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A classic Italian cream cake is made using layers of vanilla cake with coconut and pecans mixed into the batter. The cake is then filled and frosted with a cream cheese frosting and topped with toasted coconut and pecans.
Trifles are desserts made from layering cake pieces with pudding (mousse, custard...), whipped cream, and other fillings such as fruit, pie fillings, candy, etc. There's an infinite number of trifles to be created from those basic ideas. I create a new one each year for my family to enjoy at Christmas. This year, I reimagined the flavors from a classic Italian cream cake into a trifle. I think you'll love it!
The trifle begins with a vanilla cake baked with coconut and pecans. I prefer using oil-based cakes in trifles as they need to be refrigerated, and butter cakes tend to get very hard and dense in the fridge. Oil cakes bake up loftier with a more tender crumb than butter cakes, making them the perfect vehicle to soak in the other flavors in the trifle when left to sit in the fridge.
The cake is crumbled into a pretty glass trifle bowl and then layered with homemade cheesecake pudding, Tru Whip (or Cool Whip, or homemade whipped cream...) toasted coconut, and pecans.
Homemade cheesecake pudding is so delicious and easy to make, you'll want to keep the recipe around for making it all by itself. You'll never want to go back to boxed instant pudding again! Using the cheesecake pudding in place of the heavy cheesecake buttercream in the typical cake creates a lighter balance of flavor and textures that doesn't sit as heavily, especially after a large holiday meal.
While the pecans and coconut used in the batter are raw, I toasted the ones used in between the layers and on top of the trifle. Toasting increases the intensity and depth of the flavors as well as adding a crispier crunch to the texture. This is a wonderful dessert to try if you love Italian Cream Cakes (me me!) and want to have the same flavors incorporated into a slightly different dish. Enjoy!Print
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