Make This Tasty Trifle Recipe With Easy Hacks to Take Your Holiday Desserts To The Next Level!
Dig into dreamy layers of cubed buttery cake, fresh berries, vanilla pudding and fluffy whipped cream with this easy Berries and Cream Holiday Trifle garnished with sugared berries. A wonderful twist on decadent blueberry layer cake, that’s perfect for the holidays or to celebrate any day!
This post is sponsored by T.G. Lee® and Dairy Farmers of America. All opinions are my own. As always, I only promote products and experiences I love to inspire you to celebrate life and #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip and trip at a time.Jump to Recipe
We know the holidays will look a bit different this year. Gatherings will certainly be smaller. But they don’t have to be any less delicious! There’s still so much to celebrate and nothing says celebration better than a beautiful dessert. This Berries and Cream Holiday Trifle is guaranteed to make spirits bright!
And it’s so easy to make. Especially if, like me, you’re not a baker and prefer to go for easy entertaining. With this recipe you don’t have to worry about perfectly decorating a layer cake. In fact, it’s ok to be a bit messy. It’s as easy as layering cake, fresh berries, vanilla pudding and whipped cream.
I’m also sharing some tried and true hacks to amp up the flavor of boxed cake mix, instant pudding and whipped cream. Plus, an epic garnish that will elevate any holiday dessert.
If you’re short on time, you can prepare all ingredients ahead of time and assemble the night before. Then garnish shortly before serving.
This recipe works great in a large trifle bowl or glass bowl. Or make individual trifles in mason jars. These cute jars also make delicious gifts you can drop off to friends and family to brighten their day.
Support Local This Holiday Season.
From the foods I serve at home, to the restaurants I visit and the gifts I give, I strive to support our local community every chance I get. It’s especially important now more than ever to support the community artisans, growers and farmers that make Central Florida special.
This is why I’m excited to be working with one of the dairy farmers that supplies farm-fresh milk to T.G. Lee®, the same brand you can find on our shelves here in Orlando, to create this holiday favorite recipe.
T.G. Lee® Dairy is Florida’s Hometown Dairy.
Most Orlandoans are used to seeing the T.G. Lee® Dairy plant as you drive in East Orlando. It has been a landmark of the Orlando community since 1934. And now they even have a gorgeous 200 ft wide mural with the famous black and white Holstein Florida milk cows to honor Florida dairy farmers. You can’t miss it!
Fun Fact: Did you know T.G. Lee® was started by Thomas Gilbert Lee in 1925 with 20 acres, the family cow and a cosigned banknote from his father? He and his wife milked the cows themselves in a shack on North Bumby Avenue, near the present-day Orlando factory. Today T.G. Lee is one of the top milk processing plants in Florida.
Look for T.G. Lee® products in stores around Orlando.
Travel Inspiration: The Milk District, Orlando
You know my recipes always come with a little travel inspiration. This Berries and Cream Holiday Trifle is no different. Except you won’t have to travel far!
T.G. Lee® is the cornerstone of “The Milk District” – one of the most fun and diverse neighborhoods in Orlando. You’ll find a plethora of small businesses, local mom and pop restaurants, hip breweries and bars. Dig into everything from tasty sandwiches, to tacos and famous Food Network worthy pies. It’s one of the “Must Visit” places I recommend to all Orlando visitors. As locals, we get to enjoy it any time we want!
Do You Know Where Your Milk Comes From? Get To Know Family Farmers Like Alliance Dairies
Seeing the expansive T.G. Lee Dairy plant where milk is processed, I always wonder where the milk actually comes from. So, I was thrilled to get to know the story of Jan Henderson. She’s a third generation family farmer at one of the dairy farms that supplies milk to T.G. Lee® Alliance Dairies in Trenton, Florida, about 2 hours north of Orlando.
Alliance Dairies is a partnership of generational family dairy farmers that now includes Jan Henderson and was the first Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) permitted dairy in North Florida. Today, it’s the largest free-stall dairy in one location within the state, employing more than 120 people while still maintaining their farm family culture. In fact, they’ve been recognized for their sustainability practices including their wastewater management and recycling in order to produce “nature’s most perfect food” – Milk. Their mission as a farm family is to produce high-quality milk. They’re dedicated to the safety, care, and betterment of their people, cows, land, and community.
Holiday Memories are Made of Milk!
