Pumpkin Trifle...A $100 dessert on a $10 budget

Last year I made this dessert for party and it was a hit.  So when I asked my other half what dessert I should make for our Sunday School class get together it took about 2.3 seconds for him to request the 'pumpkin layer thing'.  Let me be honest.  I don't cook.  I love to cook, but in the daily scheme of things, it doesn't happen.  A day off with time to plan & shop & experiment with new recipes is few and far between. (So most recipes I post are probably the only things I cook - other than frozen pizza.)  So for him to actually remember me cooking was a huge revelation.  Top that with something he liked well enough to remember & ask for a repeat?  Well that made my little heart swell with pride a tad bit.  Bless his heart how could I not make it?   Feel free to shower him with homemade meals, treats, and pity for a wife who is such a poor meal planner.  But at least when I do it's tasty! The perks of trifles are two-fold.  They don't take long to make & they can be made ahead....a full-time employees dream come true.  This recipe combines my two favorite foods - pumpkin & gingerbread.  I don't understand how some people can possibly dislike gingerbread, but if you are one of the averse, don't shy away from this one.  It's really more like a spice cake.

I hope you try it out at your next fall function - I promise the bowl will come home empty!

You can find the original recipe I adapted here.

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle Serves 25 (1 cup each)

What you need:

A Trifle bowl 2 gingerbread cake mixes (14.5 ounces each) 2 eggs (to make the cake - check the back of the box!) 1 package of cook & serve vanilla pudding (4.6 ounces) 3 cups 2% milk 1 large can solid-pack pumpkin (29 ounces) 1/2 cup packed brown sugar 1 carton Cool Whip (12 ounces) (Not required: radio & messy counters)

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1) Make both gingerbread cakes based on the instructions on the back.  Best part about the brand I bought?  You mix it in the baking pan - one less dish!  I added eggs to the ingredient list - mostly because I almost forgot to buy them!  Check the back of the box!  Let the cakes cool.

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2) You can start this step once you get the cakes in the oven.  In a saucepan, mix the pudding & milk and stir until smooth.  Cook over medium heat, stirring, until it comes to a boil.  I kept it on the heat for another 3-5 minutes until it starts to thicken.  Let it stand and get to room temperature.  Once its cooled down (it took mine at least 30 minutes), stir in the pumpkin and brown sugar until smooth.

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3) Next is the best start.  Ripping out the cake from the pans and crumbling it.  Yes really.  It's a great way to work out the stress of the day.  The edges of my cakes got pretty hard, so I pulled them off and trashed them.  Place a layer of cake crumbles at the bottom of your glass dish.  Layer half of the pumpkin mixture on the cake and smooth it with a spatula.  Next up, half of the cool whip.  Then repeat each layer once again.   I chose to put a lid on the whole thing BEFORE I put on the top layer of cool whip because I wanted to fill the bowl to the tip-top.  Just be sure you leave time for the Cool Whip to thaw out again before place the top layer before serving it.

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Refrigerate overnight & ta-da!  A fancy looking & sounding dessert that is sure to please any crowd.  In my rush, I forgot to take a picture of the final product with the top layer of cool whip....until the exact moment the first serving had been oh so not beautifully scooped out...so I'll let your imagination go to work 'seeing' the final product.

Pumpkin Trifle

Happy cooking!