When you're looking for great holiday make-ahead desserts, trifles are perfect because they taste better after several hours in the fridge. This yummy trifle features a carrot cake, made with a mix, layered in a bowl with a fluffy cream cheese filling and pineapple.
1. Boil water and sugar in small saucepan 1 minute, stirring to dissolve sugar. Let cool; add rum.Trifle:
2. Place one cake layer on work surface; slice horizontally in half, using toothpicks as guide. Repeat with second layer, for total of 4 layers.
3. Beat cheese in bowl on medium-high until smooth and fluffy, 3 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon sugar, vanilla, rind; beat to combine.
4. Beat cream in clean bowl until foamy. Add remaining 3 tablespoons sugar; beat until soft peaks. Stir one-quarter of whipped cream into cheese mixture to lighten. Fold in remainder.
5. Place cake layer in 14- to 16-cup glass trifle bowl, cutting to fit if necessary. Brush top with quarter of syrup. Arrange quarter of pineapple chunks over cake; spread with quarter of cream cheese mixture. Repeat layering 2 more times, pressing down.
6. Top with last cake layer; brush with remaining syrup. Place remaining pineapple around edge of dish. Spoon remaining cream cheese in middle. Refrigerate, covered, at least 4 hours or overnight. Garnish, if desired.