Pumpkin Caramel Pecan Trifle

Pumpkin Spice Cake (adapted from taste of home)
1 pkg spice cake mix
1 pkg instant vanilla pudding mix (added dry…makes a very moist cake)
1 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
rounded 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Combine ingredients in a stand mixer and blend until lumps disappear. Pour into greased 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Cool and cut into cubes.

Whipped Cream
2 1/2 cups heavy cream – beat to stiff peaks
12 ounces (1 1/2 bars) softened cream cheese
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 -2 teaspoons vanilla (depending on the strength of your vanilla)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and salt until creamy and smooth and sugar has dissolved. Fold into beaten whipped cream. Chill until ready to use.

Candied Pecans
2 cups pecans (chopped, then roasted in oven under broiler until brown and fragrant)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine sugar, cinnamon, salt, and water in a saucepan. Cook, stirring often, over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Boil to soft ball stage on a candy thermometer (or 236 degrees). Remove from heat, blend in vanilla. Add pecans and stir until mixture is creamy. Turn out onto greased pan and use fork to separate pieces.

Assemble Trifle:

In a large trifle bowl, place cubed cake in one layer. Drizzle caramel sauce over cake. Spread half of the whipped cream mixture over caramel. Sprinkle pecans. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Top with sprinkled candied pecans and drizzled caramel.

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