Gluten Free Caramel Apple Trifle

When my Mom or I are asked to bring dessert to a gathering of friends or family, we enjoy bringing a trifle. Usually I stick to a Fresh Fruit Trifle, using a variety of in season fruit, or a sinfully-delicious Chocolate-Chocolate Trifle. However, after seeing a version of this Caramel Apple Trifle on Pinterest, I decided to put my own spin on it and make this perfectly Autumn trifle instead. So delicious! Like, still-tasty-after-3-days delicious. This recipe makes a lot, I would say it would be enough to serve approximately 30 people. But, it is so easy to put together, makes a nice presentation, and can be/should be made in advance, so it is perfect for any group get-together.

This dessert can be made using a gluten-free cake mix, making it a quick dessert to put together too. I opted for a cake from scratch, apple pie filling from scratch, and cooked pudding from a mix. So, a bit of both worlds.

Gluten Free Caramel Apple Trifle
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20
*For the cake, I used Simply...Gluten-Free's Birthday Cake recipe. It worked wonderfully, and I baked it in a 9x13-inch pan. Bake according to directions, and allow to cool completely.
*1 package of cooked butterscotch pudding, cooked according to package directions (the package I used required 3 cups of milk)
*Apple Pie Filling - canned or homemade. Below is the recipe that I used, adapted from
  • 4 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1 8-ounce container whipped topping, defrosted
  • Caramel sauce for drizzling over the top of the trifle
  1. In a large bowl, toss the apple slices with the lemon juice and set aside (this will prevent them from browning).
  2. In a large saucepan, stir to combine the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Add the water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  3. Add the apples and return to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover with the lid, and continue cooking for 6-10 minutes, depending on the apples you are using. Stir in vanilla. Cool for 30 minutes before using.
  4. Cut the cake into 1-inch cubes.
  5. Arrange a layer of cake cubes along the bottom of a large serving bowl.
  6. Top the cake with half of the butterscotch pudding.
  7. Top with nearly half of the chopped pecans.
  8. Add half of the apple pie filling, spreading it around to cover all of the pudding/nuts.
  9. Next, spread half of the whipped topping over the apple pie filling.
  10. Repeat. Cake. Pudding. Pecans (keep 2 Tbsp for sprinkling on top). Appel pie filling. Whipped Topping.
  11. Sprinkle the remaining pecans on the top of the trifle, and drizzle with some caramel sauce.
  12. Put trifle together at least 8 hours before serving. This allows the pudding to soak into the cake. Refrigerate until serving.
I was still eating leftovers 3 days after putting this trifle together, and it still tasted fantastic.


  1. Tamara says

    Oh my goodness gracious! This looks/sounds/smells (in my imagination) heavenly! I think I’ll have to make some for this weekend for the harvest dinner at the senior’s center…thanks for the great idea!

  2. Betty Reimer says

    When you gave us a peek yesterday I thought it was pumpkin..this sounds every bit as good! Bet you were one popular gal bringing such a delicious dessert.

    • says

      It does sort of look like pumpkin, doesn’t it? I bet a pumpkin version would be very tasty too…Hmmm…Maybe with a spice cake…now the wheels are spinning. 😉

    • says

      Thanks, Carol, and thank you for the wonderful cake! I’ll make a confession…I tried one cake recipe, it totally bombed. Failed. Flat & gummy. Knowing I only had time for one more shot at it, I wanted to go with a recipe I KNEW would work, so I went to your website. :) Sure enough, you did not disappoint! Thanks for the fantastic cake recipe!

    • says

      It’s nice to be able to change up a trifle every now and then. Now I’m eyeing a gingerbread trifle recipe, wondering if/how to change it up and make it GF. :)

  3. Brittni says

    Thanks for the recipe, seems so perfect for Thanksgiving. I just got done making it, although I didn’t use gluten free cake mix. I just used a regular french vanilla flavored cake and I couldn’t manage to find a proper sized dish in my cupboards so I had to put it in two separate bowls with only one layer of each thing in each. Should still be good, though. I cannot wait to try it! :]

      • Jen_lyn says

        I just wanted to say that I made 2 portions of this last Christmas for a dinner of 20 people, and there was absolutely nothing left. Everyone was raving about it and asking for seconds. The response was so good that I am going to make it again this year. Thank you!


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