Lemon Berry Trifle

Lemon Berry Trifle

Who doesn’t love a good trifle?

Seriously. I would love to know who could resist a concoction like this staring them in the face.

Not only are trifle desserts fantastic for serving a crowd, but they are a hundred times easier to throw together than tediously frosting and decorating a cake.

The only downfall of the much beloved trifle is it’s tendency to look like slop once it is served. If you can get past that, then trifles will be your friend forever and always.

This trifle is in a league of it’s own. I’ve never had such a delicious layered dessert and I’m dreaming about when I can make it next – it is that good.

The combination of tender lemon pound cake, sweet berries and lemon-infused whipped cream is absolutely terrific.

My favorite bites were the ones heavy on the pound cake, light on the fruity syrup and heavy on the lemon cream. Oh, divine. Divine, divine, divine.

This dessert can be as easy or as time intensive as you like.

Theoretically, you could buy a premade pound cake and lemon curd in a jar but if you want the extra challenge of making each layer from scratch then I’ve included the recipes I used (plus, homemade lemon curd is pennies cheaper than buying it!).

The great thing is that most of the steps can be done ahead of time so you can pile it all together in a snap and let it hang out in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it.

Lemon Berry Trifle

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Lemon Berry Trifle

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Ingredients:

Berries: (can be cooked up to a day in advance and refrigerated):

  • 4 cups berries (a combination of blueberries, strawberries and raspberries), you can use fresh or frozen – if using frozen, they need to be thawed and drained
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

Lemon Cream: (the lemon curd can be made up to 3 days in advance):

  • 3 cups whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 recipe lemon curd (see below) or an 11-ounce jar lemon curd

Pound Cake: (can be made a day in advance or longer, if it is frozen):

  • 1 9-inch round or loaf lemon (or plain) pound cake (recipe below), homemade or store-bought, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices

Directions:

  1. Combine the berries, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook just until the berries begin to break down, about 3-4 minutes. Take the berries off the heat and let the mixture cool. This can be done a day in advance. Cover and refrigerate the berry syrup until ready to use.
  2. In a clean bowl, whip the cream with the powdered sugar and the vanilla until soft peaks form. Put the lemon curd into a second bowl and whisk in about 1/4 cup of the whipped cream to loosen it up a bit. Then gently fold in the rest of the cream. Cover and refrigerate if not using immediately.
  3. To assemble the trifle, spoon a layer of the cream into a large glass or trifle bowl. Add a layer of pound cake. You may need to break the pound cake slices into smaller pieces and jigsaw them together to fit. Then drizzle on about 1/3 of the berry syrup. Don’t worry if it doesn’t completely coat the pound cake – just drizzle it across and let the berries fall where they may. Spoon a layer of lemon cream over the top, smoothing to the sides. Repeat all the layers, 2 or 3 more times, depending on the size of the bowl, finishing with a layer of lemon cream. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. It is best to make this several hours before serving and refrigerate it.

Notes:

The trifle should be assembled about 5-8 hours before serving so all the flavors can blend together. All of the components can be made from 1-3 days ahead. Look through the recipe for more specific details.

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Recipe Source: the idea for the lemon berry trifle came from Danielle, a reader, who saw it on this blog. I made my own changes to the method and recipes.

Lemon Pound Cake:
adapted from Martha Stewart Living 2002 Annual Recipes

*Please note that many readers have commented back saying this amount of batter was too much for their 9-inch pan (it fits in mine, but I checked and my pan has unusually high sides) – so you may want to split the batter into two 9-inch pans or use a 9X13-inch pan. Whatever pan(s) you are using, only fill 2/3 full (probably a bit less if you live at high altitude). 

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1-2 lemons)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter and dust with flour a 9-inch round cake pan (see note above about pan sizes; you may want to split the batter among several pans or use a larger pan to prevent overflowing while baking). Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

Place the butter in a large bowl and using an handheld or stand mixer, beat until soft. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Reduce the speed to low. Add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat until incorporated after each addition. Stir in the lemon zest and lemon juice.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan; bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 50-60 minutes (perhaps longer for a deep loaf pan). Invert onto a wire rack and let cool completely.

Lemon Curd:
adapted from Martha Stewart Living 2002 Annual Recipes

4 large egg yolks
1 large whole egg
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons), strained
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (about 1 lemon)

Strain the yolks and whole egg through a fine mesh strainer into a heavy medium saucepan (this took a bit of work – I pressed on the egg mixture with the back of a spoon, moving it around, until they moved through the strainer). Add the sugar and juice; whisk to combine.

Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, 12-14 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the butter, one piece at a time, until fully incorporated. Stir in the lemon zest. Cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin forming and chill in an airtight container for up to 3 days.