Grand Marnier Orange Cake | the vanilla bean blog
“Gathering around the dinner table has been and still is the highlight of our day… We believe that eating together is more than just everyone sitting down at the table; it’s about the communal meal, which at its best is the ritual of sharing food, of cooking together, eating together, and laughing together. Our recipes return families to the idea of a common pot.”

A few weeks ago I was sent a copy of The Pollan Family Table, a cookbook celebrating good, simple food for the family table. I always appreciate cookbooks of this variety – as someone who tries to cook a dinner meal five times a week, I often find myself running out of ideas that my whole family will enjoy. This cookbook does just that. It inspires with healthy ingredients and seasonal recipes.

Of course I was drawn immediately to the dessert section, and so made Grandma Mary’s Grand Marnier Orange Cake. This cake! I must admit I usually go for chocolate-y things, but I had a bag of blood oranges and decided to try out the Bundt cake. This cake! It’s crazy good.
Grand Marnier Orange Cake | the vanilla bean blog

Grand Marnier Orange Cake | the vanilla bean blog

Grand Marnier Orange Cake | the vanilla bean blog
Leave a comment below (along with an email address) for your chance to win a copy of The Pollan Family Table!

Grand Marnier Orange Cake | the vanilla bean blog

Grand Marnier Orange Cake
adapted from The Pollan Family Table

I changed this recipe a bit from the book. The original recipe has an orange juice-Grand Marnier soak that is poured over the cake while it is still warm, and then itΒ  is topped with almonds. I instead put the orange juice and Grand Marnier into the cake, and then smothered the top in cream cheese. Either way, a winner. You can use any orange liqueur in place of the Grand Marnier. I used blood oranges, but regular old oranges will work great, too.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
1 cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 10-inch Bundt or tube pan.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Add the egg yolks, vanilla, Grand Marnier, and orange zest, and beat until combined. Turn the mixer to low, and add 1/3 of the flour mixture. When the flour is just combined, add the sour cream and mix until combined. Add 1/3 of the remaining flour mixture, and mix until combined. Add the orange juice, and mix until combined. Add the last 1/3 of the flour, and mix until the batter is smooth.

In a clean bowl of a standing mixer, use the whisk attachment to whisk the egg whites until they are stiff but not dry, about 2 minutes. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter until incorporated, and there are no white streaks.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until the cake is golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean, 45-50 minutes. Let the cake cool on a wire rack.

Invert the cake onto a wire rack or serving plate, and top with cream cheese frosting (recipe follows).

Orange Cream Cheese Icing

6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon orange zest
good pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium-high until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides, and add the Grand Marnier, vanilla, orange zest, and salt. Beat again until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and mix on low until combined. Increase the speed to medium, and beat until light and fluffy.
Grand Marnier Orange Cake | the vanilla bean blog

Pollan Family Table

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157 Responses to grand marnier orange cake + a giveaway

  1. this cake looks so good – i feel like i could eat the whole bowl of frosting all by itself!

  2. Trish says:

    You know, after clicking on the Amazon link, I realized that Michael Pollan is Michael J. Fox’s brother in law! WHOA! Anyways…. looks like a beautiful book. And that cake looks delicious!

  3. Tieghan says:

    Nothing beat gathering around the table with people you love. My family does it ever night, granted we don’t eat till 9, but still, we do it!

    love this cake! πŸ™‚

  4. Lauren S. says:

    This looks delicious! I might have to make this for myself for my birthday on Thursday!

  5. Meghan says:

    This cake is so lovely; the perfect way to welcome citrus season. It’s actually one of my 2015 resolutions to commune more around the table. There is so much life and meaning beyond food that takes places where we eat, and I’m finding it of value to be witness to it all. And while it might not always be easy to bring everyone together, it is definitely worth it.

  6. Tiffany says:

    What a pretty looking cake. I could use some new ideas for my next family gathering.

  7. Bethany says:

    oh my goodness! That looks incredible. I love blood oranges – and while the original sounds delicious, I have to say I’m a big fan of your frosting variation.

