When I shared my Thanksgiving photos on Instagram last week, it was this trifle - the maple pecan pumpkin trifle with white chocolate ganache and cinnamon whipped cream - that garnered the most attention. Well, this and the cookie tree, which tells me people really do favour the sweeter things in life.
I'll keep this short today and let you know that this is a seasonal riff on a candy cane trifle I made last Christmas. That one was fashioned from red velvet cake and peppermint cream, and a simple swap of pumpkin cake and cinnamon cream made this the perfect compliment to fall's most popular meal.
It looks like a lot of work, but to be honest it isn't. I made the cakes almost two weeks ahead of time, wrapped them tightly in plastic wrap and tucked them into the freezer. I took them out of the freezer the day before I made the dish, and allowed them to thaw in the refrigerator. The white chocolate cream cheese ganache comes together quickly and only requires a 30-minute rest in the fridge, allowing you to whip your cinnamon cream and slice the cake.
What is your favourite fall dessert?
Maple Pecan Pumpkin Trifle
Adapted from LCBO and Country Living
For the pumpkin cake
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for pans
- 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup pumpkin purée
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
For the cream cheese & white chocolate ganache
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 6 oz. white chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 cup cream cheese, softened
For the cinnamon cream
- 2 cups whipping cream
- ¼ cup sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon oil (or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon)
For the garnish
- 3/4 cup pecan pieces
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat three 8-inch cake pans with softened butter. Dust the insides with flour and shake out the excess.
2. In a large bowl of an electric mixer set on medium speed, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, until the mixture is smooth and light. Set aside.
3. Combine the pumpkin purée, buttermilk, and vanilla in a medium bowl and set aside. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and nutmeg in a large bowl and set aside. In thirds, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to the butter mixture, blending well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary to make sure everything is well combined.
4. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle of each cake comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pan on wire racks for 30 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and return to the wire racks until completely cool.
5. To make ganache, bring cream just to a boil on medium heat. Remove from heat, add the white chocolate and allow to stand, stirring occasionally, until white chocolate is melted and mixture is combined.
6. Place cream cheese in a bowl and whisk in white chocolate mixture a little at a time until fully combined. Place the mixture in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, or until the ganache is cold and slightly thickened.
7. To make cinnamon cream, beat cream with sugar and cinnamon oil until it holds soft peaks. Reserve.
8. To make the garnish, combine the pecans and maple syrup in a small saucepan and stir to combine. Cook until the syrup is bubbling and transfer the mixture to a piece of parchment paper. Pour the nuts out into a single layer and allow them to cool.
9. To assemble, cut cake into 1-inch cubes with a serrated knife. Spoon about ⅓ cup of ganache into the bottom of a large trifle dish or decorative bowl. Place half of cubed cake into dish fitting them tightly to make a single layer. Spoon about 1 cup of ganache over cake to make an even layer. Dollop on a little less than half of the cinnamon cream, and repeat layers, ending with cinnamon cream. Sprinkle trifle with maple pecans just before serving.