Skip to main content

A Mixed Berry Trifle to Wow Your Guests

I've started to think about holiday menus.  The other day while shopping, I was greeted by a sales associate reminding me that there are only ten weeks until Christmas.  What happened to Halloween?  What happened to Thanksgiving?  Yes, it is true that the fall and winter holidays my family celebrates come in rapid succession, but I do like to deal with them one at a time.  Even so, I like to start thinking about my dessert options for our family celebrations well in advance.  One of my favorite celebration desserts is this mixed berry trifle.  Do you want a delicious, fancy-pants dessert?  This mixed berry trifle is as delicious as it is pretty.

Impress Your Holiday Guests with an Amazing Mixed Berry Trifle


Mixed Berry Trifle
An Impressive Mixed Berry Trifle 

The mixed berry trifle starts with a buttery pound cake.  You can make your own or buy a prepared pound cake.  I suggest you make your pound cake in advance and freeze it so you have it ready when you need it.
A Mixed Berry Trifle is an impressive dessert.

The element that makes all the difference with this dessert is the Cognac cream.  There is only one teaspoon of Cognac in the recipe but it adds so much flavor it would be a shame to leave it out.  You can double the vanilla if you prefer.

Frozen berries work in this recipe.  Berries can be expensive during the fall and winter.  I have found beautiful frozen berries that have been perfect in this trifle.  You'll want to choose the best strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries you can find.  If you choose frozen berries, treat your bags of berries gently so that the berries don't get broken into pieces.

The crowning glory for the trifle is the pillows of fresh whipped cream placed in dollops over the top of the trifle.  Make your own whipped cream for this very special dessert. You can be fancy and pipe your whipped cream over the top of your trifle, but I really like the easy casualness of the spoonfuls of whipped cream.


Mixed Berry Trifle

Serves eight to ten
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa


Step 1:  Plain Pound Cake

Freezer Ready Pound Cake
Freezer Ready Pound Cake
Makes 2-pound cakes 
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature 
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two (8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2-inch) loaf pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper for easier removal from the pan.
Cream the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for about five minutes, or until light and fluffy. With the mixer on medium speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour.

Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean. Don't over-bake.  When the cakes are done, let them cool for 10 minutes. Take them out of the pans, place them on a baking rack and allow them to cool completely. Wrap well, and store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Step Two:  Make the Cognac Cream

In my opinion, the Cognac cream is essential to your trifle.  It adds just enough Cognac flavor to make a difference.  If you prefer, omit the Cognac and double the vanilla.

Cognac Cream

  • 3 cups milk 
  • 10 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons sifted cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon Cognac
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream

Directions
Heat the milk in a medium stainless-steel saucepan over medium heat and bring almost to a boil. Remove from the heat.

Beat the egg yolks and sugar on medium-high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until pale and thick, about five minutes. With the mixer on low speed, sprinkle on the cornstarch. Beat on medium-low speed until combined, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture.  Pour the mixture back into the pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, five to seven minutes.  I cook on an electric stove.  I found heating the mixture on medium heat worked best.

You really want the mixture to get very hot. You'll feel it thicken up to pudding consistency.  Don't rush this step.  Immediately, pour the mixture through a fine sieve into a large bowl. Stir in the vanilla, Cognac, butter, and heavy cream.  Stir to combine.  Go ahead and stick your finger into the cream to taste.  You know you want to.  Yummy!  Place plastic wrap directly on the custard to keep it from forming a skin.  Refrigerate until cold.  This step can be done a day in advance.



Step 3:  Assemble the Trifle


    Preparing to assemble the mixed berry trifle.
    Ready to Assemble the Mixed Berry Trifle
  • 1 plain pound cake
  • 1 cup good seedless raspberry jam
  • Framboise
  • 4 cups frozen berries, a mixture of strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries
  • Cognac Cream
  • 2 cups cold heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

Directions
Cut the pound cake into nine (3/4-inch) slices.  You may find it helpful to cut each slice into 3 pieces to be able to fit them more snugly into your serving bowl.  Spread each slice on one side with raspberry jam, using all the jam. Make sure you use a good quality seedless raspberry jam.  Set aside.

Place a layer of cake, jam-side up, in the bottom of a 2 1/2-to 3-quart glass serving bowl, cutting the pieces to fit.  Sprinkle the cake with Framboise. Top with a layer of berries and Cognac Cream, using one-third of each. Repeat the layers of cake sprinkled with Framboise, then the berries and Cognac Cream, ending with a third layer of cake placed jam-side down and then the mixed berries.

