My easy no-bake, Strawberry Trifle with Angel Food Cake is made with fresh, luscious strawberries, heavenly whipped cream, and layers of light-as-a-cloud angel food cake. I guarantee that this make-ahead wonder will be one of the easiest and most delicious desserts you will ever prepare!
If you are looking for the perfect dessert, you are in the right place. My strawberry trifle is light, it’s refreshing, it’s elegant, and it’s incredibly delicious! This traditional dessert is also perfect for summer backyard barbecues, potlucks, and makes a sweet ending to any meal.
When are strawberries in season:
Three-fourths of the nation’s strawberries come from Plant City, Florida, and the majority are harvested from December through April. If you are ever in the area, there is even a Strawberry Festival in early March to celebrate its most famous crop.
Lucky for us, fresh strawberries are also available all year long in most grocery stores, and frozen berries are always available.
What is a trifle:
In case you are wondering, trifles originated in England and featured three or more layers of fruit, sponge cake that was often soaked in alcohol, and custard. They were also usually served in a clear round bowl so you could see the layers.
Modern-day trifles are similar and usually consist of several layers of crumbled or cubed cake, pudding, cream cheese, or whipped cream, and fruit or berries.
They come in all sizes and flavors, and angel food, chocolate, vanilla, and pound cake are often used. Some trifles still feature one or more pudding layers, and all feature fruit or berries of some sort. Whipped cream is commonly used as a topping, and clear glass bowls or trifle dishes are used to showcase the beautiful layers.
Because they are so showy, I like to use trifles to make seasonal and holiday desserts like Christmas Red Velvet Cake Trifle and Halloween Black Forest Trifle. I’m even thinking of making a red, white and blue one for the 4th of July.
Can you substitute other fresh or frozen berries or fruits:
Yes, yes, and yes! Fresh or frozen peaches, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, raspberries, and nectarines all would be delicious in this berry trifle recipe! I’ve also used canned cherries in syrup.
Only six ingredients:
This easy trifle recipe only has six ingredients: fresh juicy strawberries, heavy cream, sugar, lemon zest and juice, kosher salt, and a purchased angel food cake.
How to macerate the strawberries:
Macerating is the process of adding sugar to fruit, which then draws the liquid out and forms a sweet syrup.
To macerate the strawberries, combine the slices with one cup of sugar, lemon juice, and zest, and a pinch of salt. If you like, you can also add a splash of Grand Marnier or another orange-flavored liqueur.
Set the berry mixture aside for about 30 minutes and stir occasionally. This allows the strawberries to macerate or to soften slightly and start releasing their juices.
How to make the whipped cream:
Place a metal mixing bowl and the whisk attachment for your electric stand mixer into your freezer or refrigerator for at least 15-20 minutes before you make the whipped cream.
Pour the whipping cream into the chilled bowl and add one-quarter cup of sugar. Use the whisk attachment and beat the cream mixture on medium speed until stiff peaks form.
Stiff peaks mean that when the beaters are lifted, the cream holds its shape and forms peaks that stand straight up. If they stand straight up but curl over, this is medium peaks. Usually, it takes about seven to eight minutes to get to the stiff peak stage.
Do not overbeat the mixture or the cream will turn to butter. Cream doubles in size when whipped, and the two cups of heavy cream will turn into four cups of whipped cream.
How to layer a trifle:
To layer the trifle, place one layer of torn pieces of angel food cake in the bottom of a large trifle dish.
Spoon about one-third of the strawberry mixture over the angel food cake.
Add about one-third of the whipped cream and make sure the whipped cream completely covers the strawberry layer.
Repeat the layers two more times.
Top with a layer of whipped cream and garnish with strawberries, if desired.
Cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Make it ahead:
Strawberry trifle is best if made between four and eight hours ahead. However, you can make it up to 24 hours ahead, but if you do, wait to garnish the top with berries until you are ready to serve it.
Leftovers and storage:
This dessert will last up to four days tightly covered in your refrigerator. It will still taste great, but by the fourth day, the cake will probably be soggy, and the strawberries will begin to soften.
Do not freeze it.
You can substitute frozen strawberries for the fresh. Thaw first and slice if they are whole.
No time to make dessert and looking for an even easier trifle recipe? Substitute sliced frozen strawberries in syrup for the fresh berries and Cool Whip or frozen whipped topping for the whipped cream.
This dessert also works great if made in smaller individual serving dishes. You can even use mason jars.
The trifle dish I used in this recipe has straight sides and measures seven and one-half inches across the top and is five inches deep.
Hulling the strawberries is merely removing the leaves, stem, and any tough bits below the stem from the fruit. You can use a tool called a strawberry huller, or you can use a small paring knife.
If you use a knife, angle the blade into the top of the fruit at the stem, turn the fruit and cut in a circular motion in a shallow cone shape around the green leafy top of the strawberry, and into the pale flesh directly underneath. The stem or hull should pop right out.
Need even more menu ideas, check out all of my dessert recipes!
★ If you make this dish, please leave a comment and give this recipe a star rating. I would love to know how you liked it!
Thank you so much for visiting Grits and Pinecones!
Strawberry Angel Food Cake Dessert Recipe
- 3 pounds fresh strawberries washed, hulled and sliced
- 1-¼ cups sugar divided
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- pinch of kosher salt
- splash Grand Marnier optional
- 1 purchased angel food cake torn into bite-size pieces
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream chilled
- Place a metal mixing bowl and the whisk attachment for your electric mixer into your freezer or refrigerator for at least 15-20 minutes before you make the whipped cream.
- In a large bowl combine the strawberry slices, one cup of sugar, lemon juice, and zest and a pinch of salt. Optional, add a splash of Grand Marnier. Set aside for about 30 minutes and stir occasionally. This allows the strawberries to macerate or to soften slightly and start releasing their juices.
- To make the whipped cream, pour the whipping cream into the chilled bowl and add ¼ cup sugar. Use the whisk attachment and beat the cream mixture on medium speed until stiff peaks form. This should take 7-8 minutes. Do not overbeat or the cream will turn to butter. Cream doubles in size when whipped and the two cups of heavy cream will turn into four cups of whipped cream.
- To assemble the trifle, for the first layer, put one layer of torn pieces of angel food cake in the bottom of a large trifle bowl.
- Spoon about ⅓ of the strawberry mixture over the angel food cake and follow up with about ⅓ of the whipped cream. Make sure the whipped cream completely covers the strawberry layer.
- Repeat two more times and finish up with a layer of whipped cream. Smooth out the topping, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
*This post was originally published on March 26, 2017. It was republished on June 10, 2020, with expanded directions and tips.