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

One Year Ago: Slow Cooker Maple Brown Sugar Ham
Two Years Ago: Honey Mustard Chicken

Lemon Berry Trifle

Yield: Serves 8-10

Lemon Berry Trifle

Note: 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.


    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


  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.

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.

56 Responses to Lemon Berry Trifle

  1. Deja says:

    Amazing recipe!!!

    But please, PLEASE rewrite it to indicate that one 9 inch loaf pan is probably not big enough for the amount of cake batter. Perhaps your cake pan has much higher sides than mine, or the majority of commenters on this blog post, but I literally could not even fit the batter in my 9 inch cake pan without it overflowing, and that was before baking it! It would have been nice to know about this potential issue, from the recipe itself, without having to scroll through all of the comments to find other people who have had similar problems. As a result, I had a much bigger mess on my hands, as well as the hassle of having to prepare another pan and transfer batter into that before sticking them in the oven.

    • Mimsie says:

      I am so glad you mentioned the pan problem. I am about to make this recipe, and thought I would scroll through the comments first. I will make it in a tube pan with removable bottom.

      • Mimsie says:

        Okay, me again. May I just make a few comments for my own sake, for when I make this again, and maybe they will help others as well. This makes a HUGE dessert–it will feed 20 easily. Next time I will halve the recipe. That way, the lemon pound cake WILL fit in the 9×5 loaf pan. Also, this takes a very long time to make–really 2 or 3 days, if you make everything from scratch–the cake, the lemon curd, the berry sauce. I also made candied lemon slices for garnish.

  2. Jane Coffey says:

    I was concerned about the amount of batter for one 9 inch round cake pan, so I checked the original Martha Stewart recipe. That calls for 2 loaf pans or one bundt cake pan. I used a bundt cake pan and it turned out fine.

  3. Amy says:

    I just was reading reviews after a similar overflow experience. I am a high altitude baker–I wonder if anyone else with this issue was as well? I have found that I have to use recipes adapted for high altitude or I have crazy results almost all the time with baking. I am new to your site and love your cooking recipes…but so far all my baking has turned out a bit off. But I’m pretty sure it’s my mile high baking!! Mel-what altitude to you create your recipes at?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Amy – I’ve lived in many different locations since starting my blog – upwards of 6,500 feet elevation down to sea level and now at about 2,500 feet so the recipes have been posted in all different locations. It’s been several years since I lived at extremely high elevation so it’s probably best to assume that most of the recipes I’ve posted in the last 5 or so years have been at less than 2,500 feet.

  4. Olivia says:

    Hey Mel,
    Just wanted to say thanks for the adventure! I had never made Lemon Curd, Whipped Cream, or Pound cake until Saturday. The trifle went over REALLY well on Easter and many of my in-laws said it was the best thing I’ve ever made! (Over the past 8 years or so of desserts). I will make this again for sure, but I’m going to do a different pan for the cake. It didn’t overflow, but it took an extra 30-40 minutes for the insides to solidify.
    Thanks for the adventure, and the amazingly delicious dessert! I also concur that it’s delicious for breakfast.

  5. Cearrow says:

    Your desserts have caused us to fall into a love-hate relationship! I love your genius but I also hate you because I have a large trifle bowl 4/5ths full of this dessert left to eat, and I won’t waste a bite! It’s almost sinful how good this is. So good it gave me that crazy “how can I justify eating this every day forever” logic you get, like when you’re pregnant. My logic said this: I can’t bake your desserts except holidays because my family of four won’t eat it all and I’m the one with the heavy responsibility to eat it for the rest of the week and make my scale hate me. Solution? Maybe I could have like four more kids, make your desserts every week and it’ll be gone before I have to eat 3000 calories a day! Makes sense to me.
    Anyway, I considered halving the lemon juices because I’m not a fan of lemon or lemon cream pie, etc. but with the berries well I think I had four servings today. Eeek. I made everything from scratch, curd and cake. My southern family raved. Make this now people!!!! Be prepared to serve 20!

