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Lemon Raspberry Trifle

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a trifle jar of Lemon Raspberry Trifle topped with raspberries and lemon zest
This light and sweet Lemon Raspberry Trifle combines refreshing lemon pudding with sweet raspberry jam and tart raspberries, layered between soft pieces of pound cake. Prepared in minutes and perfect for holidays and summer celebrations!
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Table of Contents
  1. Lemon Raspberry Trifle Ingredients
  2. Raspberry Lemon Trifle Substitutions and Additions
  3. How To Make A Lemon Raspberry Trifle
  4. Troubleshooting
  5. How To Serve A Lemon Raspberry Trifle
  6. How To Store Lemon Raspberry Trifle
  7. Why These Lemon Raspberry Trifle Are The Best
  8. Frequently Asked Questions
  9. More Trifle Recipes You’ll Love
  10. JUMP TO RECIPE
  11. Even More Recipes You’ll Love

Our Lemon Raspberry Trifle is a simple and elegant dessert that’s perfect for summer parties and holidays. Light and fresh, easy to make, and delightfully pretty, it’s no wonder this dessert is one of our favorite recipes.

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This lemon berry trifle combines pound cake, fluffy lemon filling, tasty raspberry jam, and fresh berries to make a gorgeous layered treat. 

We used a pre-made pound cake and instant pudding, so it’s truly a no-bake, no-cook recipe. You can make this a day ahead of a party so it’s convenient for holidays, and it’s easy to customize, too!

a trifle jar of Lemon Raspberry Trifle topped with raspberries and lemon zest

Lemon Raspberry Trifle Ingredients

Lemon Raspberry Trifle raw ingredients that are labeled

This easy raspberry trifle is the perfect dessert to celebrate the flavors of summer. Sweet lemon pudding deliciously folded together with whipped cream, fresh whole raspberries bursting with flavor, puckery raspberry jam, and moist pound cake to provide a subtle vanilla flavor. 

You’ll Need:

  • 2 (3.4 ounce) boxes instant lemon flavored pudding
  • 3 cups whole milk, very cold
  • ¾ cup seedless raspberry jam or preserves (We used Smucker’s brand)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest (plus more for garnish)
  • 8 ounces Cool Whip whipped topping, thawed, divided (4 ounces folded into the lemon pudding and 4 ounces to garnish)
  • 16 ounce premade pound cake, thawed if from frozen, cut into small squares, (about 1-inch sized cubes) (We picked up a Sara Lee pre-made pound cake)
  • 1 ½ – 2 cups fresh raspberries, divided (for the decorative layer in the trifle and the garnish)

Raspberry Lemon Trifle Substitutions and Additions

One of the best things about this trifle is how easy it is to customize the recipe. Use it as a base for creating all kinds of flavor variations. Here are some ideas:

Instant Lemon Flavored Pudding: Vanilla or cheesecake flavored pudding can be used for different but equally delicious flavors. If you’re a chocolate lover, try chocolate pudding (or make our chocolate trifle instead!).

Whole Milk: Substitute with dairy-free milk if needed. You can also use 1% or 2% for this recipe.

Raspberry Jam: If raspberry isn’t your jam, try using strawberry or another favorite flavor. Continue to use fresh raspberries, or replace them with the same flavor as your jam. You can also use homemade lemon curd 

Lemon Juice and Zest: Orange or lime can be used for a citrusy twist, but we don’t recommend using bottled lemon or lime juice.

Cool Whip Whipped Topping: If you prefer natural alternatives, try using whipped coconut cream or homemade whipped cream (just whip heavy cream and sugar in a stand mixer or with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form).

Premade Pound Cake: You can substitute your favorite premade cake or make your own. Angel food cake, lemon cake, sponge cake, vanilla cake, or golden yellow are all good options.

Fresh Raspberries: Blueberries or sliced strawberries can substitute for raspberries, or use a mix of berries and a mixed berry jam for the filling. For more color, add lemon slices to the top of the trifle.

Cool Whip: You can use homemade whipped cream if you prefer.

How To Make A Lemon Raspberry Trifle

Making this pretty lemon raspberry dessert is as easy as pie. Here’s how you can whip up this tasty treat in minutes.

