Gingerbread, Pumpkin, and Sticky Toffee Trifle

The holidays have officially arrived, and I’m in the mood for something both naughty and nice!

Chocolate Gingerbread, Pumpkin, and Sticky Toffee Trifle

It is also time for another Project Food Blog ChallengeThank you, thank you, thank you all so much for helping me get this far!  I never imagined I would be participating in Challenge 8, and I am humbled and utterly amazed by your continued support and encouragement!  So, I dedicate this recipe to you. For this round the challenge is as follows:

Create a sweet or savory baked good featuring one or more of the following seasonal ingredients: Pumpkin. Whether you’re a devotee of French patisserie or you’ve got a healthy spin on baking, show us your best baked good and tell us what inspired you to create it.

Chocolate Gingerbread, Pumpkin, and Sticky Toffee Trifle

Healthy spin on baking … I think not!  Tis’ the season for giving generously, indulging with abandon, and spreading good cheer, and I can do all three of those things with my Gingerbread, Pumpkin, and Sticky Toffee Trifle.  This recipe combines three of my holiday loves – cake, custard, and candy.  I will be frank with you when I say my shenanigans tend to take a decidedly evil turn toward the end of the year.  With that in mind, I see no reason not to take all three of my most beloved treats and combine then into one dessert.  So, that is what I did.  One bite was all it took to prove it was the right thing to do.

Chocolate Gingerbread, Pumpkin, and Sticky Toffee Trifle

As stated above, the challenge is to create a baked item that features pumpkin, so let me tell you how I accomplished my mission.  First, there is pumpkin in the custard.  It features my own fresh pumpkin puree and is spiked with some dark rum and cinnamon to add some seasonal warmth.  It is reminiscent of pumpkin pie, but smoother and much more delicate.  My pumpkin puree also found its way into the chocolate gingerbread cake.  Pumpkin puree is wonderful in chocolate or spiced cakes to keep them tender and moist.  There is no pumpkin in my sticky toffee sauce, but the oozing caramel adds to the overall voluptuousness of the trifle.  Topped with a cloud of fluffy whipped cream it is a symphony of sin, but it tastes so nice no one will resist.

Gingerbread, Pumpkin, and Sticky Toffee Trifle        Serves 8-10

For the chocolate gingerbread:
1 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup golden syrup
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 cup hot water

For the pumpkin custard:
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon dark rum
1 tablespoon butter

For the sticky toffee sauce:
1 cup packed light brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon golden syrup, or corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup cream

For the whipped cream:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Heat the oven to 350 F and spray a 9″ x 13″ pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Chocolate Gingerbread, Pumpkin, and Sticky Toffee Trifle Chocolate Gingerbread, Pumpkin, and Sticky Toffee Trifle Chocolate Gingerbread, Pumpkin, and Sticky Toffee Trifle

In a large bowl cream together them sugar, butter, and pumpkin until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.  Add the molasses, golden syrup, vanilla, and fresh ginger and whisk to combine.

Chocolate Gingerbread, Pumpkin, and Sticky Toffee Trifle Chocolate Gingerbread, Pumpkin, and Sticky Toffee Trifle

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and spices.  Add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture alternately with the hot water, starting and ending with the flour.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed in the center, and the edges are starting to come away from the sides of the pan.  Cool completely in the pan then cut into 1″ cubes.

Chocolate Gingerbread, Pumpkin, and Sticky Toffee Trifle Chocolate Gingerbread, Pumpkin, and Sticky Toffee Trifle

While the cake cools prepare the custard.  In a medium pot whisk together the milk, egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt, and pumpkin.  Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture just comes to the boil.  Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the vanilla, butter, and rum.  Pour the custard through a fine strainer into a bowl and press cling film directly on the surface of the custard.  Chill for at least one hour.

While the cake and custard cool prepare the sticky toffee sauce.

Chocolate Gingerbread, Pumpkin, and Sticky Toffee Trifle

In a 2-quart sauce pan over medium heat combine the brown sugar, butter, and golden syrup.  Cook until it comes to a boil, about 5 minutes.  Carefully add the vanilla and cook for one minute more.  Remove the pot from the heat and carefully whisk in the cream.  Cool the sauce until it is just warm.

