Ina Garten’s Red Berry Trifle

This Christmas, I wanted to contribute my own dish to the table. Every year we have beef tenderloin (but this year opted for flank steak) with broccoli casserole and brown rice casserole. I decided to whip up my favorite macaroni and cheese springs rolls as an appetizer and a red berry trifle for dessert.

I was watching Barefoot Contessa (per usual) one day the week before Christmas. On the episode, Ina made a delicious looking trifle complete with a homemade pound cake, fresh red berries and a Cognac cream sauce. It seemed festive and somewhat sinless to eat, so I decided to make it for Christmas Day.

Now I made the whole sha-bang. This required baking homemade pound cake, making the Cognac cream sauce (which is quite the process), and making whipped cream. Word to the wise: make the pound cake ahead of time (I baked mine the night before) and the Cognac cream sauce a few hours ahead of time before putting it together. This will reduce a (big) mess in the kitchen and put your mind at ease.

Ina's Red Berry Trifle

Ina Garten’s Red Berry Trifle


  • 1 plain pound cake (recipe below)
  • 1 cup raspberry jam
  • Framboise (optional)
  • 2 half-pints fresh raspberries
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries
  • Cognac Cream (recipe below)
  • 2 cups cold heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  1. Cut the pound cake into 9 (3/4-inch) slices and spread each slice on 1 side with raspberry jam. Set aside.
  2. Place a layer of cake (jam side up) in the bottom of a large glass serving bowl, cutting the pieces to fit. Sprinkle with Framboise. Top with a layer of raspberries and strawberries and Cognac Cream.
  3. Repeat the layers of cake sprinkled with Framboise, raspberries, strawberries and Cognac Cream, ending with a third layer of cake jam side down and raspberries and strawberries.
  4. Whip the heavy cream in bowl with an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. When it starts to thicken, add the sugar and vanilla and continue to whip until it forms stiff peaks. Decorate the top of trifle with whipped cream.
Plain Pound Cake:
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flower
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 (8 1/2 by 4 1/2 by 2 1/2-inch) loaf pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. With the mixer on medium speed, beat in the eggs, 1 at a time.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk and vanilla.
  5. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. When the cakes are done, let them cool for 10 minutes. Take them out of the pans, place them on a baking rack and allow them to cool completely. Wrap well, and store in the refrigerator.

Plain Pound Cake

Cognac Cream:
  • 3 cups milk
  • 10 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons sifted cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon Cognac (brandy)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  1. Heat the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring almost to a boil. Remove from the heat.
  2. Beat the egg yolks and sugar on medium-high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until pale and thick, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, sprinkle on the cornstarch. Beat on medium-low speed until combined, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  3. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. Pour the mixture back into the pan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, 5 to 7 minutes. (Pay attention because it will thicken and then quickly become scrambled eggs!)
  4. Immediately, pour the mixture through a fine sieve (I used a strainer) into a large bowl. Stir in the vanilla, Cognac, butter, and heavy cream. Place plastic wrap directly on the custard and refrigerate until cold (2-3 hours).

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