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Chocolate Pumpkin Trifle

Fall flavors take center stage in this special dessert.


Recipes by Sarah McCullen | Photographed by Joe Worthem

Traditionally, a trifle is a cold dessert with layers of cake, custard, whipped cream and fresh fruit. This original recipe trades the fruit for pumpkin puree and seasonal spices that pair perfectly with chocolate cake for a decadent but uncomplicated fall dessert that’s sure to impress your guests.


1 box chocolate cake mix, plus ingredients listed on box

1 (8-ounce) block cream cheese, at room temperature

¾ cup pumpkin puree

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups powdered sugar, divided

1½ cups heavy whipping cream

1 jar hot fudge topping

Toffee pieces


Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare cake mix and bake according to package directions. When cake is done baking, turn out of the pan and let cool for about 20 minutes on a wire rack.


While the cake bakes, place cream cheese in a large bowl, and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla and 2 cups of the powdered sugar, and beat until combined, about 1 minute.


Wash the beaters, and, in a separate large bowl, beat the heavy cream on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Gently fold cream cheese mixture into whipped cream until well combined, about 5 minutes.


Break cooled cake into 1½- to 2-inch pieces, and layer half of the cake pieces evenly on the bottom of a trifle dish. Spoon half of the pumpkin mixture over the cake layer in the trifle dish, creating a 1½- to 2-inch layer. Microwave fudge topping on high until warm and thin, about 1 minute. Drizzle a couple of spoonfuls of warm fudge topping evenly over pumpkin mixture. Repeat layers once.


Top the trifle evenly with toffee pieces. Refrigerate, covered, at least 2 hours before serving.

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