Milks, creams and eggnogs are the centerpiece of so many delicious holiday memories, and I love knowing that the T.G. Lee milk I find at area grocers comes from family farms. Many like Jan, who’ve been running their family business for generations.
Today, I’m making my take on the Henderson family’s favorite holiday recipe – a five-layer blueberry stack cake. You’ll find this on their table at nearly every family gathering. Knowing that the T.G. Lee milk I used in my recipe might have come from the Henderson Family themselves makes it even more special!
Original Five Layer Blueberry Stack Cake Recipe
Here’s the recipe provided by Jan Henderson of Alliance Dairies which inspired my Berries and Cream Holiday Trifle.
- 1 butter recipe cake mix
- 1 ⁄2 cup butter softened
- 4 eggs
- 2/3 cup T.G. Lee milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 16 oz cream cheese room temperature
- 2 sticks of butter softened
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 2 21 oz cans blueberry pie filling
- Combine cake mix with remaining ingredients in larger mixer bowl and beat until thoroughly mixed and batter is smooth.
- Pour by 2/3 cupsful into 5 separate 8” round cake pans.
- Bake each layer at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in
- center of cake comes out clean.
- Cream together sugar, cream cheese and butter until smooth.
- Spread thin layer of frosting over bottom cake layer, then top with a thin layer of
- blueberry pie filling.
- Repeat until all layers are used.
- When all layers put together, frost top and sides of cake with frosting and pour
- remaining blueberry pie filling on top of cake
- Chill for at least 2 hours before serving; store cake in refrigerator.
Short on Time? Not a Baker? This Berries and Cream Holiday Trifle Recipe is for You!
I’m always short on time, especially during the holiday season, and I like to keep entertaining as easy as possible. If you have the time and love baking and decorating gorgeous cakes from scratch, then go for it, but don’t feel guilty if you can’t. This recipe works for all of us! And all the ingredients can be easily found in your favorite grocery store.
Here’s the secret: I’m using boxed cake mix and instant pudding as shortcuts. But of course, I’ve found a few tricks to elevate the flavors and make it my own. So I’m sharing some tried and true hacks to take boxed cake mix, instant pudding and whipped cream to the next level. Guaranteed to make your cakes rich and flavorful. Plus, a beautiful garnish perfect for holiday desserts.
Let’s Talk About The Tasty Layers in This Holiday Trifle!
The Cake Layer:
As a time-saver, I’m using boxed cake mix like in Jan’s recipe. It’s a great shortcut. I chose a butter cake for extra butteriness. Vanilla or lemon cake would work as well.
Pro-tip: always substitute the water in the cake mix recipe with milk. It just plain tastes better! Milk adds richness to practically any recipe. And lots more nutrients.
Instead of making a 5 layer cake, I decided to go with a trifle. Why? It’s a lot more forgiving when it comes to decorating. Plus, I don’t have that many cake pans to bake 5 different cakes for the layers.
I baked the cake in (3) 8” pans so they would bake faster. You can also use a 9×13 baking dish. Bake per box instructions.
Make sure to cool the cake completely before cutting into 1 ½ inch bite size cubes.
Traditional trifles include a drizzle of cream sherry to soften the cake. You can also use any liqueur of your choice, but this is optional.
Easy Hacks To Take Boxed Cake Mix To The Next Level
Using boxed cake mix is nothing to be ashamed of. Not all of us can be Martha Stewart. But here are some easy tricks to take cake mix to the next level and give your cakes a homemade taste.
- Use milk instead of water. I prefer to use 2% or whole milk.
- Add an extra egg to what the box requires. It adds even more richness.
- If the box calls for oil, use butter instead, and double the amount.
- Add flavoring extract. Vanilla extract is my favorite. You can also use lemon or almond depending on your flavor preference. 1 or 2 teaspoons of extract depending on how subtle you want the flavor to be.
- Add lemon zest. Zest half a lemon and add it to the batter. It brightens things right up!
- Add vanilla pudding mix. For this recipe since I’m using vanilla pudding as one of the layers, I didn’t add it to the cake batter. Normally I would add one small pouch of vanilla pudding mix into the batter.
The Vanilla Pudding or Custard Layer:
A traditional English trifle dating back to the 1500s includes a layer of custard. I’m using boxed vanilla pudding mix as a shortcut. Add 1 tsp vanilla extract for a richer flavor and use T.G. Lee 2% milk. Chill in the refrigerator before assembling the trifle.
