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When a summer heatwave hits, my desire to bake is overpowered by my desire to avoid turning on the oven at all costs. Luckily, we can avoid dessert desperation by throwing together a trifle – no heat required!

This breezy assemble-and-chill recipe updates the traditional by replacing the custard with a layer of brown sugar-flavoured sour cream. It adds a subtle tang and caramel taste that pairs well with the berries and whipped cream.

Trifle bowls can be overly fussy for outdoor dining. I suggest skipping them completely and going cute and casual by layering the dessert in canning jars. Pack one in your bag along with a spoon and you have a fun, tasty dessert on the go. Sure, people might look at you funny when you tell them you have a trifle in your purse, but they'll soon be converted (that is, if you decide to share).

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Stephanie Eddy, who writes about her baking exploits at, lives in Okotoks, Alta.


3 cups (390 g) sliced strawberries

1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons dark rum (or vanilla for a kid-friendly version)

¾ of a 9-inch angel food cake

1¼ cups whipping cream

2 tablespoons icing sugar

¾ cup sour cream

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

2 cups (350g) blueberries


In a bowl, stir together the strawberries, 1 tablespoon brown sugar and rum or vanilla. Let soak at room temperature for 20 minutes or up to an hour.

Wash four 500-mL canning jars and dry thoroughly.

Tear or slice the cake into one-inch cubes – don’t worry about making them perfect!

Whip the whipping cream with the icing sugar until thick and fluffy.

Whisk together the sour cream and 1/3 cup brown sugar until thoroughly combined.

To assemble the trifle jars, start by putting a couple of spoonfuls of whipped cream at the bottom of each jar, then top that with half the angel food cake pieces. Add a layer of strawberries and a layer of blueberries. Then divide the brown sugar-flavoured sour cream evenly among the jars (there is only one layer of the sour cream). Top that with the remaining cake pieces.

Add the remaining strawberries and blueberries and top it all off with whipped cream.

Screw on the lids and allow to chill for at least 5 hours or up to two days. If the trifles are a little too full to put the lids on yet, just cover with plastic wrap. The contents will settle a bit as the cake soaks up the berry juices.

Tip: You can freeze any leftover angel food cake for future use. Makes four 500-mL canning jar trifles.

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