  8. This looks so delicious and beautiful – I love the colour of blood oranges!
    Cakes always make an occasion that much better!

  9. Thalia says:

    Now this is one incredibly delicious looking cake. I love using citrus (and booze) in baking.. so I can imagine how good it would have tasted. Thanks for the recipe Sarah!!

  10. Lexi Earl says:

    I love blood orange season. Every time you slice one open the colour is like an unexpected gift! And i am so trying this cake soon. Now I have a craving for cream cheese icing!

  11. Hanh says:

    This cake looks delicious! I love anything with orange in it, especially if it has Grand Marnier in it too. Will definitely have to make this cake soon.

  12. Sifra says:

    Family recipes are important. My family has none, because my mother and grandmother never enjoyed cooking, My father on the other hand, does. And I do too. So I am trying to find recipes that are a success time and again. This cookbook will be an asset to my bookshelf. Altough I doubt that it will spend much time there, and can be found in my kitchen more often than not πŸ˜‰
    Thank you for sharing the cake recipe, I will certainly try it!

  13. robyn says:

    We only manage to eat at the table all together about once a week as very rarely all here together and always seems so late and the easiest thing to do is to stare at a TV screen and many more weak excuses like that, time to try harder I think, how could you not eat together with that beautiful cake!

  14. Jen Borba says:

    I love cookbooks and enjoy finding one that includes simple but delicious recipes. The cake looks simple but great tasting at the same time. thanks for sharing.

  15. Cathy says:

    I wish I saw this recipe last week as we all gathered together to celebrate my Mother-in-laws 93rd birthday… She would have loved it!
    I guess I will have to ask my husband to make it for my upcoming birthday????

  16. Janet T says:

    That book and your cake pictures are beautiful. Healthy family meals are very important to me, along with kitchen wisdom information.

  17. Jaqui T says:

    This looks amazing! Whenever I go back to my parents we always have a family meal and I love it because its a sign that all work is done for the day and we can spend the rest of the night relaxing with each other.

  18. Emily says:

    what a beautiful cake, that looks equally delicious!

  19. Talia says:

    weekly friday night meals with the family always end in cake, a perfect conclusion. hoping to bring this beautiful cake to the table next time!

  20. Sj Dc says:

    There’s a bounty of oranges at home right now and been looking for a great cake recipe..this one looks delish!

  21. ?? says:

    the orange looks so good,i’m afraid i can’t find one as bloody as yours.i’m a beginner of baking,i’m always willing to try new i just can’t do well the chiffon cake.some gredients are so hard to find in such a small town of China.

  22. Simone Sika says:

    Wow! Looks so good! Not sure mine would turn out quite so photogenic.

  23. Katherine says:

    I love that you used blood oranges! I tend to enjoy them more than the standard orange – good call!

  24. Michele West says:

    This cake looks delicious!

    We gather as a family nightly for supper as well and I’m always looking for fresh ideas.

  25. Ariana says:

    I first discovered an unknown love of good citrus cakes with an olive oil citrus cake over the summer. This cake looks incredible, too! I love the blood orange twist. Excited for the opportunity to explore more of the Pollan Family Table πŸ™‚

  26. ChloΓ© says:

    That cake looks so delicious! Can’t wait to try it πŸ™‚

  27. Ah this is gorgeous Sarah! I love a good cake, especially with icing and booze : )

  28. Stunning. This cake would be the perfect snack in winter!

  29. susanne says:

    perfect made for my citrus craving!looks devine ..

  30. Megan says:

    Wow, so gorgeous! I wish I was having that cake for breakfast πŸ™‚

  31. Heather Taylor says:

    Looks delicious!

  32. Holly says:

    I’ve been baking cakes all morning for a friends pop up art event. Ginger, orange, maple syrup and earl grey all different flavours going into these cakes. Taking a little bread with a delicious coffee and read through this. Wish a scrumptious sounding cake and I would love to get my hands on this cookbook! Thanks for offering the chance to win!

  33. Holly says:

    Ah I can’t type! A ‘break’ not ‘bread’ and ‘what’ not ‘wish’!!!

