Lemon Cake Trifle With Berry Compote & Vanilla Mascarpone Whipped Cream

As you might already know, I like using boxed cake mixes for their convenience and consistent results while adding my own touches to make them extra scrummy.

And with the rest of Spring ahead of us, I can't think of a more fitting dessert to celebrate the season than a light and airy trifle made of moist, fluffy lemon cake and deliciously sweettart berries, married with a layer of delicate but luxurious real whipped cream. 

An added bonus of trifles is that you can piecemeal the preparation of the different components starting up to a couple of weeks prior to the occasion so all you have to do is assemble the trifles the day of.

Lemon Cake Trifle with Berry Compote & Vanilla Mascarpone Whipped Cream
Serves 6
Time: About 2 hours total, but as you'll see, some components can be prepared ahead of time

For Garnish: Fresh berries. (I personally like whole blueberries, whole raspberries, and sliced strawberries, in that order, for this dessert.)

For the Cake: (Can be done up to a week ahead. Just bake the cake, wrap, and freeze until the day you're going to assemble the trifle.) :

- 1 box Betty Crocker Lemon Cake Mix
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1.5 Tablespoons mayonnaise or sour cream
- the zest of a small lemon

Make cake according to package instructions, adding the mayonnaise (or sour cream) and lemon zest. Cool completely (at least 2 hours), and cut into 3/4" cubes.

The Compote Recipe (can be made up to 2 weeks ahead - well, actually, you can make it a month ahead, but you run a greater risk of having it eaten up by the time you plan to use it. ;))

For the Vanilla Mascarpone Whipped Cream: (can be done the day before, but best done right before assembly)

- 1 pint heavy whipping cream (you can put the whipping cream in the freezer for about 30 minutes before whipping the cream, which will make the whipping go faster and make it easier for the cream to hold the whipped texture
- 4 ounces mascarpone cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup confectioners sugar

Before you begin, a chilled bowl helps the process along, so you may want to place your mixing bowl in the freezer for 15 to 30 minutes before you make your whipped cream.

In a large glass or stainless mixing bowl, start whipping the whipping cream only with a hand mixer on medium setting until the cream begins to thicken to the point that it creates rounded mounds when you life the beaters from the cream.

Add the mascarpone and vanilla, and sift in the confectioner's sugar (to ensure that you don't have clumps), and mix again at medium high speed until the cream is back to creating rounded peaks when you lift the beaters from the cream. This is where I like to stop - where a dollop of cream doesn't retain the dollop shape but slumps gently over the top of the dessert being topped.

You can continue to mix until the cream forms stiff peaks, but I advise stopping right when it does. Continuing too much past that point will result in a mousse-like texture which will then turn into a whipped butter like texture. (It'll still be yummy, but it won't be airy and velvety anymore.)


Trifles are best assembled in clear glass vessels (they actually do sell trifle bowls just for this purpose, and they look like overgrown parfaits). And there's no exact science to it. You might like to make one big truffle, or do individual ones, but however you choose to do it, just mentally portion out the ingredients so you'll have enough for two layers of everything.

Place a layer of cake on the bottom, followed by a moderate spooning of the compote (you don't need to make sure that every square bit of cake area is covered - just enough that each spoonful of trifle will give you just a little bit of that sweettart surprise of the compote), followed by a complete layer of whipped cream, followed by a sparse dotting of fresh berries. Again, you don't want to overwhelm the cake with the cream and the fruit. Repeat.

Cover and refrigerate until it's time to serve.

Enjoy! :)


Full album HERE.



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