16ounces(454g)fresh or frozen raspberries, don't thaw if frozen
¼cupfresh lemon juice, zest lemons before using juice - the zest is used in the cream layer
Cake and Cream:
12cupscubed angel food cake (see note)
12ounces(340g)light or regular cream cheese, softened to room temperature
¾ to 1cuphalf-and-half or evaporated milk (see note)
1tablespoonfresh lemon zest
1teaspoonlemon extract (optional - use for more lemon flavor)
1 ½cupsheavy cream
For the raspberry filling, in a medium saucepan, combine the raspberries, sugar, cornstarch, water and lemon juice. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until thickened, 5-7 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature, or refrigerate until needed (can be made several days in advance).
For the cake and cream layer, with an electric mixer (handheld or stand mixer), whip together the cream cheese, half-and-half or evaporated milk, sugar, lemon zest and lemon extract (if using) until smooth and creamy, 3-4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Place the angel food cake cubes in a large bowl and pour over the cream mixture (see note). Gently mix until the cake pieces are evenly coated.
For the whipped cream, beat together the heavy cream and powdered sugar until soft peaks form (or use a blender to whip the cream and sugar together).
To assemble, in a trifle dish, a large glass bowl or a 9X13-inch (or slightly smaller) dish, spread half of the angel food cake mixture. It's ok if it doesn't form a completely even layer.
Dollop half of the raspberry mixture across the top (I don't spread this layer). Then dollop half of the sweetened whipped cream on top and spread into a mostly even layer. Repeat the layers (angel food cake, raspberries, whipped cream). The layers don't have to be perfect. It's one of those beautiful messy desserts.
Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours. Serve chilled.
Raspberry Filling: the raspberry filling is intentionally tart to balance the sweetness of the cake and cream. Angel Food Cake: you can use homemade, boxed mix, or storebought angel food cake for this recipe. The 12 cups called for in the recipe ends up being about 3/4 of a prepared box mix. Storebought and homemade cakes may vary in size. You might want to start by adding only 9-10 cups of the cake cubes - and add more if there is a lot of extra cream mixture. The important thing is not adding TOO much cake or the dessert will be dry. Half-and-Half: start with 3/4 cup half-and-half or evaporated milk and add more (up to 1/4 cup) if needed. Using light cream cheese will make the mixture thinner, so you may only need 3/4 cup of half-and-half or evap. milk; when I use full fat cream cheese, I use the full 1 cup. Lemon Flavor: for extra lemon flavor, you could add dollops of lemon curd with the raspberry filling. I've also made a variation of this dessert using cubed lemon bread in place of angel food cake.