Grand Marnier Orange Cake

Grand Marnier Orange Cake | Sarah Kieffer | 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 | Sarah Kieffer | The Vanilla Bean Blog

Grand Marnier Orange Cake | Sarah Kieffer | The Vanilla Bean Blog

Grand Marnier Orange Cake | Sarah Kieffer | The Vanilla Bean Blog

Grand Marnier Orange Cake | Sarah Kieffer | The Vanilla Bean Blog

Grand Marnier Orange Cake Recipe

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 it  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 | Sarah Kieffer | The Vanilla Bean Blog

Pollan Family Table

  • Reply
    Friday, February 26, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    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

    • Reply
      Thursday, March 3, 2016 at 9:48 pm

      Alexandra – Thank you for letting me know! I did forget to put it in the directions, but just added it. 🙂

  • Reply
    Jade Lemery
    Wednesday, November 25, 2015 at 9:06 pm

    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!!

    • Reply
      Friday, November 27, 2015 at 11:21 am

      Thanks for letting me know! I hope you all enjoy it. 🙂

  • Reply
    Thursday, February 12, 2015 at 9:55 pm

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

  • Reply
    Wednesday, February 11, 2015 at 11:54 am

    Those blood oranges contrast so well with the White icing.

  • Reply
    chickie brewer
    Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 10:37 am

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

  • Reply
    Kelsey M
    Wednesday, January 28, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    Wow- this looks amazing!

  • Reply
    Emily | the flown scissortail
    Wednesday, January 28, 2015 at 7:36 pm

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

  • Reply
    Monday, January 26, 2015 at 8:47 pm

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

  • Reply
    Monday, January 26, 2015 at 1:23 pm

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

  • Reply
    Saturday, January 24, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    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?

    • Reply
      Sunday, January 25, 2015 at 7:54 pm

      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. 🙂

  • Reply
    theresa krier
    Friday, January 23, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    oh boy would i love this cake,mmmmmm, thanks [email protected]

  • Reply
    Friday, January 23, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    what a yummy looking cake.

  • Reply
    Wednesday, January 21, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    Jeremy J
    Wednesday, January 21, 2015 at 12:31 am

    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!

  • Reply
    Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 11:40 pm

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

  • Reply
    Adele K
    Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    Andrea M
    Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 2:25 pm

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

  • Reply
    Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 6:00 am

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

  • Reply
    Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 5:58 am

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

  • Reply
    Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 3:48 am

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

  • Reply
    Wendy O
    Monday, January 19, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    Monday, January 19, 2015 at 12:45 pm

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

  • Reply
    Kaitlin Minich
    Monday, January 19, 2015 at 11:55 am

    Simply stunning photos. This cake looks to die for!

  • Reply
    Monday, January 19, 2015 at 9:31 am

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

  • Reply
    Monday, January 19, 2015 at 4:19 am

    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.

  • Reply
    Barbara T.
    Monday, January 19, 2015 at 2:37 am

    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.

  • Reply
    Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 6:55 pm

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

  • Reply
    Bethany Kocher
    Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 1:37 pm

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

  • Reply
    Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    You had me at Grand Marnier!!!

    • Reply
      Friday, January 21, 2022 at 5:39 am

      This sounds delicious! Any way I can make this into a two layer cake?

  • Reply
    Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 12:08 pm

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

  • Reply
    Pat M
    Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 8:56 am

    This cake sounds wonderful and I love Grand Marnier!

  • Reply
    Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 8:00 am

    This cake looks absolutely delightful!!!

  • Reply
    Margaret H
    Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 7:31 am

    Yum Might have to try a chocolate version

  • Reply
    Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 2:57 am

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

  • Reply
    Laura Head
    Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 2:38 am

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

  • Reply
    Sparkly Jules
    Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 2:36 am

    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.



  • Reply
    Bradley Meilinger
    Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 12:50 am

    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.

  • Reply
    Kiran @
    Saturday, January 17, 2015 at 10:44 pm

    Perfect breakfast cake! Looks so comforting 🙂

  • Reply
    Saturday, January 17, 2015 at 10:05 pm

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

  • Reply
    kristie {birch and wild}
    Saturday, January 17, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    Zarina C
    Saturday, January 17, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    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!

  • Reply
    Linda Lutomski
    Saturday, January 17, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    I am so inspired!

  • Reply
    Saturday, January 17, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    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!

  • Reply
    Saturday, January 17, 2015 at 5:38 pm

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

  • Reply
    Michelle @ Modern Acupuncture
    Saturday, January 17, 2015 at 4:47 pm

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

  • Reply
    Saturday, January 17, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    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??

  • Reply
    Christin Snipes
    Saturday, January 17, 2015 at 2:32 pm

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

  • Reply
    Saturday, January 17, 2015 at 2:26 pm

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

  • Reply
    Jade Sheldon-Burnsed
    Saturday, January 17, 2015 at 11:03 am

    This looks absolutely divine!

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