This dessert is great on many levels. Want to impress your in-laws? Check. Want to make an awesome dessert for your dairy-allergic friend? Check. Want to have your dessert take you to the Caribbean on a cruise? Check. If you don’t like coconut or pineapple, step away from the blog at once. Still with me? Then we’re taking our taste buds to the tropics.
Trifles are my specialty. I think I’ve said that about other things, but this time I really mean it. Trifles are the ultimate in impressive desserts. They are beautiful to look at and super tasty. You can change up the individual components for an infinite number of variations. Plus, while there are a lot of steps, they’re not that difficult to make. Yes, a dairy-free trifle is more work than a regular one because you have to make all of the pieces by hand, but it tastes SO much better than pre-packaged desserts. I haven’t tackled a trifle in a long time because of Sweet Pea’s allergy, but I think this one tastes just as good as the dairy-filled ones I used to make!
You could change up this recipe to add a little more pizzazz. If you’re able to eat nuts, chopped macadamia nuts would be wonderful on top for crunch. If you’re more ambitious than me, toasted coconut would also taste great on top. And if you have too much time on your hands, you could even make the pudding from scratch. If you can do that, you clearly don’t have a toddler hanging on your pants asking to “see” when you’re trying to whisk hot coconut milk. If you don’t have a trifle dish, you can make this is a large glass serving bowl or even individual parfait glasses. It’s great for a party because it actually tastes better the next day. You could make this a day ahead and let the flavors meld in the fridge overnight!
Go make this now. You know you want to.
Pineapple Coconut Trifle
One 9×13″ vegan white cake (I used a double recipe of the Simply Wonderful White Cake from Alisa Fleming’s Go Dairy Free cookbook)
One (3.9 oz.) package instant coconut cream pudding (double-check the label for dairy – I used Jell-O brand pudding)
Two (14 oz.) cans full-fat coconut milk
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. dairy-free milk powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 (20 oz.) can pineapple tidbits, drained
A day in advance, put the two cans of coconut milk in the fridge to chill. Do not shake them!
Make the whipped coconut cream: Place the bowl and whisk from your stand mixer into the freezer for 10 minutes. In the meantime, carefully open your two cans of chilled coconut milk without shaking them. Pull out your chilled bowl. Scrape the thick coconut cream layer from the top of each can into your chilled bowl. You’ll use about half to three-quarters of the can before you get to the watery coconut liquid at the bottom. Reserve this liquid for your pudding. Whip the coconut cream on medium high speed until thickened and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, dairy-free milk powder, and vanilla extract. Whisk on medium high until well combined and fluffy. Place the whipped cream in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the trifle.
Made the coconut pudding: Measure the reserved coconut liquid (plus any cream still in the can) into a liquid measuring cup. Add as much water as you need to get to two cups of liquid. Whisk the coconut milk with the instant pudding mix until smooth. Place the pudding in the fridge for at least 15 minutes to set. Note: this pudding will not set like a regular dairy-filled pudding. It will be fairly soft, which will help it soak into the cake cubes.
Assemble the trifle: Cut your 9×13″ cake into one-inch cubes, and have your pineapple tidbits, pudding, and whipped cream set out on the counter. To begin, cover the bottom of your trifle dish with a single layer of cake cubes. Cover with 1/3 of the pudding, then 1/3 of the pineapple tidbits, then 1/3 of the whipped cream. Make sure the whipped cream covers the cake and fruit layer completely. Repeat these layers two more times, ending with a whipped cream layer at the top of the bowl.
This dessert is great as is, but tastes even better if you place it in the fridge to chill for a couple of hours or a full day. Cover any leftovers with plastic wrap in the fridge for up to a week (if it lasts that long). Enjoy!