STEP ONE: Whisk together the instant lemon flavored pudding and cold whole milk in a large mixing bowl. Whisk until the mixture begins to thicken, then place the bowl in the refrigerator to set for about five minutes.

lemon pudding and milk whisked together in a bowl

STEP TWO: In a separate small bowl, combine the seedless raspberry jam with the fresh lemon juice. Whisk until the jam loosens up and becomes easily spreadable.

raspberry jam and lemon juice combined in a bowl

STEP THREE: Retrieve the slightly firmed pudding from the refrigerator. Fold in fresh lemon zest and half of the thawed Cool Whip whipped topping. Mix until the texture is smooth and no white streaks of Cool Whip remain.

PRO TIP: Gently fold the Cool Whip into the pudding mixture to avoid deflating the whipped topping. This will help keep your lemon filling light and fluffy.

lemon pudding, lemon zest, and whipped topping combined in a bowl

STEP FOUR: Begin to create the layers of your trifle in a large trifle bowl. Add half of the cubed pound cake in a neat layer at the bottom of the bowl, 

PRO TIP: To help cut the pieces of cake into neat squares, use a serrated knife. 

STEP FIVE: Spoon half of the lemon pudding mixture over the pound cake, spreading it evenly to cover the cake completely. 

PRO TIP: Use the back of a spoon or a spatula to smooth out the pudding for an even layer. Try to spread it right to the edge of the bowl.

lemon pudding mixture placed on top of the pound cake cubes

STEP SIX: Arrange a ring of fresh raspberries around the outer edge of the trifle bowl on top of the pudding. We used about 1.5 cups of berries for this step. Reserve the remaining berries to garnish the top of the trifle.

PRO TIP: When making the raspberry ring, place the raspberries with the bottom end up for a consistent look.

raspberries placed in a circle around the bowl

STEP SEVEN: Carefully dollop the raspberry jam mixture over the center of the pudding layer, then gently spread to the edges of the raspberries, meeting the raspberry border.

PRO TIP: Spread the raspberry jam carefully with the back of a spoon to avoid mixing it into the pudding layer.

raspberry jam spread over the lemon pudding layer

STEP EIGHT: Layer the remaining pound cake cubes over the raspberry jam, then spread the last of the lemon pudding over the second cake layer. 

PRO TIP: Check the outside of your trifle bowl as you assemble your layers to be sure the bowl is clean and the layers are tidy.

raspberry layer topped with cake cubes and pudding

STEP NINE: Finish by garnishing the top of the trifle with the rest of the Cool Whip, fresh raspberries, and a sprinkle of lemon zest. Don’t spread the Cool Whip right to the edge. Leave about 1 inch of the trifle exposed. Pile the raspberries in the center, and sprinkle the lemon zest over the Cool Whip.

trifle topped with cool whip, raspberries, and lemon zest

STEP TEN: Refrigerate the trifle for at least 2 hours to allow the layers to set and flavors to meld.

Troubleshooting

Making a stunning fresh raspberry trifle isn’t difficult, but just in case, here are some common troublespots and how you can avoid them.

The pudding is too runny and doesn’t set properly.

Be sure the milk is very cold before whisking it with the pudding mix, and allow adequate chilling time for the pudding to thicken.

The layers mix together, muddling the distinct colors and flavors.

Allow each layer to set slightly in the refrigerator for about five to seven minutes before adding the next layer to prevent them from bleeding into each other.

The pound cake absorbs too much moisture and becomes soggy.

Cut the pound cake into slightly thicker cubes if you prefer a firmer base, or let the pudding layer set a bit before adding it over the cake.

The raspberry jam is too thick and difficult to spread.

If the jam is too stiff, warm for five to ten in the microwave or mix with a bit more lemon juice to achieve a smoother, more spreadable consistency.

The whipped topping deflates when mixed with the pudding or when used as the final layer.

Fold the whipped topping gently into the pudding to keep it airy and light, and be sure it’s fully thawed before using to avoid lumps.

Fresh raspberries are overly tart, which affects the overall flavor balance.

