A trifle is an English layered dessert that combines sponge cake or ladyfingers soaked in wine or brandy with fruit, custard, or whipped cream. I’d venture to guess it’s called a “trifle” because it is hardly a bother to make. Consider it a kitchen dalliance requiring basic ingredients and all of a half hour to prepare. But do plan ahead because it’s best to let this rest in the fridge at least four hours or overnight before serving to let the flavors meld.
Soaking a cake with an imbibing syrup is a classic way to impart flavor and guarantee a moist crumb. Instead of the traditional wine or brandy trifle soak, this recipe enlists a more delicate Champagne syrup, which plays beautifully with the berries and permeates the cake bits and whipped cream. The end result is like a chilled, sweet bread pudding. Though I used strawberries here, any berries would work. The recipe makes more Champagne syrup than you’ll need, but it keeps well in the refrigerator for several weeks and can be used in cocktails, to dress a fruit salad, or for an encore of this dessert.