Strawberry Holiday Trifle

Strawberry Holiday Trifle (with gluten and dairy-free adaptations) | strawberry recipes | dessert recipes |

I love this trifle for a lot of reasons…

1. It’s freaking delicious.

2. It doesn’t take much precision. If the cake falls apart when it comes out of the pan, who cares? It gets ripped apart anyway.
Strawberry Holiday Trifle (with gluten and dairy-free adaptations) | strawberry recipes | dessert recipes |

3. The custard is the best ever. Please don’t substitute instant vanilla pudding. If you do you’ll wonder what all the fuss is about (and it won’t be freaking delicious.)

4. This trifle won me $75 in a bake off when my husband was in grad school.

5. It reminds me of my mom. She made these for big family dinners.
Strawberry Holiday Trifle (with gluten and dairy-free adaptations) | strawberry recipes | dessert recipes |

6. One time we made one together for Easter, and I stuck it in the garage fridge.  I couldn’t find a place for it, so I put it in the door. My dad went out later to get a pop, swung the door open hard, and the whole trifle came crashing down on the garage floor. We kind of blame each other for that one. I shouldn’t have put it in the door, yet my dad has pretty rough, jerky movements.

That was a very, very sad day. We were more saddened by the loss of the trifle than the bowl itself.

7. It gives me an excuse to use my trifle bowl.

Strawberry Holiday Trifle (with gluten and dairy-free adaptations) | strawberry recipes | dessert recipes | This recipe fills one standard trifle dish or can be made into about 20 4-ounce “shots” shown above. You’ll need slightly less cake and strawberries and more whipped cream to make the shots. I made these for a wedding open house I catered and they were a big hit. I also made a Nutella Brownie version which was just as amazing. I put the variation instructions in the recipe. You’re welcome :)

Another fun twist would be to use this Dairy Free Coconut Custard from What the Fork! I love strawberries and coconut together.

Strawberry Holiday Trifle

Strawberry Holiday Trifle

Yield: 10
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours

If you've never had a trifle completely made from scratch, you haven't lived! This one is the best. And easily adapted to be gluten & dairy free.


  • For the custard:
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons potato starch, arrowroot starch, or tapioca starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk (almond or coconut)
  • 4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tablespoons butter or coconut oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

For the sponge cake:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup gluten-free flour blend
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup milk (almond or coconut)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter or coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For the trifle:

  • 4 pints strawberries, rinsed, hulled and chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • ¾ cup slivered almonds (optional)
  • 1 1/4 cups of heavy whipping cream
  • 2-3 Tablespoons sugar or pure maple syrup


  1. To make the custard:Whisk together sugar, preferred starch, salt and milk in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly.
  2. Meanwhile, combine egg yolks into a small bowl and whisk together.
  3. Gradually stir 1/2 cup of hot custard mixture into the egg yolks and stir well; add egg yolk mixture back into saucepan, stirring constantly.
  4. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 2 min.
  5. Remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla, stirring until butter melts.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap, gently pressing it onto surface. Chill at least 2 hours.
  7. To make the sponge cake:Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  8. Beat eggs at high speed with electric mixer for 3 min or until thick and pale.
  9. Gradually add sugar; beat 4 min.
  10. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; gradually fold into batter.
  11. Combine milk and butter in saucepan; cook over low heat until butter melts (or zap in the microwave). Gradually stir milk mixture and vanilla into batter.
  12. Pour into 2 greased and floured 8” round cake pans. Bake for 16 min or until toothpick comes clean.
  13. Cool on wire racks for 10 min. Remove from pans; cool completely on racks. Cut or tear into 1 in. cubes.
  14. For the rest of the trifle:Combine strawberries and sugar. Refrigerate for a couple of hours until they get really juicy.
  15. Whip the whipping cream until soft peaks with an electric mixer for a minute or two. Drizzle in the sugar or maple syrup. Continue whipping until the cream is stiff and stands on its own when you turn off the beaters and life them out of the cream.
  16. Stir about 1/2 cup of sweetened whipped cream into the chilled custard.
  17. Spoon 1/2 cup custard on bottom of trifle bowl. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup almonds (if using). Continue layering in this order: cake cubes, strawberries, custard, until you run out of ingredients. Top with remaining whipped cream. Cover and chill.

Chocolate variation: Use prepared brownies in place of sponge cake and stir 1/2 cup Nutella into the custard. Layer: custard, brownies, a few drizzles of Nutella, (repeated) and add the whipped cream on top. 

Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gFiber 0gProtein 0g

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.