  6. Cearrow says:

    I’m prepping this now for Easter and I’m not sure if loaf pans come larger than mine, like the size of loaves from a grocery store, but I have the generic loaf Pan for a medium loaf like banana bread (which I made your cream cheese banana bread in yesterday for the gazillionth time. Seriously, when can I tire of it already?!) and I needed two loaf pans because I knew it would rise. Actually I forgot baking powder and added it in after dough was in the pans but it turned out fine. I know we use the same size loaf pans because your banana bread calls for two pans and that fit my two loaf pans perfectly. As for the cake pans? Maybe your sides are deeper than the others and that’s why the over flowed. I know a shallow or pie 9-inch pan would overflow. Anyway, I can’t wait to serve this! Thanks so much!

  7. Maria says:

    This is going to be sooooo good. I’m making it for Christmas. A HUGE word of caution do not bake the cake in a loaf pan…. It went over board and all over the oven!! Smoke, fire alarms, etc. left it 1 hour and it wasn’t done. Have to do it again… I’m still giggling silly. This is one I will never forget!!! :))

  8. Lauren says:

    Hi Mel! Just wanted to let you know I tried this and loved it–seriously amazing. Only wanted to let you know the MS pound cake recipe says to just use one 9″ round pan, and I should have listened to my instinct, but it definitely needs two! Luckily I put a cookie sheet underneath but we had a bit of a cake explosion. It still worked for the trifle, so no tears here.

  9. […] Lemon Berry Trifle–I plan on making this for Easter this year. […]

  10. Holly says:

    I used the lemon curd recipe and made the lemon whipped cream to go on angel food cake and fresh berries, and it went over very well. With custard recipes (and lemon curd) I tend to put it through a fine mesh strainer after it is done cooking. This gets rid of unappealing egg bits so that the result is nice and smooth. I hadn’t thought to stain the eggs at the beginning, but that does sound like more work.

  11. Kathy says:

    INCREDIBLE! That’s the only word I know how to describe this trifle. I keep going back to the fridge to sneak another bite!

  12. […] 3. Lemon Berry Trifle by Mel’s Kitchen Cafe […]

  13. Trish says:

    I sure wish I had read the comments before I made this. Thought my 9-inch cake pan looked awfully full. But I figured it was fine….no it wasn’t. I have a huge mess to clean out of my oven from overflow. I know it will taste good, but so not what I want to be doing right now. I just spent the last 12 hours painting, but had to throw this together for a party tomorrow. Oh we’ll.

  14. Nancy says:

    I’m a pretty new follower to your website, Mel. But I just wanted to pass along something that may intrigue you and your readers. Allrecipes has a recipe for “microwave lemon curd” that is divine! It is so easy and delicious. I’ve made it several times with amazing results.

  15. Jaime says:

    Okay, I have learned my lesson about reading ALL of the reviews before trying a recipe….another messy oven here! I will definitely be using two pans when I make this again, it was scrumptious.

  16. […] Serve a sumptuous desert that takes full advantage of the season’s prime produce such as this lemon berry trifle from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe […]

  17. Mel says:

    LJ – you certainly can use unsalted butter. I’m a lazy baker that way and always use salted butter. If you use unsalted you may want to increase the salt by 1/4 teaspoon.

  18. LJ says:

    I am excited to try this. Do I use unsalted butter for the pound cake and lemon curd?

  19. Anissa says:

    This dessert turned out amazing. So light, so delicious, so sinfully full of calories. It was a lot of work, but definitely worth it for a special occasion like Easter. SO GOOD!

  20. Anissa says:

    I just got done making the batter for the pound cake. There ain’t no way it’s fitting in one 9″ cake pan. Maybe my cake pans are shorter than normal ones or something, but I’m definitely going to split it into two pans and avoid any spill over like a couple of other people mentioned. 🙂

  21. Stacie D. says:

    I just wanted to report back that the trifle turned out delicious! I used the 9-inch round cake pan and even though it overflowed the mess turned out to be manageable because I had a baking sheet underneath. Next time I’ll just divide the batter into two pans. And yes, there will be a next time because this was delicious!