  34. Lisa says:

    I was raised enjoying a hot, home cooked family meal almost every evening. My husband & I reared my children in the much same way, and it was a important part of our lives. I had already downloaded the original Pollan Family Grand Marnier cake, but this one looks even better. I will try it out for our next family gathering!

  35. Oh how I love a boozy orange cake… and I love your cream cheese frosting addition. Looks delicious – thanks!

  36. MaryKay Lawrence says:

    Now this a fruit cake I could love!

  37. Gorgeous cake! I’ve been snatching up blood oranges like crazy lately!

  38. What a cake! The perfect way to celebrate winter’s glorious citrus fruit.

  39. Shradha says:

    Imma make this cake and wear it as my hat to the next meeting with my girls! Sow pwetty!! Such beauty!

  40. Rachel says:

    As always, this is a beautiful post with beautiful photography! I just love the colors of those oranges…

  41. Laura says:

    What a beautiful cake, and beautiful photos! Incorporating alcohol into different foods really expands the flavor and texture and gives some extra pizzaz – what a great way to use the Grand Marnier sitting in my cabinet!

  42. molly yeh says:

    holy buckets, this cake and these photos are absolutely stunning, sarah!!

  43. Emily says:

    what a beautiful cake! the cream cheese frosting looks especially delicious πŸ™‚

  44. Hannah Skow says:

    What a great recipe to start out the new year! Ring-shaped foods are said to bring good luck in the new year and I’ve heard it helps to cover them with a cream cheese frosting…so excited to bake this and most importantly, eat it!

  45. Pamela says:

    What a luscious-looking cake! I can almost taste it.

  46. Annie says:

    Yum – looks delicious! From the looks of the pictures, I thought maybe the cake had pistachio in it. I’m glad it doesn’t because I never have them on hand!

  47. Susan says:

    This cake looks amazing! I can almost taste the flavors just thinking about it. We are getting ready to move into a house and I think this will be the perfect way to celebrate πŸ™‚

  48. Kimberly says:

    There is something wonderfully old fashioned about a cake sitting on the counter waiting for everybody to come home and enjoy it. And a bundt cake to boot! I agree with you that I’d make a chocolate cake every chance I get but this looks delicious and beautiful. It will be our treat for this weekend. Thank you for inspiring and sharing Pollan food-advice. He is the master in my book.

  49. Maneesha Pradhan says:

    This cake looks delicious. Would love to see more.

  50. Fran Callahan says:

    Two of my favorite things…Grand Marnier and cake.

  51. Sherry Ann says:

    When my family gathers around the table there is usually a cake involved! I remember making cakes when I was a little kid! My favorite part was the food coloring in those little bottles!

  52. Abby says:

    This cake looks delicious, Sarah, and your photos are perfection! Love, love, love. xx

  53. Amanda says:

    Um, yes. You said “the cake!” twice. And, don’t know, even just looking at it that exclamation is just the right response.

  54. Lauren says:

    This cake looks so delicious & refreshing!

  55. Janice says:

    I love dessert that looks as spectacular as it tastes – I can’t wait to try this one!

  56. Jackie says:

    We are lucky enough to have a couple of orange trees which are now full of fruit, and still have some orange liquor left over from some I made last year so am really looking forward to making this wonderful cake. x

  57. Sarah says:

    This looks absolutely delicious! Thanks for the giveaway!

  58. Deborah says:

    I just received my mother-in-laws first cookbook from the 1950’s. It is precious. I would love to try the Pollan family recipes. Thanks!

  59. This cake looks incredible! I’ve been looking for something to do with all of these in-season blood oranges. Thanks for sharing!

  60. Rachel says:

    Hope to add this awesome looking recipe book to my newly started collection- that cake looks so elegant and delicious! Have a look at my food-oriented instagram: @rachelcaste Thanks for the giveaway!

  61. sarah says:

    Wow! That cake is so gorgeous and I can almost taste the flavor through the photos. πŸ™‚

  62. Laura Biscaro says:

    I absolutely LOVE anything that has orange in it! It’s a flavor that you can’t replace.
    Do you think this would work with another orange liquor, like Cointreau?
    My email:

  63. Elisa Wolff says:

    This recipe has the option to use blood oranges, which are an absolute favorite of mine, so I’M IN!!!

