Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Strawberry Trifle

This dessert is pure summertime, down-home comfort food that tastes heavenly in an artificially-red with "whipped topping" kind of way. This is not a fancy dessert, nor is it a heavy dessert (though if you swapped the angel food for pound cake, added sugared Jello and real sweetened dairy whipped cream, it could be a heavy dessert).

I will tell you a secret. The bulk of this dish was prepared in a giant round cake-carrier turned upside down (in lieu of a picnic-safe trifle dish). And it looks messy. Like my 6-year old made it with help from her 4-year old brother. Except they weren't involved.

The four pretty-looking dishes in the photo were wedding gifts from (ahem) years ago, and I tried really hard to make them look less gloppy than the big batch.Oh well, it was tasty, which is far more important than pretty.

  • 1 box angel food cake mix
  • 1 large box sugar-free strawberry-flavored Jello (the 8-serving version)
  • Approximately 16 oz strawberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 12-oz tub of lite Cool Whip

  1. Bake the angel food cake according to box directions. Or, you could buy a pre-made one. Or go all Martha Stewart and bake from scratch. For me, I'll spend the $1.25 for the mix plus 1 1/4 cups water rather than $6 for the bakery version or $3 for a dozen eggs when all you need are the whites. Score one for being frugal and lazy at the same time.
  2. Mix the jello according to the speed-set directions (Boiling water followed by ice water. Sure I could repeat it, but its printed right on the box....).
  3. Pour half of the un-set Jello into a large bowl and stir in about 3 cups of strawberries, unfrozen*. Reserve some strawberries for the top of the cake. You can slice them or leave them whole--I left mine whole (and frozen..see my note at the bottom about that).
  4. Gently stir about half of the Cool Whip into the remaining Jello. The Cool Whip totally deflated for me, but I got a tasty strawberry-flavored cream out of it. Place both Jello bowls into the fridge to set for about 15 minutes.
  5. Break the cake into about 1" cubes. Note I say break and not cut. Go ahead and try to slice an angel food cake. I failed even with slow slices and a sharp serrated knife, so I just tore it to bits with my bare hands.
  6. In the bottom of your trifle dish, spread an even layer of cake pieces. Top with about half of the Jello/Cool Whip and then about half of the Jello/Fruit. Layer on more cake, pink Cool-Whip, and Jello. Top with your reserved strawberries. Top again with the remaining un-adulterated Cool Whip.
  7. Chill (or freeze) and serve.

*Note about frozen strawberries. If you pour un-set Jello over frozen strawberries, the Jello will set. Like immediately. Handy tip if you're making Jello for dessert in a jiffy. Not so handy when you want it to be a soft-set saucy layer for your trifle. Luckily, my strawberry Cool Whip layer was extra saucy.

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