Thanksgiving Trifle—Spiced Cake & Pumpkin Custard
I love pumpkin pie during the holidays but sometimes you need something a little different. This Thanksgiving Trifle is made with a spiced pound cake and pumpkin custard—delicious and totally comforting.
|10 - 12||1 hour|
|Cook Time||Passive Time|
|1 hour 45 minutes||6 hours or up to 24|
For the spiced pound cake (SEE NOTE):
- 1 pound butter softened at room temperature, plus a little more for greasing the pan
- 3 cups sugar
- 4 cups flour plus a little more for dusting the pan
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 t-spoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 t-spoon ground cloves
- 1/2 t-spoon nutmeg freshly grated
- 1/4 t-spoon ground cardamom
- 3/4 cup milk room temperature
- 1 t-spoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 t-spoon kosher salt
For the pumpkin custard:
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 eggs (whole)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 t-spoon ground ginger
- 1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 - 3 tablespoons heavy cream or whole milk, or half and half
- Small pinch kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon butter
For the bourbon syrup
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup bourbon
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 4 - 6 tablespoons powdered sugar sifted
- 1/2 cup pecans toasted, cooled, and roughly chopped (optional)
- Start with the custard. Lay down 3 layers of paper towel on a baking sheet and spread the canned pumpkin across it. Lay another 3 layers of paper towel over top and set another baking sheet over it. Do not press down. Let this sit for about 15 minutes so it pulls as much moisture out of the pumpkin as possible.
- Put the 2 cups cream in a wide saucepan over medium-low heat and bring to a scalding point. Beat the egg yolks, eggs, sugars, ginger, and salt together in a bowl until they’re light and fluffy—about 2 – 3 minutes.
- Add a ladleful of the warm cream to the eggs and beat together, continuing to do so with all the cream. Pour it back into the pan and cook over medium-low, stirring the entire time with a rubber spatula, making sure to scrape down the bottoms and sides of the pan. After about 10 – 12 minutes it should be thickened. Pour this into a blender along with the pumpkin puree and 2 tablespoons more of heavy cream (or whole milk, half and half) and blend until smooth—30 seconds should do it. Pour it through a fine mesh sieve into a heatproof bowl, whisk in the butter and cover the surface of the custard with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Stash in the fridge to set up for at least 4 hours.
- Preheat oven to 300°
- For the cake, beat the butter and sugar in a standup mixer for 5 full minutes until incredibly fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, letting each one incorporate before adding the next. Scrape down the bowl.
- Sift together the flour, cornstarch, spices, and salt. With the mixer on low add a third of the dry mix, then a third of the milk, then another, and another, and so on. Splash in the vanilla and beat the batter on medium for 2 minutes.
- Grease tube/angel food cake pan and lightly dust with flour. Scrape the batter into the pan and level out the top as base as possible. Bake for 1 hour 45 minutes - 2 hours. Allow the cake to cool outside of the oven for a few minutes before running a knife around the edges and inverting onto a wire cooling wrack to cool completely.
- To make the bourbon syrup simply combine the sugars and water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes—the sugar should be completely dissolved. Off the heat stir in the bourbon and set aside to cool.
- To assemble slice the cake into ¾” slices and line the bottom of a trifle dish with them. Spoon or brush some of the syrup over the cakes before adding a quarter of the custard. Repeat this three more times—cake, syrup, custard, cake, syrup, custard, cake, syrup, custard—before stashing in the fridge for at least a few hours.
- Just before you’re ready to serve whip and powdered sugar to soft peaks and pile high on the trifle. Scatter with chopped nuts.
- You can make just buy 2 good store or bakery-bought pound cakes in lieu of baking one. Just add the spices from the cake to the bourbon syrup.
- If you do bake the cake, you will not need all of it for this. If you prefer bake the cake in 2 standard loaf pans—probably about 45 minutes to an hour.
- The point of adding the 2 - 3 extra tablespoons of cream to the custard is to help with the blending process and also ensure it's smooth and silky, and not too firm and eggily set. Since you need 2 cups of cream for the whipped cream (I mean... not that 2 - 3 tablespoons less would make a difference) feel free to use milk or half and half instead.