Christmas Gingerbread Trifle with Brandy Whipped Cream

Christmas Gingerbread Trifle with Brandy Whipped Cream
Christmas Gingerbread Trifle with Brandy Whipped Cream

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and the most wonderful time for holiday-themed desserts! This Christmas Gingerbread Trifle with Brandy Whipped Cream is exactly what you need to serve this holiday season!

What is a trifle?

A trifle is a classic English dessert that is usually made with three layers: a sponge cake, custard or jam, and a fluffy whipped cream. There are many variations now and the options are endless! 

With the repeating layers, we like to think of trifles as the lasagna of the dessert world. In this holiday recipe, we kept the trifle somewhat traditional, but of course we added our own festive flare.

This Christmas Gingerbread trifle is made with a gingerbread sponge cake, brandy whipped cream, and cinnamon crème anglaise. 

Looking for another delicious trifle?? Check out our Chocolate Raspberry Red Velvet Trifle!

What is it Crème Anglaise or Vanilla Custard Sauce? 

Crème Anglaise is a french vanilla custard sauce and is used in a variety of desserts including ice cream, custards and even crème brulees. The base recipe always contains milk, egg yolks and sugar. In this recipe we added a touch of ground cinnamon to give it a festive feel. 

Can I Make the Trifles in Advance?

Since there are many components to the trifles, you can make this task significantly easier by planning it out and making certain parts in advance.

You can make the gingerbread men and the gingerbread cake up to one week in advance. Just store the cookies in an airtight container and the sponge cake in the fridge in an airtight container until ready to use. 

Additionally, the crème anglaise will keep for 3 days in the fridge as well.

The whipped cream is best if made the day you plan to assemble the trifles though. But you can assemble the trifles in their individual containers, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight if you plan to serve them the following day if needed.


We hope that you enjoy this festive holiday recipe for Christmas Gingerbread Trifles with Brandy Whipped Cream. If you give this recipe a try, click the heart button, leave us a comment and 5-star rating below, or tag us on Instagram @cooking_with_wine!

Christmas Gingerbread Trifle with Brandy Whipped Cream
Christmas Gingerbread Trifle with Brandy Whipped Cream
Recipe developed in collaboration with Chef Vanessa Wilson-Watson

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Christmas Gingerbread Trifle with Brandy Whipped Cream

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Recipe by Vanessa Wilson-Watson, Mark, and Angela Course: DessertCuisine: EnglishDifficulty: Easy


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  • Gingerbread Sponge Cake
  • 2 2 ½ cups (300g) all purpose flour

  • 1 tsp 1 baking soda

  • 1 tsp 1 cinnamon

  • 4 tsp 4 grated fresh ginger

  • 1 1 ½ tsp ground ginger (optional if you want a heavy ginger taste, we recommend adding this)

  • 1/8 tsp 1/8 allspice

  • ½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg

  • 1/8 tsp 1/8 ground cloves

  • 1 cup 1 (250ml) whole milk

  • 2 2 eggs room temperature

  • ⅔ cup (150g) unsalted butter

  • ¾ cup (150g) dark brown sugar

  • ½ cup (150g) golden syrup (or use honey or agave syrup instead)

  • ⅔ cup (200g) molasses

  • Classic Gingerbread Men
  • ½ cup (125g) unsalted butter (room temp)

  • ½ cup dark brown sugar

  • ½ cup golden syrup (or use honey or agave syrup instead)

  • 1 1 egg (room temp)

