Thin Mint Trifle

by Jillian

Pillowy cubes of chocolate cake, fluffy mint cream filling, delicious chocolate mousse, and crunchy thin mint cookies all layered up to make this FAB trifle!

Since we’re in the midst of Girl Scout cookie season AND St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, I decided to commemorate both of these events with a dessert that’s guaranteed to make everyone’s jaw drop in awe.

A dessert that combines both creamy and crunchy, chocolatey and minty, fluffy and velvety…

Honestly, how STUNNING is this Thin Mint Trifle?

It truly has everything you could ever want in a dessert–moist cubes of chocolate cake, dreamy chocolate mousse, fluffy mint cream filling, and of course, the iconic chocolate-covered Thin Mint cookie.

Or is it a Thin Mint cookie? More on that later…

Trifles have always been one of my go-to’s when it comes to crowd-pleasing desserts because for one thing, they’re always a show stopper. And another thing, they feed a lot of people! In fact, I wasn’t even able to fit everything into this one trifle dish, so I made three mini trifles. By the way, mini trifles freeze incredibly well when sealed in a mason jar for up to 6 months!

Another wonderful thing about trifles is that despite how impressive they look, they’re really easy to make.

…ESPECIALLY when you start with a handy dandy shortcut like box cake mix. (Shhh!! Don’t tell anyone!) And for those of you who instantly turn their noses up at box cake mix, don’t count this recipe out quite yet. Instead of simply preparing the cake mix according to the package, I doctored it up significantly to enhance both the flavor and texture. 

The first thing I did was add a mixture of hot milk and instant espresso powder. Milk adds more density, fat, and flavor, while the espresso powder intensifies the flavor of the chocolate. I also added a couple of tablespoons of cocoa powder to ensure that the cake was EXTRA chocolatey.

For an extra moist crumb, a small package of chocolate pudding mix is added to the batter along with a whole cup of sour cream. And because there’s no such thing as too much chocolate, I dumped in a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips. I used the miniature chips since they disperse more evenly throughout the batter, but if regular-size chips are all you have, use those!

With these simple ingredient enhancements, you’ll definitely notice a difference in the rise of the cake once it’s baked and out of the oven. Not to mention, the flavor is much richer and the texture is incredibly moist yet fluffy.

To make the mint cream filling, you’ll start by beating some cream cheese, powdered sugar, and mint extract together. Since mint extract tends to be a lot stronger than most extracts, I didn’t add more than 1/4 teaspoon. It doesn’t take much to go from refreshingly minty to toothpaste, so start off small! And finally, to lighten everything up, a good amount of whipped cream is folded in until light and fluffy.

As for food coloring, I used both Kelly Green and Teal gel food coloring since I prefer a more bluish green than a yellowish green. If all you have is green food coloring, that’s totally fine. You can also leave the food coloring out altogether, if you so please!

To make the chocolate “mousse”, all you have to do is combine a package of instant chocolate pudding, a can of sweetened condensed milk and water. Then you’ll fold in some whipped cream. That’s literally it. And it makes the tastiest “mousse” EVER.

Now that you’ve got all of your delicious components, it’s time to layer everything together. You’ll start with a base of chocolate cake, then top it off with a layer of chocolate mousse, followed by a layer of chopped Thin Mint cookies, and then a layer of mint filling. You’ll repeat these layers once more, but if you want it to look just like mine, finish with the chopped cookies on top. Oh, and speaking of cookies…

I ended up using Keebler’s Grasshopper Mint and Fudge cookies instead of Thin Mint cookies. First of all, they’re less expensive–sorry, Girl Scouts! Second of all, they taste EXACTLY the same. And third of all, you can find them ANY time of the year.

Honestly, I HIGHLY doubt anyone will care if this a “true” Thin Mint Trifle once they wrap their tastebuds around a spoonful of this mintylicious masterpiece…

Thin Mint Trifle

Pillowy cubes of chocolate cake, fluffy mint cream filling, delicious chocolate mousse, and crunchy thin mint cookies all layered up to make this FAB trifle!
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 Servings

Ingredients
  

Chocolate Cake:

  • ½ cup hot milk
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 1 box Devil's Food cake mix
  • 1 (3.4 oz) box instant chocolate pudding mix (dry)
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Chocolate and Mint Filling:

  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon mint extract
  • Food Coloring (I used both Kelly Green and Teal)
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (3.4 oz) box instant chocolate pudding mix (dry)
  • ½ cup water

For Assembly:

  • 1 box Thin Mint cookies, roughly chopped*

Instructions
 

Make the Cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF, and spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a small bowl stir the hot milk and espresso powder together until powder is completely dissolved.
  • Place the cake mix, pudding mix, cocoa powder, eggs, sour cream, vegetable oil, vanilla, and milk-espresso mixture into a large bowl. Use a wooden spoon to stir everything together until smooth and combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Spread batter evenly into the greased baking dish and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

Make the Fillings:

  • In the chilled bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Transfer whipped cream to another bowl and place in the refrigerator.
  • Return the bowl to the mixer and switch the whisk attachment out for the paddle attachment. Beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar and mint extract together until creamy. Stir in the food coloring until desired shade is achieved.
  • Add 1 cup of the whipped cream, beating until combined. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in 3 more cups of the whipped cream. Place mint filling into refrigerator while you make the chocolate filling.
  • In a large bowl, stir the sweetened condensed milk, pudding mix and water together until completely incorporated. Fold in the remaining whipped cream until light and fluffy.

To Assemble:

  • Cut the cake into 1-inch cubes. Place a layer of cake cubes into the bottom of a large deep bowl or trifle dish. Spread half of the chocolate filling on top. Sprinkle half of the chopped cookies evenly over the filling. Spread half of the mint filling over the cookies. Repeat layering process once more with the rest of the cake, filling, and cookies.** Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Notes

*I used Keebler’s Grasshopper Mint and Fudge cookies which come in a 10-oz package. The Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies come in 9-oz boxes. You could also use Mint Oreos.
**Depending on how big your trifle dish is, you might have leftover cake and filling. I suggest making mini trifles by layering them in mason jars. You can either store them in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
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