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Chocolate Pudding Trifle Dessert Recipe

Delicious and EASY Chocolate Trifle Recipe combine tender chocolate cake with creamy chocolate pudding, sweet whipped cream, and a sprinkle of Oreos.

3/4 view of a Chocolate Pudding Trifle with layers of fluffy whipped topping, chocolate cake, chocolate pudding and topped with chocolate cookie crumbs

We’ve been making this Chocolate Cake Trifle for our family for over 20 years. Chocolate Trifle is an easy and delicious chocolate pudding dessert that is a great make-ahead recipe that chocolate lovers will crave. 

We have a tradition that my sister hosts Thanksgiving and I host Christmas. For Thanksgiving, I am always assigned to bring the dessert. I know that’s a stretch, right?

Several years ago after I first made this Chocolate Pudding dessert and my nephew declared it as his all-time favorite dessert so now I make it regularly.

What is a Chocolate Trifle?

Very simply, it is a dessert with layered ingredients, typically in a trifle bowl.

Top angle photo of a chocolate pudding layered pudding showing the top which was piped in whipped cream stars and dusted with chocolate cookie crumbs. The title banner runs across the top.

How to Make a Chocolate Trifle Dessert

This dessert is impressive to look at but isn’t difficult to make. Take care when layering this cake trifle so you can see each luscious layer.

4 photo collage of the steps to assembling a chocolate trifle in a trifle bowl.

How to assemble a Chocolate Trifle Dessert

  • Have enough ingredients made up ahead of time so that you make three layers of each ingredient.
  • Start with the cake layer. You want your cake diced into 1-inch pieces so it can hold the remaining ingredients without turning to mush.
  • Spoon a layer of chilled pudding over the cake. Do not mix it into the cake.
  • Top the pudding layer with the whipped cream.
  • Sprinkle the whipped cream layer with cookie crumbs.
  • Repeat two more times ending with the cookie crumbs.

Chocolate Trifle Ideas and Variations you can make

You can use the ingredients that you like. Here are a few ways to make it your own:

  • Replace the cake layer with cooled brownies. A Chocolate Brownie Trifle would be amazing!
  • Use chopped candy bars or chocolate chips instead of the chocolate cookie layer
  • Use the cake and pudding you like. Milk chocolate or dark chocolate it doesn’t matter. You can make a cake from scratch or use a boxed or purchased cake as well.
  • Make it in a 9×13 inch baking dish and only layer it twice. It’s easier to scoop.
  • Instead of topping your chocolate pudding trifle with crushed cookies, cut the cookies in half and set them into the top of the trifle similar to what we did on our Lemon Poke Cake.
Slice of yellow lemon cake topped with white whipped topping, crushed cookies and a half cookie on a white plate. A white baking dish and whole cookies sits behind it.
Lemon Poke Cake

Pro Tips for the Perfect Chocolate Trifle Dessert

  • Carefully assemble the trifle ingredients into layers in the trifle bowl. Clean up the edges as you go. Seeing all of the layers is what makes this dessert look amazing.
  • I think it’s best if you make your chocolate trifle the day before and let it sit in the refrigerator to let all of the layers blend together and the pudding makes the cake all fudgy delicious.
  • Make sure all ingredients are cool before you assemble it. You can actually make the cake and pudding earlier in the day and then assemble it before going to bed. I don’t make up my whipped topping to far in advance of the assembly, however.
  • Making your own whipped cream topping is easy and tastes better. The trick is to not over whip it. I use an electric stand mixer with the whip attachment. Allow the peaks to just start forming and then gradually add your sugar. Don’t over whip it. Stop when soft peaks form at the end of your attachment.
  • Lightly cover the pudding trifle in the refrigerator with plastic wrap so it doesn’t develop a film or crust.

I would not freeze this chocolate trifle dessert. However, you can put leftover cake in the freezer so it is available when you get that strong Chocolate Pudding Trifle craving.

This chocolate dessert trifle is better the next day in my humble opinion. The consistency becomes thick and moist. That makes this the perfect make-ahead dessert!

 PIN THIS CHOCOLATE TRIFLE RECIPE TO YOUR FAVORITE DESSERT BOARD FOR EASY REFERENCE

Side view of a trifle bowl layered with chocolate cake, oreo crumbs, whipped cream, and chocolate pudding topped with whipped cream and cookie crumbs.

Products we used

  • Trifle Bowl – I love this bowl and it has been used so many times. When my trifle isn’t on the menu I can use it for fruit or other layered salads as well.
  • Baking Dish – I use this dish more than any dish in my house. I can bake cakes, cinnamon rolls, or a casserole in this dish. I love the lid that makes storing my bakery in an air-tight container easy or when I take this dish somewhere I’m not going to worry about spills.

Make a semi-homemade Chocolate Trifle

You can make this chocolate trifle dessert super fast if you buy an already made cake and use whipped topping from the freezer section. They also sell crushed cookie crumbs which can usually be found in the baking aisle.

If you like this recipe, here are a few more I think you’ll enjoy.

For the Chocolate lovers!

I think if you google chocolate, my picture is in the definition!

If you like this recipe, we would appreciate your comment and a 5-star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review!

