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Two things I really love are fresh cherries and easy no-bake summer desserts. This recipe gives me the best of both and is easily adapted for other seasonal fruit!

Just use cake that you buy already baked and you’re in business. Use already prepared whipped cream with a tablespoon of kirsch whisked in, and it gets even easier!

Cherry Trifle

from Williams Sonoma


  • 2 cups pitted sour cherries
  • 5 Tbs. kirsch
  • 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 pound cake (or other cake)


  1. Prepare the cherries: In a bowl, gently stir together the cherries, 4 Tbs. of the kirsch and the granulated sugar. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain the cherries through a fine-mesh sieve placed over a bowl. Reserve the liquid and cherries separately. 
  2. Whip the cream: In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the cream, confectioners’ sugar, the remaining 1 Tbs. kirsch and the vanilla on medium-high speed just until firm peaks form. 
  3. Assemble the trifle: Trim off the ends of the cake and cut the cake into chunks. Line the bottom of a 2 1/2- to 3-quart clear glass bowl with about one-third of the cake. Brush lightly with some of the reserved cherry liquid. Spoon one-third of the cherries over the cake and spread one-third of the whipped cream over the cherries. Repeat the layering 2 more times, ending with whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to overnight before serving. Serve cold. Serves 10. 

I have done this with store-bought (or market-bought) pound cake, angel-food cake, or even nut bread. You can get really creative with it. You can use pudding for layering and top with whipped cream; and the pudding can be whatever flavor you like or plain vanilla flavored with almond or another compatible extract. You can change the fruit depending on what’s in season. The possibilities are endless!