Cranberry Cheesecake Trifle

This semi-homemade Cranberry Cheesecake Trifle is easy, seasonal and scrumptious! With a couple store-bought ingredients, it’s a snap to prepare!

Cranberry Cheesecake Trifle | Festive, seasonal and a delicious twist on the classic English trifle
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Cranberry Cheesecake Trifle

Last week, I brought this elegant, festive Cranberry Cheesecake Trifle to a holiday luncheon. I typically share chocolate desserts since I know any leftovers will be gobbled up back home.

But my friends are excellent taste testers when it comes to recipes my family might snub. Cranberries are much lower on the popularity scale compared to chocolate. MUCH lower. Like at the bottom. Sigh. But I was in the mood for cranberries and, thankfully, this trifle was a hit!Cranberry Cheesecake Trifle | Festive, seasonal and a delicious twist on the classic English trifle

Easy Cranberry Dessert

The typical English trifle is composed of sponge cake (like lady fingers), fruit or jam, a bit of sherry to soak the cake, and custard. Whipped cream is another popular addition.

I’ve gone crazy using brownies or angel food cake and different liqueurs. This time, the layers included pound cake, doctored up whole cranberry sauce spiked with Grand Marnier, and a cheesecake filling instead of custard. To make it super simple, I bought a couple of Sara Lee frozen pound cakes and two cans of Ocean Spray whole berry cranberry sauce to speed up assembly!

Cranberry Cheesecake Trifle | Festive, seasonal and a delicious twist on the classic English trifle

Layering the Dessert

This easy Cranberry Cheesecake Trifle was served in the classic  glass pedestal trifle bowl.  Three layers, the pound cake, cranberry sauce and cheesecake filling, were each dispersed across the bottom of the dish, then repeated again, making six total layers.Cranberry Cheesecake Trifle | Festive, seasonal and a delicious twist on the classic English trifle

A Few Trifle Making Tips

  • For the most attractive presentation, you don’t want to smear up the inside of the trifle bowl. Take care when spooning on the cranberry sauce and spreading the cheesecake filling.
  • Making this the day before serving allows the cake to absorb some of the cranberry juices, thus giving the cake a beautiful color.
  • I like garnishing with mint leaves and a few fresh cranberries to loosely resemble holly berries.
  • If you  prefer not to have alcohol in your dessert, you can eliminate the Grand Marnier or substitute an equal amount of orange juice.
  • In the summer, try this Strawberry Cheesecake Trifle with fresh berries and angel food cake, one of the most popular recipes on my blog!

More Trifle Recipes You’ll Love:

Easy Cranberry Cheesecake Trifle

Serves 18     adjust servings

Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 mins



  • 2 10.75 ounce frozen pound cakes (I used 1 1/2 out of 2 Sara Lee pound cakes), defrosted

Cheesecake Filling

  • 2 packages cream cheese (8 ounces each), at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Cranberry Sauce Layer

  • 2 cans whole berry cranberry sauce (14 ounces each)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
  • Fresh cranberries and mint to garnish, optional


  1. Cut the cakes into bite sized cubes. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth; add sour cream, vanilla and orange extracts. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whip the cream, vanilla, and sugar to firm peaks. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture. Set aside.
  3. Combine the cranberry sauce, sugar, orange zest, and Grand Marnier. Layer in large glass trifle bowl, starting with a single layer of cake, then half the cranberry sauce, followed by half of the cheesecake filling. Repeat, ending with the filling. Use an offset spatula to spread the cheesecake filling.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and chill well before serving (overnight is best). 
  5. Garnish as desired. I used mint sprigs and fresh cranberries.


Recipe Notes


Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving As Served
Calories 406kcal Calories from fat 188
% Daily Value
Total Fat 21g 32%
Saturated Fat 11g 55%
Transfat 0g
Cholesterol 75mg 25%
Sodium 244mg 10%
Carbohydrate 53g 18%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 45g
Protein 4g

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs:

Calories 2000
Total Fat Less than 65g
Sat Fat Less than 25g
Cholesterol Less than 300mg
Sodium Less than 2,400mg
Total Carbohydrate 300g
Dietary Fiber 25g
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Cranberry Cheesecake Trifle | Festive, seasonal and a delicious twist on the classic English trifle


  1. soo pretty Lizzy !!
    Im adding in my pinterest so pretty !!

  2. You make the best desserts, Liz. This trifle looks very X’masy and delicious.

  3. Simply beautiful, Liz. I love how you jazzed up the traditional trifle with the cream cheese! My family would love this festive dessert!

  4. Very pretty and seasonal! I love the idea of semi-homemade too, time is at a premium this time of year:@)

  5. We love trifle and cheesecake – this one looks so festive and sounds absolutely delicious! Your recipes are the best!

  6. What a nice trifle for Christmas Liz! Love it!

  7. My father’s bday is on Christmas Day. Being Jewish we always had something to celebrate! Believe it or not besides his favorite chocolate cake he always wanted a trifle. I never liked them when I was young but now there are so many amazing varieties. Yours is one of them! I may have to send it his way! Happy Holidays Liz!

  8. I would love this as I am sure the cranberries must cut through all the sweetness and make a lovely contrast.

  9. All the deliciousness of cheesecake. In multiple layers. This looks absolutely incredible… you’re, like, the dessert master.

  10. Oh wow, your cranberry cheesecake certainly caught my attention! xoxo

  11. This dessert looks well balanced between sweet and sour 🙂

  12. There’s nothing like trifle for a festive dessert! Yours looks really delicious, Liz, with that good cheesecake. Thanks for the recipe!

  13. You make some of the most comforting desserts ever. This sound so so good.

  14. So pretty, Liz! Love the cranberry! 🙂

  15. what a gorgeous dessert! i’m sure it would be the star of any holiday meal

  16. Wonderful trifle!! Thanks for sharing!!!

  17. This is a truly stunning dessert and perfect for the holiday season!

  18. Wow such a wonderful dessert idea!

  19. Ahhhhh yummmmm!

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