Strawberry Shortcake Trifle

5 from 2 votes
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It doesn’t matter whether you are a master biscuit-maker or not when you take those (hopefully) light and fluffy biscuits, layer them with homemade whipped cream, fresh strawberries, and a sweet berry compote to make this simple but impressive Strawberry Shortcake Trifle.

Disclaimer: Driscoll’s provided me with coupons for berries and a $20 gift card to purchase ingredients. No additional compensation was received and, as always, all opinions are my own.

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle - layers of homemade biscuits, whipped cream and berries for a simple, impressive summer dessert | | #strawberries #StrawShortcake

I consider myself a pretty good home cook and baker. Definitely not a  professional or an expert, but I can whip up a tasty sweet treat or two. But given the opportunity to learn directly from someone who is an expert, I’m going to jump at the chance. And that chance came when the folks from Driscoll’s rounded up a group of food bloggers to have a virtual chit chat with James Beard award-winning cookbook author extraordinaire Dorie Greenspan on all things berries and biscuits, I was so there.

Dorie was so sweet and funny and interesting, and totally forthcoming with all of her favorite strawberry shortcake tips and tricks. For example:

  • She prefers a lighter buttermilk biscuit base, versus one made with cream so that the berries and whipped cream are the shining stars, versus the rich biscuit.
  • The flavor of lemon to the biscuits for a little pop, and to bring out the flavor, her trick is to rub the lemon zest and the sugar together with your fingers to release the oils.
  • When cutting the biscuits use a metal cutter and don’t twist it in order to ensure the maximum rise.
  • Use your fingers to work the butter and flour together, leaving some pieces of butter the size of peas, and some like oatmeal flakes, and everything in between. The heat then causes water in the butter to make steam and rise.
  • Dorie likes to add rose extract to enhance the strawberry flavor. I didn’t do this, but I am curious to try it.
  • You can prepare compote a few days before, but don’t cut the fresh berries more than an hour before preparing (if you are making the individual shortcakes, versus my recipe).
  • When preparing whipped cream in advance, line a strainer with cheesecloth, put whipped cream in strainer and set over a bowl, cover and store it in the fridge. You can do this a day ahead, and whisk before using.
You can get Dorie’s complete recipe HERE, on Driscoll’s website.
Strawberry Shortcake Trifle - layers of homemade biscuits, whipped cream and berries for a simple, impressive summer dessert | | #strawberries #StrawShortcake

Then we did some idea-sharing and brainstorming – what to do with the biscuit scraps, how we could reinvent Dorie’s recipe – and I latched on to the idea of a trifle. OK, maybe it’s not the most novel reinterpretation, but most versions I’ve seen have pound cake or some other type of cake, and just sliced berries. Here, I wanted to integrate the biscuits, and keep the different textures from the use of a berry compote and fresh strawberries, as Dorie did. Plus, if my biscuits turned out terrible, this would totally cover that up.

Not that I needed to. I think most of them turned out pretty good…

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle - layers of homemade biscuits, whipped cream and berries for a simple, impressive summer dessert | | #strawberries #StrawShortcake

But maybe not as good as this…

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle - layers of homemade biscuits, whipped cream and berries for a simple, impressive summer dessert | | #strawberries #StrawShortcake

A couple of years ago I told you about the lovely “grandmas” who take care of the kids while the mom’s chit-cat at the Mom’s Group meetings at my church, and that we have a brunch for them every year. I brought this Strawberry Shortcake Trifle this year, and while I didn’t have any, half of it was gone by the time I left, and I had to leave early. I haven’t seen my friend to get my trifle bowl back, so I don’t know how much of it was finished, but everyone seemed to love it.

I mean, I know you can’t really go wrong when you have Dorie Greenspan’s recipe, and you layer it all up with even more strawberries and whipped cream than the recipe calls for. I mean, it is a trifle – that totally calls for voluptuous pillows of whipped cream and tons of sweet, juicy berries. Other than that change, I made the biscuit recipe as written, just cut them smaller and reduced the baking time, and left out the rose extract that the compote recipe calls for – I didn’t have a chance to track any down, and I wanted to keep it a bit more everyday, without specialty ingredients.

I may not have a good evaluation of my biscuit making skills, since they soaked up all of the trifle-y goodness, but I know I make a mean trifle!

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle - layers of homemade biscuits, whipped cream and berries for a simple, impressive summer dessert | | #strawberries #StrawShortcake

What is your favorite version of strawberry shortcake? 

