This Cranberry Cheesecake Trifle is a semi-homemade dessert that is simply scrumptious! With a couple of store-bought ingredients, this easy trifle recipe is a snap to prepare!

an easy trifle recipe layered into a clear glass trifle bowl

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 in a white bowl

Easy Cranberry Dessert

The typical English trifle is composed of sponge cake (like ladyfingers), 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 in a white bowl with a fork

Ingredients for a Trifle

This easy Cranberry Cheesecake Trifle is served in a classic glass pedestal trifle bowl.  The ingredients are very simple. There are three layers:

  • pound cake
  • cranberry sauce and
  • cheesecake filling

Each of the three ingredients is dispersed across the bottom of the dish, then repeated again, making six total layers.

overhead image of a semi-homemade Cranberry Cheesecake Trifle

Tips for Making a Simple Trifle

  • 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.
  • Using a shortcut like a frozen pound cake and/or canned cranberry sauce makes this spectacular dessert less daunting!
  • 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 Easy Trifle Recipes You’ll Love:

Cranberry Cheesecake Trifle in a white bowl

Easy Cranberry Cheesecake Trifle

Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Yield 16

Cranberry Cheesecake Trifle is a delicious semi-homemade dessert that's a take on a traditional English trifle! This easy trifle recipe is a snap to prepare.


  • 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.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 299Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 104mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 1gSugar: 32gProtein: 2g


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