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When I think about my life in food—the dishes that have made me who I am or remind me of how I was raised—Strawberry Shortcake Trifle is at the top of the list. To me this signifies that my childhood was spoiled and filled with excellent dessert. Both are true.

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle Recipe

I grew up eating my Grammy’s strawberry shortcake.

Every Fourth of July, she adds blueberries to make it red, white, and blue (my idea of patriotism), but spoiled privileged granddaughter that I was, I would often request strawberry shortcake on other occasions (it was Tuesday, for example), and my too-generous Grammy would oblige.

Strawberry shortcake dates back more than 100 years, and as with any dish that has been around for a while, it has developed many iterations—some make it with pound cake, others angel food cake, and still others biscuits, to name a few.

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle with Rum Whipped Cream and Easy Homemade Shortcake

I am going to state declaratively that my Grammy’s simple, classic recipe for shortcake is the absolute best.

A fluffy, buttery cross between a flakey biscuit and a tender cake, my Grammy’s shortcake recipe takes less than 10 minutes to prepare, requires only one bow and one pan, and was created to be combined with fresh strawberries and homemade whipped cream.

To me, Grammy’s strawberry shortcake is the epitome of that glorious culinary phenomenon where the simplest combinations turn out to be the most delicious.

(If you’d like the recipe for my Grammy’s shortcake, you can find it in this post for Peach Shortcake.)

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle with Rum Whipped Cream

In addition to strawberry shortcake, berry trifle is another one of my Grammy’s signature desserts.

Soft layers of pound cake (my Grammy actually uses sliced Little Debbie jelly rolls, which look beautiful and taste shockingly gourmet in the completed dish), shortbread cookies, fresh berries, pudding, and real whipped cream, berry trifle is a show-stopping dessert that tastes like fluffy whipped berry heaven.

My Grammy is the ultimate hostess, and trifle is one of her favorites for entertaining.

It can be made up to two days in advance, feeds a crowd, and looks stunning enough for the cover of Martha Stewart Living; yet, it is straightforward to prepare.

Thanks to Grammy, any time I need a dessert for a summer party, berry trifle is at the top of the list.

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle with Homemade Whipped Cream

My Grammy and I are very close, and it was she who first taught me to bake.

Every Thursday during the summer, she would pick out a dessert recipe for us, shop for the ingredients, then bring my sisters and me to her house and teach us to make it.

This is both how I learned to bake, and what I assume to be the origin of my voracious sweet tooth. I am grateful for both.

I still call Grammy with baking questions on a regular basis, including today’s Strawberry Shortcake Trifle.

I fell for the idea of combining her shortcake and her trifle into one stellar dessert, and I immediately called Grammy for advice.

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle- Berry trifle made with easy homemade shortcake.

 Grammy’s words of Strawberry Shortcake Trifle wisdom:

  • Resist the urge to eat the trifle the day you make it. It needs to sit overnight to soften properly and for the flavors to meld.
  • Instant vanilla pudding is ok; homemade whipped cream is mandatory.
  • Layer as follows: shortcake; sprinkle with rum; shortbread cookie; sprinkle with rum; vanilla pudding; sprinkle with rum; whipped cream; sprinkle with rum; berries; sprinkle with rum. Repeat.

Most importantly, and I quote:

  • It will seem like too much rum, but it isn’t.

My Grammy’s “sprinkle” rum technique came out to be about 1/2 cup rum, which does sound like a lot, but after a few bites, I found myself wanting to add an few extra splashes for good luck.

I left the recipe at 1/2 cup, but feel free to adjust. As my Grammy said, “It will seem like too much rum, but it isn’t.”

Let’s build ourselves a Strawberry Shortcake Trifle! (I did mini trifles in these dishes in lieu of the classic large size, but feel free to use whatever sized serving dishes you like)

The Strawberry Shortcake Trifle assembly process is a bit like stacking blocks, but way more fun since we are going to eat it at the end.

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle -Shortcake, cookies, and rum

First, we split the shortcake and spread the middles with strawberry jam.

The jam adds extra berry sweetness and makes the layers ultra pretty.

Place a bit of pudding at the base of the dish to anchor it, arrange a few pieces of the shortcake, then sprinkle with rum.

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle -Easy recipe with homemade shortcake

Next step is shortbread cookies. I used buttery Lorna Doone (my Grammy’s recommendation).

For super bonus points, you can make them from scratch, but a good quality store-bought cookie will do just fine here.

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle-Layers of easy shortcake with pudding, berries, and rum whipped cream

A second sprinkling of rum, then pudding, more rum, whipped cream, more rum (be thorough!), and the ruby red berries.

At this point, I reached the top of my mini dessert glasses, but if you are using a larger trifle bowl, simply repeat the layers, ending with whipped cream and berries.

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle Recipe-Building the mini trifles

Let the trifle rest in the refrigerator overnight, and you will be rewarded with an absolutely ethereal dessert.

The layers blend together into something greater than each could be alone. Part pudding, part cake, and total berry bliss, Strawberry Shortcake Trifle is heaven in a dish, topped with a cloud of whipped cream…plus rum

Keep your spoon handy.

