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Hi Bold Bakers!
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE: Bright and festive, this Sweet and Zesty Clementine Trifle with Boozy Amaretto makes a gorgeous presentation. This spectacular centerpiece will be the mouthwatering highlight of any joyous celebration event.
- Caramelized juicy clementines, almond cake, vanilla crème anglaise, and boozy amaretto whipped cream are layered into a glass trifle dish.
- This citrus trifle is made for entertaining, as it can be assembled and refrigerated overnight.
Growing up in Ireland, a trifle on the table meant it was party time! For holidays, family gatherings, and even a big Sunday dinner, a trifle with its oversized dish, extravagant layers, and billowing whipped cream was the promise of something fun, sweet, and delicious.
Table of Contents
- What is Sweet and Zesty Clementine Trifle with Boozy Amaretto?
- Tools You Need
- Key Ingredients and Why
- How to Make Sweet and Zesty Clementine Trifle with Boozy Amaretto
- Can I Make a Sweet and Zesty Clementine Trifle with Boozy Amaretto in Advance?
- How to Store Sweet and Zesty Clementine Trifle
- Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips
- More Trifle Recipes
What is Sweet and Zesty Clementine Trifle with Boozy Amaretto?
- Sweet and Zesty Clementine Trifle with Boozy Amaretto is a version of a trifle, a classic dessert in Ireland and the U.K. typically made with layers of cubed sponge cake or ladyfingers soaked in sherry or another flavorful liquid, fruit, custard or crème anglaise, an optional jelly or lemon curd, and whipped cream.
- Amaretto, a liqueur developed in Saronno, Italy in the 16th century, is known for its sweet, rich almond flavour. It’s a classic flavor pairing with the citrus fruits grown in Italy.
- In the mid-1700s, a concoction known as a “foole” or a trifle made from sweet biscuits, wine, and custard was being served in England. This original recipe evolved and became popular all across the U.K. and Ireland.
Tools You Need
- Shallow baking dish
- Small saucepan
- 9-inch round cake pan and parchment paper
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring cups
- Measuring jugs
- Measuring spoons
- Stand mixer with a paddle attachment and a whisk attachment or hand-held mixer
- Glass trifle dish
Key Ingredients and Why
- Clementines, a cross between a sweet orange and a mandarin, bring a sweet, bright taste and juiciness to the trifle.
- The fruit is at its peak in the winter months. When buying, look for firm fruit with glossy skin and a noticeable citrusy scent.
- Granulated sugar sweetens the almond cake.
- In the clementine step, as the sugar caramelizes, its flavor changes from sharply sugary-sweet to a more profound, intense sweetness like butterscotch or toffee.
- As sugar caramelizes, it transforms from a white solid to an amber-colored syrup.
- Sugar and water are simmered to make caramel. Check out my troubleshooting guide, How to Make Caramel, for detailed instructions and pro tips to set you up for success.
- In the caramelized clementines, amaretto’s nutty, rich taste adds to the depth of flavor and balances the sweetness.
- The amaretto gives the whipped cream a lovely lift of boozy almond taste.
- The fat in butter coats the flour and inhibits gluten formation. This gives the cake a delicate texture.
- Butterfat also gives the almond cake moisture and a pleasantly soft crumbliness.
- Eggs enrich flavors and provide an emulsifier from the egg yolks to homogeneously bind all the ingredients together.
- Eggs must always be at room temperature in baking unless specified otherwise. Room-temperature eggs will set this recipe on the right track with a smooth and cohesive cake batter.
- Learn foolproof ways to get your eggs to room temperature quickly.
- You can use either blanched or unblanched almond flour or almond meal for this recipe. The taste will be the same!
- Almond flour is usually made with ground almonds that are blanched (taking away the skins), whereas almond meal can be made with whole or blanched almonds.
- Learn How to Make Your Own Almond Flour — it’s simple!
- Almond extract is important here to intensify the flavor.
- Did you know you can easily make your own almond extract? Follow my simple recipe in How to Make Homemade Extracts.
- Self-raising flour, commonly called self-rising flour in the United States, is a pre-mixed blend of all-purpose flour, baking powder, and sometimes a pinch of salt.
- Because it’s convenient and a time-saver, it’s popular in many parts of the world, sincluding Ireland.
- You can easily make your own self-raising flour so you always have it on hand. I use it in Gemma’s Best-Ever Irish Scones and Microwave Sticky Toffee Pudding.
Heavy whipping cream
- Use dairy cream with fat content of 36% to whip up well.
- Fluffy whipped cream contrasts beautifully with the layers of caramelized citrus, cake, and Crème Anglaise.
- Double cream with a fat content of 45%-48% will create an even richer and creamier result.
- Powdered sugar has a fine texture, which lets it dissolve easily into the whipped cream.
Slivered almonds or sprinkles
- The crunch and visual appeal of slivered almonds or sprinkles atop the cloud of whipped cream is the perfect embellishment.
- Learning how to make your own sprinkles is fun and easy.
1 recipe Vanilla Crème Anglaise
- Vanilla Crème Anglaise provides an intense vanilla flavor from the vanilla pod and a creamy texture to the Trifle.
How to Make Sweet and Zesty Clementine Trifle with Boozy Amaretto
- Caramelize the clementines:
- Prepare the clementines: peel and slice them with a sharp knife.
