Layer upon layer of angel food cake, fresh summer berries, and a custard-like filling, this summer fruit trifle recipe is a cold dessert that is perfect for any hot summer day!
A berry trifle is one of those summer desserts everyone loves and is perfect for BBQs, cookouts, and get-togethers. And this one is so festive! I make it every year for our Memorial Day BBQ, the 4th of July, and Labor Day. Along with my Summer Corn Salad and favorite Juicy Lucy Burgers, it's a summertime favorite!
If you're looking for an easy dessert recipe, this is the one you want. It can be made ahead, requires no baking (perfect for hot summer days!), and is ready in less than 30 minutes!
❓What is English Trifle?
If you hear this trifle dessert referred to as "English Trifle," it's because it originated in Scotland in the 1500s when they were still united with England.
The ingredients in a classic trifle recipe include sponge cake soaked in alcohol (such as sherry), an English custard mixed with whipped cream, and a combination of strawberries and raspberries. You'll also see jelly in many traditional trifle recipes.
While I enjoy a traditional English trifle, my version is way easier to make. With premade angel food cake, cheesecake-flavored instant pudding mix, cool whip, and fresh berries, you'll have a party-worthy dessert ready in less than 30 minutes.
ℹ️ Why This Recipe Works
1. You only need 6 ingredients and 20 minutes to whip this entire dessert together.
2. It's festive with red, white, and blue for any patriotic holiday, such as July 4th, Memorial Day, Labor Day, or Veteran's Day.
3. This recipe is customizable to feature your favorite flavors and fruit. You can make a different variation for any party or holiday using the same simple recipe and technique!
🛒 Ingredients You'll Need
- Angel food cake - Use store-bought angel food cake that can be diced into small squares.
- Instant pudding - Cheesecake-flavored instant pudding mix adds the perfect custard-like texture and sweet flavor.
- Sweetened condensed milk - Adds concentrated sweetness and keeps the texture of the pudding mix creamy instead of watered-down.
- Cool Whip - Use cool whip from the tubs, not aerosol whipped cream. Cool Whip adds volume and a light and airy texture to the pudding mixture.
- Berries - Use fresh summer berries for this trifle. Don't use frozen berries, as they'll add too much moisture as they thaw, making the cake layer soggy. Strawberries and blueberries are my favorite!
Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full ingredients list & instructions!
- Cake - Store-bought angel food cake is my go-to, but you can make homemade angel food cake if you'd like. You can also substitute angel food cake with pound cake or sponge cake. These options are a little richer and more dense but equally delicious.
- Pudding - If you can't find cheesecake-flavored instant pudding, you can use white chocolate instant pudding. You can substitute another flavor, such as chocolate, French vanilla, or banana cream, to give this fruit trifle a whole new spin.
- Fruit - Mixing the fruit in trifle recipes is always fun and can create a new flavor and look. I've added in fresh raspberries, blackberries, and bananas, which are all amazing. Kiwi, pineapple, cherries, mango, or peaches could also be used.
🔪 Step-by-Step Recipe Instructions
Step 1: Cut the angel food cake into bite-sized cubes and set it aside.
Step 2: Whisk the sweetened condensed milk and water in a large bowl until combined.
Step 3: Add the pudding mix to the liquid and beat slowly for one minute using an electric mixer. The mixture will be thick.
Step 4: Using a spatula, fold the thawed Cool Whip into the pudding mixture until it's well combined and set aside.
Step 5: Start layering your fruit trifle by placing half of the cubed cake pieces in the bottom of a trifle dish.
Step 6: Add 1.5 cups of fresh blueberries over top of the angel food cake cubes.
Step 7: Spread half the pudding mixture on top of the blueberries, covering them completely.
Step 8: Layer 2 cups of fresh sliced strawberries on top of the pudding mixture.
Step 9: Repeat steps 5-8 until your dish is filled to the top. Save a few blueberries and strawberries for a garnish on top of the fruit trifle. Place a piece of saran wrap on top and place it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 3 hours before serving.
On a hot day, nothing can beat a cold and refreshing summer berry trifle. Just look at those layers!
I love serving this in cute little parfait glasses. My kids love this fruit trifle recipe but when the presentation is attractive and appetizing, they're much more excited to dive in! Throw in a little cocktail spoon, and you are all set.
🙋 Recipe FAQs
Fresh fruit is preferred for berry trifle since frozen fruit releases a lot of liquid as it thaws, making the cake soggy instead of spongy. If you must use frozen fruit, completely thaw, drain, and pat the fruit as dry as possible before adding it to the dish.
You can use any dish you'd like for trifle, but ideally, one that lets you admire the beautiful layers! I like using a tall clear glass dish to see each layer. If preparing for individual servings, layer everything in parfait cups or choose a tall, pretty dish.
Once you've added your last layer of the pudding mixture to the dish, cover it tightly with saran wrap and store the trifle in the refrigerator for up to 3 hours before serving. Garnish with fruit before serving. Leftovers can be kept covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
💭 Expert Tips
- Make it healthier - I use Kraft's Jello - cheesecake instant pudding, but for less added sugar, use no-sugar-added pudding mix.
