Pumpkin Chocolate Trifle

In case you’re looking for another reason to eat pumpkin, this Pumpkin Chocolate Trifle is a light dessert that’s perfect after a big holiday meal that features layers of pumpkin, chocolate, graham crackers, fresh whipped cream, and topped off with candied pecans.

pumpkin chocolate trifle

Every year for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or both my Mom makes her much anticipated ice box cake. It’s almost too simple to fathom and is perfect for people who hate baking. But the great part about it is that it’s as irresistible as if you baked all day. I always think of ice box cake as the dessert that has the least effort, but greatest result. Kind of like a “dump cake” where the ingredients do all the hard work.

I especially think that it’s perfect for holidays when you’re eating a ton of food and there’s no room left for dessert, but you need to (obviously) have dessert.

Her recipe is just 4 ingredients: Instant chocolate pudding, milk, graham crackers, and whipped cream.

While I love those simple flavors that taste close to a s’mores – I wanted to change them up a bit. I’m only making 3 small changes. Keeping the original recipe the same, but adding a few layers of pumpkin pudding, making the whipped cream myself, and topping it all off with some candied pecans. Mhmm, now it screams fall.

pumpkin chocolate trifle

At first, I was a little unsure of how pumpkin and chocolate would go together, but they complement each other so well. The graham crackers in between layers soften the longer you let it sit – which is totally what we want. Also, I personally think that homemade whipped cream is the way to go for this because fresh whipped cream is incredibly cloud-like and stands out more than store-bought cream.

If that sounds like too much effort, let me just tell you, making whipped cream is as easy as pouring heavy whipping cream into a bowl, adding a couple tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar, and whipping with a hand-held mixer or stand mixer for 5 minutes on high. THAT’S IT. For gloriously soft and mildly sweet whipped cream. Then, topped with some candied pecans for texture.

pumpkin chocolate trifle

Just a note: if you don’t keep your cream & the bowl its in cold, it may start to fall after a day. If you don’t layer all your ingredients right after making them, give the cream another good whip for a minute or so until it holds its shape again when you are ready to use it.

The container you make this in will also make a difference. In a large trifle bowl, you will likely have more of a pudding than a firm cake that will form in a casserole dish. This all depends on your pudding to graham cracker ratio. (yes, that’s a scientific measure!) Okay, now let’s make this Pumpkin Chocolate Trifle!


Prep Time 30 minutes
Servings 16


  • 2 5 oz Vanilla pudding mix cooked or instant mix – I prefer the mix you have to cook because it has less additives
  • 1 15 oz can Pumpkin puree
  • 6 cups milk
  • 1 tbsp Pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 5 oz Chocolate pudding mix
  • 6 cups Milk
  • 2 boxes of Graham Crackers
  • 16 oz Heavy whipping cream Cold
  • 4 tbsp Confectioner’s sugar
  • ½ tsp Vanilla extract
  • ½ cup Pecan pieces
  • 2 tbsp Brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp Water


  1. In a pot, whisk the vanilla pudding mix and 6 cups of milk until it comes to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Take off the heat and stir in pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside and cool.
  2. Repeat process with the chocolate pudding; whisking it into the milk until it comes to a boil.
  3. In a large bowl, beat cold cream, vanilla extract, and confectioner’s sugar on high with an electric hand mixer for 5 minutes until it forms peaks.
  4. In a trifle bowl, you can layer the pudding, graham crackers, and whipped cream however you like, but I recommend making sure you have enough whipped cream for the top & using graham crackers in between each layer of whipped cream or pudding.
  5. For candied pecan topping: in a small saucepan, melt brown sugar with water over low heat, stirring constantly to prevent from burning. Stir in pecans. Cook for one minute, remove from heat, and cool.

Recipe Notes

NOTE: This is for a large trifle bowl, for a smaller serving divide recipe in half

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