The Whipped Cream Layer:
Make Your Own Whipped Cream!
Sure, you can buy whipped cream. But it tastes so much better when it’s homemade! And it’s so easy to make. After you do it once, you’ll be convinced. All you need is heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract.
For this holiday trifle recipe, I’m making “stabilized whipped cream” for a bit more consistency to work within the layers of fruit and cake. I also don’t want it to “melt”.
To make stabilized whipped cream, add cream cheese. Or if you want to be super fancy, add mascarpone cheese. It has a more pronounced flavor but just as delicious. I used mascarpone whipped cream to accompany grilled peaches and cherries.
Stabilized whipped cream is thick enough to be used as frosting, piped with a piping bag or simply dolloped on pies and cakes. It won’t melt like regular whipped cream so you can set your dessert on the table without fear of it falling apart.
Here’s a few tricks to keep in mind when making stabilized whipped cream:
- Soften cream cheese to room temperature before mixing. Remove the foil wrapper and pop it in the microwave for 10 seconds if it’s too cold.
- Use chilled heavy whipping cream.
- Chill your mixing bowl and whisk or set your mixing bowl on top of a bowl full of ice while using a hand mixer. This is especially important with our hot weather in Florida.
- Add flavors. I love vanilla but you can also do lemon, almond, chocolate, or spices.
- To make it keto friendly, use monk fruit instead of powdered sugar.
- You can make it 2-3 days ahead and store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
- When frosting a cake or using in a trifle, make sure the cake has completely cooled, before adding the whipped cream.
The Fruit Layer:
For the fruit layers in this Berries and Cream holiday trifle, use any berries you like. Fresh are best but frozen work too. This recipe is so versatile. You can also use other fruits such as peaches or cherries.
A traditional English trifle calls for a fruit jam to be spread over the cake. I’m skipping that step and using dollops of blueberry compote instead. I had some frozen blueberries from Southern Hill Farms in Clermont and simply cooked them down with sugar, lemon zest and fresh grated ginger.
What Berries Should You Use in a Trifle?
I love the combo of blueberries, blackberries and strawberries. Winter is the season for fresh Florida strawberries from Plant City so don’t miss out on buying local. If you can’t find fresh berries, use frozen fruit and mix into the compote.
The Garnish Top Layer:
An Epic Garnish To Elevate Any Holiday Dessert!
Sugared Berries are the answer. Go bougie with the garnish to give your trifle the elegant holiday look. Sugared fruit is a simple and beautiful way to decorate cakes, tarts and dessert tables.
The sugared berries should not be refrigerated because the sugar will melt off, so wait to apply until ready to serve.
You can also garnish with mounds of whipped cream and fresh berries if you want to skip this step.
How To Layer a Trifle?
The trifle is all about the layers! We’re going to layer cake, fruit compote, fresh berries, vanilla pudding and whipped cream. Try to get even layers and repeat for as many layers as your dish will fit. There’s no hard fast rule as to which layer goes first.
Use a trifle bowl, glass bowl, individual mason jars or wide mouth glasses to showcase the layers.
With a trifle you don’t need to be too precise in assembling, but you should try to avoid smearing the sides of the bowl. The trick is to fill the center and spread around to the sides.
Finish with a layer of whipped cream. Cover and chill for a few hours in the refrigerator to set the layers. Although if you’re short on time, you can easily dig in as is. If you’re making overnight, stop at this step. Garnish before serving.
Berries & Cream Holiday Trifle Recipe
Dig into dreamy layers of cubed buttery cake, fresh berries, vanilla pudding and fluffy whipped cream with this easy Berries and Cream Holiday Trifle garnished with sugared berries. A wonderful twist on decadent blueberry layer cake, that’s perfect for the holidays or to celebrate any day! Plus, follow easy hacks to take boxed cake mix, instant pudding and whipped cream to the next level.
- 1 box butter or vanilla cake mix
- 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 4 large eggs
- 3/4 cup T.G. Lee whole milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Zest of ½ lemon
- 1 5.1 oz vanilla flavored instant pudding (large box)
- 3 cups T.G. Lee milk chilled
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups frozen blueberries
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- Zest from half lemon
- ½ tsp fresh grated ginger
- 1 lbs. strawberries
- 12 oz blackberries
- 12 oz blueberries
- 2 cups fresh berries blueberries, strawberries and blackberries
- 1 egg white
- 1/4 cup granulated fine sugar
- Fresh mint
- Prepare each component in the order below:
- Preheat oven to 325F. Grease sides and bottom of pan with butter and lightly flour. I’m using (3) 8-inch pans to keep my cake short in height. You can also use a 13×9-inch.
