The 3 Best Containers for Building a Trifle

published May 3, 2017
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(Image credit: Christine Han)

A trifle just may be the ultimate dessert for a crowd. It can (and actually needs to) be made ahead of time, its layers are always adaptable, and it’s always one heck of a showstopper. The key to making it look as glorious as possible is to serve it in the proper vessel. There are a whole lot to choose from, sure, but here are the three we think are best.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

1. A Classic Trifle Bowl

Trifles look their best in the classic trifle bowl. The straight, deep sides mean you can really pack in the filling — from the cake to the pudding — so each bite is richly saturated with flavor.

But that’s not all it can do! When I first started cooking and baking as a teenager, I went out with my birthday money and bought a trifle bowl. It’s odd to think that was one of the first items I really wanted, but I thought it would be something I could use all the time. Now I honestly do, and it’s not just to make trifles — it makes fruit salad seems fancy, as well as a big batch of snack mix for a crowd.

2. A Straight-Sided Vase

The straight sides of a classic trifle bowl allow for easy assembly and give every cube of cake an equal chance to absorb all the other flavors nestled inside. Yes, as glamorous as a classic bowl can be, sometimes it can be a bit too large, depending on how many mouths you’re feeding.

A large, straight-sided vase can be more appropriately sized in these instances, and it has a pleasing, modern style to it. Plus, flowers always look pretty in one when it’s not in use for dessert — so it’s a double-functioning vessel that’s smart to have on hand.

3. A Big Mixing Bowl

If you don’t have a classic trifle bowl or big vase on hand, you probably have a big mixing bowl, preferably glass so you can see all those pretty layers. The fact that you already own it makes it a great option. Sure, it’s not straight-sided, so the chunks of cake might not soak as easily, but it’s still going to be one seriously delicious trifle. Even the bowl of a salad spinner can work in a pinch — it’s clear, lightweight, and can easily be transported if you’re bringing your trifle to a friend.