Hey everyone, hopefully you’ve all had a great holiday weekend, or if you don’t celebrate, just a great weekend in general.
This dessert is something that I’ve made for the past few years, whether it is for Thanksgiving or for Christmas. I’ve made several variations, as it is a very versatile dish that has endless flavor combination possibilities. It’s fairly easy to make, but looks like it took some time. I always have made the cake layers, whipped cream, and anything else from scratch. If you want to make it even easier, use a cake mix, or a store bought pound cake or any other favorite loaf cake.
For example, last year, I made a Tiramisu inspired trifle. Instead of lady fingers, I made a Genoise cake (Italian Sponge cake) as the base dipped in espresso, and layered a mix of whipped cream and sweetened mascarpone between the layers, topped with a dusting of cocoa powder.
Another time, I made a spice cake as the base layers, and layered homemade raspberry curd and whipped cream between each cake layer.
This year I decided to make a gingerbread cake, with a pumpkin mousse and stabilized whipped cream in between each later. Stabilized whipped cream is cream whipped with a little gelatin in order to help it set up. I did this because I was making it the night before. By stabilizing it, it can last a day or two longer than if you just used regular whipped cream.
I adapted the recipes for the gingerbread and pumpkin mousse using the Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle recipe on my Epicurious phone app, which they sourced from Gourmet Magazine. I substituted ingredients mainly in the gingerbread because I either had overlooked them, or ran out.
What You’ll Need:
– 2 cups all-purpose flour
– 1 tsp baking soda
– 2 tsps ground ginger (I used closer to 2.5 or 3 for more flavor)
– ½ tsp cinnamon (I used 1 teaspoon)
– ½ tsp salt
– 1 stick unsalted butter (room temperature)
– 1 cup packed brown sugar (I used light brown because that’s what I had, recipe called for dark)
– 1 large egg
– ½ cup maple syrup (The recipe called for molasses, but this is the closest thing I had available)
– ¼ cup whole milk and ½ cup of sour cream (the recipe called for ¾ cup buttermilk, but I used milk and sour cream to recreate the tang. I didn’t have any buttermilk available and forgot to buy it)
– ½ cup of hot water (not boiling)
– 1 envelope (1/4 ounce) unflavored gelatin
– ¼ cup cold water
– 1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
– ½ cup packed brown sugar
– ½ tsp cinnamon (I used slightly more)
– ½ tsp grated nutmeg
– ½ tsp ground ginger
– 1/8 tsp salt
– 1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
– ½ tsp pure vanilla extract (I used slightly more)
Stabilized Whipped Cream:
– ½ envelope unflavored gelatin
– 1/8 cup cold water
– 1 ½ cups chilled heavy whipping cream
– 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
– 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
The How To:
Note: You can make the gingerbread the day before and keep unsliced and covered. Otherwise, make it several hours ahead of time if making the same day and allow to cool completely.
Gingerbread (Do ahead):
1: Preheat Oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, with rack in the middle
2: Butter / grease a 13 x 9 baking pan. Line with foil or parchment paper, and grease the liner
3: In a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar at medium speed until they fully incorporate, becoming light and fluffy in texture. This will take a few minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice to ensure all ingredients are mixed evenly
4: Whisk together flour, baking soda, dry spices, and salt in a separate bowl
5: To the butter/sugar mixture, beat in the egg, milk, and sour cream until blended
6: Slowly add the flour mixture in small batches with the mixer on low (otherwise you’ll be wearing the flour). Keep adding until fully incorporated and smooth, but do not over-mix
7: To the batter, mix in the hot water and beat for another minute
8: Spread batter evenly in baking pan and bake about 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. Cool completely for a few hours.
1: Place the cold water in a small saucepan and sprinkle gelatin evenly across the water. Let set for a minute or two
2: Turn on the burner to medium heat, bring gelatin water to a simmer until it is dissolved completely
3: In a bowl, combine the pumpkin, spices, salt, and vanilla flavoring and add the liquid gelatin. Whisk until fully mixed and combined
4: In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, preferably chilled, or a large bowl using a hand mixer or whisk, add the whipping cream and beat until it firms up and forms soft to medium peaks (Be careful to avoid overwhipping, or you’ll have lumpy cream/butter)
Note: Peaks refer to the whipped cream’s ability to hold it’s shape. Soft peaks will hold some shape, but will generally be loose and pliable. Medium peaks are slightly stiffer. Stiff peaks means that the whipped cream will stand up on end without moving or flopping back down…anything past stiff peaks = BUTTER.
5: In 3 batches, fold, not stir, this whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture until fully incorporated. Do not overmix or mixture may deflate a bit. If not using right away, cover and place in the fridge until ready to use
Stabilized Whipped Cream:
1: Place the cold water in a small saucepan and sprinkle half envelope of gelatin across. Let sit a minute or two. As before, turn on to medium and bring to a simmer until dissolved completely. Let sit until it begins to cool a bit, but is still liquid
2: In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, preferably chilled, or a large bowl using a hand mixer or whisk, add the whipping cream. Beat until it reaches soft peaks, then slowly add the sugar and vanilla, and beat until it stiffens up to medium sized peaks. If not using right away, cover and place in the fridge until ready to assemble
Assemble the Trifle:
1: Cube the gingerbread into 1 inch cubes.
2: In a trifle bowl, or a medium sized glass bowl, or whatever you have, layer the bottom with cake pieces in a single layer, covering completely
3: On top of the cake layer, place about half of the pumpkin mousse on top and cover completely, smoothing and evening the layer as you go
4: On top of the mousse, add half of the whipped cream and do the same, covering the mousse and smoothing as you go.
5: Repeat the process starting with the cake, then the mousse, and then ending with the final layer of whipped cream. You can top with crystallized ginger, dried cranberries, etc, or serve as-is.
Try it out. It’s really a simple dessert to make. Enjoy!
If you can’t see the picture slideshow, Click Below to see the individual pictures, and in a larger format.