Layers of Holiday Spirit: Cranberry Trifle

Trifles are so fun to make. I bought a trifle dish a couple of years ago and I’ll literally take any excuse to make one. I’ve made chocolate and Oreo trifle, fresh berry trifle, Fourth of July trifle, black forest trifle, tropical fruit trifle, and of course cranberry trifle  — we are in Cape Cod after all.

Cranberry Trifle Cake
First layer: pound cake

They’re so versatile and festive and they can be tailored to any holiday or event that you’re looking for a stunning dessert for. All that’s really needed is a whipped cream of some sort, and a cake or brownie. Fruit, cookies, decorations are all fun extras to add to make it your own.

Cranberry Trifle Cranberries
Second layer: cranberry compote

I’ve made this cranberry trifle a few times for different Christmas time events, and actually my first one was for a party my then-boyfriend/now-fiancé and I were having at our home for friends.

Cranberry Trifle Crea,
Third layer: creamy whipped cream

I love the tartness of the cranberries, which pairs so well with the recipe for cream below (which you could literally put on anything and I think my fiancé would eat it) it is silky, and fluffy, and really just decadent. My favorite part is when the cream and the cranberry compote comes together and it all gets soaked up into perfectly buttery pound cake that serves as an anchor in between the layers it’s the perfect holiday treat.

Cranberry Trifle Close up

2 bags (12 ounces each) fresh or frozen cranberries
1 tablespoon ginger
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 cups heavy cream
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 package of cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 homemade or store-bought all-butter pound cakes (12 ounces each), cut into 3/4-inch-thick slices

In a medium saucepan, combine cranberries, 2 cups granulated sugar, ginger, and 2 cups water. Bring to a simmer over medium; cook until cranberries begin to burst, 8 to 10 minutes. Let the compote cool completely.

To make the cream filling, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese, brown sugar, remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and vanilla on high until well combined. With mixer on medium, gradually add heavy cream; continue beating until soft peaks form.

Arrange 1/3 of cake in a 3-quart serving dish. Spoon 1/3 of compote over cake; spread to sides of dish. Dollop 1/3 of cream filling over compote; spread to sides of dish. Repeat twice, ending with cream filling. Cover; refrigerate at least 2 hours (or up to 1 day).

Note: To make the candied clementine garnish I have here, simply make a simple syrup (1:1 sugar and water mixture heated on the stove until the sugar dissolves), put a few strips of clementine peel in the syrup and let sit until the peels become translucent. Take the peels out and sprinkle them with sugar.

Yield: 10 servings

2 thoughts on “Layers of Holiday Spirit: Cranberry Trifle”

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