Elderflower syrup is sweetly floral, similar in taste to honeysuckle. It’s common throughout Europe and the UK, and has begun to make inroads in specialty stores and cocktail bars in the US. If you can’t find it, the syrup from canned lychees makes a good substitute. Trifles are a classic British summer dessert; they’re light, sweet, and full of juicy fruit.
Reserve a handful of the prettiest whole strawberries and blackberries for topping the trifle.
Hull and halve the remaining strawberries, and toss them with the sugar in a medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside until they get juicy, about 1 hour. (If you’re in a hurry, set the bowl over a pot of simmering water for about 5 minutes to speed this up.)
Whip the cream in a chilled bowl until it holds soft peaks. Fold the elderflower syrup into the cream and keep chilled until ready to assemble the trifle.
Tear or cut the angel food cake into 2-inch pieces. Scatter about half the cake on the bottom of a trifle dish or clear glass bowl. Ladle half of the berries and their juices on top of the cake, and then top with half the whipped cream. Repeat with the remaining cake, berries and cream to finish the trifle. Garnish the top of the trifle with the reserved whole berries and refrigerate for 2 and up to 24 hours. Serve chilled.