- Prepare the caramel:
- Let the sugar dissolve in water over low heat without letting it simmer or boil.
- Once all the sugar is dissolved and the mixture has come to a simmer, no more stirring, until the sugar melts and turns a dark amber.
- Immediately turn off the heat and carefully pour in the amaretto. This caramel will bubble up. Once it subsides, whisk to make sure the sugar is melted (if the sugar seizes, return to the heat and stir until melted).
- Macerate: Pour caramel over the clementines and let it macerate and chill in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
- Make the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line the pan with parchment paper.
- Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the whole eggs, almond flour, and almond and vanilla extracts. Beat to combine.
- Add flour to the mixture, and with a spatula, gently stir just until combined.
- Pour batter into prepared cake tin and bake for 15 to 18 minutes. Cool completely.
- Assemble the trifle:
- Cut the cake into cubes.
- Lay some of the clementines on the bottom of the trifle dish. Top with cake cubes.
- Arrange the remaining clementines vertically around the inside of the trifle dish or a clear large bowl.
- Pour the remaining syrup on the cake cubes, and add the Vanilla Crème Anglaise.
- Make the amaretto whipped cream: Whip the heavy cream with the mixer or a balloon whisk and pile it on top of the trifle. Add slivered almonds or sprinkles for decoration.
Can I Make a Sweet and Zesty Clementine Trifle with Boozy Amaretto in Advance?
Yes, you can make Sweet and Zesty Clementine Trifle with Boozy Amaretto in advance.
- Assemble the trifle, top with Vanilla Crème Anglaise, and refrigerate overnight. Before serving, add the whipped cream and topping.
How to Store Sweet and Zesty Clementine Trifle
You can store any leftover trifle in an airtight container in the fridge for one day.
My caramel crystalized–what happened?
- Caramel crystallizes due to uneven heat from a thin-bottomed saucepan, dramatic temperature change, raising the heat too early, improper stirring, lack of stirring, and lack of cooking time.
- Be sure to read my troubleshooting guide, How To Make Caramel, to make the perfect caramel sauce every time!
Can I make this trifle without alcohol?
- You can make this alcohol-free by simply leaving out the amaretto.
- To get the almond flavor, you can add ¼ teaspoon of almond extract to the caramel before you pour it on the clementines.
- You can also add the same amount to the whipped cream.
Can I make this trifle egg-free?
- Yes, you can make this trifle without eggs. See our Guide to 12 Best Egg Substitutes for Baking and How to Use Them.
- For the cake, the silken tofu, yogurt, or buttermilk substitutions would work well.
- For the Creme Anglaise, follow the directions for what to use as an egg substitute in custards. Cornstarch (cornflour) or arrowroot powder is recommended.
Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips
- The almond cake can be made up to two days in advance, wrapped well, and refrigerated (or up to 2 months if frozen).
- The crème anglaise can be made up to two days in advance.
- The caramelized clementines can be made up to 24 hours in advance.
- The entire trifle, minus the whipped cream, can be assembled up to one day in advance.
- You can make individual trifles by layering all the elements into individual clear glasses.
- Crumble amaretti biscuits into small pieces and sprinkle on top for more crunch.
- Drizzle melted chocolate or white chocolate on top for extra flavor.
- When shopping, choose small clementines as they work best for this recipe.
More Trifle Recipes
Sweet and Zesty Clementine Trifle With Boozy Amaretto
For the Caramelized Clementines
- 12 small clementines (or mandarins)
- ¼ cup (2 oz/57 g) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- ¼ cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) amaretto
For the Almond Cake
For the Amaretto Whipped Cream
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- ½ cup (2 oz/57 g) powdered sugar, sifted
- ¼ cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) amaretto
- Sprinkles or slivered almonds, for garnish (optional)
Make the Caramelized Clementines
- Slice off the ends of each clementine, then cut off the peel and pith. Cut each clementine into ¼-inch (6 mm) thick rounds and place them in a shallow baking dish.
- In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and cook over medium heat without stirring until the sugar melts and turns a dark amber.
- Pour the caramel evenly over the oranges. Refrigerate and let macerate for at least 45 minutes and up to 24 hours.
Make the Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and butter and line with parchment a 9-inch (23 cm) round cake pan. Set aside.
- With a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or handheld mixer and a medium bowl, beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed for 4 minutes, until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, almond flour, almond extract and vanilla extract, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times to ensure even mixing.
- Turn the mixer to low and mix in the flour, stopping just as soon as you have a smooth batter. Pour into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Assemble the Trifle
- Line the bottom of a clear glass trifle dish with some of the clementines. Cut the cake into 1-inch (3 cm) cubes and layer on top of the clementine slices. Arrange the remaining clementine slices flat against the walls of the trifle dish. Pour any collected syrup from the clementines over the cake. Spoon the crème anglaise on top of the cake cubes and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (and up to overnight) to let set.
Make the Amaretto Whipped Cream
- With a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or a handheld mixer and a medium bowl, whip the cream and powdered sugar on medium-high speed until you have medium-soft peaks. Pour in the amaretto and whisk until combined.
- Pile on top of the trifle and add some festive sprinkles or slivered almonds, if desired. This is best eaten the day it is made.