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Do you ever wonder what to do with leftover cake?
I can’t lie, I am totally that girl who will bake an entire sheet cake, eat about a quarter of it, and then be forced to toss the rest weeks later, after it has officially become stale and unappetizing.
(Okay, I don’t really toss it. I just pawn it off on friends and family after I’ve grown tired of it, but before it’s too late to enjoy. Don’t worry, I’m not just randomly wasting precious homemade cake over here. It’s not like I’m a monster or anything!)
However, unless you are bringing a sheet cake to a party, there’s not really a lot of reason to just whip one up and let it sit in your kitchen until you finally give it away.
On the other hand, sometimes you really want that homemade slice of cake that’s moist and rich, with a fluffy buttercream frosting that melts in your mouth with every bite.
Well, this pumpkin trifle is the solution to your extra cake problems.
I don’t know about you, but when I serve a cake for dessert, it needs to be a whole one. That’s why I don’t just bring leftover cake to gatherings to get it out of my house (usually). Which results in even more leftovers in my fridge…
I am sure you can see how this cycle can repeat itself for weeks and weeks, especially during the holiday season.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could make that cake that you are craving, enjoy a few amazing slices, and then find a way to repurpose the rest of it to make a totally new dessert?
The answer is, of course it would be. And that’s why this particular recipe is so genius.
This trifle uses one of my favorite fall cake recipes, without using the entire thing. You can devour a third of it, and once you’ve gotten your fix, you can whip up this tasty dessert and present it at your next gathering as the sweet centerpiece after the main meal.
Trust me, it definitely stands out in a crowd, if you haven’t noticed already.
As you dig into the layers, you’ll find that every element complements the others, with no one flavor overpowering the rest of the ingredients.
It’s such a simple dessert, and it’s a fantastic way to use up leftover dessert. No one will ever know that the key ingredient was actually repurposed leftovers.
I mean, just look at that gorgeous bowl of layers. It’s certainly an eye-catching treat that will make everyone’s mouths water the moment you set it on the table.
If you haven’t baked the pumpkin cake yet, that’s just fine. Bake it up, and cool it down. I promise, it’s such an easy made-from-scratch recipe, it will be a cinch – you can also visit this article for some tips to improve your baking routine.
You will end up using 2/3 of the sheet cake, so you can frost the remainder for a treat to hoard all to yourself for a midnight snack. Not that I would know anything about that…Print
Whip up an easy dessert to savor the fall season – pumpkin trifle made with moist cake, honey whipped cream, and hazelnuts.
- 2/3 of one 9×13” Pumpkin Cake
- 20 ounces heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup toasted and chopped hazelnuts, divided
- 2 Tbsp honey, plus more for drizzling
- Cinnamon, for sprinkling
- Cut cooled pumpkin cake into cubes; set aside.
- In a large bowl, whip the cream with an electric hand mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the honey and continue to whip until combined.
- In a large glass bowl, create your layers. Start with cake chunks, then whipped cream, a drizzle of honey, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and 1/4 of the hazelnuts. Repeat layers until you reach the top. Serve immediately, or refrigerate before serving.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Dessert
- Method: No-Cook
- Cuisine: Fall
Keywords: pumpkin spice, pumpkin cake, trifle, autumn, fall
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Toast and Chop, Cut, and Measure
If they aren’t already toasted, preheat your oven to 350˚F and place the whole hazelnuts on a baking sheet. You’re going to want to do this carefully, because they have a tendency to roll around! Toast for approximately 10-15 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through. Be sure to keep an eye on them, so they don’t burn.
Remove from the oven and roughly chop. Set aside.
Cut the pumpkin cake into large chunks, approximately 1 to 1 1/2-inch cubes.
Measure all remaining ingredients as listed in the ingredients list.
Set out a large trifle bowl. This is typically a clear plastic or glass dish with a pedestal, and it makes a nice presentation on the table, since it’s easy to serve from and a great way to display those delicious layers.
A regular bowl will suffice if you don’t have one, or you can buy one from Wayfair.
Step 2 – Make Whipped Cream
Add the heavy whipping cream to a large bowl.
Use an electric hand mixer or stand mixer with the whisk attachment to whip it on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
Add two tablespoons of honey, and continue to whip briefly until combined.
In addition to the whipped cream, you can also add layers of a homemade squash pudding for even more decadent fall flavors!
Step 3 – Layer Trifle
To assemble the trifle, start with an even layer of pumpkin cake chunks.
Top these with a layer of whipped cream. Drizzle honey over the top, sprinkle a little bit of cinnamon on top of that (a little goes a long way), and add a layer of about 1/4 of the chopped hazelnuts.
Repeat these layers until you reach the top of the serving dish, ending with a final layer of hazelnuts.
Serve immediately with a large serving spoon, or cover with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice
I hope you are one of those individuals who loves pumpkin spice at this time of year. I certainly do.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret: Just because you like the flavor, that doesn’t mean you have to rely on those famous lattes to get through the season.
There’s so much more to pumpkin spice, and so many combinations that you can indulge in beyond caffeinated beverages. That’s why I highly encourage you to make a pumpkin cake and then use it (after eating a slice or two, of course) in this trifle recipe.
The pumpkin spice flavor that comes through in both desserts is rich and deep. It’s the kind of flavor that just can’t be replicated in a latte – and there’s rarely any real pumpkin in there anyway! It’s even better, and I promise I am not just tooting my own horn here.
What is your favorite way to enjoy pumpkin spice? Tell us in the comments below and then go make this dessert. Be sure to rate the recipe once you do!
Love the idea of gorgeously layered desserts? We have even more desserts stacked high with beautiful flavors:
- Chocolate Trifle with Bananas and Whipped Cream
- Fourth of July Mini Cake Trifles
- Banana Cream Pudding with Wafers
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Product photo via Majestic Crystal. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on October 12, 2012. Last updated: November 23, 2023 at 11:34 am.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Meghan Yager
Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.