Gingerbread Christmas Trifle

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This gingerbread Christmas trifle recipe will be sure to impress your guests; with layers of gingerbread cake, brown butter cream cheese frosting, chocolate caramel sauce, bourbon whipped cream and gingerbread cookies it’s a beautifully festive holiday dessert!

A festive holiday dessert, this gingerbread Christmas trifle is a crowd pleaser

Gingerbread + Peppermint + Eggnog=the essential flavors of Christmas baking 101.

If I had to pick just one, I’d FOR SURE go with the gingerbread.  Not too sweet & warmly spiced, I mean, how can you go wrong with those cute gingerbread men??? 

I feel like when it’s time for you to bring out your trifle for dessert, everyone immediately goes “Ooooh, ahhhh”.  I like to call it the trifle reflex, you just can’t help it…I believe it’s mostly due to the fact that you can see literally every component inside the dessert, beautifully displayed for all to see.

A Christmas trifle dessert recipe with gingerbread cake, caramel and whipped cream

If the sound of a Gingerbread Christmas Trifle with layers of spiced gingerbread cake, brown butter cream cheese frosting, dark chocolate salted caramel sauce, bourbon whipped cream and gingerbread cookie crumbles doesn’t get you in the holiday spirit, then I’ll be really disappointed for the rest of this post.

My favorite part is that you don’t have to worry about frosting the perfect cake or putting perfect swirls on cupcakes because everything’s layered in one big bowl.  Which is GREAT for me ‘cause let’s face it, I’m not the prettiest decorator (or the neatest).

Trifle desserts are great too because you can make all the layers ahead of time and then just assemble right before your party or event.  You can use anything you have on hand for your trifle: yellow cake, chocolate cake, left over crumbled cookies or brownies, pudding, whipped cream, the possibilities are endless!

Now, let’s discuss our delicious Gingerbread Christmas Trifle layers:

Layer #1: Classic Gingerbread Cake-moist & perfectly spiced with molasses ginger and cinnamon (original recipe from Liv for Cake-recipe here)
Layer #2: Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting-nutty, tangy, and creamy which is just what the gingerbread needs! Click here for how to make brown butter.
Layer #3: Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel-as if homemade caramel sauce isn’t amazing enough, we’re adding dark chocolate for some richness (and because in my eyes, it’s not dessert without some chocolate!). Recipe here.
Layer #4: Bourbon Whipped Cream-because you can’t have a trifle without whipped cream, we’re adding a touch of bourbon which balances perfectly with the sweet caramel and dark chocolate for a sophisticated slightly smoky taste.

A delicious holiday dessert, gingerbread Christmas Trifle is made with layers of cake, caramel, cream cheese frosting and whipped cream

This Gingerbread Christmas Trifle is the perfect holiday dessert if you’re entertaining a crowd. It’s easy to make ahead for one less thing you have to worry about before your guests arrive.

Gingerbread Christmas Trifle

This gingerbread Christmas trifle recipe will be sure to impress your guests; with layers of gingerbread cake, brown butter cream cheese frosting, chocolate caramel sauce, bourbon whipped cream and gingerbread cookies it’s a beautifully festive holiday dessert!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword christmasdessert, gingerbread, holidaydesserts, triflerecipe
Prep Time 1 hour
Assembly 10 minutes


Gingerbread Cake (Recipe from Liv for Cake)

  • 1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 tsps Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cloves
  • 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter room temp
  • 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/3 cup Light Brown Sugar lightly packed
  • 2 Eggs room temp
  • 1/2 cup Molasses
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Exract
  • 1/2 cup Buttermilk room temp

Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 stick Unsalted Butter room temp
  • 8 oz Cream Cheese room temp
  • 3 cups Powdered Sugar
  • pinch Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1 Batch of Homemade Chocolate Caramel Sauce (see recipe notes)

    Bourbon Whipped Cream

    • 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
    • 2 tsp Granulated Sugar
    • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
    • 1 tbsp Bourbon Whiskey

    1 cup crushed Gingerbread Cookies, plus more for decorating (can use store bought or homemade)


      Gingerbread Cake

      • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour 2, 8″ round cake pans.
      • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and spices.  Set aside
      • In your stand mixer with paddle attachment (or hand blender), cream the butter and sugars on medium high until slightly pale and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.  
      • Turn speed down to low and add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add in molasses and vanilla and blend well.
      • Alternate adding the flour and the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour, in 3 additions.  Mix just until fully incorporated.
      • Pour batter evenly into cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Remove and place on cooling rack for 10 minutes, then release from cake pans.
      • Cakes can be made ahead up to 1 week and stored in the freezer, a half hour before assembling the trifle, remove from freezer to defrost.

      Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

      • Divide stick of butter in half.  Place one half in a small saucepan and melt until foamy and browned.  Remove from heat and let cool 10 minutes.
      • Place remaining half of butter in mixer with whisk attachment along with cream cheese.  Whip until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
      • Add in cooled brown butter, vanilla and cinnamon.  Whip until combined.
      • Slowly and gradually add in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time.  Mix until incorporate and frosting is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
      • Frosting can be made up to 3 days ahead and stored in an airtight container.

      Bourbon Whipped Cream

      • Place cold heavy cream in mixer with whisk attachment.  Add in sugar, salt, cinnamon and bourbon and whip to soft peaks, about 5 minutes.  Use right away.

      To Assemble

      • Layer the bottom of your trifle bowl with 1 layer of gingerbread cake, breaking it up into pieces.  Next, spread with cream cheese frosting, then bourbon cream, then drizzle with caramel and top with crushed gingerbread cookies
      • Repeat with second layer.
      • Decorate with mini gingerbread men if desired.  Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.  


      *Original Gingerbread Cake Recipe-click here
      *Homemade Caramel Sauce Recipe-click here (see recipe notes for chocolate variation)
      *All components of the trifle can be made ahead and assembled a day before.  If you plan on making it the day before, add the mini gingerbread cookies once ready to serve to avoid getting soggy.
      *I recommend taking it out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes in advance of serving to come to room temp.

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