Vegan Mini Trifles with Ice Cream & Lemon Cake
5 from 5 votes

These vegan mini trifles are a beautiful way to celebrate summer! They feature layers of a tender, lemon-scented vegan cake, fresh, juicy berries, and plant-based ice cream. I like to use either vanilla or berry-flavored ice cream for this fun and crowd-pleasing dessert.

A clear, Weck mason jar holds the ingredients for a mini trifle, which is made with berries, lemon cake, and ice cream.

I’ve always been a little intimidated of trifles: they seemed to require a lot of careful layering, along with a special serving vessel. Plus, I didn’t know the first thing about making either ladyfingers or custard. Then I read this article, and I realized that trifles, like so many other desserts, are actually far more flexible than I gave them credit for; the layering that I thought was supposed to be crisp and tidy, for example, is actually supposed to be gloriously drippy—messy, even.

These mason jar trifles with berry swirl ice cream and vegan lemon cake make things even easier: the single-serve sizing means that you don’t have to assemble more dessert than you need, and the custard layer is a cool, creamy ice cream whip that comes together in about a minute.

You can use vanilla, lemon, coconut, or berry flavored ice cream in the mini trifles.

I like to give the ice cream a slightly “whipped” texture by softening it and stirring in a tiny bit of non-dairy milk. I add just enough to make the ice cream pillowy and easy to layer.

You could easily do this in a food processor, but it’s not necessary.

For the cake layer, I use a sponge that’s simple enough to add flavor to the recipe while also letting the berries shine.

Vegan lemon cake to the rescue! It’s moist, tart, and so easy to make. 

I use all-purpose flour, but you can use a gluten-free flour blend, too. (In fact, when I originally tested this recipe, I made a gluten-free version).

An overhead image of a mason jar that's filled with red raspberries, cubes of lemon cake, and ice cream.

An overhead image of a mason jar that's filled with red raspberries, cubes of lemon cake, and ice cream.
5 from 5 votes

Vegan Mini Trifles with Ice Cream & Lemon Cake

Author – Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Cooling time 2 hours
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yields: 6 trifles


For the vegan lemon cake:

  • 1 3/4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour (210g; substitute an equal amount of a gluten-free, all-purpose flour blend)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup cane sugar (150g)
  • 1/3 cup avocado oil (80ml)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons cold water (250ml)
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (60ml)

For the mason jar trifles:

  • 1 pint vegan vanilla or berry flavored ice cream, softened at room temperature until easy to scoop
  • 1-2 tablespoons non-dairy milk
  • 2 cups berries
  • 1/2 recipe vegan lemon cake, above (save the rest for tea, dessert, or snacking!)
  • 6 8 oz mason jars (240ml)


  • Preheat your oven to 350F. Lighly oil and line an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 square baking pan with parchment paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the lemon zest.
  • In another, medium mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, vanilla, cold water, and lemon juice. Add these wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until the batter is well incorporated and smooth (a few small lumps are OK).
  • Pour the batter into your baking dish. Transfer to the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the top and edges of the cake are golden and the center is solid. Allow the cake to cool completely.
  • Cut the cake in half, then cut half of it into cubes. The non-cubed half can be wrapped or transferred to an airtight container and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 6 weeks.
  • To make the trifles, transfer the ice cream to a mixing bowl. Add a tablespoon or two of non-dairy milk and use a spatula to stir the ice cream until it has a swirled, soft, almost "whipped" texture. Place a small handful berries at the bottom of each mason jar, then top with a layer of cubed lemon cake and a layer (about 1/4 cup/60ml) ice cream. Repeat, then repeat with all remaining mason jars. Finish each jar with a generous scoop of ice cream on top. Serve immediately.


In place of the flour blend here, you can use 1 3/4 cups all-purpose or whole wheat pastry flour, or you can use 1 3/4 cups of a trusted gluten-free, all-purpose flour blend.

The ice cream will most definitely melt as the trifles sit, but when it does, it’ll just soak into the lemon cake, which definitely isn’t a bad thing. The combination of cold, creamy ice cream and tender cake is delightful, and the berries add pockets of tart, sweet, and fresh flavor.

Be sure to work quickly when you’re layering the trifles, so that the ice cream stays cold and firm enough; if you need to take a break, transfer the ice cream to the freezer until you’re ready to start layering again. And if you’d like to make a bigger trifle size, that’s totally cool: I just like the presentation and ease of the single-serve option.

A small, clear glass mason jar holds berries, vegan cake, and vanilla ice cream that's just barely melting. It rests on a white surface.

“I couldn’t live without ice cream” is something I hear almost as often as “I could never live without cheese.”

For so many people who are considering the switch to a plant-based diet, the idea of life without dairy is daunting. I’m grateful that we have so many wonderful vegan ice creams nowadays—options that deliver on the richness and creaminess of dairy in a way that’s suited to please everyone.

I’m thinking about trying the trifles with plums or peaches in August, and I’m guessing that roasted apples would be delicious in the fall.

Hope you give the recipe a whirl with any fruit you love, and feel free to use a favorite cake recipe or another tasty base (blondies? brownies?). The more fun you have experimenting, the better!


This post may contain affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something I may earn a commission. Visit my privacy policy to learn more.

Categories: Recipes, Cakes, Fruit Desserts, Ice Cream
Method: Oven
Dietary Preferences: Gluten Free, No Oil, Soy Free

Leave a Comment

Star ratings help other readers to find my recipes online. If you loved this recipe, would you please consider giving it a star rating with your comment?

Thank you for your feedback. I'm grateful for your presence in this space!


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

  1. Gena,

    You made me crazy by sharing this receipe!! It will definately give me a change from routine ice cream menu. Thanks again for sharing.

  2. This looks amazing! When you say we can replace the flour blend with other flour, does that include the xanthum gum? Also, we are oil free, do you think I could sub applesauce or aquafaba for the oil? Thank you so much! Tracy

    • Tracy, most blends do include some xanthan gum or have been formulated to work without it, so yes, that’s what I mean!

      As for oil, I honestly don’t know. I find that gluten free and vegan baking usually needs to be pretty precise, and without the oil I’m not sure that the cake would be tender the way it’s intended to be. Not trying to discourage — just being transparent because I haven’t tried it myself!

      With that said, if you do try it and enjoy it, let me know, because it would be great info for other oil free readers 🙂

  3. The recipe looks amazing and the preparation is not that hard to follow.
    I can’t wait to show this recipe to my girl, she will love it.

  4. These look stunning and i love the presentation.I keep on checking your blog for different lipsmacking recipes.So now i will try this recipe and satisfy my craving for dessert.Allergic to potato starch so is there any alternative to potato starch? please suggest.

    • Hi Maria,

      So glad you like the recipe! I would substitute tapioca starch, so 1/2 cup tapioca starch total, rather than 1/4 cup of each starch.


  5. 5 stars
    Love this! Have you tried Nadamoo ice cream? would love to hear your thoughts on it and how it compares to coconut bliss as I have not tried this brand.

    • Hey Zoe! I actually tried Nada Moo for the first time this summer, and I loved it. I’d say that the texture is slightly less creamy and rich than Coconut Bliss—it’s a little lighter, and the flavors are a bit more whimsical. So, it really depends on the texture you’re looking for, how luxurious you want your ice cream to be, and what flavors you’re into! 🙂

  6. How tasty does this recipe look! Thanks for the share, love checking out your blog for weekly dinner ideas.

  7. This looks amazing, Gena! I’m so happy to see a gf and vegan lemon cake recipe, and I already adore Luna and Larry’s ice cream (but haven’t yet tried the summer berry flavour). I cannot wait to try this combination – it’s so so perfect for this time of year 🙂

  8. This looks so amazingly craveworthy and perfect for summer! I love the presentation. I am embarrassed to say that I still haven’t tried Luna and Larry’s but now I really want to!