  • 3 cups 3 (375g) all purpose flour

  • 1 tsp 1 baking soda

  • 1/4 tsp 1/4 allspice

  • 1/4 tsp 1/4 ground cloves

  • 1/4 tsp 1/4 nutmeg

  • ¼ tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tbsp 1 ground ginger

  • Cinnamon Crème Anglaise
  • 1 cup 1 (250ml) whole milk

  • 1 1 fresh vanilla bean or ¼ tsp of vanilla extract

  • 4 4 egg yolks

  • ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar

  • 1 tsp 1 ground cinnamon

  • Brandy Whipped Cream
  • 4 cups 4 heavy whipping cream

  • ¼ cup brandy

  • ¾ cup powdered sugar


  • Ginger Sponge Cake
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Sift the flour into a dry clean bowl then add all the other spices, fresh ginger and baking soda, mix thoroughly and set aside.
  • Add butter and brown sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until the mixture is well blended and visibly lighter in color.
  • Next add the golden syrup/honey and molasses into the mixing bowl and mix until well combined.
  • In a smaller bowl whisk the whole milk and 2 eggs together. Start alternating adding the milk mixture and the dry mixture into the mixing bowl with the butter mixture. Mix until just combined. You don’t want to overwork the batter as this will result in a very dense cake.
  • Once combined, pour batter into a 9 inch baking dish and bake for 45 mins, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool completely. You can make the cake in advance and store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 1 week prior to using.
  • Classic Gingerbread Men
  • In your stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment cream together your butter and sugar on a high until it is noticeably lighter in color. Once light and fluffy add in the golden syrup/honey and the egg and mix until combined.
  • Meanwhile, sift the flour into a clean large bowl with baking soda and all the spices. Mix together until combined thoroughly. Set aside.
  • Once the butter mixture is well combined, change to the paddle attachment and slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Once combined into a dough, remove from the mixing bowl and form into a ball with your hands.
  • Next, place the dough ball between two pieces of parchment paper and roll flat to around ½ inch thick in between two pieces of parchment paper. Then slide it onto a sheet tray and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. This allows the butter to harden making it easier to cut into shapes.
  • While the dough rests in the fridge, preheat your oven to 350°F.
  • After 30 minutes remove the dough from the fridge and use a mini gingerbread man cookie cutter to make your mini gingerbread men. Place each cut gingerbread man back onto your parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 8-11 minutes depending on the size of your gingerbread men. When baked, remove them from the oven and place them on a cooling rack until completely cool. Store in an airtight container or ziptop bag until ready to use. These gingerbread cookies can be made up to 1 week in advance for best results.
  • Cinnamon Crème Anglaise
  • In a heavy saucepan, add the milk and half (⅛ cup) of the sugar along with the cinnamon and vanilla. It doesn’t need to be exact, it is just to stop the milk from scalding. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • Meanwhile, in a separate bowl add the rest of the sugar and the egg yolks and whisk rapidly until the egg mixture lightens in color. The lighter the color the more air you have incorporated, and the lighter your crème anglaise will be.
  • As soon as the milk is boiling, remove from the heat and pour mixture slowly into the egg mixture while still whisking to temper the eggs (this means slowly introducing heat to the eggs so they do not scramble). Once mixed in, pour the mixture back into the saucepan and heat on medium-low heat whisking continuously. Keep whisking until it reaches 185°F and the crème anglaise becomes thick and silky.
  • Once at 185°F, remove from the heat and place into a clean dry bowl over an ice bath to bring down the temperature. Once cool, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use. You can make the crème anglaise up to 3 days prior to using.
  • Brandy Whipped cream
  • Pour the heavy cream into the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or pour in a bowl and use an electric mixer. Mix on high speed until it just forms stiff peaks. Add powdered sugar and mix until just combined.
  • Stop the machine and fold in the brandy using a rubber spatula until combined.
  • Place whipped cream in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use. The whipped cream is best if made the day you plan to serve these.
  • Assemble Your Trifles
  • When ready to assemble, in each trifle dish make repeating layers of sponge cake (either cut to the size of your serving dish or broken into smaller pieces), crème anglaise and whipped cream until you reach the top of your dish. Add gingerbread men and bits crumbled sponge cake on top and serve.
  • You can assemble these, cover and place in the fridge until ready to serve as well, up to 24 hours in advance.

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Join the Conversation

  1. You had me at the gingerbread! Gingerbread is one of my favorite things about Christmas baking.

    1. Angela and Mark Author says:

      We hope you love this as much as we do!

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