Summer Berries and Cream Trifle

This Summer Berries and Cream Trifle is an easy summer dessert filled with layers of liqueur-soaked cake, plenty of fresh berries of the season and a light mascarpone cream. It’s red, white & blue colors make it perfect for 4th of July picnics and other patriotic holidays but it’s refreshing taste makes it a great ending to any barbecue or summer get-together. 

Trifle closeup showing layers of cake, cream and berries.

It’s not often but sometimes I have leftover cupcakes or cake and I want to do something different with it. After all, with only two people in the house you can get tired of the same old, same old, really fast. Enter this easy & delicious mixed berry trifle. And it doesn’t even matter if your cupcakes or cake are stale. Just sprinkle them with a little liqueur and they soften right up. I used a new liqueur on the market called Stroopwafel, a caramel and vanilla flavored liqueur, (sooo good!) but you can use any flavored liqueur you like. 

Overhead of trifle showing strawberry pattern on top.

And what about all those fresh berries? Well, when summer heat heats along with the peak of berry season, I love using strawberries and blueberries in desserts like my Strawberry Shortcakes or  Blueberry Galette. They’re the perfect sweet, juicy refreshment for a hot day. Plus , with their vibrant colors of red and blue, they’re perfect for a July 4th celebration!

Mixed Berry Trifle serving on white plate with whole trifle in background.

As to the cream, there are many variations you can use in a trifle but I chose a combination of mascarpone cheese and cream cheese with a little sugar and vanilla to complement my berries.  You can also go lighter and just use Cool Whip. No matter which way you make it, this beautiful, light and simple dessert is bound to be a hit!

FAQs

Can this trifle be made a day ahead?

You can make the cake and the cream cheese-mascarpone in advance but don’t assemble until an hour or two prior to serving.

How long will it keep after it’s assembled?

It will last 2-3 days covered in the refrigerator although best eaten when fresh. It is not recommended to try to freeze this dessert as the cake will absorb too much moisture and get soggy.

How long can I keep it out of the refrigerator?

Usually it will keep about 2 hours as long as it isn’t in a hot humid environment such as an outdoor picnic. If planning on serving outdoors, I wouldn’t leave it out longer than 30-45 minutes.

Variations

  • Change out the muffins or cupcakes for day old cake which you can pick up pretty cheaply in the bakery section of your grocery store.
  • Opt for blackberries and raspberries or any fruit for that matter because what fruit doesn’t go well with cream cheese and whipped cream?
  • Don’t want to make the mascarpone cream cheese mixture? No problem! You can sub in Cool Whip or Just use a vanilla pudding or a vanilla pudding mixed with cool whip.
  • Any flavored liqueur can be used in place of Stroopwafel. I like to use Amaretto or Frangelica for a nutty taste or Grand Marnier for a more citrusy flavor.
  • Don’t want to use any alcohol-base, since the predominant flavor of the Stroopwafel is cinnamon and caramel with nutty undertones, try subbing in 3/4-1 teaspoon hazelnut or almond extract plus the amount of cream or creamer to equal amount needed in recipe. You could also try a combination of vanilla extract with a little cinnamon extract. If you want the orange flavor, try 5 Tablespoons of orange juice with 1-1/4 teaspoons orange extract.
  • Want a smaller dessert for fewer people? Cut the recipe in half and layer as shown but into smaller individual serving glass dishes.

Directions

Prep steps for making cream cheese mixture.

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine mascarpone and cream cheese and beat until smooth. Add thawed Cool whip. (photo 1)
  2. Add granulated sugar. (photo 2)
  3. Pour in liqueur. (photo 3)
  4. Beat again until smooth. (photo 4)

How to assemble

Cutting cupcakes and beginning assembly.

  1. Cut up leftover cupcakes, pound cake or even muffins into small pieces. (photo 1)
  2. In a tall trifle dish, place 1/3 of the cut-up cupcakes/cake in bottom. (photo 2)
  3. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon liqueur. (photo 3)
  4. Spoon 1/3 of the cream mixture over cake cubes and smooth out evenly. (photo 4)

Assembly steps showing berry, cake and cream layers.

  1. Place 1/2 of the blueberries on top of the cream layer. (photo 5)
  2. Add 1/3 of the cake cubes sprinkled with liqueur over berries. (photo 6)
  3. Spoon 1/3 of the cream mixture on top of blueberries. (photo 7)
  4. Smooth to cover all the way to edges. (photo 8)
  5. Repeat with remaining cake with a drizzle of liqueur and ½ of the strawberries. (photo 9)
  6. Spoon all remaining cream mixture on top. Top with layer of cake and remaining ½ of both the strawberries and blueberries. (photo 10)

Top with Cool Whip or whipped cream and arrange strawberries on top.

Just prior to serving, finish with a layer of whipped cream or Cool Whip and decorate with sliced strawberries.

