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Strawberry Trifle With Angel Food Cake

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Get ready to wow your family and guests this summer season with this amazing Strawberry Angel Food Cake Trifle. With its beautiful layers of cake pieces, sweet strawberries, and cream, it’s as delicious as it is fancy, and it might surprise you how easy it is to make. Everyone from kids to adults always loves this angel food and strawberry trifle!

Red and white layered trifle in a glass dish.

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Is there any dessert more beautiful than a perfectly layered trifle displayed in a large clear glass dish? I like to put this strawberry trifle in the center of the table and watch the looks of awe and admiration from kids and adults alike as they go past.

I sometimes like to call this a strawberry cheesecake trifle because it uses light cream cheese, whipped cream, and a touch of lemon juice for a tangy and creamy cheesecake filling. This means this is a lighter dessert that also won’t be dry like some other angel food trifles you’ve had in the past.

If you love strawberry and cheesecake desserts, check out my Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie and my Mini Strawberry Cheesecakes!

Make this scrumptious strawberry trifle dessert the day or night ahead to really give the chance for all the flavors to combine and develop. Then place it on the table shortly before dessert and enjoy all the gasps of delight and amazement from your own family or guests.

Strawberry trifle surrounded by flowers.

Why You’ll Love This Strawberry Trifle Recipe

  • It’s a great make ahead and delicious dessert option.
  • Always a crowd pleaser and perfect for a special occasion, dinner party, summer potlucks, or just a simple family meal.
  • The perfect summer dessert filled with fresh and summery flavor, but great any time of year
  • Loved by kids and adults alike.
  • Uses low fat cream cheese and angel food cake for a lighter and fresher dessert.

What is a Trifle?

Trifle is a layered dessert consisting of sponge cake, fruit, and a custard or whipped cream. It is usually displayed in a large glass “trifle dish” so the layered ingredients are visible in an aesthetically pleasing way before being served.

Ingredients For The Strawberry Angel Food Cake Trifle

This Easy Strawberry Trifle Recipe uses fresh, simple ingredients to produce the best tasting (and looking) dessert everyone will rave about.
Overhead image of trifle ingredients.
  • Angel food cake – Feel free to use store-bought or homemade angel food cake.
  • Fresh Strawberries – get nice, ripe strawberries in season, or use frozen strawberries in the winter.
  • Strawberry Jam, Strawberry Preserves, or Compote
  • Lemon Juice and Lemon Zest – fresh is always best
  • Sugar
  • Heavy cream 
  • Low Fat Cream Cheese – softened to room temperature. Neufchatal Cheese can be used as well.
  • Vanilla extract

Step by Step Instructions

Follow these simple instructions to make the most elegant strawberry and angel food cake trifle.

Step 1

Reserve  3-4 whole strawberries and set aside for decoration. You can slice these or leave them whole.

Step 2

Strawberries and jam in a pot.

Slice the remaining strawberries and add to a small saucepan with 3 tablespoons lemon juice and the strawberry jam. Turn the burner to medium high heat. 

Bring to a simmer and cook until the strawberries are just softening, but not mushy, and a lot of liquid has been released in the pot, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer the strawberries to a cold large bowl or dish to cool.

Step 3

Whipped cream in a mixing bowl.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream with 3 tablespoons of sugar and vanilla extract on medium low speed until frothy. Turn the speed up to medium high and whip until stiff peaks

Whipped cream on the end of a beater.

The term “Stiff peaks” means the whipped cream will stand up on the end of a beater. Transfer the whipped cream to a small bowl.

Step 4

Cream cheese, lemon, and sugar in a bowl.

Without washing the mixing bowl, add the low fat cream cheese, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and the lemon zest. Beat on medium speed until smooth, about 15-30 seconds 

Whipped cream in a bowl with a black spatula.

Gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture until incorporated and the mixture is light and fluffy.

Step 5

Cake Cubes in a trifle dish, with berries and other ingredients in the background.

To assemble, arrange half of the cake cubes on the bottom of a trifle dish.

Strawberry jam layered over cake cubes in a clear dish.

Spoon half of the strawberries and sauce over the cake cubes, taking care to put the prettiest strawberry slices around the edge of the glass dish.

Cream layered over strawberry and cake in a clear dish.

Top the cake and berry mixture layer with 1/2 of the cream mixture and spread out to the edges of the dish.

Cake cubes, cream layer, and strawberries layered in a clear dish.

Top with remaining cake cubes.

A trifle topped with strawberries.

Add the last of the strawberry mixture.

Up close image of a strawberry angel food cake trifle.

Finish with the cream cheese layer. 

Tip: I used a premade 14 oz angel food cake for this recipe, but if you use a homemade angel food cake, you’ll only use ¾ of the cake (perfect for picky eaters, and by that I mean eaters who like to pick at food while they make the recipe. lol!).

