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Colossal Caramel Apple Trifle

As a pastor's wife and state auxiliary leader, I host many large gatherings. Whenever I make this "punch bowl cake", it makes a big impression, I return with an empty bowl every time!" -Deborah Randall Abbeville, Louisiana
  • Total Time
    Prep: 40 min.
  • Makes
    42 servings (3/4 cup each)


  • 1 package yellow cake mix (regular size)
  • 6 cups cold milk
  • 3 packages (3.4 ounces each) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice
  • 1 jar (12-1/4 ounces) caramel ice cream topping
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped pecans, toasted
  • 2 cans (21 ounces each) apple pie filling
  • 2 cartons (16 ounces each) frozen whipped topping, thawed


  • Prepare and bake cake according to package directions, using two greased 9-in. round baking pans. Cool for 10 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
  • In a large bowl, whisk milk, pudding mixes and apple pie spice for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set.
  • Cut one cake layer if necessary to fit evenly in an 8-qt. punch bowl. Poke holes in cake with a long wooden skewer; gradually pour a third of the caramel topping over cake. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup pecans and spread with half of the pudding mixture.
  • Spoon one can of pie filling over pudding; spread with one carton of whipped topping.
  • Top with remaining cake and repeat layers. Drizzle with remaining caramel topping and sprinkle with remaining pecans. Refrigerate until serving.
Nutrition Facts
3/4 cup: 247 calories, 10g fat (5g saturated fat), 17mg cholesterol, 194mg sodium, 36g carbohydrate (26g sugars, 1g fiber), 2g protein.

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  • Jeanna
    Dec 27, 2020

    I added crushed up cinnamon graham crackers to this recipe and it made it perfect!

  • byfaith
    Sep 29, 2019

    I have made this several times. It is always a big hit. I only have leftovers when feeding a smaller crowd. I usually put it in a large punch bowl or two large bowls. I dont recommend making it too far ahead of your serving time. I did that once and it for me wasn't as great even though the bowl was empty when I took it home. It's an easy dish yet has a great presentation.

  • robbrd
    Jan 29, 2018

    I had an event that I needed to provide refreshments for so I made this and the chocolate strawberry trifle. I didn't have any at the event but there was some leftover and I got to try it at home with my family. I had two people ask me for the recipe so I expected grand things to happen with my taste buds. I wasn't dazzled. I'm giving it the four stars because maybe something is off with my taste due to a cold. After all, two people did ask for the recipe. I can't help but wonder if the appeal was that it was something other than chocolate and it wasn't overly rich/sweet.

  • _nlfPA
    Feb 13, 2016

    I made this for my niece's bridal shower and it was a hit with all of the ladies. I love to make it for company because not only does it look pretty but tastes just as good.

  • sweet5red
    Nov 20, 2012

    OMG this was so huge.. but i used cherry pie filling instead of apple and didnt use the spice. it litterally filled my bowl to the top.. made this for thanksgiving desert. which is weds for us since i work the holiday and i used a white cake mix instead of yellow pretty contrast with the cherry pie filling but yes use a BIG bowl..

  • karynabd
    Nov 1, 2012

    This was a huge hit at work. made it for a coworker for her birthday. and every one just loved it. only problem i had is that it is huge I have a 9" trifle bowl and after the first layer i put the second cake and it was at the top. so after some creative thinking i make a makeshift extention and was able to add rest of layers.

  • bfrazier12
    Sep 26, 2012

    Look delicious

  • gingerriss
    Sep 3, 2012

    It was alot of work and alot of product and I just felt it didnt have enough bang to it. Don't get me wrong it had a great taste to it but just felt like I was expecting more.

  • j.kathleen.mcdonald
    Aug 10, 2012

    I have made this 2-3 times, and I love it, except for the cake, I made it diabetic friendly, and no one knows I have used sugar free ingredients. Getting ready to make it again for a food/games night tomorrow night. Plan to make it for our church homecoming again, too!

  • Cornwall
    Apr 9, 2012

    I've made this a few times and it's excellent. I usually make only half or in two separate bowls.