Pumpkin Trifle

My Saturday has been dominated by odds and ends around the house. This morning, I immediately got to work on a very special dessert—a pumpkin trifle. To celebrate Jen’s boyfriend’s birthday, my family was having Zach over this evening for gifts and dessert. I made this pumpkin trifle for the first time last year for Thanksgiving and it ended up being by far the best part of the holiday.


I had already planned to make this trifle again this year, but when I learned that we would be in charge of dessert for Zach’s birthday, I knew I had to make it. Whether you make it for an indulgence on a Saturday night or for a Thanksgiving feast, I can ensure you that it will be crowd-pleaser.

Pumpkin Trifle (adapted from Paula Deen)

  • 2 (14 ounce) packages gingerbread cake mix
  • 2 (5 ounce) packages cook-and-serve vanilla pudding
  • 15 ounces pure pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 24 ounces Cool Whip (thawed in refrigerator)
  • pumpkin pie spice (to taste)


1. Bake the gingerbread cake as directed on the box.

2. While the cake is baking, cook the pudding.

3. Allow both the cake and the pudding to fully cool.

4. Combine the pure pumpkin and brown sugar with the pudding. Add as much pumpkin pie spice as desired.

5. Using a fork, crumble the cake.

6. In a large trifle dish, layer the ingredients, starting with the gingerbread cake and finishing with the Cool Whip.


7. Refrigerate overnight, or for at least 8-10 hours.


1. I used Betty Crocker gingerbread cake mix and substituted 1/2 cup Egg Beaters for two eggs.

2. Do not use instant pudding as it will result in a thin and runny mixture.

3. I used 2% milk for the pudding; lower-fat milk will work, but soymilk or nondairy milk will not allow the pudding to set.

4. I refrigerated the pudding overnight, so it thinned a bit when I added the pure pumpkin in the morning. To thicken it, I added about a teaspoon of xanthan gum.

Once I finished up in the kitchen, Natalie, Ali, and I took a walk around our neighborhood to enjoy the beautiful weather. We chose to take a different route and were pleasantly surprised to find that it smelled like lasagna, versus the usual cinnamon flavored gym socks. We covered a little over three miles in just under an hour.

When we arrived back home, we found a huge tree branch limb blocking our driveway. Apparently my dad and brother thought the weeping willow in our front yard needed a little trimming.

tree chop

(If you look closely, you can see the chain saw in the left-hand corner.)

As much as I wanted to help in the tree-chopping, I abstained from the fun activity and left it to the men. Winking smile

I figured it was about time I pulled the bikes out of my garage, considering I have a race and all tomorrow morning. It was no shock that the tires were completely flat, the handlebars were twisted, and the seats were off-centered. These were the two bikes I bought last summer when I went through a bike phase. That clearly lasted long.


I was getting extremely irritated when the tires wouldn’t pump up. I even tried using an electric pump that I plugged into my car, but nothing seemed to work! Finally, after trying several different pumps (and the help of my dad), I had hard tires!

Time to go pack to head to Jen’s for the night! Wish me luck while I’m pedaling away…23 miles is not going to come easily!


10 thoughts on “Pumpkin Trifle

  1. That Trifle looks incredible. I actually saw Paula Deen make it on TV. I have yet to find a Paula Deen dessert recipe that I is not AMAZING! I am totally going to make this for Thanksgiving! 🙂

    Good luck with all that biking! I am an awful biker! Hopefully you can have a ton of fun at the race!

  2. I am loving all of the pumpkin recipes I’ve been seeing!

    I’ve used almond milk with instant pudding and added sugar free cool whip to it and it will stay very thick! That would prob be good with pudding too 🙂

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