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Seductive Strawberry-Banana Trifle

I swear, sometimes I wish I lived alone. I mean it. I really love my family, but it would be nice to be able to focus on a project once in a while without hands reaching over my shoulder or dirty glasses appearing out of nowhere in the middle of my workspace. Just once, I would like NOT to be asked to drop everything to fix someone a snack when I’m in the middle of preparing a recipe for a post. I’d love to return from putting a cake or pudding in the garage refrigerator and not find the counter suddenly cluttered with peanut butter and jelly jars, or cold cuts, or cereal boxes or…..well, you get the picture. It can be very frustrating, but this is my life, and I do the best I can with it.
My frustration was working double duty the other day when I was trying to put together this post for Mike’s [1] Strawberry Seduction [2]event. I had decided to make a Strawberry-Banana Trifle. All of the ingredients were waiting and I was ready to go. For over a week, I tried to set aside some time to put my dish together, and every day I was foiled. I actually had to buy strawberries three different times, because the ones I had kept getting old!

Yesterday, I had my opportunity. My daughter was still asleep in a Spring Break-induced stupor. My spouse was out toiling in the Rat Race. I was alone! I had everything ready and was composing the trifle in its bowl, when Mini-SGCC shuffled into the kitchen demanding breakfast and Mr. SGCC popped in from the office demanding lunch. WTF? Immediate stress ensued and the trifle paid the price.

I got so flustered at being double teamed by the two of them that I forgot to add the second layer of cake to my trifle! I didn’t even realize it until I picked up the bowl to chill it for a while and saw the zip lock bag with the rest of the cake sitting there.

After I had a little hissy fit, stomped my hurt foot on the floor (ouch!) and threw both husband and child out of the kitchen, I resigned myself to the fact that there was nothing I could do. I couldn’t fix it, and I didn’t have the time or extra ingredients to remake it. So, I figured that I would just come clean with you right from the start. There is a layer of cake missing from my trifle. There, I’ve said it. Now, we can move on.

Living near the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World [3], I am lucky to find an abundance of gorgeous fresh strawberries almost everywhere I go. So when Mike announced this event, I was in. Unfortunately, I had just posted about my favorite strawberry dessert, Strawberry Shortcake, [4] only a week before. I was kind of bummed, because my Strawberry Shortcake rocks! Since I’m still a little bitter about it, I’m posting a picture of it anyway.

My Seductive Strawberry-Banana Trifle, however, is nothing to be trifled with. It is a super-rich and creamy dessert, laden with juicy, ripe and sweet strawberries. There is nothing that needs to be cooked or baked, so it can be whipped up pretty easily. The dish consists of alternating layers of cake, fruit, banana pudding and fresh whipped cream. You can choose to also add fresh bananas or leave them out. I left them out. They look a little gross when they start to turn brown.
The banana pudding recipe that I like to use for this dish is by Paula Deen [5]. She’s a died in the wool Southern gal and she knows her banana pudding. This incredible pudding starts with a mix that has cream cheese, condensed milk and whipped cream added to it. Can you stand it? I could hear my arteries crying as I read the recipe!

I’ll also let you in on a little SGCC secret. Instead of mashing up a fresh banana in the pudding, I used…..baby food! Yes, baby food. I used Gerber Organic pureed bananas [6]. They contain nothing but organic bananas and they are completely lump-free. I wanted my pudding to be silky smooth without any of those little black banana seeds. It worked like a charm. Hey, don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!
Any kind of pound cake or angel food cake will work in this recipe. I had a bag full of leftover cake from the March Daring Bakers challenge [7]in the freezer, so I used that. Paula says that you can also use Cool Whip in place of the cream, but…..why?

This Seductive Strawberry-Banana Trifle is a great no-fuss dessert that looks elegant (even with a missing layer) and tastes phenomenal.

Make sure you stop by Mike’s place and check out all of the other great strawberry entries!
Seductive Strawberry-Banana Trifle
(Printable Version) [8]
1 pound cake or angel food cake broken up into chunks
1 quart fresh sliced strawberries
1/2 cup strawberry jam
2 cups whole milk
1 (5-ounce) box instant French vanilla pudding
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup pureed ripe bananas or 1 cup Gerber Organic Pureed Bananas
6 cups sweetened fresh whipped cream, divided
Fresh berries for garnish

Mix the strawberries and jam together in a large bowl. Let sit for about 30 minutes.

In another large bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well.

Using yet another bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk together and mix until smooth. Blend in the pureed bananas.

Fold half of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended.

Line the bottom of a trifle dish or deep large bowl with half of the cake chunks. Top with a layer of strawberries and their juice, a layer of pudding and a layer of whipped cream. Repeat the layers, finishing with whipped cream.

Garnish with some fresh stawberries and refrigerate until ready to serve.