Vegan Gingerbread Christmas Trifle
For the cake:
- 350g plain (all-purpose) flour
- 300g brown or coconut sugar
- 2tsp baking powder
- 2tsp ground cinnamon
- 2tsp ground ginger
- 1tsp nutmeg
- 360ml plant-based milk
- 180ml sunflower oil
- 50Tbsp apple cider vinegar
For the gingerbread men cookies:
- 250g plain (all-purpose) flour, plus more for dusting
- 60g vegan butter
- 100g brown or coconut sugar
- 60ml maple syrup
- 3Tbsp water
- 1Tbsp ground chia or flax seeds
- 2tsp cinnamon, to taste
- 2tsp ginger, to taste
- 1tsp nutmeg
- 50tsp bicarbonate of (baking) soda
For the frosting:
- 60g icing sugar
- 1Tbsp plant-based milk
- For the custard:
- 1litre soy milk
- 50g coconut sugar
- 80g cornflour (cornstarch)
For the cream:
- 3x 400g tins of coconut cream, refrigerated overnight
- 2tsp vanilla extract
- To decorate:
- 2 punnets of strawberries or raspberries, blueberries or seasonal fruit, chopped
- For the cake, make it 1-2 days before serving: preheat the oven to 160°C/Gas Mark 3. Line a 20cm (8in) cake tin.
- Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl until there are no lumps. Add the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Pour into the tin and bake for 40-50 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 20 minutes, then remove and cool on a wire rack.
- For the cookies (also make in advance): add the ingredients to a large mixing bowl or food processor. Mix until a smooth dough forms. Add a little water if it’s too dry. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- When ready to roll out, preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 8mm thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Place the cookies on a lined baking tray with a little space between each. Repeat until you have no more dough. Bake for 10-12 minutes. The edges of the cookies should be slightly golden brown. Let the cookies cool completely.
- For the frosting, mix the icing sugar and milk in a bowl. Add more sugar or milk to get the consistency needed. Use a fine-tip piping bag to decorate some of the cookies as desired. Let the icing set and set aside.
- For the custard (make in advance): add the ingredients to a heavy-based saucepan. Bring to a boil for 10 minutes, then reduce to a simmer while constantly stirring. Simmer until it thickens to a pourable consistency (it thickens when it cools). If there are lumps, blend using a stand or handheld blender. Set aside in the fridge.
- For the coconut cream (on the day of assembly): remove the tins from the fridge and scoop out the thick part at the top. You need about 800ml thick coconut cream. Put the cream in a large bowl or stand mixer. Add the vanilla, then use the mixer’s balloon attachment or electric beaters to whip the cream until soft peaks form. Set aside in the fridge.
- To assemble the trifle: use a serrated knife to slice the cake in half. If the dish is smaller or larger than the cake, break up the cake into chunks. Set aside.
- If the custard has solidified, use a blender on it until it is soft again.
- Scatter half the cake in the bottom of the trifle dish and press down to form an even layer. Arrange the cookies in the dish to lean on the glass sides. Layer the trifle with half the custard, half the whipped cream and half the fruit. Repeat layering. Top with the decorated cookies. Serve immediately.