A strawberry shortcake trifle is served in a trifle bowl.
5 from 2 votes

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle

This cool and creamy Strawberry Shortcake Trifle recipe layers homemade gluten free angel food cake cubes with luscious pastry cream, strawberry compote, and fresh whipped cream.
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Chilling Time 5 hours
Total: 6 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 16 servings



For the Vanilla Pastry Cream (see Note 1):

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • teaspoon salt
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4-6 pieces

For the Strawberry Compote:

  • ¾ pound (about 3 cups) fresh strawberries, hulled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Whipped Cream:

  • 2 cups heavy cream, well chilled
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For Assembling the Trifle:

  • 1 Gluten Free Angel Food Cake, cut into cubes
  • 1 pound (about 4 cups) fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced, reserving one or two whole strawberries for decorating the top, if desired


For the Vanilla Pastry Cream:

  • Combine milk and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until just simmering, about 10 minutes.
  • While the milk is cooking, add egg yolks, sugar, and salt to a large mixing bowl. Whisk together until smooth.
  • Add the cornstarch to the egg mixture and whisk again until it is all incorporated. The mixture will be light yellow and thick like paste.
  • Once the milk has cooked, pour a small amount of hot milk into the egg mixture while whisking to avoid cooking the eggs.
  • Continue to add the milk a little at a time, mixing well between each addition, until all of the milk has been added. Return the egg and milk mixture to the saucepan.
  • Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens to a pudding-like texture, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook the cream mixture for another 2 minutes to set the starch. Stir constantly to prevent burning.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the butter until melted.
  • Transfer the pastry cream to a clean bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap, taking care to place the plastic directly on the surface of the cream so no skin can form.
  • Prepare a second large bowl with ice and cold water. Transfer the pastry cream bowl into the water bath to cool for 30 minutes prior to refrigerating. Refrigerate the pastry cream for 2-3 hours before using.
  • After refrigeration, remove the plastic wrap and whisk the pastry cream until the consistency is smooth again. 

For the Strawberry Compote:

  • Combine the coarsely chopped strawberries and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  • Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-8 minutes, or until slightly thickened and syrupy.
  • Remove from the heat, transfer to a bowl, and stir in the vanilla extract.
  • Cool to room temperature. (You can make the compote up to 3 days ahead and keep it covered in the refrigerator.)

For the Whipped Cream:

  • Combine the ingredients in a chilled bowl and whip with a hand mixer or whisk attachment on a hand or stand mixer until soft peaks are formed.

For Assembling the Trifle (see Note 2):

  • Line the bottom of a trifle bowl with about one-third of the angel food cake cubes. Top with one-third of the vanilla pastry cream, followed by about one-third of the fresh sliced berries and one-third of the compote. Spread about one-third of the whipped cream evenly over the top.
  • Make the second layer using about half of what remains of each component, followed by a final layer cake cubes, pastry cream, berries, compote, and whipped cream, spreading the cream decoratively on top. If desired, garnish with one or two whole berries and a few cake cubes.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve, at least one hour.


Note 1: If you don't want to make the pastry cream from scratch, you can substitute one 3.9 oz. package of 3.5-3.9 oz. Instant or Cook and Serve Vanilla Pudding Mix, prepared according to the package directions. The pudding will be a softer set than the pastry cream, so if you want a thicker pudding, use a 4.9-5.9 oz. package of Instant or Cook and Serve Vanilla Pudding Mix prepared according to the pie filling directions.
Note 2: I like to make three layers, but depending on the size of your trifle bowl or your preference, you can also just make two layers, using half of each component for each layer.
Nutrition Facts
Strawberry Shortcake Trifle
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 309 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 9g45%
Trans Fat 0.1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 89mg30%
Sodium 231mg10%
Potassium 207mg6%
Carbohydrates 39g13%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 26g29%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 620IU12%
Vitamin C 29mg35%
Calcium 103mg10%
Iron 0.4mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Disclaimers: Please discuss your individual dietary needs (i.e. gluten free) with a physician. Even when not specified, be sure to verify all ingredients are gluten free, if needed, by reading labels on all packaging and/or confirming with the manufacturer this varies by brand and can change at any time. Nutrition information shown is an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.


If you like this recipe, you’ll love these…

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Plus here are some more great Driscoll’s Strawberry Shortcake inspirations from my friends…


Strawberry Shortcake Trifle - layers of homemade biscuits, whipped cream and berries for a simple, impressive summer dessert | | #strawberries #StrawShortcake

  1. Brittany

    5 stars
    It’s a great dessert for any season. I made this a few years back during the winter holidays and I’m about to make it again for Mother’s Day tomorrow. Everyone loves it it so much.. The strawberry compote, subtle lemon biscuits and whipped cream combination is so delicious.

  2. I love, love, love trifle. My mom used to make it when we were kids and it was always a glorious treat. I don’t make it nearly often enough now that I’m a grown up. Guess that’s going to have to change. Thanks for the inspiration. It looks delicious!

  3. Shashi @ RunninSrilankan(dot)com

    I love strawberry shortcake – what a brilliant idea to use lemony buttermilk biscuits in this one – oh to have a bowl of this for breakfast!!

5 from 2 votes (1 rating without comment)

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