  22. Mel says:

    Stacie D. – I’m sorry this exploded all over your oven. That is so frustrating! What size pan did you use? The 9-inch round? Or a loaf pan? I’ve made this several times in a 9-inch round pan and it has risen very high but never come close to rolling over the edges. I’m sorry…I really don’t know what to tell you!

    • Angela says:

      I too made this recipe this weekend. I also put it in a 9″ round (which I thought was strange with so much batter, but did it anyway) It went all over my oven as well 🙁 Since it was smoking so much, I ended up making it a second time and put it in two 9″ cake pans and it turned out great. Bonus…I wasn’t able to fit all of the cake in the trifle, so we have extra cake to eat! Yum! Kind of a bummer though having to make it twice. Idk how it would possibly fit in a loaf pan either.
      I do LOVE your blog Mel. I love trying new recipes to feed my family and your blog is definitely one of my go-to places for something good to eat!

  23. Stacie D. says:

    Oh, Melanie, I am so disappointed! The pound cake recipe you listed here is currently baking, and it has made a gigantic mess in my oven. I thought it was strange to put so much batter in only one cake pan, and even though I was hesitant I did it (I always do what you say!). I figure I have lost at least two cups of batter to the baking sheet below (thank goodness it is there!).

    I have hopes that it will still be delicious based on all the other comments, and thankfully, the cake part doesn’t have to look good since it will be cut up anyway.

    Please either edit your recipe or tell me what I did wrong. Thanks, Mel!

  24. Tracey says:

    Here’s my lemon berry trifle story. I decided to make this trifle for a church gathering of about 40 people. Therefore I tripled the recipe (except the cake…I bought that:), and divided it into small individual trifle cups.
    Just so you know, if you every decide to triple this recipe…be warned!…it takes about 3 times as much time. When making the lemon curd, there was so much “liquid” in the saucepan it took about 45 minutes for it to thicken. Straining 15 eggs takes WAY too long…mostly because I only have a small mesh strainer & had to do it one egg at a time…eek! Needless to say, it took A LOT of time to make the curd.
    HOWEVER, once the trifles were made, THEY. WERE. DIVINE.
    That lemon cream is to die for!
    All in all it turned out really well, and despite the insanity it caused, I would actually make it again:)

    • Mel says:

      Tracey – thanks for the story! I cannot believe you really made 40 individual servings of these. Talk about dedication! I hope everyone at the church gathering realized how much work this was! Thanks for your tips!

  25. Jen says:

    Hi Mel, I am making this dessert for a bbq with my best friend tomorrow and although I haven’t assembled and tried it all together yet, all the components separately taste amazing so I know it will be fantastic (like all the recipes you post are). I do have one concern, however. I made the Martha pound cake and chose to use a loaf pan to bake it in. It came close to the top when I poured in the batter and I was worried that with 2 tsp baking powder it would rise and overflow, but I just went with it anyway. It did indeed rise, and did indeed overflow. So, I would recommend using 2 loaf pans if anyone else wants to make it that rectangle shape for ease of use. Anyway, thanks for the great recipes, I use them often, keep them coming!!

    • Mel says:

      Jen – first of all, I’m sorry the pound cake overflowed. Ugh! What a mess. But thank you so much for giving the tip for others who check out this recipe. I hope the assembled trifle is a hit!

    • Lori Bishop says:

      I had the same quandary and then problem with a 9 inch cake pan. Next time I will use two. But the overall recipe is awesome! I will definitely make it again!

  26. nikki says:

    Just made this for mothers day too and it was so delicious! I too keep just eating it out of the bowl with the serving spoon! I also made the bittersweet chocolate pudding pie which was fabulous too! Thanks to your website my husband thinks I’m a good cook now!!

    • Mel says:

      nikki and cammee – wow! This was a popular dessert for Mother’s Day! I’m thrilled that it was such a hit. And don’t worry – I was scooping it straight out of the bowl, too (and my thighs are currently not speaking to me).