Chocolate Gingerbread, Pumpkin, and Sticky Toffee Trifle Chocolate Gingerbread, Pumpkin, and Sticky Toffee Trifle Chocolate Gingerbread, Pumpkin, and Sticky Toffee Trifle

To assemble the trifle begin by whipping the cream. In a large bowl combine the cream, vanilla, and powdered sugar.  Whip until the mixture forms soft peaks.  In a large trifle bowl, or in smaller individual bowls, add a layer of cake (you will use 1/3 to 1/2 the cake), drizzle over half the toffee sauce, and spread over half the pumpkin custard.  Repeat and top with whipped cream.  Chill the assembled trifle for at least four hours, or overnight.

Chocolate Gingerbread, Pumpkin, and Sticky Toffee Trifle

Spread some holiday cheer … enjoy!

Chocolate Gingerbread, Pumpkin, and Sticky Toffee Trifle

© 2010, Evil Shenanigans. All rights reserved.

Author: Kelly

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  • That last picture has me drooling. This just sounds incredible.

  • Ok, now that’s just totally evil (in a good way, of course!)

  • Great dessert for the holiday season!

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  • This looks AMAZING. I sure hope you make it through to the next round!

  • Healthy spin on baking – silliness! This is so delightful and happy.

  • You had me at Sticky Toffee.
    I’m all for healthy cooking, but it really has no place on the dessert table as far as I’m concerned. If I want healthy, I’ll have a piece of fruit. If I want dessert, I’ll have… ummm… three of those trifles. 🙂
    Good luck!

  • Oh my goodness! I think my daughter and I will give this a try! I was practically drooling by the time I finished reading it. 🙂

  • Amazing! This is one incredible trifle, I can’t wait to try it!

  • Trifle is my all time absolute favorite holiday dessert and I never thought I would see one that I liked better than my mum’s. Until I saw this. Naughty in such a nice way. Good luck, my friend, though with an entry this good, I think you’re headed out to review a restaurant fairly soon!

  • Perfect holiday dessert. I adore sticky toffee pudding and your trifle is to die for. Good luck with challenge #8!!

  • This looks delicious. How can you go wrong with those ingredients – gingerbread, pumpkin and toffee. Beautiful pictures.

  • That last picture made me drool! So gooey and delicious. I could just see myself scraping that bowl. Looks incredible!!!

  • I’m not a pumpkin fan, can you believe it? This I would make though, it’s amazing looking and always, your photographs are superb! Good luck!

  • Fabulous!!! Beautiful photos! You have me drooling!

  • This sounds absolutely amazing! I love anything that has to do with sticky toffee.

  • yum, trifles are the best! i love the flavor combinations you’ve created. your recipe looks fabulous – great job! 🙂

  • i’m a fan of trifles because they’re easy to assemble and always a hit with guests. your trifle looks so good and delicious i’m sure i’m gonna fall in love with it at first bite!

  • my jaw is on the floor and I’m drooling. That looks SO DELICIOUS. May just be my contribution to Christmas dinner.

  • That last picture on the fork is a winner by itself. WOW i just want to taste it so bad. Nice work.

  • Wow, that is decadent and over the top. I love it!

  • I want it! These look incredible and beyond delicious. Pure win.

  • oh my gosh, I want to eat that right now! It looks incredible!

  • Erin

    This looks delicious!! I’m thinking about making this soon- How much pumpkin puree should go into the chocolate gingerbread?

  • Erin – It is 1/2 cup

  • By far the best entry for Round 8! That last picture is just all sorts of evil and I LOVE it! I’m about ready to lick my screen now…

    Good luck! Can’t wait to see you in Round 9!

  • Liesal

    I really doubt you’re going to get any presents from Santa this year, because this recipe just looks naughty! 😉

  • Looks like a really special dessert and I like that there’s an essence of pumpkin in all the layers. Good luck!

  • Pumpkin, chocolate, caramel….I think I’m going to cry! Once again, awesome job!!

  • Omg this trifle looks good enough to die for! That last picture has sent me into a craving tailspin! What a perfect combination of flavours. You have my vote as always and good luck!

  • Becca

    You always make everything look FABULOUS, Hon! You know that my first stop was over at the Foodblog voting site. DONE! Second on my list is finding trifle bowls that I can afford to buy, because I’m dying to try this recipe!