  64. Lynn says:

    Looks so yummy! I like your idea to add the Orange Cream Cheese icing and the blood oranges on top are stunning. This may be my dessert for Valentine’s Day.

  65. Karly K says:

    This cake looks surprisingly tasty πŸ™‚ It incorporates uncommon but not unpalatable combinations of ingredients! Refreshing in the world of cooking blogs today πŸ˜‰

  66. Paula says:

    This cakes looks perfect for a dreary day!

  67. Marcia says:

    That cake looks gorgeous! And I’m kind of obsessed with Michael Pollan….I think his point of view is so on target….and after reading more about the Pollan family, I’m a huge fan! And small world trivia: Stephen Pollan (Michael, Tracy, etc’s father) was my attorney for an employment-related issue. When I met with him at his office, it was like being with my own dad! So warm, kind and friendly. Not what you immediately think of when you think of a NYC lawyer! (he did a great job, btw!!) Sorry for the long post!

  68. Chaya says:

    oh i was just reading a wonderful article about the pollan family in oprah magazine! they’re such a charming group of women. your cake looks delicious, especially with those vibrant blood oranges! love the photography, as always.

  69. Kristin says:

    Looks beautiful, Sarah!

  70. Bridget says:

    Beautiful cake, with such a pretty colour. Would be making this very soon.
    Love your blog, its even saved on my favourites tab.
    You inspire me so much, with different flavour combinations, new techniques and visual appeal. I’m 17 and I hope to be as good as you one day! πŸ™‚

  71. Danielle says:

    Yum! Citrus cakes are my favorite and this one looks fabulous!

  72. Jacqui Schmidt Stivers says:

    oh wow! yum!

  73. Dana says:

    Beautiful cake and photos. It wold be a great companion to an afternoon cup of tea.

  74. Pat says:

    Looks yummy!! And pretty too! Do you think I can sub triple sec for the grand marnier?

  75. Oana says:

    What a beautiful looking cake and interesting recipe. I just bought some Grand Marnier and this just made it to the top of my baking list! Thanks for sharing!

  76. amanda says:

    Wow… this looks good.

  77. Anna says:

    wow….. i just love this colors

  78. Toni McCann says:

    oooohh! looks so good! I love me some good cake!

  79. _emily_rose says:

    I LOVE Grand Marnier. I can’t wait to try this cake πŸ™‚

  80. Maria K says:

    A wonderful combination of ingredients! I almost always bake (and cook) with spirits; I find it really does enhance the flavour so. I don’t much care for chocolate desserts; on the other hand, your blood orange and Grand Marnier cake looks and, I’m sure, tastes superb. I too thought, upon looking at the photos, you had used pistachio but, as you obviously didn’t, I wonder what gave your cake its green tint.

    • Sarah says:

      Maria – I honestly don’t know! I was sort of surprised by the green tone – maybe it had something to do with the blood orange juice and zest? Although I don’t know how the purple-ish color would do that. It was a mystery to me, too. πŸ™‚

  81. Sophie says:

    Wow, looks delicious and the original sounds fantastic too… yes please!

  82. kelli says:

    i do love cake
    oh yes it is citrus season, the best part about winter

  83. Ingrid says:

    This looks amazing!!

  84. Britney Loren says:

    Who doesn’t love Grand Marnier??? And cake? And frosting? Next up, this cake (= Thank you!

  85. karen says:

    Gorgeous! I have never used blood oranges in baking, that must change!

  86. Jayne says:

    Looks delicious! I love the blood oranges for decoration! I will have to make this this weekend… just because : )

  87. Lori says:

    I can’t wait to try this out!

  88. Katherine says:

    I’m a cake recipe hoarder. This is going on the top of my pile for the weekend baking session!

