Gingerbread Trifle

In preparation for Thanksgiving, I’m showcasing some of my favorite holiday recipes this month.  Some of them are family recipes while others are my own creations but each of them always has a place on my dining room table.  This fall I had the opportunity to be profiled by Albanian Living magazine as a part of their “traditional American Thanksgiving” article.  All of the recipes I’m sharing were a part of that Thanksgiving table.
Trifles only look complicated because in reality, they are ridiculously easy to make.  All you need to do is create layers of cake and cream and you have a dessert that will impress.  Any type of cake, brownie, or cookie will work so choose a flavor combination that excites you.  Fresh fruit or preserves can also be added to the layers for even more flavor.  I’ve also discovered that trifles are the perfect way to use that cake that wouldn’t come out of the pan in one piece.  This trifle, made with a spicy ginger cake that is adapted from Fine Cooking, combines ginger with a rich cream to form a decadent dessert.  As with all trifles, this one tastes better if it is made a day ahead of time.
For the cake:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup buttermilk
  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and pre-heat the oven to 350.  Lightly grease an 8×8 inch square cake pan.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the flour, ground spices, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.
  • Place the butter in a medium sized bowl.  Using a hand mixer, set on medium speed, beat the butter until light and fluffy, approximatley 1 minute.
  • Add the fresh ginger and mix until just combined.
  • Add both of the sugars and beat on medium speed until well combined.
  • Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and mix until well combined.
  • Turn the mixer on low and add the molasses.
  • Add one third of the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix until combined.  Add one of the buttermilk and beat until combined.  Repeat alternating ingredients until everything is incorporated.
  • Scrape the batter in the prepared pan and smooth the top.
  • Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Let the cake cool completely in the pan before assembling the trifle.
For the ginger syrup:
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Add the water and sugar to a small saucepan set over medium heat.  Stirring ocassionally, heat until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Add the ginger to the sugar water and stir to combine.  Bring to a gentle simmer being careful that the sugar doesn’t scorch.
  • Remove from the heat and allow to cool.  Strain the syrup through a fine mesh sieve to remove the ginger.  Set aside.
For the cream filling:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon Kirsch
  • Place all of the ingredients in a medium-sized chilled bowl.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat the cream until it is light and fluffy.
To assemble the trifle:
1 ginger cake
1 cup ginger syrup
4 cups whipped cream
1/4 cup candied ginger
  • Cut the ginger cake into bite sized cubes.  Place a single layer of the cake on the bottom of the  medium-sized trifle dish.
  • Brush the cake with the reserved ginger syrup.
  • Place a layer of the whipped cream on top of the cake.
  • Repeat this layering pattern until your trifle dish is filled ending with a layero f whipped cream.  You may have some cream left over.
  • Evenly sprinkle the candied ginger pieces over the top of the whipped cream.
  • Cover the trifle dish tightly with plastic wrap and allow to sit for at least 4 hours or preferrably overnight before serving.
Serves: 12

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One thought on “Gingerbread Trifle

  1. […] date while parents gobble turkey legs, mushroom bisque, two types of potatoes, cranberry dressing, ginger trifle, and a thrown together meal. It may not be quite as elaborately planned, but then again, what is […]

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