A layered summery strawberry gin trifle is in a glass trifle bowl. The trifle is topped with Italian meringue. Red and silver ribbons have been tied around the stem of the bowl and Christmas decorations and lights are in the background to create a festive scene.
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Looking for a flavourful summer dessert that’s easy to make? Try our Summery Strawberry Gin Trifle. This playful twist on the classic trifle brings the essence of summer to your dessert table with its vibrant flavours.

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When creating delicious, gluten-free desserts, we always look for shortcuts that save time without compromising taste. With our Summery Strawberry Gin Trifle, we’ve done just that by using a gluten-free vanilla cake mix.

Unlike traditional trifles which use sherry, we’ve infused this trifle with the fruity and vibrant notes of pink strawberry gin, making it a perfect summer treat. To top it off, we’ve opted for an Italian meringue instead of whipped cream. The meringue can be piped or spooned onto the trifle, creating a beautiful and elegant finish for this showstopper dessert.

Why we use a Gluten-Free Packet Cake Mix in our Strawberry Gin Trifle

  1. Effortless Preparation: Using a gluten-free vanilla cake mix eliminates the need to measure and sift multiple gluten-free flours and ingredients. This convenience shaves precious minutes off your dessert preparation.
  2. Consistent Results: Gluten-free baking can be challenging, as achieving the right texture and flavour can be tricky. With a quality gluten-free cake mix, you can rely on consistent results, ensuring your trifle turns out perfect every time.
  3. Accessible Ingredients: Most gluten-free cake mixes are readily available in stores, so you don’t have to spend extra time searching for specialised ingredients or making your own mix from scratch.

What is Italian meringue?

Don’t be alarmed by the meringue topping on our trifle. It sounds complicated, but follow our steps for perfect results every time.

Italian meringue is a sweet and fluffy concoction that’s a staple in pastry and dessert making. It’s a type of meringue known for its stability, silky texture, and, most importantly, its safety for consumption. Unlike traditional meringues, Italian meringue is cooked, which makes it safe to eat as it doesn’t rely on raw egg whites. This characteristic makes it a preferred choice for various desserts, especially those not baked like our Strawberry Gin Trifle.

How to Make Italian Meringue

Making Italian meringue may sound intimidating, but it’s a relatively straightforward process once you get the hang of it. Here’s a simple guide to making this delightful topping:

  1. Ingredients: You’ll need egg whites, sugar, and water.
  2. Heating Sugar Syrup: In a saucepan, combine sugar and water and heat it to create a sugar syrup. It’s essential to use a candy thermometer and heat the syrup to the “soft ball” stage, which is around 115°C (240°F).
  3. Whipping Egg Whites: While the sugar syrup is heating, start whipping your egg whites until they reach soft peaks. This is typically done with an electric mixer or whisk attachment.
  4. Combining Syrup and Egg Whites: Once the sugar syrup has reached the correct temperature, gradually pour it in a thin stream into the whipped egg whites while continuing to mix. Be careful not to pour it onto the beaters, as it can cause splattering.
  5. Whip Until Cool: Continue beating the mixture until it cools to room temperature and forms stiff, glossy peaks. This can take several minutes.

Is Italian Meringue Safe to Eat?

Yes, Italian meringue is safe to eat. Adding hot sugar syrup to the egg whites cooks them and eliminates any risk associated with consuming raw eggs. This makes Italian meringue an ideal choice for topping desserts like our Strawberry Gin Trifle.

Tips for Making Italian Meringue

  • Clean Equipment: Ensure that your mixing bowl and beaters are impeccably clean, as any traces of grease can prevent the egg whites from whipping properly.
  • Hot Sugar Syrup: Be cautious when working with hot sugar syrup. Use a candy thermometer and carefully pour it into the egg whites to avoid burns.
  • Cool to Room Temperature: The meringue should be whipped until it cools to room temperature, as this ensures the stability and texture of the final product.

With this Summery Strawberry Gin Trifle, your dessert table will be the talk of the season. Whether you’re a seasoned trifle enthusiast or trying it for the first time, this recipe is a must-try. It’s the perfect embodiment of a classic dessert with a modern, sun-kissed twist. For more sensational summer dessert inspiration, remember to explore our recipe index. It’s your gateway to a world of gluten-free creations that will keep you smiling all season long.

For more Christmas meal ideas our new e-book, A Gluten-Free Christmas Vol.1, is here to take the stress out of festive meal planning. With 25 gluten-free recipes (mains and sides) you’ll be spoilt for choice with your festive spread.

Summery Strawberry Gin Trifle Recipe

Recipe by Cara Boatswain | Photography by Brandee Meier | Styling by Elise Vaughan
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Course Dessert
Servings 12


  • 2 x 85g (3oz) packets strawberry jelly (gelatin) crystals
  • 1 gluten-free Vanilla Cake mix plus ingredients listed on box
  • 4 tablespoons strawberry pink gin
  • ½ punnet strawberries hulled and thinly sliced vertically
  • 600 g custard see note


  • ¼ cup caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 egg whites at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice


  • Prepare jelly according to directions on the packet.
  • Line a round 20cm cake tin with plastic wrap, then pour jelly mixture into the tin. Refrigerate until firm.
  • Preheat oven to 180°C (°355F) and grease a round 20cm cake tin.
  • Prepare cake mix according to directions on the packet, then pour into the prepared tin. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from oven and set aside to cool completely.
  • To assemble the trifle, place cooled cake in the base of a 20cm (8 inch) diameter trifle bowl. Generously drizzle with strawberry gin.
  • Next, carefully turn the set jelly from the cake tin into the trifle bowl on top of cake. Then insert strawberry slices between the bowl and the jelly.
  • Generously pour custard over the jelly layer.
  • To prepare the meringue layer, bring sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Continue to boil until a candy thermometer reaches 115°C (240°F).
  • In a bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Fold through lemon juice. Reduce mixer speed to low and while continuing to beat, slowly pour the heated sugar mixture into the egg whites. Increase mixer speed and beat until the meringue has cooled and very stiff peaks form, about 20 minutes. Spoon meringue on top of custard. If desired, you can use a kitchen torch to brown the top of the meringue.
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