  89. Gemma says:

    Oh my gosh! This cake is absolutely marvellous! The blood oranges make such a beautiful contrast with the cream cheese frosting! and btw, if there is ever more delicious than classic cream cheese frosting then it is orange scented frosting! πŸ™‚
    Beautiful pictures as usual! Seeing these cute shots makes me want to spend the whole weekend in the kitchen baking gorgeous cakes like yours.

    Happy weekend!

  90. Seema says:

    Yum, cream cheese + oranges sounds amazing!

  91. Liesel says:

    I just borrowed this cookbook from my local library. It is wonderful! Grandma Mary’s Grand Marnier cake caught my eye when I flipped through the book and your photos seal the deal – I will make this for our next family dessert.

  92. Simply stunning. I’m ear-marking this for a future birthday cake. Amazing.

  93. Ayesha says:

    The book’s recipes look interesting. I would make the key lime pie with walnut oatmeal crust.

  94. Wow walnut crust—–I am liking that idea. But I get hooked on pictures, so the cake has me in its clutches. I love love sharing food with my family and my dear friends. It is one of life’s major joys.

  95. Jackie says:

    Looks yummy! I would definitely make this one too!

  96. susan says:

    This cake looks so good especially since it has a cream cheese frosting

  97. […] this grand marnier orange cake.Β whoa. […]

  98. Jade Sheldon-Burnsed says:

    This looks absolutely divine!

  99. Julie says:

    This cake looks absolutely delicious! The blood oranges make for gorgeous pictures!

  100. Christin Snipes says:

    OMG! This recipe looks amazing! Can’t wait to try it!

  101. Julia says:

    We made the original version of
    the cake (almonds & glaze) and I have to say, it’s ‘da BOMB!! Can’t wait to try this because really, what can’t be improved with the addition of cream cheese frosting??

  102. Love your beautiful photos. Very dreamy. And that orange cream cheese icing… I can eat this for breakfast, because of the oranges, yes?

  103. Catherine says:

    This looks absolutely wonderful, as does the book. I am making it right now!

  104. Rachel says:

    This looks amazing! I grew up with the family meal–dinner–a must. Whatever else we were doing, we had to be home for dinner. We had such amazing conversations growing up and often stayed at the table long after the meal was complete! I now do the same for my kids but it can be so hard to find inspiration!

  105. Linda Lutomski says:

    I am so inspired!

  106. Zarina C says:

    Not sure if this is still on. I lost my family and dream kitchen to divorce and vowed not to spend that much time in the kitchen. Family cooking was rewarding and is sorely missed. This book might get me back to my “workshop.” Just picked up CaraCara’s. …need Blood to make this cake!

  107. You are the cake queen! Every time you post a recipe/photos of one I yell “eeeeeeeeeeeeee!” True Story. I love the winter citrus addition on this one.

  108. Lark says:

    What a lovely variation on a theme and a kind give away.

  109. Perfect breakfast cake! Looks so comforting πŸ™‚

  110. Looks beautiful, as does the book. Cool to see how the interest can live in and around a family. I’d love to get a copy for the recipes and, I hope, stories.

  111. I’ve been interested in that cookbook since it came out…nice to see a nummy recipe from it.

    I only do carbs one day month, but this might have to go on my list. <3 orange cakes.

    I got here through How Sweet Eats…but I'll be back.



  112. Laura Head says:

    You make this sound amazing!! Love your blog!!

  113. Jennai says:

    Those Blood Oranges look AMAZING. I wish I could bake like this!

  114. Margaret H says:

    Yum Might have to try a chocolate version

  115. Vicki says:

    This cake looks absolutely delightful!!!

  116. Pat M says:

    This cake sounds wonderful and I love Grand Marnier!

  117. AJ says:

    I love blood oranges and can’t wait to try this cake!

  118. Katherine says:

    You had me at Grand Marnier!!!

  119. Bethany Kocher says:

    I love a good bundt cake and orange is one of my favorites. I look forward to trying this soon.

  120. Judy says:

    I agree with you, chocolate is my dessert preference. But…a good citrus-y option would be appreciated!

