Thanksgiving Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Trifle

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We can all agree that the ideal holiday dessert recipe is one that comes together quickly and can be prepared ahead of time and with minimal fuss. This festive nine-layer Pumpkin Spice Trifle fits the bill perfectly, and then some: It also boasts a crowd-pleasing composition of delicious seasonal flavors. Spiced pound cake is layered with silky pumpkin custard, crispy cookie crumbles, and a heavenly whipped cream cheese topping. It’s the perfect dessert for a special meal, but you just might find yourself whipping it up for an everyday treat, too.

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(Image credit: Rikki Snyder)

This fuss-free trifle utilizes semi-homemade recipes that are piled high on top of each other and is popped into the fridge until serving time. A regular yellow boxed cake gets transformed into a spiced cream cheese pound cake with just a few extra ingredients, while store-bought pumpkin pie filling becomes super-creamy with the addition of instant pudding. And it’s all finished off with crushed ginger cookie crumbles for a little crunch.

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(Image credit: Rikki Snyder)

The different components of the dish come together quickly, and the trifle can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator until dessert time. (Actually, the whipped cream cheese topping thickens as it chills, so it’s even better if you do.) The layers can all be made in advance: The cake may be baked and wrapped well in plastic for a few days; the pudding and topping need fridge time to set. For this, the adjustable shelves of our Frigidaire Professional Refrigerator made it easy to store a gloriously tall tower of heaping trifle and topping.

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(Image credit: Rikki Snyder)

Not only do the textures combine to make a pleasing dessert, but the colors contrast, too, among the layers of the trifle. A regular trifle dish of course works perfectly to show them off, but a large, glass serving bowl would be equally effective and beautiful.

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Pumpkin Trifle

Ingredients

For the Spiced Pound Cake

  • 1 box

    yellow cake

  • 1/4 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup

    light brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon

    pumpkin pie spice

  • 1/2 cup

    milk

  • 1/2 cup

    vegetable oil

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • 4

    eggs

  • cup

    cream cheese, softened

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Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour a standard loaf pan and set aside.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the cake mix, flour, sugar, and spice. Add the remaining ingredients and mix on low with an electric mixer until everything starts to incorporate. Turn the mixer up to medium-high and mix for 1 to 2 minutes until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix for an additional 30 seconds until smooth.

  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until done, 40 to 48 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

  4. Cool the cake on a wire rack for about 20 minutes before removing the cake from the pan. Continue to cool before cutting.

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(Image credit: Frigidaire)

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