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle is fit for a special occasion, but you’re going want to eat it directly from the fridge at midnight.Trust me—I am very well informed on this point.

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle Recipe - A creative twist on classic berry trifle made with easy shortcake

A very special thank you to my Grammy for providing help and direction on this recipe! Grammy’s recipes elsewhere:

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle

5 from 1 vote
This strawberry shortcake trifle is a recipe that's been passed down for generations. I used to make this with my grandmother, and I hope to spread the tradition! It's delicious!

Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 12 hours 50 minutes

Servings: 12 servings


Grammys Classic Shortcake:

Whipped Cream:

  • 1 Cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. rum
  • Trifle Assembly
  • 3 Cups whole milk
  • 1/2 Cup strawberry jam
  • 1/2 Cup dark rum
  • 32 Ounces fresh strawberries hulled and sliced
  • 1 Package 10-ounce shortbread cookies Lorna Doone or any other brand
  • 1 5.1 ounce box instant vanilla pudding mix


  • Place rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8×8 inch pan and set aside.
  • In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade or a large mixing bowl, sift flour with sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Add butter and lightly pulse (or cut in butter by hand), until the butter is the size of small peas (you should still be able to see the pieces of butter.) Add well-beaten egg and milk, just until incorporated.
  • Quickly press the batter into the prepared pan, touching it as little as possible with your fingers to keep the butter cold. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the top is lightly golden. Cut into squares.
  • Let cool, then cut into 24 rectangles (4 rows of 6). Split each shortcake in half, so that the bottom is separated from the top. Spread with strawberry jam then reassemble so that you create a strawberry jam shortcake “sandwich.” Repeat with remaining pieces.
  • Prepare the pudding according to package directions. Place in the refrigerator to chill.

Whipped Cream

  • In the bowl of a standing mixer or a large mixing bowl, beat the heavy cream, sugar and rum together on medium low speed until foamy, then slowly increase the speed to high. Continue to beat just until you have soft peaks, about one minute. Set aside.

To Assemble the Trifle

  • Spread a thin layer of pudding in the bottom a large glass trifle bowl, mini dessert bowl, or other serving bowl to anchor the dish. Top with the following layers: shortcake; a sprinkle of rum; shortbread cookies; rum; pudding; rum; whipped cream; rum; fresh berries, arranged with the tops pointed up. Repeat the layers until the serving dish is full, ending with whipped cream and berries. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours or up to 2-days. Serve chilled.
  • Refrigerate leftover trifle in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


Serving: 1(of 12)

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

Learn more about Erin

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  1. I LOVE a good trifle! And, since there is rum, I know this is obvs going to be the best one my taste buds have ever been introduced too! Grammy recipes are always the best! Pinned :)

  2. This strawberry shortcake trifle looks so yummy! And Grandmas always have the best recipes. Thank Godness for them so that great recipes like this get passed on through the generations. Thank you for sharing!

  3. I love your sweet memories baking with your Grandma, and they are always the best recipes aren’t they? Trifle is my ultimate favourite summer dessert!

  4. Your grammy clearly knows what she’s doing. These aren’t your average shortcakes. Love! Pinned.

  5. What a sweet and lovely post! I love to make trifles too, but mine never come out as beautiful and yours. Thanks for sharing the tips too.

  6. Erin, what a lovely post! Family recipes are the best (especially if they involve weekly baking sessions with Grandma–what a special memory). I adore strawberry shortcake and can’t wait to try it in trifle form!

  7. Grannys are the best! I love her quote about rum too! I think I like her already. :) Beautiful trifle!

  8. Love these shortcakes, and absolutely adore the story that goes along with them. The childhood memories, the nostalgia, the grannies, the moms — I love that’s where most of our food love derives from, it makes the food we eat that much sweeter. :)

  9. I don’t think it makes you spoiled to grow up with great dessert ;) BUT I am completely in love with this yummy trifle – so beautiful!

  10. Strawberry shortcake is something we always have in the summer, too! Although we’ve always used bisquick, I’m going to try the real deal this summer. Yours are, per usual, gorgeous! and I know fool proof. Pinned!

    1. Mary Frances, homemade shortcake is SO easy! Seriously, I’m not just being annoying–try my Grammy’s recipe. You do the whole thing in the food processor, then it bakes in a single pan, so no need for rolling or cutting. Most importantly: it tastes ahhhh-mazing. You’re such a good baker, I bet you’ll be able to do it with your eyes closed :)

  11. Beautiful! Strawberries are about to ripen and I’m so excited. You would think I was headed to the Caribbean or something. :)
    So delicious.
    Have a beautiful day Erin!

    1. LOL Melanie! I feel the exact same way! When rhubarb first appeared, I practically put on my bathing suit. Now that we have strawberries, it’s time to make daiquiris and smear on the sunscreen!

  12. SUCH pretty pictures and I KNOW how delicious all Grammy’s trifles (and yours) are! I don’t know what I would have done without those precious Wednesdays! :) Are you going to post from France?

  13. Your grammy sounds fabulous! I like her tips for this!! and your strawberry shortcake trifle looks amazing! so light, airy and fabulous!!! love!

