The Triple Berry Trifle Backstory
Back in 2019, my kids and I made this Easy Berry Trifle for the first time, and I shared the leftovers with our neighbors. My sweet friend Katie called me the next day and asked me to never make this trifle again because they were devouring it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I feel you, friend! Easy Berry Trifle is GOOD, all the way around.
What is trifle?
Trifle is a layered dish, usually sweet and cold. It is often served in a clear bowl or dish, so you can see the layers of fruit, cream, and cake. I reckon (yes, I just said reckon) there are a gajillion variations of trifle–chocolate, butterscotch, coconut, just to name a few–but I prefer this berry version, for a few different reasons.
First of all, the triple berry blend. As a shortcut, the last time I made this, I used the big bag of frozen organic berries from Costco, still frozen, and they were delightful AND easy!
Second, the almond flavoring really takes it to the next level.
Third, the filling consistency is almost liquid, which is needed to break down the density of the cake.
When to serve triple berry trifle?
This dessert is perfect for the Fourth of July holiday–or really any random Tuesday. I usually make this once a year, and it’s great for summer holidays. Memorial Day or Labor Day are very picnic-friendly holidays, and this is a picnic-friendly dish. Make it the day before, refrigerate overnight, and voila! It’s easy and delicious! My kids love working together to make this Easy Berry Trifle and because it’s a no-bake dessert. I like it because the oven stays off and my kitchen stays cool.
Another reason this triple-berry trifle recipe is good for holidays is because it makes, um, A LOT of trifle. I usually use several trifle-style serving dishes, but last time I made it, I used this GIANT clear plastic serving bowl my mom gave me a long time ago. It’s huge–I have to clear an entire shelf in my refrigerator to make it fit, but dang, it’s delicious.
In fact, it’s so delicious that my friends Maggie and Erin decided it needed to be called Costco Trifle–which isn’t a bad idea, as I’ll explain below.
So, how do you make this triple berry trifle?
The basics of this dessert are a pre-made cake. For the photo shoot, we used a pre-made Sara Lee pound cake. The first time I made this, I made the cake from scratch using two white cake mixes and I added almond extract to the cakes. If I had to choose, I’d say semi-homemade cakes with almond flavoring make the best version of this trifle, but the pre-made poundcake shortcut is what makes this easy!
To the cubed cake you’ll add layers of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and a cream cheese filling mixture. Each of these three sets of ingredients become a layer in your trifle. After you’ve got each set of ingredients ready to go, layer like lasagna baby, stick it in the fridger, and you’re done! It’s really that easy.
A note on the cream cheese filling mixture:
The hardest part of this recipe (and nothing about it is that hard, trust me), is the creamy filling mixture. But truly, it’s hard to screw this up.
Here’s my philosophy on creamy fillings (and, I suppose life in general as well): the more the merrier. When I was compiling ingredients for this recipe, I simply thought of all the best creamy filling things and decided I would try mixing them all together to see if they worked.
The result: not only did the ingredients work so well together, my friend Katie told me I no longer had permission to make this dish at events where she was in attendance.
You’ll start by making the cream cheese mixture (recipe below). You could also use vanilla pudding or your favorite creamy filling.
Then cut your cake into chunks! This is a great opportunity to let your kids practice their knife skills.
Now it’s time to layer. Start with cake, then filling, then berries and repeat until the trifle is filled to the brim!
But wait, what is Costco Trifle?
Quick sidebar: I made this a few months ago for some friends, and I needed it to be even quicker and easier. Call me a cheater or call me resourceful, but I ordered the triple-pack of pound cakes from Costco and the giant bag of frozen organic berries. Both ended up being the perfect portion for this dish. And because there is so much, ahem, cream and sugar in the filling mixture, everything evened out perfectly. But watch out because it makes a TON!
Let it chill in the fridge for a bit if at all possible! I believe our Berry Trifle is best made the day before, and left to chill overnight. Serve in bowls and enjoy!
See the berry happy people, delighting over this trifle goodness?
Now for the full recipe for our Easy Triple Berry Trifle!
Triple Berry Trifle
Creamy Filling Ingredients
- 2 packages vanilla pudding mix
- 1 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 16 oz cream cheese (2 blocks, softened)
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 12 oz Cool Whip
- 3 small pound cakes or 2 boxed cakes, made according to the directions
- 2 pints blueberries
- 2 pints strawberries
- 2 pints raspberries
- OR, instead of the above, just get a giant bag of frozen berries!
- 2 trifle dishes or a GIANT bowl
- a big mixing bowl or a stand mixer
- Cut the cake into 1-inch chunks.
- To make the filling: Make the pudding according to the directions on the box. Make sure you use milk! If you use cream, the final mixture will be too thick. Before the pudding starts to set, add the sugar, cream cheese, heavy whipping cream, and almond extract. Mix well. Finally, fold in the cool whip. Add water or a bit more heavy cream if needed to thin out the mixture. You want it to be a liquid but cream-like consistency. It’s better for it to be thinner than too thick.
- Wash berries and cut strawberries, if you’re using fresh fruit. If you’re going for the super-extra-easy Costco version, just pull the bag-o-berries out of your deep freeze.
- The layering begins! I like to start with cake on the bottom. Spread cake cubes to cover the bottom of your dish. Follow with a layer of cream and then a layer of berries. Or a layer of berries, and then cream. You do you, girl.
- Repeat layers (cake, cream, berries) until your trifle dish of choice is filled.
- Chill for an hour or more. The trifle gets better and better as it sits in the fridge so it can also be made the day before you want to serve it!
Despite my neighbor Katie’s objections, we might have to make this again this week. It’s America’s birthday! We have to celebrate with Easy Triple Berry Trifle, right?
What are you making this Fourth of July?