- Don't skip the chill time - Once you've prepared the fruit trifle, let the dessert sit in the refrigerator and chill for at least 3 hours. This gives the flavors enough meld and all the layers to chill together so each bite is cold and refreshing. For best results, let it chill for 24 hours before serving.
- Make it extra sweet - Fresh berries can have a little bite of tartness, so for additional sweetness, add a tablespoon or two of sugar to the berries before adding to the trifle.
- Make it in advance - To save time, make the instant pudding mixture up to 3 days in advance and store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container. You can make the entire summer fruit trifle up to 24 hours in advance. If storing for longer than a few hours, wait until just before serving to garnish the top with fresh fruit.
🍓 Other Fruit Desserts
If you tried this summer fruit trifle or any other recipes on my website, please let me know how it turned out in the comments below. I love hearing from you! And, please leave a 🌟 rating while you're there!
📧 Don't forget to subscribe to my newsletter, so that you don’t miss out on any of my delicious recipes!
Summer Fruit Trifle with Fresh Berries
- Trifle Dish
- 10 ounces angel food cake, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 4 cups strawberries, sliced
- 3 cups blueberries
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 1½ cups cold water
- 3 1 ounce boxes of cheesecake instant pudding mix
- 12 ounces cool whip, thawed
- Whisk 1 can of condensed milk and 1½ cups of water in a bowl. Add all 3 of the 1 ounce boxes of pudding mix into the bowl and beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes. Let it stand for 1-2 minutes or until soft-set; then fold in the tub of whipped topping.
- Cut the angel food cake into cubes. Arrange half the cubes in the bottom of a 14-cup trifle bowl.
- Take 1 ½ cup of blueberries and layer them on top of the angel food cake.
- Gently spread half of the cream filling over the blueberries, until the blueberries and cake are covered.
- Next, layer on 2 cups of the fresh sliced strawberries.
- Layer the remaining cake cubes on top of the strawberries, add the remaining 1½ cup of blueberries. Top with the remaining cream mixture. Finish with the remaining 2 cups of strawberries and a handful of blueberries, arranging them in a pretty pattern.
- Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours.
- I use Kraft's Jello - cheesecake instant pudding, but for less added sugar, use no-sugar-added pudding mix.
- Fresh berries can have a little bite of tartness, so for additional sweetness, add a tablespoon or two of sugar to the berries before adding to the trifle.
- Once you've prepared the fruit trifle, let the dessert sit in the refrigerator and chill for at least 3 hours. This gives the flavors enough meld and all the layers to chill together so each bite is cold and refreshing.
- To save time, make the instant pudding mixture up to 3 days in advance and store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container. You can make the entire summer fruit trifle up to 24 hours in advance. If storing for longer than a few hours, wait until just before serving to garnish the top with fresh fruit.
- It's always fun to mix up the fruit in trifle recipes. I've added in fresh raspberries and bananas and they taste amazing!
Recipe source: inspired by Skinny Taste
Shelley @ Two Healthy Kitchens
What a simple, easy and yet totally showstopper dessert for summer! Really pretty (gorgeous pics!) ... and sure to be the hit of any picnic or potluck! Terrific tips about finding gluten-free products, too - so helpful!
Yes - this one is big so definately perfect for a potluck during the summer!
I love love love summer berry trifles! It's such a perfect combination of cake, creamy whipped cream, and all those delicious berries that finally start showing up at the market. One of my favorite desserts!
Yeah! I hope you enjoy!!
I think I'm going to give this a shot for my Fourth of July party, but because it's going to be a smaller group and I have enough jars, I'm going to do them as individual servings in mason jars. So cute!
What a perfect idea!!
Now THIS is a summer dessert! Light fresh berries and cake, cool and refreshing. And the fact that it looks pretty simple is a total win!
Super pretty dessert right here!! I hope you enjoy!
It's not just the easiness of this dessert that's appealing but the beauty of the presentation. I love the red, white, and blue motif and it is so versatile by just changing what fruit you use. A great dessert recipe.
Super versatile...that's for sure! It's easy to make this one your own to enjoy year round...regardless of the time of year!
This dessert is delightful to look at and pretty amazing to eat! Gorgeous layers of goodness, freshness, and flavor!
Thank you! I hope you enjoy!
I think trifles are such pretty desserts to serve a group. I love that this one takes advantage of all the beautiful summer fruit that's available right now!
This is such an easy dessert....and perfect for all the BBQ parties this summer. I would be happy to eat this all summer long. Love the easy of making this....and true crowd pleaser.
Yes- it is SO easy and perfect for these warm days! Enjoy!!
Elaine @ Dishes Delish
I simply adore this! I love that you used angel food cake as the cake layer. Your trifle is festive and beautiful. I want to bring this to my sister's 4th of July party!!
Definately a good one to take to the 4th of July party!!
Fresh, light and delicious!
Yes- that's a perfect description of this trifle!!