My grandma makes this thing called punch cake. It’s basically a variation of a trifle – layered angel food cake, vanilla pudding, bananas, pineapples, strawberries, cool whip, repeat – in a punch bowl. We request it over strawberry shortcake every Easter, and it’s my go-to dessert for any crowd. It also never fails. Mindless and delicious.

What I’ve learned is that you can literally mix and match to make whatever form of this dessert you want, and it will always be a winner. Always. It’s light, refreshing, not too sweet and perfect for Spring. You also don’t need a formal recipe, and it’s up to you how elaborate and homemade you want to be.

You just need 4 main components:

  1. Cake (box mix is fine)
  2. Pudding (small box + big box)
  3. Fruit
  4. Cool whip (large container)

The recipe is as follows:

  1. Prepare your ingredients. Prepare cake and pudding according to the recipes on the box. (Buying pre-made ingredients is fine.) Cut your fruit into slices as needed. If using any canned fruit, make sure to drain. Also make sure your cool whip is thawed for spreading.
  2. Layer one. In a large serving bowl, begin layer #1 – cake. Break the cake into smaller pieces or cut into squares and create a layer in the bowl.
  3. Layer two. Next, evenly spread a layer of pudding on top of the cake.
  4. Layer three. Spread a layer of fruit.
  5. Layer four. Spread a layer of cool whip on top of the fruit.
  6. Repeat the layers. Now, repeat steps #2-#5 so that you will end up with two layers of each ingredient.
  7. Toppings. Top with some extra fruit, sprinkles or whatever else you’d like.
  8. Final step. Serve and eat to your heart’s desire.

You can truly switch up this recipe as you’d like – buy pre-made cake, make homemade cake, use brownies, use custard, make homemade whip cream, add in candy, cookies or other mixings, blend cream cheese into the cool whip, add more ingredient layers, etc. Sky is the limit.

For inspiration on creating your own trifle, check out the variations below.

Trifle Ingredient Variations

Easter (Spring-inspired)

  • Angel’s food cake
  • Vanilla pudding
  • Strawberries, bananas, crushed pineapple (drained)
  • Cool whip


  • White cake (can add in red or blue food dye)
  • Vanilla pudding
  • Strawberries, blueberries, bananas (optional)
  • Cool whip

Peanut butter chocolate banana

  • Chocolate cake
  • Chocolate pudding
  • Bananas
  • Cool whip
  • Peanut butter drizzle

Holiday season

  • Gingerbread cake
  • Vanilla pudding
  • Bananas
  • Cool whip with cream cheese mixed in
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon


  • Brownie mix
  • Chocolate pudding
  • Strawberries and/or raspberries
  • Cool whip
  • Chocolate drizzle


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