Taste your raspberries before using them, and if they’re too tart, sprinkle a little sugar on them and let sit for a few minutes to bring out their natural sweetness.

The outside of the trifle looks messy.

When layering, keep the sides of the bowl clean by wiping down any spills or smears with a paper towel. Also, use a clear trifle bowl for more precise layering.

The lemon flavor is overpowering.

Reduce the amount of lemon zest and juice used if you prefer a subtler lemon flavor, and adjust to your taste.

The trifle does not hold well when served, losing its layered structure.

Ensure the trifle has chilled for at least 2 hours, or even overnight, to help set all the layers firmly.

How To Serve A Lemon Raspberry Trifle

This dessert looks elegant, so you can serve it after a fancy dinner or on a special occasion. But it’s also simple enough to dish out after a hearty barbecue.

We recommend serving this trifle in a clear glass bowl to highlight the fresh and sunny layers. Use a long serving spoon to scoop servings into small bowls or glasses to be sure everyone gets to taste each delicious layer.

For a personalized touch, you can easily make individual trifles by layering cake, pudding, berries, and jam into small containers. For more elegant dinners, you can use martini glasses, and for casual family meals, use mason jars.

This trifle is ideal for potlucks or buffets, or anytime you need a last minute dessert, since it’s no-bake and quick to make. It’s wonderful for spring and summer holidays like Easter or the 4th of July. You can even replace a traditional birthday cake with this bright and festive dessert.

You can serve this trifle alongside other lemon and raspberry sweets, like lemon raspberry muffins, lemon raspberry cupcakes, or lemon raspberry cheesecake.

Of course, you can tie your entire dessert course together with a pitcher of raspberry lemonade!

How To Store Lemon Raspberry Trifle

Whether you want to make your trifle ahead or keep your leftovers for later, you’ll need to store them properly so your trifle stays fresh. Here’s how:

MAKE AHEAD: Assemble the trifle as directed and cover it tightly with plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. This short period allows the flavors to meld beautifully without the layers becoming too soggy. We don’t recommend you make this recipe any further in advance.

IN THE FRIDGE: Cover the trifle bowl with plastic wrap or transfer the leftovers to an airtight container with a tight fitting lid. Store your trifle in the fridge for up to three days. Keep in mind, the longer your trifle stays in the fridge, the more the cake will start to soak up the pudding.

IN THE FREEZER: We don’t recommend you freeze your trifle. The pudding and fruit will thaw with an undesirable texture.

Why These Lemon Raspberry Trifle Are The Best

With its bright flavors and stunning presentation, this raspberry trifle is a favorite for many reasons. Here’s why we adore this particular recipe and keep coming back to it for all sorts of occasions.

Effortlessly Impressive: This pretty trifle is easy to make and doesn’t require any baking or cooking. Plus, it looks beautiful on your dessert table.

Refreshingly Light Flavor: The combination of tangy lemon and sweet raspberries is light – perfect for occasions when you need a dessert that’s not too rich or sweet.

Versatile for Any Occasion: This trifle is simple enough for picnics and barbecues but pretty enough for Christmas dinner.

No Baking, No Cooking: Made with pre-made cake and instant pudding, this recipe is ready in a flash!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a quicker version of this trifle that I can make in less time?

For a quicker version, use pre-made lemon curd mixed with whipped topping instead of preparing lemon pudding from scratch.

What type of bowl is best for assembling the trifle?

A 3-quart, clear glass trifle bowl is best as it shows off the beautiful layers of the dessert, making it visually appealing. If you don’t have a trifle bowl, and large glass bowl will also work. 

Can I add other fruits to this trifle for variation?

Certainly! Strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries make great additions and can be mixed with or substituted for the raspberries.

What is the best way to layer the ingredients in the trifle?

Start with a layer of pound cake, followed by lemon pudding, raspberry jam, and fresh raspberries. Repeat the layers and top with whipped topping.

Can this lemon berry trifle be made a day ahead of serving?

Yes, making it a day ahead is perfect as it gives enough time for the flavors to develop fully.

Is it possible to make this trifle without dairy ingredients?

Absolutely, you can use plant-based milk and dairy-free whipped topping.