The layers of the mixed berry trifle.
The Layers of the Mixed Berry Trifle


Whip the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. When the cream starts to thicken, add the sugar and vanilla and continue to whip until it forms stiff peaks. Decorate the trifle with the whipped cream. Chill until ready to serve.

You can get fancy with your whipped cream, but I didn't.  Generous spoonfuls placed around the top look lovely as well.

Shared on Meal Plan Monday.

Before you go...Never miss a Just One Donna post by signing up to receive posts in your email or your favorite RSS feed.  Links are in the sidebar.

Enjoy!







Comments

More Popular Posts

How to Make a Perfect Bacon and Eggs Breakfast

In my opinion, the best breakfast consists of two perfectly fried eggs, crispy bacon, and toast made with hearty bread. This bacon and eggs recipe delivers. Bacon and eggs or eggs and bacon? No matter, it is definitely the breakfast you want on those lazy mornings when you have time to relax around the kitchen table, drinking a cup of coffee or two. The Best Bacon and Eggs Breakfast (This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience.  When you make a purchase using these links you help support this blog.) How to Cook Bacon and Eggs My technique was learned from my mom, by watching her make our family's breakfast over and over again, year after year.  This is a basted eggs recipe which means the eggs are cooked in bacon grease. Cooking eggs in bacon fat is easy and takes just a little practice to perfect. All you really need for a great bacon and eggs breakfast is a good nonstick skillet and a good toaster . If you want to make your own bread

Grandma's Soft and Chewy Date-Filled Cookies

One of the things I can count on as the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons arrive each year is a feeling of nostalgia. The traditional foods we serve at our family's holiday tables can sure bring out all the feels. Now that it is officially cookie season, we should kick it off with an old-fashioned homemade date-filled cookie recipe. This is a soft, tender cookie with dates that is a special, nostalgic, family recipe.   An Old-Fashioned Date Cookies Recipe This old-fashioned, date-filled cookie was my dad's favorite cookie from his childhood. My dad was born in 1932 so this recipe has been around for quite a while. 

How to Doctor Up Store-Bought Potato Salad

Here's a potato salad time-saver for you just in time for summer cookouts. You'll love how you can transform grocery store potato salad so easily no matter whether you are hosting a BBQ or bringing a side dish for a summer barbecue. When you need a quick potato salad, and no time to make one from scratch, that ordinary store-bought potato salad you have in your refrigerator can go from blah to amazing in just a few minutes with just a few ingredients. There's no judgment here. We don't always have the time to make a potato salad from scratch. Sometimes it is just easier to stop by your local grocery store to pick up a container of the store-made potato salad. It's good. It's predictable.  It will do.  All it needs is a little doctoring. How to Make Store-Bought Potato Salad Better Take Your Potato Salad from Blah to AH-Mazing! How to Doctor Up Potato Salad to have a little more flavor? You're going to a potluck picnic or you are having p

Crunchy, Spicy Gingersnap Cookies

Crunchy, spicy, and yummy are all words used to describe a good gingersnap cookie.   While my hands-down, favorite cookie is a gooey chocolate chip cookie I occasionally crave a spicy ginger snaps cookie or  this molasses cookie .  This old-fashioned gingersnap cookie is a winner.  It's easy to make and will be a favorite in your recipe rotation. Traditional Ginger Snaps Cookie Recipe ( This post contains affiliate links.  I will be compensated when you make a purchase with these links.) Gingersnaps Cookies In the U.S., gingersnaps are usually drop cookies with lots of cracks on the surface.  That's exactly how I like them.  Those found in other countries may be thinner and sliced.  The Lebkuchen, a traditional German cookie, and the pepparkakor, from Sweden, are often cut into festive shapes.  My gingersnaps are round. Reasons You'll Love These Gingersnap Cookies These gingersnaps are tasty cookies at any time of the year.   Their spiciness is perfect as a h

Making Pie Dough-America's Test Kitchen Vodka Dough

How many of you watch America's Test Kitchen shows on your local PBS station?  Show of hands, please.  Well, those of you who don't have your hands raised really should check your local TV listings and catch one of the shows soon.  The programs are full of ideas and tips, like this suggestion that you can make a better pie dough using vodka as one of the ingredients.  I know, sounds crazy doesn't it? Vodka Pie Dough Pie dough is not my thing.  No, not at all.  Yes, I've been known to purchase the prepared pie dough from my local grocery store.  No, I'm not ashamed to admit it, and neither should you be.  My mom, keeps telling me that making pie dough is easy.  Yes, easy as pie.  Well, I'm finally willing to tackle the art of making pie dough.  I actually started about a year ago.  I selected different dough recipes, made some pies and compared the crust results.  I had no clear winner with my first attempt at the experiment, so I'm ready to start again.