  14. Love how personal you made this recipe and post. I can TOTALLY relate to being close with your grandma (cute you call her grammy!) that’s how it was for me. She taught me how to bake and cook. We’re lucky to have had such a wonderful grandma that knows how to cook, cause that’s not always the case lol The rum added sounds like a great flavor addition, and like your grandma said you can’t have too much ;) Homemade whipped cream is 150% mandatory – I despise pre made stuff these days…worth the extra 5 min for sure! Thanks Erin, have a wonderful Wednesday!

  15. You can never have too much rum, right?! I haven’t had a trifle in years, but I remember loving them. Really, I love all desserts that have a bunch of yummy layers in them. That is awesome that you grandma taught you how to bake! Baking is still something I struggle with sometimes and that is why I love to read recipes like this :)

    1. I am SO lucky Isadora! I credit my Grammy with so much of what I know now, and I love that I can still learn from her too!

  16. I love the story behind this dessert! One of my favorite memories with my Grandma from when I was little was baking desserts with her too. She was more a from the box kind of dessert baker though. I’d love to have a similar tradition with my grandkids (way way wayyy) in the future!

  17. I found this really interesting, Erin, because trifle is a traditional dessert in the UK too but it’s a little bit different there. We layer up fruit and jello, custard (which is a little like vanilla pudding I think), sherry and cream. Love your version, though, combining TWO popular desserts. Genius! And what a wonderful grandma you have, not to mention useful!

  18. Desserts that include rum – yes. This is the perfect treat for summer gatherings (or, well, even if it’s just two of us), and I love the sweet sentiment it holds for you. You’re so right – it definitely looks like such a ‘sneak a spoonful straight from the fridge’ type of dessert!

  19. This trifle looks AMAZING! Strawberry is my favorite fruit to bake with, so delicious!

  20. These look fantastic Erin – love that you served them in the mini dishes – so fun and pretty! Your grammy sounds awesome, thanks for sharing the recipe and her great tips:)

  21. I wish I could meet your Gammy!!! I love this recipe Erin! The strawberries and that lemon combined with the shortbread, ah, they are just perfect!

  22. Your grandmother’s tips are amazing! Although I’m not sure I can wait overnight on this. These are so beautiful!

  23. Oh goodness! These look amazing! I always love fresh strawberries in dessert!

  24. Lessons with Grammy ROCK! I love reading stories like this, my Grams was such a wonderful cook too, we have this tattered old folder she wrote all her best recipes in, I use that a lot of the time, instead of the recipes I find online. I think its knowing that Grams used to work from the folder, but often there are little extra ingredients that bring it all together. :) I adore these recipes, can’t wait to try the trifle. Have a happy day Erin. x

    1. That folder sounds like an absolute treasure Anna! Tried and true family recipes are just the best. Plus, I’m sure you think of your Grams whenever you cook from it, which is even more special.

  25. Hey Erin! I hope you are doing well, just stopping by and letting you know that Happy Valley Chow is back from Hiatus! This trifle looks absolutely amazing, great job :)

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

  26. I love you sharing your memories of your Grammy. I love how food connects us in so many different ways :D This trifle looks amazing! Fresh strawberries are my favorite and these ones look perfect.

  27. I love everything about this post Erin! So gorgeous. I love your Grammy’s tips about making the perfect trifle, she is so right about how it tastes much better the next day (I have no idea why I never really make them ahead. I need to change my habits quick smart!). This combination of gorgeous fresh strawberries, cream, biscuits, pudding, jam, sponge and spiced rum sounds divine. It’s a perfect celebration of fresh summer fruit and I am sure your Grammy would be proud of how you’ve represented your expertise on here! xxx

    1. It is SO hard for me to wait until the next day! (Confession–I took a few bites early, because I couldn’t resist.) Thanks so much for your sweet words Laura. I do hope she’s proud :)

  28. This strawberry shortcake trifle looks incredible. It has such a great combination of flavors and textures. It’s so wonderful that you have such nostalgic memories associated with strawberry shortcake and trifle. And I love the statement, “It will seem like too much rum, but it isn’t.” There’s no such thing as too much rum in my book!5 stars

  29. Yes to the strawberries, but I confess may have to add a few blueberries for the 4th of July effect. After all, I have to bring something to the party!

    Great Grandma you have, (don’t are elderly people just love Lorna Doone’s or is it just me.)

    Looks divine.

  30. Grandma’s recipes are always the best. And I absolutely love that the directions include “sprinkle with rum” after each step.

  31. The trifle looks so good! Grandma always seems to know best; I learnt a lot from my own too! Your blog’s name caught my attention – I just finished law school and will be a lawyer soon! :)

    1. Jessica, congrats on your graduation!!!! Law school is such hard work and you should be so proud. Thanks for saying hi, and I’m so glad you found my blog. Have a great day :)

  32. Yum!! This looks so perfect for summer – I can’t wait for those sweet strawberries at the farmer’s market!! Thank you for sharing this special recipe – your grandmother must be a fabulous cook!

  33. Strawberry shortcake never appealed to me. Until now! This looks awesome. :)

    And I love how certain foods give us those connections to warm fuzzy times.