Strawberry Shortcake Trifle

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Talk about a showstopper: Strawberry Shortcake Trifle is loaded with tender white chocolate-studded cake bites, a creamy vanilla filling, and fresh strawberries. It’s easy to make and assemble, and a crowd pleaser wherever you serve it.

We’re obsessed with trifles for a fun dessert; try this brownie trifle next!

Photo of Strawberry Shortcake Trifle.

This delicious Strawberry Shortcake Trifle makes for the ultimate Easter dessert. Tender and moist bites of cake sandwiched in between a fluffy, vanilla-flavored custard and sweet sugared strawberries. It doesn’t get much better than that!

There’s nothing like traditional strawberry shortcake with homemade biscuits, but this trifle has quickly rivaled even a traditional shortcake for popularity in my home. 

Process shots: wet ingredients in a bowl; mixed; adding dry ingredients and mixing; baked cake in the pan; cake cut into cubes.

How to make a Strawberry Shortcake Trifle

First, make the cake: we’re using a shortcut: a  boxed cake mix! My personal favorite for this recipe is Betty Crocker’sยฎ Super Moist Lemon Cake Mix (15.25 ounces) (not sponsored). 

  • We doctor the cake mix to make it even more flavorful and moist by adding sour cream, extra oil, a pudding mix, additional egg, vanilla extract, and white chocolate chips. You won’t believe how good this cake tastes — truly bakery style! I also like using buttermilk in the cake mix, but if you don’t have it on hand, we’ve also tested with water which works just as well.
  • If you aren’t a fan of lemon, we’ve also tried (and love) Betty Crocker’sยฎ  Super Moist French Vanilla Cake Mix (15.25 ounces); it can substitute perfectly for the lemon cake mix.
  • If you don’t want to use a boxed mix at all, use your favorite vanilla or lemon cake made in a 9×13-inch pan.
  • Number one tip: Make the cake the night before. This trifle works best with fully cooled cake and the cake gets more flavorful and moist when it sits out overnight.

Then, make the custard: The custard couldn’t be easier; it’s basically a jazzed up whipped cream!

  • I recommend low fat milk; 1% is what I use in this recipe
  • You’ll want to make sure to use regular sweetened condensed milk (not low fat, not evaporated milk) for the best results in this custard. Also regular (not sugar free, not low fat) pudding mix.

Prepare the sugared strawberries: These strawberries are easy, too. We toss together strawberries and sugar until they get juicy and the sweetness intensifies.

  • Use the freshest and ripest strawberries available. If your strawberries are already pretty naturally sweet, feel free to reduce the sugar.

Process shots: adding cake cubes to the trifle dish; preparing the cream filling; adding it to the trifle dish.

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle tips and variations

  • Switch up the berries. You can use use a medley of berries instead of just strawberries. Try strawberries and blackberries or blueberries for a fun 4th of July themed dessert.
  • Switch up the cake. Try using angel food cake cubes or pound cake cubes in place of the cake.
  • Let the cake cool completely before adding. The cream layer is cold, so you don’t want warm (or hot) cake melting that cream layer. I recommend making the cake the night before; the trifle always turns out best this way.
  • Don’t forget to line the cake pan with parchment paper. Food52 explains how to do that perfectly! If you don’t have parchment paper, generously grease the pan with nonstick spray.

Process shots: Adding sugar to the sliced strawberries; letting them macerate by sitting a few minutes; adding the berries to the trifle; a view of the trifle's top layer.

Closeup view of the finished Strawberry Shortcake Trifle.

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Strawberry Shortcake Trifle

5 from 1 vote
This unforgettable Strawberry Shortcake Trifle is loaded with tender white chocolate-studded cake bites, a creamy vanilla filling, and fresh strawberries. It's easy to make, simple to assemble, and a crowd pleaser wherever you serve it.
Print Recipe

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle

5 from 1 vote
This unforgettable Strawberry Shortcake Trifle is loaded with tender white chocolate-studded cake bites, a creamy vanilla filling, and fresh strawberries. It's easy to make, simple to assemble, and a crowd pleaser wherever you serve it.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword strawberry shortcake trifle
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Make Ahead Cake Layer 1 day
Total Time 1 day 1 hour
Servings 10 -12 servings
Calories 428kcal
Cost $8.54

Ingredients

Lemon OR Vanilla Cake

  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup full fat sour cream
  • 3/4 cup melted coconut oil or canola/vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 box (15.25 Ounces) 15.25 ounces Super Moist Lemon or French Vanilla Cake Mix (Betty Crocker makes this; I use the lemon cake for this trifle)
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix (not sugar free) (dry -- do not prepare)
  • 1 cup chopped white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or you can use warm water)

Cream Layer

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or pure vanilla extract)
  • 1 can (14 ounces) full-fat sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup 1% milk skim is okay, do not use whole or 2%
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding (dry -- do not prepare to package directions)

Sugared Strawberries

  • 2 pounds fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar (reduce if strawberries are already pretty sweet)
  • Optional: fresh mint for garnish

