I can’t stop making trifles. This easy-yet-impressive dessert is just layers of crumbled cake, whipped cream or frosting, and fruit or something crunchy, but people are soooo impressed when I make one for them. This lemon version is like eating light and creamy clouds of sweet and zesty goodness! A lemon syrup that uses both the juice and zest gets incorporated into every component of this beautiful layered dessert. For the berries, feel free to use any kind you’ve got (or swap in frozen defrosted ones if you need to), and store-bought white cake works juuuust fine here. No need to be a hero with homemade cake.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- Thickly peeled zest of 2 lemons
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 cups mixed sliced berries, such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup lemon sugar syrup (recipe above)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 8 ounces prepared vanilla cake, crumbled into medium pieces (about 4 cups)
- Mint, for garnish
Make the lemon sugar syrup:
Bring the sugar, water, and lemon zest to a boil over medium heat in a small saucepan and boil until the sugar is completely dissolved and the syrup thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Cool completely and remove any big pieces of lemon peel. Place the berries in a bowl and toss with ¼ cup of the lemon syrup; set aside while you make the cream.
Make the lemon cream:
Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or a hand mixer or just a whisk and bowl), beat the heavy cream to stiff peaks, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sour cream, lemon sugar syrup, and vanilla and whisk back to stiff peaks, 1 to 2 minutes.
Assemble the trifle:
In a bowl combine the crumbled cake with ¼ cup each of the lemon syrup and the lemon cream to moisten.
Spoon ¼ each of the cake, cream, and berries into four glasses in that order. When putting in the cake layer, make sure the outer ring of cake uses the prettiest pieces since you’ll see them most prominently when building layers. It can also be built in one medium trifle dish or glass bowl for serving a crowd. You can eat them right away, but ideally you let the trifles sit in the fridge overnight. (If you do this, add the fruit right before you serve.) Garnish with mint and lemon zest.