Bright, creamy lemon flavors layered upon a comforting pound cake make a beautiful Lemon Trifle as irresistible as a warm spring day!
Lemon Trifle is a bright, beautiful layered dessert that is an easy no-bake confection perfect for all occasions. Layers of cubed pound cake, topped with lemon curd, pudding, and mascarpone filling, and creamy whipped topping, is a show-stopping treat everyone will love!
Perfect as a Spring Day
I don’t know if spring has an official fruit, but if it doesn’t, it should be lemon. Lemons are bright, happy, and bursting with refreshing tartness, and let’s not forget how amazing your house feels after spring cleaning with lemons! Lemon Trifle is a celebration of all things lemon without being challenging, so it’s easy to wow friends and family at birthdays, showers, and holiday get-togethers. This is one luscious lemon dish that is requested often!
Other Recipes to Serve with Lemon Trifle
- Lemon is versatile and amazing in savory dinner meals, like a light Lemon Asparagus Pasta, and a great warm-up to a big helping of a lemon dessert!
- After eating all the delicious food, kick your feet up and enjoy a Lemon Drop Martini– you’ve earned it.
Pound Cake: You can pick up a lemon or vanilla-flavored pound cake at the store or make your own. The cake will need to be cubed before assembling the trifle.
Pudding: You will need a packet of instant lemon pudding mix.
Dairy: To make a creamy lemon pudding, you will need whole milk, but you can use 2% if that is what you have on hand. Mascarpone is a cheese made from heavy cream and can typically be found in the specialty cheese section.
Lemon Curd: Bring more lemon brightness to this dessert with lemon curd, usually found in the jam section of the store.
Whipped Topping: Grab enough whipped topping layer in the trifle and for decorating the top of the cake, if you wish.
Lemon: You will need a fresh lemon to juice and zest.
How to Make Lemon Trifle
STEP ONE: Cube the pound cake and set it aside. Mix the instant pudding mix and the milk in a medium bowl until you have a creamy pudding.
STEP TWO: In a small bowl, whisk together the mascarpone, lemon juice, and lemon zest until creamy. Fold the mascarpone mix and the lemon curd into the pudding, careful not to overmix.
STEP THREE: In a 5-quart bowl, layer half of the cake and then top with whipped cream to completely cover the cake. Layer half of the pudding/mascarpone mixture evenly over the top. Repeat this process once more with a layer of cake, whipped cream, and finally, the lemon pudding/mascarpone.
STEP FOUR: Decorate and garnish the top of the trifle as you like, with more whipped cream and lemon slices.
Tips for Success
- To keep the layers visible, add the cake pieces from the outside or the bowl’s rim, and work your way to the center. Be sure to lightly press the cake down to become a more firm platform for the next layer, especially on the second layer.
- Always add the more firm cream after the cake pieces to get lovely layers. If the cream is too fluid, it will run through the cracks of the cake pieces.
- You can make the trifle the night before or on the day you need it, but be sure to give it time in the refrigerator to set and become even more flavorful.
- Trifle can be stored in the fridge, tightly covered, for up to 3 days.
Should a trifle be made the night before?
Making a trifle the night before is a great idea, as this gives the flavors in the trifle time to really meld and fully develop. If you decide to make this ahead of time, you can mix and layer everything in the bowl you will be serving it in, but wait to decorate the top until you are ready to serve it. Whipped cream tends to deflate and become looser when exposed to air, so for a fresh presentation, wait to add the finishing touches. Also, cover the trifle tightly before putting it in the refrigerator to keep it fresh.
What makes a trifle a trifle?
The simple answer to what makes a trifle a trifle is the layers! This traditional English dessert is typically made with a sponge cake, soaked in brandy or sherry, then layered with either jam/ jelly, custard, or fruit and then topped with whipped cream. Trifle is always served in a glass bowl to showcase the layers, and regardless of what kind of trifle you make, the presentation is always beautiful.
More stunning trifles to make for every occasion
- Banana Split Trifle
- Mini Caramel Pecan Pumpkin Trifles
- Berries and Cream Angel Food Cake Trifle
- Lemon Blueberry Greek Yogurt Trifle
- Krispy Kreme Cake Batter Trifle
- Cut the pound cake into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
- Whisk the lemon pudding mix and milk together in a large mixing bowl for 2 minutes until creamy and thickened. Set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the mascarpone, lemon juice, and lemon zest until creamy.
- Fold the mascarpone and lemon curd into the lemon pudding. Gently stir until combined. (If you overmix, the cream will get runny and run between the layers.)
- Add half of the cake pieces to the bottom of a trifle bowl and spread them into an even layer. Spread half of the Cool Whip over the cake, and then spread half of the lemon pudding mixture over the Cool Whip.
- Repeat the layers, being sure to press the cake to the rim of the bowl and get them nice and tight-ish at the rim, so they're visible. Then fill in the middle of the dish with the rest of the cake before adding the Cool Whip and lemon pudding.
- Garnish the top with swirls of whipped cream or Cool Whip and lemon slices. You can even add some mint sprigs for color if you like. Chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes or until ready to serve.
- You can use store-bought or homemade pound cake for this trifle. The same goes for the lemon curd.
- If you don’t have a trifle bowl, a glass 5-quart bowl will work too. Trifles are all about showing off the different layers.