Instructions

  • CAKE: Line a 9x13-inch metal pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang. Parchment paper is important for easy removal of the cake. Lightly coat the parchment paper with nonstick spray. If you aren't using parchment paper, grease the pan with nonstick spray. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk 3 eggs with a fork. Add in the 3/4 cup sour cream, 3/4 cup oil, and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract. Stir until completely combined. Add in the cake mix, vanilla pudding mix, and coarsely chopped 1 cup white chocolate chips. Stir well. Add in the 1/2 cup buttermilk (or water) and mix until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake according to package directions for a 9x13-inch pan. Test that the cake is finished with inserting a toothpick into the center; if it comes out dry or with moist crumbs, the cake is finished. Allow cake to cool in the pan, preferably overnight. Cover the cooled cake with plastic wrap and let it sit out overnight. Once ready to use the trifle, cut the cake into 1 inch cubes and use a metal spatula to remove cubes from the pan.
  • STRAWBERRIES: Remove the tops and stems of the strawberries, slice thinly, and add to a large bowl. Top with the 1/2 cup sugar (less if you're using sweet strawberries) and stir gently to combine. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, tossing at least once or twice more. Drain off any accumulated liquid before adding the strawberries to the trifle.
  • CREAM: Add the 1 cup heavy cream, 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or extract) to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on low speed to combine. Gradually increase to high speed until medium to stiff peaks form, about 2-4 minutes. Watch carefully to avoid over-beating. In a separate large bowl, mix together the 1 can sweetened condensed milk and 1/2 cup 1% milk. With a hand mixer, mix in the pudding mix until combined. With a spatula, gently fold the whipped cream into the condensed milk and pudding mixture. Fold until smooth and combined.
  • ASSEMBLE: Place about 1/3 of cake pieces in the bottom of the trifle dish. Cover with 1/3 of the cream and then 1 layer of 1/3 of the strawberries. Repeat the layers: cake, cream, strawberries. Repeat the layers one last time: cake, cream, strawberries. Serve immediately. If desired garnish with fresh mint.

Recipe Notes

I recommend serving the trifle right after it's been assembled. Here's how to make the components of the trifle ahead of time:
  • Wash the strawberries a few hours or up to a day in advance. Dry thoroughly and then store in the fridge. An hour before serving, add in the sugar and let the strawberries stand at room temperature.
  • Prepare the cake up to two days in advance. Cut into 1-inch pieces and store in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to use.
  • Prepare the cream filling a few hours in advance. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. (It does thicken a lot as it sits; this is totally fine, and it will taste the same!)
  • With all the components prepared ahead of time, assembly goes quickly -- especially if you can grab a couple helpers as you're putting it together!

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 428kcal

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Nutrition facts in strawberry shortcake trifle

 

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39 Comments

  1. When I was a kid, I was allergic to chocolate. When the Good Humor ice cream truck came around, and all the other kids were ordering chocolate this or that, I was delighting in GStrawberry Cheesecake Bars. With your recipe, now i can make them at home! A tiny bit of my childhood in every bite.Thanks, Chelea!

  2. These are absolutely stunning Chelsea! We used to buy similar bars like this growing up but yours look 1000x better! Totally in love with these – pinning ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy Friday and have a great weekend!

  3. We have strawberry shortcake every week in the summer! This frozen twist is gorgeous and so creative. Pinned! Hope you are having a wonderful Friday!

  4. Oh, these look incredible, Chelsea! Seriously, they look so wonderful with all those cookie crumbs!! Such an awesome idea rolling the popsicles in those! These are the perfect summer pop. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Chelsea…you did NOT…seriously? You made my very favorite-ist (yes, it’s a word) Good Humor treat in all the planet anywhere. I can hardly turn them down when I see them. They are seriously just that good. This is bad news for me. Very bad news. Pinning!!!

  6. My poor popsicle molds have been sitting in a cabinet for too long! I need to take them out and make these! Those strawberry shortcake ice cream popsicle things were my favorite when we were kids!

  7. WOW – these popsicles sound amazing – the combination and condensed milk, lemon and strawberries has me drooling! WOW!!

  8. Looks yummy! I would love it if you joined and contribute your awesome posts at my link party at City of Creative Dreams, starts on Fridays ๐Ÿ˜€ Hope to see you there at City of Creative Dreams Link Party.

  9. Omgoodness…. strawberry shortcake ice cream bars were seriously a childhood favorite of mine!! It was always my weakness! LOVE these!!

  10. Oh my goodness! When I was a kid there were strawberry shortcake bars I used to make my mom buy every time she went to the grocery store. This looks like the homemade version of them!

  11. Whoa! THese look amazing! I had no idea June 14th is the national strawberry shortcake day. I’ve been wondering why there are so many strawberry shortcake recipes popping up lately ;). This sounds like the perfect way to celebrate!

    1. I haven’t tried it, but personally can’t think why not. I would let the mixture freeze completely before topping it with the crumble though. And make sure to line the pan with parchment paper or tin foil for easy removal ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. I was so excited when I saw this recipe. I love this ice cream! As others have said, it brings back childhood memories and I still buy them. Can you please figure out the Toasted Almond version? That’s another favorite of mine.

    1. So glad to hear! I’ve actually never even tasted the Toasted Almond version! I’d have to find some to try them out ๐Ÿ™‚

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