With Valentine's Day in the air, many of us are thinking about the old adage “Good things come in small packages.”  Good things like sparkly earrings, shiny bracelets, and of course that lover's special, the diamond engagement ring. While you're planning your romantic dinner, consider making these personal sized treats, Chocolate Amaretto Trifles, one for you and one for your sweetie.

I've always been a fan of small packages, bins and boxes. I adore apothecary chests with their tiny little drawers full of surprises. I use one for my earrings, and one for a medicine chest in our master bathroom. Finding the Advil feels more like finding a special treasure than just finding a plastic bottle.

I always save ring and earring boxes and have a stack of mini Chinese take-out boxes in my studio for wrapping gifts. If it's tiny, unique, and pretty I'm a fan. Like these tiny treasures:

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Cupcakes

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The girls. I know they aren't little anymore, but I remember when they were, and they'll always be treasures to me.

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Chocolate Bon Bon Cookies

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And of course, diamond rings. I even got engaged at a mini golf course! Mini Coopers, mini peanut butter cups, mini muffins, Minnie the Moocher, it's all good.

Let's get started on our Chocolate Amaretto Trifle.

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Rather than starting with the cake, you'll be starting with the white chocolate ganache filling, as it needs to cool before whipping.

Begin by heating the milk to boiling on the stovetop. Add in the white chocolate, remove from the heat and stir until melted. Place in the refrigerator to cool while you make and bake the cake.

 

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Line a half sheet pan with parchment and spritz well with cooking spray.

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Separate the eggs and set the yolks aside.

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Whip the whites and lemon juice in a stand mixer to stiff peaks, gradually adding the 1/2 cup of sugar as you mix. See how beautifully they stand up?

If you're lucky and have two bowls for your mixer, you can leave the whites in one. But I transfer the whites to another bowl, and use the same mixer bowl for the rest of the cake batter.

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Place the egg yolks and remaining sugar in the bowl and beat until lightened in color and texture.

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Add the oil, buttermilk, and flavorings, and blend again.

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In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt until aerated and well blended. Add this to the egg-yolk batter on low speed. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes.

 

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By hand, fold in the egg whites in 3 stages. Take care to fold gently to keep the mixture light.

I know the picture is a funky angle, but I noticed the heart shape in the center, and couldn't resist.

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When the mixture is blended, pour into the prepared pan and bake for 15 to 18 minutes at 325°F. The cake is done when the center springs back when lightly touched and the sides of the cake begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.

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With the aid of the parchment, lift the cake out onto a rack to cool.

What's up with the towel? I was also making a buche de noel at the time, so added the towel but it really doesn't belong there, so please leave it out.

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While the cake is on the rack, brush it well with 1/4 cup Amaretto. This will keep the cake moist and flavorful.

If you don't care for Amaretto you can use another liqueur or simple syrup. I wouldn't skip this step, though;, it adds so much to the cake.

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While the cake is mellowing with its Amaretto, it's time to whip up the light and luscious filling. Remove the cooled and thickened white chocolate ganache from the fridge. It should be the consistency of pudding. If not, you may need to chill it for longer. Don't worry, the cake will wait.

Place the ganache in the bowl of the mixer, add the Amaretto and use the whip attachment on medium speed to fluff the filling. The texture won't look as fluffy and stiff as whipped cream, but the taste on the tongue will be light and airy.

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Assembling a trifle is quite simply layering cake and filling, but you can finesse both to make the layers look more appealing when you're using clear glass containers, like these mini dessert shot glasses.

Place a small amount of filling in the bottom of the glass. Use your fingers to break the cake into bite-sized pieces and layer over the filling.

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Add more filling, using the tip of a spoon to encourage it to flow over the edges of the cake in those oh-so-tempting waterfalls of ganache goodness.

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More cake I say, more cake! Add the cake layers gently and don't pack them into the glass. That would cause the filling to compress and you would lose the pleasant look of the trifle.

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Add a final layer of ganache. Each layer will use a bit more cake and ganache as the glass widens.

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Some homemade whipped cream is a perfect topping, along with a cherry or two. Sliced strawberries would be lovely when in season. Or how about adding an extra layer of Cherry Dessert Sauce?

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Don't worry if you don't have dessert shot glasses. While they make a beautiful presentation, the cake will fit in a large trifle dish, or even a glass serving bowl. Good things sometimes come in large packages too!

Please make, rate and review our recipe for Chocolate Amaretto Trifle.

Filed Under: Recipes
MaryJane Robbins
The Author

About MaryJane Robbins

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team the following year. MJ loves to create decorated cookies for the catalogue, and blog about all kinds of foods, especially sweet treats.