  • Oh yeah….this advances you again for sure! – S

  • Hanging around with you for the holidays is good AND evil all at the same time.

    This really looks amazing and the 3 different treats in one is a thriller this time of year.

    Good luck this week with PFB!

    I just cast my first vote.


  • I can’t believe I’d never heard of trifle until this post. What is wrong with me?? Beautiful pictures – great job!

  • This looks amazingly decadent! I’m a big fan of sticky toffee, so this looks like it’s right up my alley.

  • I’m bookmarking this all you had to say was toffee!

  • YUM!!! Voting for this because it follows the rules, LOOKS AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS, and I basically want to clothe myself with sticky toffee trifle on a daily basis. TMI? 🙂

    My entry this time around is an original recipe I developed. It’s a croquemcake, or a combination croquembouche (mounted cream puff tower) and cake. I have affectionately and clumsily dubbed it a Browned Butter Pumpkin Croquemcake with White Chocolate Chai Mousse – the mousse is the surprise inside! Come see if you’d like 🙂

  • Gooey, Sticky, Yum. What’s not to love about this? There’s a perfect bite.

  • Trifles when done correctly like yours are one of my all time favorite comfort desserts. The line that had me ” fresh pumpkin puree and is spiked with some dark rum and cinnamon to add some seasonal warmth. It is reminiscent of pumpkin pie, ” I love pumpkin as a savory dish and not at all as a sweet dish, but after reading this description I feel as though I need to make this. Well done !

    Good Luck !

  • Holy cow!! This is truly drool-worthy.

  • Oh my does that look gooey delicious!! voted!

  • I love triffle, but the idea of a sticky triffle really tempts me. I like varied texture in food! GREG

  • You know I have a trifle dish and have NEVER made a trifle. You have inspired me… this looks amazing!

  • This looks really, really good. The last shot on the fork sealed the deal. May I have some, please?

  • This is just wonderfully original and delicious. You definitely have m vote!

  • I’m not a fan of chocolate or sweet pumpkin dishes, but I still want to gobble that up! Good job.

  • delicious presenttition looks yummy

  • Cake, custard and candy! Oh my! Mouthwatering creation. Must make. Nom nom nom.

  • Umm, totally evil. I’m so making this for the holidays!

  • Ok, I knew a while ago, when you taught me, through your blog, how to make croissants, you were a very talented baker. I followed your recipe, and I made them, and they were good. With some more experience, they’ll be great. This competition, however, is proving that you are a real talent- every challenge has been met with thoughtfulness, professionalism and complete yumminess. You really won me right over in the video round. I wanted to hang out and cook with you after watching that! I am voting for you another time- and I feel you are a particularly strong contender in this competition. It’s amazing to see everyone’s awesome efforts, but I really, really enjoy your posts. Good luck. I’m pulling for you.


  • I agree! ‘Tis NOT the season for healthy baking! 🙂

    The photo with the gooey piece of gingerbread with toffee sauce dripping down makes me drool. Mmm…

  • Ben

    I’m all for living healthily, but that last photo makes me perfectly happy to die early–as long as I am permitted to indulge in this sticky, toffee-laden madness.

  • Oh it looks so festive! Great entry, good luck!

  • What a delicious looking dessert! That last photo makes me feel as if I’m in the middle of taking a big gooey bite 🙂

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  • This is incredible!! I’m sorry I didn’t comment before (though I did remember to vote)… I’ve been dreadfully behind on blog reading. Anyway, just wanted to let you know that this is on my must-make list and it looks fantastic.

  • Wow, this looks good! I totally would go for something like this at the end of my dinner tonight!

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  • jen

    My mom requested a pumpkin dessert for her bday. I always surprise her with something new and hopefully decadent for her bday and I spent hours trolling the web before settling on yoyr recipe. It has not disappointed! Though I subbed a box mix gingerbread cake (I know, and I’m sorry, but there are limits to what I can do in a day with 2 toddlers under foot right now, and to my mind trifle is really all about the creamy stuff – the cake almost disappears, though I’m sure your cake would’ve been grand) and felt compelled to add chocolate toffee bits in the middle and on top, this was a divine and pillowy delight of a dessert. So many recipes I found did just the cake pudding and cream, no caramel. But you and i both knew they were crazy to leave it out and boy were we right. The sauce put it over the top. Thank you.

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