  121. Barbara T. says:

    My mother was Finnish and talked about how the Finnish ( in Minnesota) would always visit one another.There was always coffee and desserts served at these visits,and one of my mother’s favorite was her mother’s orange cake.My mom would continue making these orange cakes ,and they were delicious.Seeing this grand mariner orange cake recipe brings back wonderful memories ! I imagine this cake is delicious,too! I will have to try this recipe!Thank you for posting it.

  122. TH says:

    I received my first bottle of Grand Marnier as a volunteer for the NY Film Festival. GM was a sponsor. I’ve loved it ever since.

  123. lucy says:

    What a gorgeous cake! Would love to make & take to a dinner party. Thanks for sharing and the book looks fab xo, Lucy

  124. Kaitlin Minich says:

    Simply stunning photos. This cake looks to die for!

  125. abhaya says:

    Ah, citrus season. Nothing quite like it. Got a citrus juicer for Christmas and now another yummy reason to use it!

  126. Wendy O says:

    I long for something to remind me of summer in these grey overcast days of January. Tis Grand Marnier Orange Cake may just do the trick to put a little sunshine back in my day. Thanks for posting the recipe.

  127. Audrey says:

    I’m a sucker for orange cakes. Orange anything really! Thanks for sharing this recipe! x

  128. Tania says:

    These blood oranges looks so beautiful! It must be very interest cake! Love your work!

  129. Tania says:

    Looks very beautuful! I like blood oranges and always make the cheesecake with them. Love your work!

  130. Andrea M says:

    Citrus. There is just nothing like it, especially when added to liquors AND put in a cake πŸ™‚ So lovely!

  131. Adele K says:

    This looks wonderful and just happen to have some blood oranges I picked off my tree before the last frost hit, so I can use them to try this recipe! Thank you for a source.

  132. cassandra says:

    this cake looks amazing πŸ™‚ ! too bad i just started my diet. will need to wait a bit for this

  133. Jeremy J says:

    Thank you! Much as I love chocolate, I have to come up with other desserts as my poor nephew is allergic to chocolate. This cake is a yumminess on it’s own, bonus that it’s a great chocolate alternative!

  134. Wendy says:

    The cake base is almost identical to Vincent Price’s recipe. Which I made around Christmas – delicious! I really like the idea of blood oranges and the cream cheese icing. Your cake looks beautiful.

  135. jacquie says:

    what a yummy looking cake.

  136. oh boy would i love this cake,mmmmmm, thanks

  137. Sonia says:

    Your cake is beautiful! Cream cheese frosting is one of my favorites.
    I noticed the book has a different cover than what I’ve seen in the stores. I’m always turned off by books with photos of people on the cover especially celebrities or famous people. (even though I realize the contents are the same…I can’t help it!!). Is that version for sale anywhere?

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Sonia – That’s actually the inside of the book, my book has the same cover as in the stores. The pictures of people are only on the dust jacket – the actual hardcover of the book is just red, if that helps. πŸ™‚

  138. Meg says:

    This cake looks heavenly. I bet it would be delicious with grapefruit as well.

  139. Sonia says:

    Oh, yes! I now see it is the inside. That picture would have made a beautiful cover. πŸ™‚
    Thanks for your response!

  140. Michael Pollan is such an inspiration! Thanks for the beautiful cake. I have to check out this book!

  141. chickie brewer says:

    You said it’s crazy good, Well his recipe sounds delicious and very interesting. It would be so much fun to make!

  142. Fergus says:

    Those blood oranges contrast so well with the White icing.

  143. Laura says:

    Sounds absolutely delicious! Can’t wait to try it.

  144. […] Blood oranges make desserts look so much prettier, and this cake looks all kinds of […]

  145. Jade Lemery says:

    I just made this cake today for a military Thanksgiving get-together tomorrow and the entire house smells of sugary oranginess! Thank you so much for this recipe!!

  146. Alexandra says:

    Dear Sarah:
    I am about to make your Grand Marnier cake for the second time. It is a perfect dinner party dessert. But am I crazy? I cannot find the Grand Marnier mentioned in the cake directions (although it’s included in the ingredients list). I add it when I add the orange juice but, if I am not crazy, you may want to amend the recipe. Thank you for this. Alexandra

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