!

  17. 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.

  18. Hi Sally! I always trust your recipes! I’m trying to make trifle today, was wanting to make strawberry shortcake or strawberry cheesecake trifle. Was wondering if I could leave out the lemon part and use the cheesecake as it is for th strawberry cheesecake filling

  19. 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!

    1. 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!

    2. 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)

  20. 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!!!

  21. Hey, Sally! Your recipe sounds great and the pictures look delicious. Your detailed description of each step of preparing the dessert is very helpful.

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