  27. Cammee says:

    Oh my heavens, this dessert was perfection! After the Mother’s Day festivities I sat down and ate it out of the trifle bowl—with the serving spoon! I can’t wait to make it again, but for the sake of my hips I might have to wait a week.

  28. Lani says:

    Oh my goodness Mel, we made this for Mother’s Day and it was a huge hit! Also, served the pork chops with carmelized apples and onions and the parmesan and garlic smashed potatoes. Everyone loved them! You should open up a diner in all your spare time. : ) Thanks for the great recipes.

    • Mel says:

      Lani – what a delicious Mother’s Day menu! I’m so glad that the recipes were a hit. I’ll tell my husband your suggestion on the diner. He’ll laugh – and then probably tell me to stay far away from you so that I don’t decide to do it!

  29. Reyna says:

    I had an excellent excuse to make this over the weekend for my mother-in-law’s birthday and it was divine. That lemon curd cream was to die for! I used my own pound cake recipe, but followed everything else from your recipe, and honestly, I will be dreaming about the next time I can justify making it again! It served 11 people and I still brought home a third of it! It was even better this morning for breakfast. You get a giant gold star for this one!

    • Mel says:

      Reyna – I was hoping you’d give this a try and I’m glad that you liked it (and seriously, I can see it being amazing for breakfast). Thanks for letting me know!

  30. Kim in MD says:

    Thanks, Mel! I was wondering if the cake was soggy the next day, but I bet it WAS still yummy! Thanks for sharing with us! 🙂

  31. Bruce in De Pere says:

    This looks great. I’m thinking you could work this into a sharing time lesson. Also, what is the difference between a Trifle and a Parfait? Everybody likes parfait.

  32. Mary says:

    Your photographs of food are always stunning. Thanks for sharing your cooking talent.

  33. grace says:

    trifles are one of my favorite desserts for three reasons: 1)they’re super easy, 2)they’re even better the longer they sit around, and 3)they’re gorgeous. this version is marvelous, melanie!

  34. Tracey says:

    Wow. It must be like heaven to live at your house! That trifle looks absolutely delicious!

  35. Danielle says:

    Wow! It’s fun to see this recipe here! Thanks for the Lemon Curd recipe. I think I have come up with another event so I can make this again.

  36. Cammee says:

    Who cares if it looks like slop when it can taste soooo good?! I think my only challenge with this will be not eating all the lemon cream before I assemble the trifle. This would be a perfect Mother’s Day dessert.

  37. Nancy J says:

    Um that looks so good, I always look at what you’ve made, and it always looks good, but this one quite literally jumped out at me. I think that will be on my Mother’s Day dinner Menu without a doubt, yum! Thanks for the recipe.

  38. Amy Weaver says:

    Oh this looks just perfect for Rob’s birthday coming up. Now I just need to find a trifle dish.

  39. Jenn says:

    Yummy! I can’t wait to try this one!

  40. Reyna says:

    Oh stop it! I just sent a friend this link and said, “Get this trifle in my mouth NOW”. Can you post something I don’t feel compelled to make instantly!?

  41. katie says:

    Wow that looks YUM! I just read a book called english trifle and had begun craving some, I’ll have to give this a try once I get all the ingredients. Thanks!

  42. Bailia says:

    This looks Fabulous!! I am going to have to give this a try for sure!

  43. Kim in MD says:

    Melanie- I forgot to ask two questions…

    Which pound cake recipe did you like best? Martha’s or Ina’s?

    Also, did the leftovers keep for a few days?


    • Mel says:

      Kim – I actually like either poundcake (both are very yummy) but I think I’ll continue to use the Martha Stewart recipe since it is a bit sturdier and doesn’t have icing to go along with it (not that it isn’t easy to omit that step…but still!). I think this trifle is best eaten within a day. The leftovers the next day were a bit soggy – but still delicious!

  44. I adore trifles! My mom used to make a fabulous one when I was little. Looks absolutely delicious!

  45. Kim in MD says:

    Oooohhh…this is my kind of dessert, and perfect for Spring and Summer! Your photo is just gorgeous, Mel!

    I can’t wait to make this! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *