Nothing says summer more than key lime and coconut. Together, they are an absolutely perfect combination for a trifle or parfait!
Trifle + Parfait = Perfect Dessert for Any Occasion
One of my most favorites desserts to make (and eat) is a trifle (or, the single version – the parfait). First, it is so, so easy to make. You absolutely cannot ruin a trifle because once it’s on the plate, it’s all mixed together and tastes amazing. You can use store-bought mixes for cakes and puddings (and I’ve even used pre-made Entenmann’s when I was in a rush), and they’re all amazing. There really is nothing easier than making a trifle for a dessert.
Second, I love that you can mix and match just about any flavor you want, as long as you have some kind of cake or brownie, pudding, and Cool Whip or whipped cream. The possibilities really are endless. This is honestly what I’m thinking about when my boys give me a moment’s peace. Seriously – “What kind of trifle can I dream up next?”
Third, trifles taste amazing. I mean, like, addicting -amazing. Like, don’t sit near the bowl with a spoon because it’s all over after that. They are so refreshing, especially for a summer dessert, and I have never, ever found one person who didn’t like a trifle.
Key Lime + Coconut = The Perfect Summer Dessert
This weekend, we’re having a potluck after church, and my usual go-to is to bring a dessert. Cooking is not a first talent AT ALL for me – baking is much easier. Once I decided I’d bring dessert, my mind started running. First, I looked over this easy, healthy summer desserts post (these are my summer favorites). Then, since it’s strawberry season, I thought about maybe some of these strawberry desserts. But I just couldn’t let go of the trifle. And the trifle has sort of become my signature dessert because it’s usually my contribution to any type of potluck or gathering (see reasons above).
As per usual, my mind started running with what kind of summery trifle I wanted to make for our potluck. I wanted something that was a really bold, “Welcome to Summer” flavor. Then, an old friend of mine posted on her Instagram some key lime cupcakes she made, and it was all over after that. That’s what I wanted to make: Key Lime Coconut Trifle.
I went to the store to pick up the ingredients, and I found a coconut cream pudding, so score on that. However, I couldn’t find a lime cake mix! Luckily, Betty Crocker hooked me up, and I found this recipe for key lime cupcakes. I finally had what I needed to get started. As I went through the process, I thought of a few helpful tips, especially if it’s your first (and definitely not last) making a trifle.
Here are a few pro-tips to keep in mind as you make this trifle:
- There’s really no wrong way to do it. There’s not a lot of measuring, once you have the cake and pudding made. Feel free to layer it to your preference.
- Add toppings and garnish right before serving, if possible, so they don’t get soggy.
- You can make the parfaits along with the trifle from the start and evenly spread out the ingredients among the trifle bowl and parfait dishes. Or, you can just see what you have leftover from the trifle and make parfaits from them. Your choice!
- If you are aiming for portion-control, parfaits are the way to go!
- My trifle dish was about 8″. If you’re using a larger bowl, you’ll want to double the recipe. The 8″ trifle bowl and the 4 parfait glasses used up most of the ingredients.
OK! So let’s get started on this trifle!
Key Lime Coconut Trifle and Parfait Dessert
For the cake:
Lemon cake box mix
Lime Jello (4 oz box)
1/3 cup key lime juice
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cups water
2-3 drops of food coloring (if you want. I didn’t use it in my recipe.)
For the pudding:
Coconut Cream instant pudding 4 oz. box
2 cups milk
Cool Whip (16 oz. container)
Decorations (sprinkles, lime zest, graham cracker crumbs, coconut, etc.)
For the graham cracker crust:
5 sheets graham crackers
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp brown sugar
4 tbsp butter (melted)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- To make the cake, mix together cake mix, lime jello mix, eggs, lime juice, vegetable oil, water, and food coloring. Mix together, stirring until all ingredients are blended. Spray a 9×13″ pan with cooking spray and pour batter in.
- Cook for approximately 20 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.
- While cake is cooking, prepare pudding. Mix coconut cream pudding mix and milk in a bowl and whisk for about 2-3 minutes. Set in refrigerator for at least 5-10 minutes.
- While key lime cake is cooling, prepare graham cracker crumb crust. Place graham crackers in a food processor to finely grind. You can also place in a ziplock bag and crush with a rolling pin.
- Place graham crackers in a bowl with sugar, brown sugar and melted butter. Mix together until it comes together in firm, dough-ish consistency. You can add more butter or graham crackers as needed.
- Evenly spread graham cracker crust mixture at the bottom of your trifle bowl until you have the thickness you desire. Press down so it’s firmly in place in the bowl, like a crust. You can crush more if you desire it thicker!
- Cut the lime cake into approximately 8-10 square pieces and break up in trifle bowl. There really is no wrong way to do this step. You don’t even need to cut it evenly. Just grab some of the cake and add a layer to the trifle bowl. If presentation is important to you, try to make sure the cake is pressed pretty closely to the sides of the bowl so it looks even from the outside. The thickness of the cake layer is up to you!
- Add a layer of the coconut cream instant pudding. Aim for the same thickness as the cake, but again, there’s no wrong way to do it!
- Add a layer of Cool Whip on top.
- If you have more room in your bowl, repeat the lime cake, coconut pudding, and Cool Whip. Or even just 2 of the 3 layers would work, too.
- Sprinkle top with any decorations or garnish you choose (sprinkles, lime zest, graham cracker chunks, coconut). If possible, wait until you are ready to serve before adding the toppings. This will prevent it from getting soggy!
- Use any leftover ingredients to make parfaits!
This key lime coconut dessert went over so well! I was really happy I had a few extra parfaits in the fridge! Since it’s Memorial Day weekend, I brought these patriotic red, white, and blue frozen graham cracker treats as well.
This is an amazing dessert for any summer get-together – graduation parties, BBQs, 4th of July, a luau …anything! And bonus tip – those cute little Aloha decorations are all from Dollar Tree! 🙂
You really can’t go wrong with this dessert! And there are so many other ways to make a trifle if key lime and coconut aren’t your thing. Just let your mind run a little…you’ll see. For now, though – give this one a whirl. I’m sure it will not disappoint.
Thoughts? I’d love to hear them! Leave a comment!
If you think others might enjoy this, I’d be so grateful if you shared!
If you need some more summer food inspiration, try: