Nana’s Southern Trifle

Southern Trifle in a PunchbowlI come from a family that eats their way through grief. Which is why I decided to make this cake for the 45 kinfolk that came to town for my Aunt’s memorial service last weekend. Every grown man in my family is well over 6 ft. tall, with a hollow leg and a serious sweet tooth. It’s not my usual style of recipe. In fact, it has no ingredients from a Farmer’s Market, which means it will get eaten. I also sat out a veggie platter with ranch and the kin just stared at it, but didn’t dare touch.

This is the kind of recipe my mom or Granny would have made for this type of occasion. Mom and Granny would have made it in a punchbowl and I did as well.  When I had excess ingredients, I made it in a traditional trifle footed dish, which is far more my style. Instead of traditional cake mix and cool whip, I do impart my own foodie twist. Both were gone in relatively short time.

Family is a funny thing and my family is rather unique. This is my favorite conversation from the weekend-

“Cuz, I need yo’ opinion on somethin’.”

“Sure, I like to tell people my opinion.”

“K. You know how those sacred heart tattoos are popular?”


“You know cuz’, the heart with the flames? Well I think it’s lame, everyone has one. So what do you think about me gettin’ a Sacred Cheeseburger on my stomach?”

“Uh…well, so like over your belly button, like you want it to talk?”

“Cuz, don’t be crazy. I mean like a cheeseburger on my stomach with flames.”

“No, right…certainly, you wouldn’t want to appear crazy. Well, to be honest, I’d normally try to talk someone out of a tattoo like that, but on you, I think it’d be a possibility”

“Thanks cuz’ I’m gonna do it.”

Apparently, I’m no longer the only “foodie” in the family…

Nana’s Southern Trifle

Nana's Southern Trifle

Pineapple is the southern symbol of hospitality. If you can find fresh go for it, but the canned is plenty fine for most my kinfolk and likely yours. This recipe will make the quantities in the footed trifle dish, for the punchbowl double the recipe.

2 boxes Trader Joes Vanilla Bean Cake Mix

1 tub True Whip Low Fat *,thawed

1 Large box Fat Free/Sugar Free Vanilla Jello Pudding

1 20 oz can Pineapple chunks

1 12oz can Mandarin Oranges

1 8 oz can pineapple slices

(You will also need eggs, butter and milk as per box recipes)

Bake the cake in two 8 or 9 inch round pan per box instructions. Cool on a rack and carefully cut one of the rounds in half lengthwise, so that you have 2 thin cakes and 1 thick cake.

While the cake is baking, open and drain cans of fruit, set aside. Make pudding according to package directions and keep in fridge.

To assemble-

Place 1/3 of the pudding on the bottom of the trifle or punchbowl, make sure there is a nice layer and it covers the bottom completely. Then place a thin layer of cake. On top of cake spread out a layer of True Whip (about 1/2 the container)  and add the entire can of pineapple chunks. Top with the thick layer of cake. Top cake with 1/3 pudding and the drained can of mandarin oranges. Top with the last thin layer of cake, then add the last of the pudding and top with the remaining True Whip and sliced pineapple.

*True Whip is a healthier version of Cool Whip. I can get it in major stores and it’s located next to the Cool Whip in the freezer section. If you cannot find it, you can substitute Cool Whip.

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