Can I use frozen raspberries instead of fresh for this Lemon Raspberry Trifle recipe?

While we prefer fresh berries, yes, frozen raspberries can be used. Let them thaw and drain any excess liquid to avoid making the layers soggy.

a trifle jar of Lemon Raspberry Trifle topped with raspberries and lemon zest with a spoonful of trifle scooped out

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a trifle jar of Lemon Raspberry Trifle topped with raspberries and lemon zest

Lemon Raspberry Trifle

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This light and sweet Lemon Raspberry Trifle combines refreshing lemon pudding with sweet raspberry jam and tart raspberries, layered between soft pieces of pound cake. Prepared in minutes and perfect for holidays and summer celebrations!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 12

Ingredients
  

  • 6.8 ounces instant lemon flavored pudding (two 3.4-ounce boxes)
  • 3 cups whole milk, very cold
  • ¾ cup seedless raspberry jam or preserves, Smucker’s brand
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest, plus more for garnish
  • 8 ounces Cool Whip whipped topping, thawed and divided (4 ounces folded into the lemon pudding and 4 ounces to garnish)
  • 16 ounce premade pound cake, thawed if from frozen and cut into 1-inch sized cubes (Sara Lee brand)
  • 1 ½ to 2 cups fresh raspberries, divided (for decorative layer in trifle and garnish)

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the instant lemon pudding and whole milk for 3 minutes or until it starts to thicken. Place the bowl into the refrigerator to chill for 5 minutes to allow the pudding to firm up slightly.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the seedless raspberry jam and fresh lemon juice until the raspberry jam is loose and easily spreadable. Set aside.
  • Remove the bowl of chilled lemon pudding from the refrigerator. Fold in the fresh lemon zest and 4 ounces of the thawed Cool Whip whipped topping until smooth and no white streaks remain from the Cool Whip.
  • Add half of the cubed pound cake in a layer at the bottom of a trifle dish (a 3-quart capacity trifle bowl works best).
  • Next, add half the lemon pudding mixture and gently spread it into an even layer to cover the pound cake.
  • Carefully place fresh raspberries in a circle around the outer edge of the trifle bowl on top of the lemon pudding layer to form a decorative layer. I like to make sure that they are all placed with the bottom side up for consistency. You will use approximately 1- 1 ½ cups of fresh raspberries. The size of your berries will determine how much you will need to use for this step. The remaining raspberries will be used to top the trifle as a garnish.
  • To the center of the ring of fresh raspberries in the bowl, spoon the seedless raspberry jam mixture. Gently spread to cover the lemon pudding layer. Be careful not to mix the layers as you spread the jam.
  • Top the raspberry layer with the remaining pound cake cubes, followed by the remaining lemon pudding spread to an even layer.
  • Garnish the lemon raspberry trifle with the remaining 4 ounces Cool Whip whipped topping. Do not spread it all the way to the edge of the bowl, but leave about 1 inch of the lemon pudding exposed. Pile the remaining fresh raspberries to the center of the Cool Whip and sprinkle the top of the berries and Cool Whip with additional fresh lemon zest.
  • Refrigerate the lemon raspberry trifle for at least 2 hours to allow the pudding layer to set completely before serving.

Notes

  • Gently fold the Cool Whip into the pudding mixture to avoid deflating the whipped topping. This will help keep your lemon filling light and fluffy.
  • To help cut the pieces of cake into neat squares, use a serrated knife. 
  • Use the back of a spoon or a spatula to smooth out the pudding for an even layer. Try to spread it right to the edge of the bowl.
  • When making the raspberry ring, place the raspberries with the bottom end up for a consistent look.
  • Spread the raspberry jam carefully with the back of a spoon to avoid mixing it into the pudding layer.
  • Check the outside of your trifle bowl as you assemble your layers to you can be sure the bowl is clean and the layers are tidy.

Nutrition

Calories: 302kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 381mg | Potassium: 193mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 44g | Vitamin A: 195IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 131mg | Iron: 1mg
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This recipe was developed, tested, cooked and photographed by the Spaceships Kitchen. From our dinner table to yours, we hope you think it's out of this world!

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