Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle

I’m so glad that after crossing 30 I was able to finalize and lock in a lot of things about myself. Throughout my twenties I was still figuring things out, or not accepting some things about myself, possibly because I was hoping I would change.

Now, I know that’s not happening! And I can comfortably settle into my own skin :). 


I now know that my favorite season is fall. I have a deep appreciation and love for all seasons, but I find fall to be absolutely remarkable! The chill in the air, the dazzling colors, the magical atmosphere and tantalizing flavors! The approaching cold reminds you of warm snuggles, soft blankets, cozy sweaters and crackling fires! 


In Atlanta, the cusp of summer/fall is also the rainy season, so add that to the mix as well. I love looking at the deck outside. It seems to me like something out of a fairytale. When we were children, we loved to play make believe in and around the house. We would have been so enticed to play in a place like this and weave stories that did full justice to this remarkable setting. But then, this was how fairy tales were described to us, and because we didn’t live in this environment, it had an even more other-worldly feeling to it, and I think I still carry that inside me which is why I still look at this place with such wonder. 


But this is all my children have seen growing up, so I worry that they don’t realize and appreciate all the raw material they have around them to stimulate their imagination. And we have lived in so many cities around the country; definitely, this is not something everyone has in their backyard. I do hope that they make the most of it. 


Just today, I was telling my daughters how I used to play a game called Golden Sea with my neighbor. There was a house down the street that only had its foundations laid down, and it stayed unfinished like that for years. We would run around the entire house on the raised concrete foundations pretending that it was a city floating on a golden sea (get it?!). It used to be one of our favorite games. Trying to inspire them a little!

Pumpkin is such an outstanding flavor. I’m really thankful for the very few fruits and vegetables that are only available seasonally. It’s important to preserve some sense of the fact that things grow in a certain season, and are best used at that time.


Trifles are a marvelous creation. They are so beautiful and appealing. And the options with layered desserts are absolutely endless. This one is a fall wonder. The perfect combination of signature fall flavors. It’s a great dessert for a crowd, a picnic, potluck, party, thanksgiving, you name it. I’m always looking for excuses to make it ever since I tried it for the first time. And it has never failed me yet, AH!

The recipe has been adapted from Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle by the Brown Eyed Baker. Her gingerbread is phenomenal! The recipe itself is no-fail and the aroma is out of this world. It’s an almost from scratch recipe. I use store bought instant pudding, but you can make the custard at home if you like. Sometimes I use canned pumpkin and sometimes I use fresh. To learn how to make fresh pumpkin purée, click here.

The method for the gingerbread is pretty standard. You will need molasses for it though, you will probably find them where they have the pancake syrup in the grocery store.

A very common brand of molasses.

A very common brand of molasses.

After making the batter…


 bake it in a parchment lined 9×13 dish…


until a cake tester shows moist crumbs (so important!)


Let the gingerbread cool and make the pudding. Once the pudding is set, add the pumpkin puree and brown sugar. 


Gently mix them together.


Whip the cream with confectioner’s sugar until stiff peaks form.


Layer it and enjoy!

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle
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For the Gingerbread
  1. 2⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  3. 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  4. ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  5. ½ teaspoon salt
  6. ½ cup butter
  7. ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  8. 1 cup molasses
  9. 1 egg
  10. ¾ cup hot water
For the Pumpkin Filling
  1. 4 cups cold milk
  2. 2 (3.4-ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
  3. 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
  4. ¾ cup tightly packed light brown sugar
  5. 1 inch vanilla bean (the inside seeds only)
For the Whipped Cream
  1. 2 cups heavy cream
  2. 3 tbsp confectioner's sugar (more to taste)
  3. 1 inch vanilla bean (seeds only)
Make the Gingerbread
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line with parchment and lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking pan; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the molasses and egg and beat to combine, an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions of the hot water, beating well after each addition.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with moist crumbs. Place the pan on a wire rack and cool completely.
  5. Cut the gingerbread into ½-inch to 1-inch cubes; set aside.
Make the Pumpkin Filling
  1. In a large bowl, whisk the milk and instant vanilla pudding mixes for 2 minutes. Let stand for an additional 5 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, brown sugar and vanilla extract. Gently stir the pumpkin mixture into the pudding; set aside.
Make the Whipped Cream
  1. In a large bowl, beat the cream, vanilla and sugar on medium speed until it begins to thicken. Taste and adjust the confectioner's sugar if needed. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until stiff peaks form.
Assemble the Trifle
  1. Set aside ¼ cup of the gingerbread cubes. In a large trifle bowl or glass serving bowl, layer a third of the remaining gingerbread cubes, then top with a third of the pumpkin filling and a third of the whipped cream. Repeat the layers twice more. Crumble the reserved gingerbread and sprinkle over the top of the trifle. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. The trifle can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator, for 3 days.
  1. Moist crumbs ensures that the gingerbread will be moist. You don't want a dry cake in a trifle. Even 5 minutes can make a big difference in the oven. If the gingerbread is still not done in the center after 25 minutes, then check every 1 minute.
  2. If the gingerbread comes out a bit dry, then after it is completely cool, poke holes into it and pour ¼ cup orange juice over it. Let it sit for half an hour to absorb the juice completely.
  3. You can pipe the whipped cream on the top to make a pretty design.
  4. My trifle bowl couldn't hold all of it, so I made a small serving of the trifle on the side. I did need some extra whipped cream for that.
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