Orange-Grand Marnier Cake

This a classic recipe from ‘Sky High,’ a cookbook devoted to marvelous layer cakes.

Orange-Grand Marnier Cake

Yield: 9-inch triple-layer cake, serves 16-20

For the Cake:

1 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup vegetable oil (canola, soybean, or vegetable blend)
8 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Grand Marnier Syrup
Orange-Grand Marnier Frosting

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottoms of three 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper but do not grease the pans.

2. Sift the flour, 1 cup of the sugar, the baking soda, and salt into a large bowl; stir to blend. Whisk in the oil, egg yolks, orange juice, orange zest, and water until well blended.

3. Put the egg whites in a clean large mixer bowl with the cream of tartar and, using the whip attachment of an electric mixer, beat until frothy. Slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and whip until soft peaks form. Do not overbeat or the cake will be dry.

4. Add one-fourth of the beaten whites to the cake batter and fold them in to lighten the batter. Gently fold in the remaining whites just until no streaks remain. Divide the batter among the 3 prepared pans.

5. Bake the cake layers for 16 to 18 minutes, or until a cake tester or a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in the pans. Run a blunt knife around the rim of each cake to release the edges, invert onto a wire rack, and carefully peel off the paper liners.

6. To assemble the cake, place one layer of cake on a cake stand or serving plate, flat side up. Using a brush, generously moisten the top of the layer with 1/4 cup of the Grand Marnier Syrup; then 1 cup of the Orange-Grand Marnier Frosting evenly over it. Repeat with the second layer and more syrup and frosting. Top off with the third layer, flat side up. Brush with the last of the syrup and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Garnish with candied orange peel or white chocolate shavings if you wish.

For the Grand Marnier Syrup:

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup Grand Marnier

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Continue to cook, without stirring, until the syrup is reduced to 1/2 cup. Remove from the heat. Let cool completely, then stir in Grand Marnier.

For the Orange-Grand Marnier Frosting:

6 ounces fine-quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1 tablespoon grated orange zest

1. In a medium heatproof bowl, melt the white chocolate with 1/2 cup of the cream over barely simmering water. Stir until smooth. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Stir in the Grand Marnier and orange zest.

2. In a large chilled bowl with chilled beaters, whip the remaining 2 cups of cream until almost completely stiff. Add the whipped cream to the white chocolate mixture and gently fold it in.

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