A trifle is a classic British dessert made with a thin layer of cake, traditionally soaked in sherry, topped with layers of preserves, custard, and cream. Trifles can be relatively simple to make or as complex as you want to make them. Trifles are easy to customize to your specific tastes and flavor combinations are only limited by your imagination.
I am a big fan of cheesecake so I decided to make a Red, White, & Blue Cheesecake Trifle, adapted from Melanie Underwood’s cookbook Making Artisan Cheesecake. This recipe has a lot of steps, but it is delicious and worth the extra effort.
It would make a lovely and delicious dessert for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, use any excuse to make it. Honestly! While a trifle is typically served in a clear bowl with straight sides to show off the gorgeous layers, it also looks beautiful in single serving glasses.
My Ankarsrum Original Stand Mixer, with it’s powerful and quiet 600 watt motor, was the perfect tool for making this trifle. The roller with a separate scraper simultaneously mixes the batter and scrapes the sides of the mixing bowl. That made easy work of creaming the butter and sugar for the cake batter. I used the 3.5 liter plastic beater bowl with double beaters to create the cheesecake filling. It blended the ingredients perfectly, so the filling was smooth and creamy. If you want to check out the Ankarsrum Original Stand Mixer for yourself, take a look here.
Red, White, & Blue Cheesecake Trifle
Lemon Cake Crust
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- 1 C unsalted butter, at room temperature (says to cut into 1 inch pieces, but I didn't)
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 1 pound cream cheese
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoons cold water, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated gelatin
- Jar raspberry jam
- 1 pint fresh blueberries
- 2 pints fresh strawberries
- whipped cream
Lemon Cake Crust
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Brush melted butter on the bottom and sides of a 9x13 cake pan (if you'd rather not slice the cake into 2 layers, use 2 pans and adjust cooking time.)
- Dust the pan(s) with white sugar and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
- In your mixer, using the roller scraper or paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Break the eggs into a separate bowl, beat lightly then mix eggs into the creamed sugar.
- Scrape down the sides and mix until combined.
- With the mixer off (unless you want a cloud of flour to go everywhere) stir in one-third of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix on low speed for about 1 minute.
- Add half of the buttermilk and mix.
- Add another third of the dry ingredients and then add the remaining half of the buttermilk, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Add the remaining dry ingredients.
- Stir in lemon juice and zest.
- Pour batter in the prepared pan(s) and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before attempting to remove the cake from the pan.
- Add the cream cheese to the bowl of an electric mixer and mix on medium speed until softened, scraping down the side of the bowl frequently, about 2 minutes.
- Add the sugar and continue mixing on medium speed, scraping down the sides, until there are no visible lumps.
- Add the sour cream and mix for 1 minutes. Add the vanilla and lemon zest and stir until incorporated evenly.
- Put 1 tablespoon of the cold water in a small bowl.
- Evenly sprinkle the gelatin on top and set aside for about 5 minutes.
- Place the remaining 2 tablespoons water in a microwave safe bowl and cook on high for about 45 seconds, until it's boiling hot.
- Carefully pour over the gelatin.
- Whisk until the gelatin is fully dissolved.
- Immediately pour this into the cream cheese batter and mix until combined.
To make the layers
- If you made one cake, use a serrated knife to slice the layer in half horizontally.
- Place a layer of cake inside the trifle bowl and trim to fit. (I eyeballed the size and then cut a circle freehand, trimming where needed to fit in bowl.)
- Place roughly 1/4 cup of the jam on top of the cake layer and spread evenly to the side of the bowl.
- Place about 1 cup of the berries in a single layer on top of the jam making sure the press them to the edged of the bowl. (I simply arranged the fruit so it was pretty and covered most of the area.)
- Add about 1/3 to 1/2 of the cheesecake mixture on top and spread evenly to the side of the bowl.
- Repeat the layering 1 or 2 more times depending on the size of your trifle bowl.
- Top with whipped cream and garnish with berries.
This can be served immediately or refrigerated for up to three days. (It was just as good the 2nd day as it was freshly made.)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 394Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 92mgSodium: 154mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 2gSugar: 31gProtein: 6g
There so many trifle recipe variations. You can use brownies, angle food cake, or cookies for the cake layer, and for the filling use pudding, mousse, custard, or flavored cream, like pumpkin, coffee, or lemon. The possibilities are endless.