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Christmas Trifle Recipe

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Here is a last minute Christmas trifle recipe if you still need a tasty treat on your holiday menu. In case the gingerbread trifle wasn’t to your liking, this is another holiday option that looks like it was assembled by elves.

Although these layered desserts are usually quick and easy, this one has a few more steps. Of course, Christmas trifle desserts are completely tweak-able and there are ways to speed up the process if you need to.

Layers of pudding, green and red cake, cookies, and whipped cream for a Christmas trifle

Red and Green Christmas Trifle

Believe it or not the layers of this red and green Christmas trifle were not put together at the North Pole. They are in fact colored cake and cookies.

If you can find store bought red and green cookies and/or cakes, that’s definitely a faster option. If not, you may want to make this a 2-day project and do the baking the day before you need to assemble the trifle.

Christmas Trifle Ingredients

(Measurements are in the recipe card below.)

  • Box of white cake mix and ingredients to make the cake
  • Red and green food coloring
  • Pouch of sugar cookie mix and ingredients to make cookies
  • Instant vanilla pudding
  • Milk
  • Whipped topping

Christmas Trifle Directions

Make the cake according to the package directions.

Divide the batter in half and color one with red food coloring and the other with green food coloring.

Food coloring in cake mix

Bake in 2 round pans according to the package directions. Let cool completely.

Make the sugar cookies according to the “drop cookie” recipe directions on the package.

Steps to make red and green sugar cookies.

The dough is very stiff to work with and will take a while to come together, but it will.

Divide the dough in half and shape it into a ball with your hands.

Make a divot in the center of each dough ball.

Add red food coloring. Put on gloves and knead the dough until it’s red.

Repeat with the green dough ball. 

Red and green sugar cookies on a plate.

Use a tablespoon scoop to scoop dough onto the baking sheet and bake according to the package directions. Let cool completely. 

Pudding mix into milk in a bowl.

Add milk to a bowl and whisk in the pudding. Whisk until smooth. Refrigerate for 5 minutes until firm. 

Vanilla pudding after whisking in bowl.

Cut 2 red cookies and 2 green cookies in half and set aside for the top of the trifle.

Red and green cookies broken up into bowls.

Break 10 red cookies and 10 green cookies into pieces and place into separate bowls.

Red round cake sliced into square cubes

Slice the cake rounds into 1″ cubes.

Cubes of red and green cake in a trifle bowl.

Place the cake, alternating red and green colors, into the bottom of the trifle bowl.

Vanilla pudding on top of cake in trifle.

Top with half of the pudding and half of the whipped topping.

Whipped cream on top of pudding in trifle.

Sprinkle with half of the crumbled cookies, alternating red and green colors.

Red cookie pieces on top of whipped cream in trifle.

Repeat the layers, ending with about 1/4 of the remaining whipped topping on top.

Layers of cake and cookies in a Christmas trifle.

Place the remaining whipped topping in a resealable sandwich bag and snip the tip. 

Piping whipped topping onto Christmas trifle.

Use the whipped topping in the bag to pipe the whipped topping onto the top of the trifle. Place 1 half cookie into each dollop. 

Putting red and green cookies into whipped cream on Christmas trifle.

Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered until ready to serve. 
Serves 10-12 people.

Christmas trifle in a bowl on a table with red and green cookies.

Christmas Trifle Recipe Notes and FAQ

How many sugar cookies do I need for the Christmas trifle?

Only 14 cookies out of the 40 were used in this Christmas trifle. Grab some red and green cookies from the store or bakery if you can. Otherwise, plan to have additional sugar cookies leftover from the pouch of cookie mix.

What kind of red and green food coloring do I use?

The food coloring used in this Christmas trifle recipe is Americolor Soft Gel Paste in Red 119 and Green 111 for the cake and the cookies.

Layers of red and green cake, cookies, whipped cream, and pudding in a trifle dish.

Can I make the Christmas trifle the day before?

No. You should make the cookies and the cake the day before. Get everything ready to assemble, but don’t layer the trifle until the day of the event or the cookies will get soggy.

Top of Christmas trifle with red and green cookies in the whipped cream topping.

What kind of gloves do I use?

Basic plastic gloves work just fine. Think of the kind of gloves they use at Subway while they make your sandwiches. This is to keep the food coloring off your hands.

Christmas dessert trifle on a table with red and green cake and cookies.

I can’t fit all the cake in my trifle dish.

Not all the cake is used in this recipe. There was about 1/4 of each cake round left after filling the trifle bowl.

Trifle Bowl
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Make those trifles look fancy even though they are impossibly easy to make! Display all the layers in this gorgeous trifle bowl.

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06/22/2021 09:23 pm GMT
Yield: 12 servings

Christmas Trifle Recipe

Layers of pudding, green and red cake, cookies, and whipped cream for a Christmas trifle

A festive red and green trifle perfect for the holidays.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 box, 15.25 oz, white cake mix and ingredients to make cake (usually oil, water and eggs)
  • red and green food coloring
  • 1 pouch, 17.5 oz, sugar cookie mix and ingredients to make cookies (butter and egg)
  • 1 package, 3.4 oz, instant vanilla pudding
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tub, 8 oz, whipped topping, thawed

Instructions

  1. Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Divide batter in half and color one with red food coloring and one with green food coloring. Bake in 2 round pans according to package directions, let cool completely. 
  2. Prepare sugar cookie mix according to the "drop cookie" recipe directions on the package. I found this is a very stiff dough, and it takes a while to come together, but it will. Divide dough in half and shape into a ball with your hands. Make a divot in the center of each dough ball. Add red food coloring. Put on gloves and knead the dough until it's red. Repeat with the green dough ball. 
  3. Use a tablespoon scoop to scoop dough onto the baking sheet and bake according to package directions. Let cool completely. 
  4. Add milk to a bowl and whisk in pudding. Whisk until smooth. Refrigerate for 5 minutes until firm. 
  5. Cut 2 red and 2 green cookies in half. Set aside. 
  6. Break apart 10 red cookies and 10 green cookies and place in a bowl. 
  7. Slice cake into 1" cubes. Layer the cake, alternating colors, in the bottom of a trifle bowl. Top with half of the pudding and half of the whipped topping. Sprinkle with half of the crumbled cookies. Repeat layers, ending with about 1/4 of the remaining whipped topping on top. Place the remaining whipped topping in a resealable sandwich bag and snip the tip. 
  8. Use the whipped topping in the bag to pipe the whipped topping onto the top of the trifle. Place 1 half cookie into each dollop. 
  9. Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered until ready to serve. 

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 456Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 327mgCarbohydrates: 61gFiber: 1gSugar: 38gProtein: 6g

Nutrition facts are an estimate only.

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Red and green cake and completed Christmas trifle

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