How to Trap and Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Fruit flies can be a huge annoyance at certain times of the year. What can you do to kill fruit flies? We've all been there wondering how to get rid of fruit flies.  Fruit flies in the kitchen.  Fruit flies in the bathroom.  Fruit flies buzzing around everywhere in your home.   It's a frustrating problem that happens to everyone at one time or another.  If you are a fresh fruit and produce lover you certainly know what I mean. How to Kill Fruit Flies with Two Ingredients Those pesky little buggers can often be brought into your home on the vegetables and fruit you buy. You don't have to tolerate the annoyance.  This homemade fruit fly trap is one I have been using for many years and it works every time. 

Traditional New England Whoopie Pies

Are you looking for the best whoopie pie recipe?  Whoopie pies are a quintessential New England dessert and a memorable treat from my childhood.   My mom would make them for us every once in a while.  Oh, what a treat to come home from school to a platter of chocolate whoopie pies!  Yum! Today I'm sharing my recipe for the best-ever whoopie pies. The Best Whoopie Pies Recipe without Marshmallow Fluff Whoopie Pies Whoopie pies are soft round cookie-like cakes with a smooth cream filling sandwiched in the center. Debate rages about where whoopie pies originated.  Some say these goodies originated in New England, others say they originated with the Amish.   There is also debate about what ingredients should be in the filling.  Many recipes include fillings made with Marshmallow Fluff or buttercream but neither is  traditional in my opinion.  The whoopie pie of my childhood is a traditional Maine whoopie pie recipe, made with a cooked flour and milk mixture added to sug

Rum Punch for a Party

As the weather warms and you start to think about gathering friends and family for parties and celebrations you'll want to think about signature cocktails. This rum punch cocktail is an ideal cocktail for a large gathering because the flavors are irresistible. Don't you think a warm-weather cocktail should make imagine yourself sitting by the shore on a tropical beach with your toes in the sand? Fruity rum drinks are perfect and rum punch is one of those perfect cocktails.  Cool and fruity, rum punch will make a party! One sip and you'll be transported to the beach. Rum Punch Cocktail (This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience.  When you make a purchase using these links you help support this blog.) Rum Punch for a Party! Can you make a rum punch ahead of time?  This rum punch recipe is a make-ahead recipe I use whenever we are having a large group for a summer picnic or barbecue.  Use the recipe below as your baseline and double or tripl

My Favorite Clam Dip

Hubby and I have a favorite restaurant that serves a to-die-for clam dip with freshly made potato chips.  Every once in a while we find ourselves craving that clam dip. It is easy to make the dip at home with a few ingredients, you may even have on hand now.  That makes this dip easy to whip together for a party or holiday gathering as well as watching the big game this weekend. A Clam Dip Perfect for Any Time of Year Yummy Clam Dip Make the clam dip a day or two ahead of serving for optimal flavor, but if you are like me you'll make it and eat it the same day. It's that good. While we love freshly made potato chips, we don't usually make our own.  A favorite brand of kettle chips is perfect for us. The recipe is perfect as is when served with crackers, vegetables, or thick-cut potato chips. You might want to thin the dip a bit with the reserved clam juice if you are serving it with thinner store-bought potato chips. The dip will thicken when refriger

Easy Chicken Parmesan-A Make Ahead Freezer Dinner

Chicken Parmesan is a favorite dinner in the Just One Donna house.  It's also a favorite restaurant menu choice. I like to keep Chicken Parmesan prepared in my freezer for those busy weeknights when we might be tempted to head to a restaurant instead of eating at home.  That way, we'll have a delicious dinner all ready to go into the oven and save money to boot.  What's not to like about that? Freezer Chicken Parmesan for Busy Families This post contains affiliate links.  I receive a small compensation when you shop using these links Easy Freezer Chicken Parmesan for Dinner This Chicken Parmesan recipe is made with everyday ingredients in the spirit of semi-homemade. You may already have the ingredients you need in your pantry.   Chicken Parmesan Ingredients That makes this an easy recipe for any mom or dad to prepare in advance for those busy weeknight dinners. Make a double batch and you'll have a baked Chicken Parmesan dinner for tonight and anoth