Strawberry Lemonade Trifle

Strawberry Lemonade Trifle

We had a Sweet Treats themed baby shower for one of our teammates recently at work. Pretty vague, but our guest of honor had a few preferences that we knew about. No to chocolate. Yes to things like Italian Creme Cake and lemon cookies. I love celebrations like this because they give me the chance to make more elaborate dishes than I normally would at home.

I toyed with the idea of a lemon-whipped-cream angel food cake, but ultimately decided on a trifle. I think the presentation with all the layers in the trifle bowl looks really cool. And the layering gives you a lot of flexibility. You can make (ahead, in some cases) the components separately and decide whether you want more or less of a flavor or texture as you’re putting it together.

These were my components:

  • Angel Food Cake
  • Strawberry Sauce
  • Buttery Pecan Crumble
  • Lemon Curd
  • Cream Cheese/Whipped Cream

Angel Food Cake
I used this recipe from Food Network, and it ended up being fine in the trifle, but had I just been serving the cake by itself I would have been disappointed. Here’s how it went…

Use the food processer to get some fine sugar.
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Sift together cake flour and some of the sugar. Part of the sugar is reserved for the egg whites. [A proper sifter probably would have been helpful for several steps in this recipe, but sometimes you gotta charge ahead with what you have.]
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Separate and keep the egg whites. I set aside three of the egg yolks for the lemon curd I’d be making later.
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Whisk the egg whites, then add in the reserved sugar.
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Someday I need to learn exactly how to differentiate peak stiffness.
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Sift in the flour/sugar mixture and fold. I probably should have used a lighter hand during this process. You’re only supposed to dust the top, then fold…and repeat…and repeat. I added a bit too much at a time and ended up with a few distinctly floury chunks in the final product.
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Then it goes into the tube pan and 350 degree oven. Again, my pan might not have been the best quality.
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I was also worried about a bubble over, but it managed to rise up without spewing over.
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Then it sits upside down to cool. Nice use of a funnel, right?
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After giving it plenty of time to cool, I pried it out of the pan (first warning sign: not a clean break) and it looked like this. Womp womp.
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Not pretty. Now you can see why I would have been disappointed if I had just been serving the cake with toppings. The texture was ohhhkay. It had that spongy/airy thing going on, but I think it was a little heavy on the sugar, which also added denseness and may have contributed to some of the “hotspots” on the bottom while baking. Que sera, sera. Since it was going to be sliced/chunked into pieces and sit on the bottom of lots of layers, I didn’t waste time crying over it.

Strawberry Sauce
This doesn’t even require a recipe, really: blend together strawberries and sugar (and any other flavors you want to add. I used some lemon juice).

The grocery store is overflowing with strawberries this time of year, so I already had some on hand.
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Into the food processor. We only have this little guy, so I had to do it in batches.
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Give it a final stir to mix it all together, then set aside.
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Lemon Curd
The lemon and buttery pecan layers both came from this recipe.

Prepping ingredients: sugar, corn starch, flour, and water.
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Heat it up. Lots of stirring throughout this whole process.
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After it’s thickened, mix some of the sugar/starch into the egg yolks, then add the yolk mixture back to the pan.
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More heating and stirring. Then add the lemon juice and lemon zest. Keep stirring.
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For the buttery pecan mixture, start with butter. Lots of butter.
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Mix the flour and pecans together.
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Add the melted butter to the flour and pecans.
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Press into a 13×9 baking dish and pop it in the oven.
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Once it’s finished, use a fork to crumble it up.

Whipped Cream
Just heavy whipping cream, vanilla and orange extract, and a bit of powdered sugar.
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And a machine that does the heavy lifting…
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Fresh whipped cream tends to be best, but I made this ahead and the dessert itself held up for a few days without any issues.
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Note: I also made a batch of whipped cream cheese with some powdered sugar added, then blended that mixture with the whipped cream for one of the middle layers.

Assembling the Trifle
Here are all the components:
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The angel food cake took up a bit of room, so I decided to just do one layer of that on the bottom as a base.
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The top needed a little something…so more fresh strawberries to the rescue!
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The tartness in the berries balances well with the sweetness in the cake and cream, and the buttery richness of the pecan crumble. And the flavors get better after a day or two in the fridge.