August 14, 2023
Recipe, text and images by Bebe Black Carminito (@champagneandcookies)
These individual Strawberry Sumac and Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Trifles are the ultimate summer no-bake dessert. I love sumac in sweet and savory applications and especially with strawberries. Sumac lends its fruity tartness to the juicy summer berries and transforms them into an absolutely blissful treat!
This is a layered dessert in four parts that can also be great made ahead (see tips below). I take one shortcut in this already easy dessert and use a store bought pound cake that soaks up all the glorious berry syrup; however, you can also use your favorite sponge cake or ladyfingers. These sumac strawberries are also heavenly served over ice cream, yogurt or granola. If you have any of the cheesecake layer left over, you can spread it on a graham cracker, toast or a bagel. The sky’s the limit!
2 ½ cups (350 g) hulled and thinly sliced fresh strawberries
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons (70 g) light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons of Oaktown Spice Shop Sumac
Zest of 1 lemon
1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
Pinch of kosher salt
In a medium bowl, place the strawberries, brown sugar, sumac, zest and juice of the lemon and salt. Stir thoroughly to combine and set it aside to macerate, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. While the strawberry layer macerates, make the cheesecake filling. This step can be done the day before - cover and place them in the refrigerator overnight.*
Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Layer
1 8-ounce package (225 g) cream cheese at room temperature
¼ cup + 1 tablespoon (65 g) crème fraîche
¼ cup (30 g) confectioners sugar, sifted
½ teaspoon Oaktown Spice Shop Vanilla Bean Powder
½ lemon, zested
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Pinch of kosher salt
In another medium bowl, place all of the ingredients and stir to combine with a rubber spatula until creamy and smooth. This step can be done the day before - cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.
1 classic store bought pound cake (thawed if frozen)
¾ cup (180 ML) cold heavy cream
3 tablespoons confectioners sugar, sifted
¼ teaspoon Oaktown Spice Shop Vanilla Bean Powder
Pinch of kosher salt
In a stand mixer with a whisk attached, pour in the heavy cream followed by the sugar, vanilla and salt. Whisk on medium speed until soft peaks form, for about 2-3 minutes.** Be sure to not over whip. You can also use an electric mixer for this step. Spoon it into a container and place in the refrigerator if not using right away.
With a serrated knife, slice the pound cake lengthwise into 4 sections. Using a 2 ½ inch round cutter, cut each section into 3 even circles so that you will have 3 layers of cake for each trifle. Alternatively, you can also cut the cake into small cubes, or use a round that fits your glass or dish. What you’re serving these in will dictate how you will prepare the cake layer. A highball glass works well.***
To assemble, spoon in a little strawberry syrup in the bottom of your glass or dish. Follow with a cake round, pushing down the cake into the syrup, more syrup and strawberries, cheesecake layer and another cake round and repeat until the strawberries, cheesecake layer and cake rounds are evenly divided. The key is to fully immerse the cake portion with the syrup. To finish, with a piping bag and a star tip, decorate each trifle with the chantilly cream. You can also just use a spoon and add as much as you’d like. If you have some filling components leftover, feel free to make another trifle, it just might be a little less than photo-perfect!
These are a fun dessert to make in small canning jars that can easily be packed up in cold storage and taken to a luncheon, picnic or a dinner party. After assembling, place them in the refrigerator for at least one hour or even overnight. If overnight and making ahead, wrap or seal tightly until ready to enjoy. Top with the chantilly cream right before you serve the trifles. Enjoy!
*The longer the berries macerate, the more syrupy liquid they will exude. Just be sure that if you do this step overnight, to cover them tightly, placing them in the refrigerator.
**For fluffier chantilly cream, be sure to use cold cream straight from the refrigerator and chill the stand mixer bowl along with the whisk attachment beforehand. If you don’t have a stand mixer, chill the bowl you will be using along with your electric beater attachments.
***Use the vessel you're going to layer the trifle in to cut the pound cake to get an exact fit for the pound cake rounds.
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