Top angle photo of a chocolate cake trifle showing several layers of cake, pudding, whipped cream and cookie crumbs in a tall trifle bowl.
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4.8 from 5 votes

Chocolate Pudding Trifle

Delicious and EASY Chocolate Trifle Recipe combine tender chocolate cake with creamy chocolate pudding, sweet whipped cream, and a sprinkle of Oreos.
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Servings 14 Servings
Author Hostess At Heart

Ingredients

Chocolate Cake

  • 1 Devils Food Cake mix baked (or your favorite recipe)

Chocolate Pudding Filling

  • 2 3oz packages instant chocolate pudding mix

  • 3 cups whole milk

Whipped Cream

Garnish


  • 12 chocolate sandwich cookies ground into crumb consistency

Instructions

Cake

  • Bake the chocolate cake according to directions. I used a devils food cake mix baked in a 9×13 inch pan. Cool completely and then dice into bite-sized pieces.

Pudding Layer

  • Attach the whisk attachment of an electric mixer. Beat the instant pudding and the milk together for 3 minutes on medium speed.
 Put the mixing bowl in the refrigerator uncovered and chill for 15 minutes or until set.

Whipped Cream Layer:

  • Mix heavy whipping cream until it starts to thicken. With the mixer running, gradually add the sugar and vanilla in an electric mixer using the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Be careful not to over whip.

Assembly

  • Place 1/3 of the chocolate cake on the bottom of a large glass bowl.
  • Spoon 1/3 of the pudding on top of the cake layer and then 1/3 of the whipped cream on top of the pudding layer.
  • Sprinkle 1/3 of cookie crumbs on top of the whipped cream layer.
  • Repeat for a total of three layers. Finish with the cookie crumbs.
  • Refrigerate covered with plastic wrap for at least 2 hours.

Video

Notes

Recipe adapted from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook on Food Network.
Tips:
  • I think it’s best if you make your chocolate trifle the day before and let it sit in the refrigerator to let all of the layers blend together and the pudding makes the cake all fudgy delicious. I just love easy trifle recipes!
  • Make sure all ingredients are cool before you assemble it. You can actually make the cake and pudding earlier in the day and then assemble it before going to bed. I don’t make up my whipped topping to far in advance of the assembly though. The next your cake trifle will be perfect.
  • Making your own whipped topping is easy and tastes better. The trick is to not over whip it. I use an electric stand mixer with the whip attachment. Allow the peaks to just start forming and then gradually add your sugar. Don’t over whip it. Stop when soft peaks form at the end of your attachment.
  • lightly cover the pudding and then the trifle in the refrigerator with plastic wrap so it doesn’t develop a film or crust.

Nutrition

Calories: 333kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 51mg | Sodium: 339mg | Potassium: 218mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 585IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 130mg | Iron: 2.3mg
This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. My calculations are intended as a guide only.
Tried this recipe? That’s awesome!Mention @hostessatheart or tag #hostessatheart!

Nothing is more special for a foodie as when people love the food you make right? I’m not sure if he’s happy to see me or his beloved Chocolate Trifle Recipe!

Do you have any favorite food traditions? I’d love to hear if you make something special to share.

Top angle of a trifle bowl filled with layers of chocolate cake, pudding, whipped cream and oreo cookie crumbs.
Recipe Rating




Lisa

Thursday 13th of May 2021

This recipe is beautiful and easy to follow. I don’t know if my trifle bowl was too big, but I did have to double the whipped cream, and I wish I had enough pudding mix to double the pudding. I made it the night before as a suggested, and it came out beautiful and delicious! I did substitute Heath bar pieces for the cookies.

Julie Menghini

Friday 14th of May 2021

I think I have a smaller trifle bowl, Lisa, because mine is usually brimming the top. Heath bars would be an amazing addition to this recipe! So glad you enjoyed it, and thank you for your review.

Ashley

Friday 7th of September 2018

Hi! When you say sandwich cookie do you mean oreos? Looks delish!

Julie Menghini

Saturday 8th of September 2018

Yes that's exactly right Ashley. Thank you for stopping by!

Allison

Tuesday 13th of February 2018

How does the whipped cream hold up the next day? I have seen people with other recipes saying that the whipped cream breaks down, so it should not be made a full day in advance. I would love to make this for some friends at one of our biweekly "parties", but I only get home from work about an hour before they show up. Love the recipe and your site!

Julie Menghini

Thursday 15th of February 2018

Hi Allison! I haven't had any problem with the whipped cream breaking down and this dessert actually held up for several days. I do whip my own instead of using something like cool whip? You can also make all of the parts in advance and then just put it together if you'd like too. Biweekly parties? Wow you're ambitious! Will you be my neighbor?

Michele @ Bacon Fatte

Tuesday 19th of December 2017

Trifles are always one of my favorite desserts... This one is just beautiful, Julie!!

Julie Menghini

Tuesday 19th of December 2017

Thank you so much, Michele!

Sandra Shaffer

Monday 18th of December 2017

I know I used to have a trifle bowl, but I guess it's time to buy another if it's buried! My sister in law would make her husband's family recipe with fruits (Canadian style, I believe) for Christmas. Definitely a show stopper when you can see all those delicious chocolate layers!

Julie Menghini

Monday 18th of December 2017

Thank you Sandra! I lost this bowl for over a year and it drove me crazy. I was sure my sister had it and it was in my cupboard the whole time!