Classic Berry Trifle Recipe

Classic Berry Trifle

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Cool/Set: 2 hrs 30 mins
Total: 3 hrs
Servings: 12 servings
Yield: 1 trifle
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
207 Calories
6g Fat
28g Carbs
11g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 207
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 3g 14%
Cholesterol 58mg 19%
Sodium 148mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 28g 10%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 12g
Protein 11g
Vitamin C 18mg 91%
Calcium 148mg 11%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 272mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

When it is time to party, whether it is July 4th or not, the perfect dessert has to be a berry trifle. They taste so good, are quick and easy to make, and are breathtakingly beautiful to look at. What's not to like?

This classic berry trifle recipe takes its patriotic theme from the red, white, and blue, created by the clever use of strawberries, blueberries, and whipped cream. But there is more to this dish than meets the eye. Hidden inside, behind a thick layer of cake set with jello, is a thick layer of custard sauce. Already in love with this dessert? Just wait; it gets better? The trifle can be made up to 24 hours in advance and kept chilled in the refrigerator, making your celebrations even easier. Now that's something to celebrate.

The trifle can be made in one large glass dish or, if you prefer, into individual glasses. For ease, this recipe is for a large bowl but merely divide the mixture evenly between the glasses for an individual serving. 

"The trifle was delicious and attractive—it's perfect for a 4th of July cookout or party, or any summer celebration. It was an easy preparation, even with the homemade custard. If you are short on time, you could use vanilla instant pudding for the custard." —Diana Rattray

berry trifle with pound cake/tester image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 cup boiling water

  • 1 (3-ounce) package strawberry flavor gelatin

  • 6 ounces pound cake, cut into 1/2-inch slices

  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, more for garnish

  • 4 cups store-bought or homemade custard

  • 4 cups whipped cream

  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Classic Berry Trifle ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Add 1 cup boiling water to the gelatin and stir until dissolved. Let cool for 30 minutes.

    gelatin and water in a measuring cup

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Line the bottom and sides of a medium trifle dish with the cake slices. Pour in the cooled gelatin. This will soak into the cake and leave a deep pool in the bottom of the dish. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.

    bottom and sides of trifle dish lined with cake slices with gelatin mixture

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Slice the 2 cups of strawberries into 1/4-inch slices. Decorate the inside of the bowl with strawberry slices by sitting slices pointing upwards on cake in 2 layers, one slightly in front of the other.

    strawberries on top of the cake slices in a trifle dish

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Spoon the custard into the center of trifle dish, making sure it does not go above line of strawberries.

    custard in the trifle dish with the strawberries and cake

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Cover the custard layer with a thick layer of whipped cream. You can use a piping bag or a spoon.

    whipped cream over the custard in the trifle dish

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  7. Finally, for the blue layer, use blueberries either in a ring around the dish or spread randomly over the surface. Decorate with whole strawberries for garnish, if desired.

    Classic Berry Trifle topped with berries

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck


  • For a very grown-up trifle, you can splash the cake slices in the bowl with a little sherry or your favorite liqueur. Just make sure if this is the case, you don't serve it to children. 
  • Gelatin is not a taste or texture for everyone, and it is OK to leave this out if you wish. The cake will soak up some of the juice from the strawberries. 

Recipe Variations

  • For a fruitier trifle, add an extra cup of blueberries between the custard and whipped cream layers.
  • Swap custard out with an equal amount of prepared vanilla pudding.
  • For longer storage—up to 3 days—use stabilized whipped cream or thawed frozen whipped topping.

How to Store

  • Trifle is best eaten within 24 hours. Cover leftovers and store in the fridge within 2 hours of serving.
  • Consume leftover trifle within 1 to 2 days.
  • Keep the trifle chilled until serving time.

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