Step 6

Chill the trifle in the refrigerator for at least 2-4 hours before serving. 

Garnish with reserved sliced strawberries right before serving.

Overhead image of trifle topped with cream and berries

Can I Make This Trifle Ahead Of Time? 

Yes! You can totally make this sweet strawberry trifle ahead of time. It tastes even better the next day and all elements can be prepped in advance. 

Simply make the trifle, cover it tightly with plastic wrap, and place it in the fridge. The extra time will really allow the flavors to develop and for the sponge to soak in the strawberry juices and cream.

Hint: I like making this strawberry trifle with angel food cake because it absorbs the juices from the strawberries like a sponge!

Substitutions & Variations

These are my best and tested substitution options for making this strawberry trifle recipe.

  • Skip the cooking process, toss strawberries with 2 tablespoons of sugar, and stir in jam.
  • Use a double batch of my simple and easy strawberry compote in place of fresh fruit.
  • Swap whipped cream for 16 oz thawed whipped topping or even prepared vanilla pudding.
  • Pound cake, vanilla cake, or even lady fingers can be swapped for angel food cake. 
  • Frozen berries can be used in place of fresh.
  • You can use your favorite fruit or other fresh berries like blueberries, raspberries, and black berries along with or in place of the strawberries. 

Tips, Tricks, & Additional Details

  • The trifle will be very full when you first make it, but the filling will sink slightly and fit perfectly in the trifle dish as the angel food cake absorbs moisture.
  • Cool the fruit mixture before topping with the cheesecake layer to prevent it from melting.
  • Top with sliced strawberries right before serving so the berries don’t look dry.
  • The trifle dish I use is about 3.25 quarts/104 ounces capacity. You can also make single size servings in individual glasses if you like.
Up close image of a strawberry angel food cake trifle.

How to Serve Strawberry Angel Food Cake Trifle

This is a wonderful, impressive dessert that can definitely stand on its own, maybe topped with a little more homemade strawberry sauce and a little bit of additional whipped cream if you want. If you really want to take it up a notch, serve it alongside or on top of a scoop of Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream or Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream.

How to Store Leftover Trifle

Transfer any leftovers to an airtight container or cover the trifle dish tightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.

FAQs

Where is Trifle from?

Traditional trifle is originally an English dessert. They also sometimes soak the sponge cake in fortified wine or sherry for a classic English trifle.

Do I have to have a Trifle Dish to make a trifle?

You don’t need a specific trifle dish to make a trifle. The point of the glass trifle bowl is so the dessert layers of angel food cake and strawberry glaze can be on display before serving but any large glass bowl will work. And trust me, it will taste great no matter what dish it’s made in.

Image of a whisk

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Up close image of a strawberry angel food cake trifle.

Strawberry Trifle With Angel Food Cake

Yield: 10
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Chilling Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 33 minutes

Layers of angel food cake, fluffy cream cheese, and fresh strawberry sauce make up this show-stopping, refreshing dessert!

Ingredients

  • 1 (14oz) angel food cake, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 lb fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup strawberry jam or preserves
  • 4 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 1⁄2 cup + 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (8 oz) Package of Low fat Cream Cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

Instructions

  1. Reserve 3-4 whole strawberries and set aside for decoration. You can slice these or leave them whole.
  2. Slice the remaining strawberries and add to a small saucepan with 3 tablespoons lemon juice and the strawberry jam. Turn the burner to medium high heat. 
  3. Bring to a simmer and cook until the strawberries are just softening, but not mushy. A lot of liquid will have released in the pot, about 8-10 minutes.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and transfer the strawberries to a large bowl or dish to cool.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream with 3 tablespoons of sugar and the vanilla on medium low speed until frothy. Turn the speed up to medium high and whip until stiff peaks (meaning the whipped cream will stand up on the end of a beater). Transfer the whipped cream to a bowl.
  6. Without washing the mixing bowl, add the low fat cream cheese, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and the teaspoon of lemon zest. Beat on medium speed until smooth, about 15-30 seconds 
  7. Gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture until incorporated.
  8. To assemble, arrange half of the cake cubes on the bottom of a trifle dish.
  9. Spoon half of the cooled strawberries and sauce over the cake cubes, taking care to put the prettiest strawberry slices around the edge.
  10. Top with 1/2 the cream mixture and spread out to the edges
  11. Top with remaining cake cubes, then the last of the strawberry mixture, and finish with the cream. Chill for 2-4 hours before serving.
  12. Garnish with reserved strawberries right before serving.

Notes

  • Frozen berries may be used if fresh are not in season
  • The trifle will be very full when you put it in the fridge, but will settle as the cake absorbs the moisture from the berries and cream.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 335Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 60mgSodium: 54mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 2gSugar: 29gProtein: 3g

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