Recipe Wednesday: Easy Pantry Trifle

Holy. Cow.  Girl (or Boy, I guess), you have got to make this.  It's so easy.  It's a pantry-cleaner and a crowd-pleaser.  Plus, you have the option to make it very low-calorie!

And never, in my experience, has something so easy looked so good.  So slaved-over.  So June Cleaveresque.

I call this the "Easy Pantry Trifle" because truly, it's SO easy (I set it all up the night before and then assembled it in like, 2 minutes the next day), and you literally can mix and match flavors of whatever's in your pantry.  And it's a trifle because, um, well, that's what it is.

Here's what I used:
1 package of cook and serve chocolate pudding (you could just as easily do instant and any flavor; even the sugar-free, low-calorie ones work)
1 boxed mix of Devil's Food Cake, prepared as directed and baked in a 9"x13" pan (you could easily pick up a pre-made pound cake or angel food cake-- bonus-- angel food cake is low in calories!)
1 big package lite cool whip (again, any kind would work here)
3/4 box of Nilla Wafers, crushed (any kind of cookie would work)

The night before, I baked the cake and set it aside, covered.  Then I made the pudding, covered it, and refrigerated it.  I put the cookies in a Ziplock bag and crushed them with a rolling pin, then set them in the fridge with the pudding.  Why?  I don't know why.  I also took the cool whip out of the freezer and thawed it in the fridge.  I only had the smaller package of cool whip, but I would definitely say go for the big one.  That stuff is GOOD.

The next day, as dinner cooked, I cut the cake into about 1" cubes, which was easy to do since I wasn't cutting it when it was piping hot, as I usually do (I know, shame on me).  I first put down a layer of the cake cubes, all around the bottom of the trifle bowl.  Empty spaces are OK if they aren't huge.  Then I spooned a layer of pudding, making sure it seeped between the cracks in the cake cubes.  Then I added a cool whip layer, then topped that with a crumb layer.  I continued this pattern again, and then I was out of room.  So I put one more layer of cake cubes around the outside, this time not filling in the center, then poured the rest of the crumbs into the center of the top.  I covered it with plastic wrap and refrigerated it.

It got Hband's approval, and it looked impressive, what with the layers and all.

By the way, I had about 1/4 of the cake left over, so you can use that for mini-trifles if you have mini-trifle bowls, or just eat the cubes and feed them to your husband who is laying on his recliner watching TV, like I did.

Here's what's great about this dessert though, besides the fact that it is DELICIOUS: I just made it up, the night before, with whatever I had.  I was like, Hey, I have pudding.  And cake mix.  And cool whip.  And what cookies do I have?  Mint Oreos and Nilla Wafers.  "Hey Mike!  Which cookie crumbs do you want on the trifle-- mint Oreos or Nilla Wafers?"  "NILLA WAFERS!"  "OK then."

And that was that.

Here were some other ideas of flavor combos you could try:

Low-calorie: use lite cool whip and sugar free vanilla pudding, and angel food cake.  Add berries, too!

Decadent: use devil's food cake or brownies, cool whip, and dark chocolate pudding.  Add caramel sauce and Heath bar pieces or Reese's, crumbled, and Oreo crumbs.  WOW.

Sundae: use cool whip, any kind of cake, and vanilla pudding.  Add hot fudge, bananas, crushed peanuts, and those delicious cherries I can't spell!

Nutty: use pound cake or angel food cake and pistachio pudding, with cool whip.  Add crushed pistachios for crunch.

OMG: try brownies, chocolate, or vanilla cake, with cool whip and chocolate pudding and NUTELLA.  Yes, Nutella.  Crush up some of those hazelnut candies-- Rocher?  Is that what they're called?

S'mores: use chocolate cake, chocolate pudding, marshmallow fluff, and graham cracker crumbs. 

Just think of all the combos!  It's practically endless, with all the cookie choices!  What combo would you try?

xoxo, A