Bite on fork above serving of trifle drizzled with chocolate syrup.

Now you can eat this summer berry trifle as is or take it up a notch with a drizzle of chocolate syrup. Yep, I went there! Enjoy the bounty of summer!

More summer dessert recipes

Berry Upside Down Cake – a tender, moist vanilla flavored cake that’s topped with sweetened fresh plump blueberries and juicy strawberries. 

Raspberry Lemonade Popsicles – an easy to make summer treat. Just 3 ingredients, yogurt, lemonade and raspberries, is all it takes for a refreshing healthy snack on a hot day. 

Blueberry Almond Bundt Cake – a rich, dense cream cheese cake flavored with almond and loaded with fresh blueberries. It’s kicked up a notch with a drizzle of lemon glaze & a sprinkling of almonds. 

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Recipe

Summer Berries & Cream Trifle
Prep Time
30 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 
This easy summer Berries and Cream Trifle is filled with layers of cake, fresh berries & a light mascarpone cream. The perfect dessert for summer.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keywords: berries & cream trifle, mixed berry trifle, summer berry trifle
Servings: 10 -12 servings
Calories: 509 kcal
Author: Linda Warren
Ingredients
  • 1 cup mascarpone
  • 1 cup cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup Stroopwafel or other flavored liqueur (5-1/3 tabelspoons)
  • 2 cups Cool Whip or other non-dairy whipped cream
  • 10-12 large cupcakes, cut up (I used a lemon popyseed cupcake but you can also use any vanilla flavored cake, an 11-oz pound cake or a 9" angel food cake)
  • 3 Tablespoons Stroopwafel or other flavored liqueur such as Frangelica, Amaretto or Grand Marnier
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 2 pints strawberries, 1 pint to cut up for layering and 1 pint sliced for topping
  • 1/2 cup Whipped cream (feel free to use more if you prefer)
Directions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine mascarpone and cream cheeseand beat until smooth.

  2. Add Cool Whip, sugar and liqueur and beat again untilsmooth.

  3. Cut up leftover cupcakes, pound cake or even muffins into small pieces.

To assemble
  1. In a tall trifle dish, place 1/3 of the cut-up cupcakes/cakein bottom. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon liqueur.

  2. Spoon 1/3 of the cream mixture over cake cubes and smoothout evenly.

  3. Place 1/2 of the blueberries over the cream layer.

  4. Add 1/3 of the cake cubes sprinkled with liqueur over berries.

  5. Spoon 1/3 of the cream mixture on top of blueberries.

  6. Repeat with remaining cake with a drizzle of liqueur and ½ of the strawberries.

  7. Spoon all remaining cream mixture on top. (If your dish is deep enough, you can add another layer of cake cubes prior to adding the final cream layer. If this is the case just add ¼ of the cake amount to each cake layer.)

  8. Top with cream of extra layer of cake with remaining ½ ofboth the strawberries and blueberries.

  9. Just prior to serving, finish with a topping of whipped cream and your own design made with the sliced strawberries.

  10. Chill.
Recipe Notes

Variations

  • Change out the muffins or cupcakes for day old cake which you can pick up pretty cheaply in the bakery section of your grocery store.
  • Opt for blackberries and raspberries or any fruit for that matter because what fruit doesn’t go well with cream cheese and whipped cream?
  • Don’t want to make the mascarpone cream cheese mixture? No problem! You can sub in Cool Whip or Just use a vanilla pudding or a vanilla pudding mixed with cool whip.
  • Any flavored liqueur can be used in place of Stroopwafel. I like to use Amaretto or Frangelica for a nutty taste or Grand Marnier for a more citrusy flavor.
  • Don’t want to use any alcohol-base, since the predominant flavor of the Stroopwafel is cinnamon and caramel with nutty undertones, try subbing in 3/4-1 teaspoon hazelnut or almond extract plus the amount of cream or creamer to equal amount needed in recipe. You could also try a combination of vanilla extract with a little cinnamon extract. If you want the orange flavor, try 5 Tablespoons of orange juice with 1-1/4 teaspoons orange extract.
  • Want a smaller dessert for fewer people? Cut the recipe in half and layer as shown but into smaller individual serving glass dishes.
Nutrition Facts
Summer Berries & Cream Trifle
Amount Per Serving
Calories 509 Calories from Fat 225
% Daily Value*
Fat 25g38%
Saturated Fat 13g65%
Cholesterol 53mg18%
Sodium 239mg10%
Potassium 274mg8%
Carbohydrates 62g21%
Fiber 3g12%
Sugar 45g50%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 726IU15%
Vitamin C 60mg73%
Calcium 147mg15%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This post has been updated with step-by-step directions and more photos. It was first published on May 28, 2017.

Summer Berries and Cream Trifle
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