Gingerbread Trifle with Cinnamon Custard

This past Boxing Day, I hosted the first annual vegetarian Christmas dinner at the condo. I had a long list of dishes I wanted to make this Christmas, but I only ever get asked to bring the vegetable side dishes to holiday functions. I guess people assume vegetarians know how to cook vegetables. *hehe* I never get to bring tasty vegetarian main dishes! So, I invited my parents, sister and her fiancé Jonny for Christmas dinner on the 26th (like we all needed to eat more food!) and I made a huge spread of vegetarian food. I made a fresh basil goat cheese ball and bruschetta for an appetizer. For dinner, I made polenta cakes with roasted vegetable ragout topped with baked goat cheese (recipe to come) and my favourite salad. For dessert, I made this awesome gingerbread trifle with rich chocolate sauce and cinnamon custard. It was pure heaven. Everyone loved it. I made mini trifles for everyone, as I knew they trifle would be quite rich. The recipe was quite time consuming, as I had to make the gingerbread cake the morning of the dinner. And then I had to make the custard and chocolate sauce an hour of two before serving the dessert. But all of the effort was well worth it. For special days & holidays, this gingerbread trifle is a show stopper. The spicy gingerbread soaked up the rich chocolate sauce. The cinnamon infused custard was so flavourful. A wonderful, wintery dessert!

Also, I’d like to thank Jonny’s mom for the awesome homemade perogies she sent me for Christmas. They were delicious….and devoured within 24 hours of being received :) Thank you so much!

Cinnamon Custard Ingredients

  • 3 cups of 2% milk
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup of cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup of light brown sugar; packed
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter

Dark Chocolate Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 tin (300ml) sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 ounces of unsweetened chocolate; chopped
  • 1/2 cup of water


  • 1 cup of chilled whipping cream (35%)
  • 1 teaspoon of white sugar
  • 1 recipe of gingerbread cake; cooled
  • chocolate curls
  • ground cinnamon for sprinkling


1. Make the Custard: bring the milk and cinnamon up to a simmer over medium heat. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks, cornstarch, brown sugar and vanilla. Slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly until all of the milk had been added. Return the mixture to medium heat. Whisk the mixture until the custard thickens and becomes glossy (about 5 minutes). Remove mixture from the heat and add the butter. Stain into a bowl and directly cover the surface of the custard with plastic wrap. Chill completely.

2. Make the Chocolate Sauce: heat the condensed milk and chocolate over low heat, stirring until melted. Whisk in the water and set aside.

3. Make the Whipped Cream: when ready to assemble the trifle, whip the cream into soft peaks. Fold half of the whipped cream into the custard. Add the sugar to the remaining whipped cream and chill.

4. Assembly: slice the gingerbread into cubes (about 1 inch cubes). Arrange a layer of sliced ginger bread at the bottom of a trifle dish. Dollop a third of the chocolate sauce over the gingerbread and spread. Dollop a third of the cinnamon custard over the chocolate sauce and spread. Cover the custard layer with another layer of gingerbread cubes. Repeat the process two more times ending with cinnamon custard. Chill until ready to serve.

5. To Serve: spread the reserved whipped cream over the trifle and garnish with chocolate shavings and cinnamon.

NOTE: Per Anna’s suggestion, I added 1/2 cup of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips to the gingerbread cake and it added a whole extra layer of flavour and texture to the cake.

Source: Anna Olson’s Back to Baking


  1. says

    These little trifles are adorable and sounds wonderful! Anything gingerbread is perfect! What an amazing blog you have here with some pretty incredible looking recipes! I’ll be back. :)

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