- Combine cake mix and all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Beat until thoroughly mixed and batter is smooth.
- Bake as per time indicated on box for the size pans you’re using. I used 3 pans and baked for 20 minutes.
- Do the toothpick check and insert into the center of the cake. When it comes out clean, it’s done.
- Let the cake cool completely before cutting into bite sized cubes.
- While the cake is baking, mix instant pudding, milk and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl and whisk for 2 minutes.
- Set aside for 5 minutes, cover and refrigerate.
- In a mixing bowl, mix the softened cream cheese and powdered sugar until completely blended, about 1 minute. It’s very important that the mixture is smooth and free of lumps, forming stiff peaks. Set aside.
- In a separate chilled bowl, beat heavy whipping cream and vanilla on high speed until soft peaks form. About 1 minute.
- Add a few tablespoons of the heavy cream into the cream cheese and sugar mixture and mix until well incorporated. Then add the cream cheese mixture to the heavy whipping cream mixture and beat on medium speed until creamy, about 1-2 minutes.
- Combine blueberries with sugar, water, lemon juice, lemon zest and fresh ground ginger in a small saucepan. Cook on medium low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Set aside to cool completely. Can be refrigerated until ready to use.
- Wash and thoroughly dry all berries with a paper towel.
- Separate 2 cups assorted berries for sugared berries garnish. Set other berries aside to use in trifle layers.
- Slice strawberries lengthwise and set aside
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk egg white until it’s not stringy
- Lightly paint berries for garnish with egg white
- Place sugar on a plate and roll the berries in the sugar, giving it a light shake to roll.
- Gently place berries onto a tray lined with parchment paper to dry. The sugar will get nice and crunchy.
- Time Shortcut: turn oven on to warm, then turn it off, place the tray of sugared berries inside and leave the door ajar. Your berries will be ready in 15 mins
- Arrange 1/2 of the cake cubes around the bottom of the trifle bowl.
- Spoon dollops of blueberry compote over cake.
- Arrange 1/2 of berries in an even layer. Alternate berries along the sides of trifle bowl.
- Add 1/2 vanilla pudding, spread evenly. Placing most of it along the center of the bowl so that your berries show along the sides.
- Add ⅓ stabilized whipped cream, spread evenly with a spatula.
- Repeat layers of cake, berries, vanilla pudding and whipped cream.
- Top the last layer of whipped cream with an additional dollop in the center. Then top with sugared berries and fresh mint sprigs.
- Trifle can be assembled the night before up to the whipped cream layer. Wait to add the garnish layer until before serving.
For Whipped Cream:
- Use block cream cheese, not the whipped kind. To soften, place the unwrapped package in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 10 seconds.
- If you are in a hot climate like Florida, place your mixing bowl inside a larger bowl filled with ice to maintain the heavy whipping cream chilled while mixing.
For Sugared Berries:
- Do not store sugared berries in the refrigerator due to moisture. It’s best to make them the day you’re serving.
This Berries and Cream Holiday Trifle looks like it has a lot of steps but you’ll see how easy it is to prepare and assemble once you have each component. Especially since you can make it the night before. And it’s ok to be a little messy.
Quite frankly, this year, we’re lucky if we’re wearing our nice PJs for the holiday zoom party. This dessert will feel festive. And it will taste even better knowing there’s a taste of local using Orlando’s own T.G. Lee Milk.
Look for T.G. Lee products in stores around Orlando. Follow them on social media and learn more about T.G. Lee here.
I hope you’re inspired to celebrate safely at home. #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip and trip at a time.
If you make this recipe, please share on social media and tag @goepicurista #GoEpicRecipes and #TGLeeHoliday. I would love to virtually clink glasses with you.
Disclosure: This post is written in partnership with C.K. Mondavi and Family Wines. As always, all opinions are my own. I only share with you products and experiences I love to inspire you to get together with family and friends, celebrate life and go #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip and trip at a time! To learn more about my guidelines, check out my disclosure policy. Cheers!