Easy, beautiful, and delicous, you can make this lemon blueberry trifle from scratch, or take a few shortcuts for a stunning semi-homemade dessert!
When it comes to easy springtime entertaining, trifles have become one of my go-to desserts. Trifles are just so versatile and provide maximum impact for the effort. Lovely layers make a beautiful presentation, and depending on how much time and effort you have to invest, there are shortcuts! Of ciurse, I’m providing all the details for a fully homemade lemon blueberry trifle and an easy shortcut lemon blueberry trifle right here. 😉
What exactly is a trifle?
A trifle is a layered dessert comprised of some sort of cake, whipped cream, custard, and usually some fruit. You can make it in individual servings, or a large clear dish depending on how you plan to serve.
Sounds easy enough to make, right? It’s because it is! And I always wonder why I didn’t get into making them sooner. Trifles have really only found their way into the dessert rotation in the past 5-7 years or so.
Funny side story, when I was in my early 20s, a newlywed, and walking around a department store home section with my baby sister, we saw a trifle dish. She pointed it out because it was rather pretty and asked me what it was for. My response, “I think it’s a fancy ice bucket.” A salesperson rather haughtily corrected me and said “I suppose you could use it for that, but it’s a trifle dish.” I later searched “what is a trifle?” and decided I still didn’t like her tone. But that trifles seemed like very pretty desserts.
How do I make a trifle?
All you have to do is gather or prepare your ingredients and layer a few hours before serving! I’ve made one up to the night before and it’s been fine, but I also stabilize my whipped cream with cream cheese. If you’re using store bought or not stabilizing your whipped cream, I would definitely not assemble more than a few hours in advance. Same goes if you’re using berries that have a tendency to weep like cut strawberries.
To make this lemon blueberry trifle, you layer a cream cheese stabilized whipped cream, lemon curd, fresh blueberries, and sponge cake. Repeat until your trifle dish is filled, and you’re all set!
If you don’t have a trifle dish, don’t worry about it! Any large, deep, clear container will work perfectly, or split the trifle between smaller glass containers or mason jars for easy individual servings.
Let’s talk shortcuts…
When you get to the recipe, you’ll get all the details for making the sponge cake from scratch, the cream cheese whipped cream from scratch, and I’ll send you over to my lemon curd recipe to make a batch of that from scratch too.
But you don’t have to if that’s just not happening right now…
If you’re scrambling for a last minute party dessert, here’s what you do instead of trying to make everything from scratch. Head to the store and buy a plain pound cake. If you can find a plain sponge cake, great, but I can’t in my area. A pre-made sour cream pound cake is a great substitute. Not as airy as sponge, but it still works well in trifle!
Head to the jam and jelly section, or the international section, and look for the jarred lemon curd. You’ll need about 1 1/2 – 2 cups of curd, so 1-2 jars depending on size.
You can use frozen whipped topping too, but if you only have time to make one part of this recipe from scratch, I’d definitely recommend it be the whipped cream. The texture and flavor of cream cheese whipped cream is just made for trifle. Light and airy, without being too sweet, it just brings everything together and acts as the perfect balance to the sweet tart curd and bright blueberries.
I hope you enjoy this recipe for lemon blueberry trifle!
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 3 egg yolks, room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups lemon curd
- 2 cups fresh blueberries, washed and patted dry
Cream Cheese Whipped Cream
- 2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Bake the Cake
- Butter an 8 inch round or square cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside and preheat your oven to 350 F.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.
- Place the milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and warm until tiny bubbles just begin to form at the edges. You don't want the mixture to boil, but you do want it very hot. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- While the milk is heating, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, and salt at high speed for about 4-5 minutes, in a large mixing bowl using a hand held mixer, or the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. The mixture will turn a pale yellow and triple in volume.You should see slowly dissolving ribbons falling when the mixer is lifted.
- Use a fine-mesh sieve to sift the flour over the egg mixture in 3 batches. Fold the flour in after each addition using a spatula.
- Once the flour has been incorporated, pour all the hot milk into the batter and fold gently until mixed. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl and rotate your mixing bowl to ensure an even mixture.
- Scrape the batter into your prepared cake pan and bake 20-25 minutes until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan on a rack. When the cake is completely cool, run an offset spatula or butter knife around the inside edge of the pan and invert the cake. Peel off the parchment paper if you are using the cake immediately. You can also refrigerate the cooled cake in a plastic ziploc bag for 2 days, or wrap in plastic wrap and freeze up to 3 months.
Making the Whipped Cream
- In a clean mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the softened cream cheese and sugar on medium high speed until soft and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
- Pour in the heavy whipping cream, and working from low to high speed, whip until soft peaks form. Then add the vanilla.
Assembling the Trifle
- Cut your sponge cake into cubes, between 1-1.5 inches. You want large enough to provide texture, but not so large as to make an uncomfortable mouthful.
- Place a thin layer of whipped cream at the bottom of your trifle dish to create a base. Then add a bit of lemon curd, blueberries, and 1/4 of the cake. Repeat until your dish has been filled, and top with the remaining whipped cream, lemon curd, and the last of the fresh blueberries. Store loosely covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator at least one hour, up to overnight. Trifles are best enjoyed within a day or so.
Sponge cake recipe from Fine Cooking
If you do not have time to bake the cake, a store-bought angel food cake or pound cake works perfectly.
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