This Strawberry Rhubarb Trifle is slightly different from a traditional trifle, which includes layers of cake, custard, fruit, jelly, and cream.  Instead, it layers strawberry cake, rhubarb jam, and strawberry rhubarb buttercream.  Adding slices of strawberry between the layers works beautifully as well, but I just added a fresh strawberry on top for garnish.

Another versatile part of this recipe is that if you don’t have access to local seasonal strawberries, but your rhubarb is ready, you can use frozen strawberries when making your puree for the cake.

This trifle can be made in different sized mason jars, a traditional trifle bowl, or even as a cake. You can make it a day ahead to allow the cake to absorb the flavours of the jam, but I recommend taking them out of the fridge 30 minutes before enjoying to allow the buttercream to soften.

This recipe uses a lot of egg whites between the cake and the buttercream, but you can store your egg yolks for a couple of days until you have time to make a custard. *Leftover raw egg whites and yolks should be put in airtight containers and stored in the refrigerator immediately. To prevent yolks from drying out, cover them with a little cold water. Drain the water before using.*

Strawberry Cake

yields two 9 x 13″ pans


4 1/3 cups cake flour

1 1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 3/4 cups fresh strawberries, pureed (you can use frozen as well)

2/3 cup sour cream

1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 1/2 cups sugar

1 Tbs vanilla extract

6 egg whites


  1. Preheat oven to 325F.  Grease and flour two 9 x 13 cake pans.  Line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  3. In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the strawberry puree and sour cream; set aside
  4. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.  Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and the paddle.
  5. With the mixer on medium speed, slowly add the egg whites, a little at a time, beating until incorporated before adding more.  Once the egg whites have been incorporated, stop the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and the paddle.
  6. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the strawberry and sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Mix for about 15 seconds, just until incorporated,  Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl.
  7. Evenly divide the batter between the prepared pans.  Bake 28-32 minutes, or until the tops spring back when touched and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle of the cake.
  8. Let the cakes cool in the pan for 30 minutes.  Remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
  9. Using a circle cutter, or stencil, cut circles that will fit the jar of your choice.

Rhubarb Jam

Yield 2 cup


20 ounces fresh rhubarb (close to 4 cups)

1 cup sugar

3 tsp pectin

1/4 tsp salt

2 Tbsp  + 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice


  1. Wash the rhubarb and slice each stalk crosswise into 1/4 inch chunks.
  2. Whisk together the sugar, pectin, and salt in a medium pot.  Add the rhubarb and toss everything together until the rhubarb is well coated.  Slowly stir in the lemon juice and bring the mixture to a full, rolling boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce the heat and cook at a simmer to activate the pectin.  Continue cooking until the jam coats the back of a spoon and everything has reduced to 2 cups – about 28-35 minutes.
  3. Remove the jam from the heat.   Let cool completely before using it.  The jam can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Strawberry Rhubarb Buttercream

Yield 5 cups


1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup water

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

6 egg whites

1/4 tsp salt

2 cups unsalted butter cut into 1-inch pieces, at room temp (but still firm)

1/4 cup strawberry jam

1/4 cup rhubarb jam


  1. In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of the sugar, the water, and cream of tartar.  Stir to moisten all the sugar.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat without stirring.
  2. Meanwhile, in a stand mixer with a whisk, beat the egg whites on low speed.
  3. When the sugar mixture comes to a boil, increase the mixer speed to medium.  Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan.  Do not stir the mixture.
  4. When the egg whites are frothy, stream in the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and continue to beat on medium speed.  When the sugar syrup reaches 235F, increase the mixer speed to high.  The egg whites are ready when they reach a soft peak.
  5. Watch the syrup carefully.  When it comes to 240F, remove the syrup from the heat and slowly pour it in a thin stream into the egg whites as they are beating on high speed.  Be sure to pour the syrup onto the sides of the bowl and not onto the whisk and let is drizzle down into the beating whites.  If the syrup is poured directly onto the whisk, it will end up on the sides of the bowl and never reach the egg whites.
  6. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and continue to whip the meringue mixture until it cools to room temperature.  As it whips, add the salt.  When the egg white mixture has cooled to room temperature, start adding butter on high speed as it whips.  Add about a tablespoon at a time, watching carefully until mixed before adding more.  When all the butter is added the buttercream should be light and fluffy.
  7. After all the butter has been added, add the strawberry and rhubarb jam and mix on medium-high speed for another minute.  Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.


Layer in this order:

  1. Strawberry Cake
  2. Thin layer of Rhubarb Jam
  3. Generous dollop of Strawberry Rhubarb Buttercream

Garnish with a fresh strawberry