Cointreau Chocolate Cake

I baked a birthday cake last week and decided to give it a little extra oomph: Cointreau. Because, when in France, right? The finished result was tastier and tastier with every forkful…

french-cointreau

Cointreau, pretty bottle and all!

Cointreau – for those of you who are not familiar with it – is special triple sec which is made in France. I thought it would add a nice bit of both France and oranges to the chocolate.

Chocolate Oranges

Obviously I’m aiming for this flavor…

Not to mention, a bit of booze. It is a birthday cake, after all!

Now, I know this looks like a very long recipe but hold your horses! If you want to cut down on time, just skip the candied orange zest (which yes is a bit time consuming).

Another time-saver tip: to make a quicker filling, use 200g mascarpone and 100 of crème fraiche instead of worrying about whipping the cream.

Ingredients for Chocolate Cointreau Cake

CAKE
120 g dark chocolate (70%)
5 eggs, separated
200 g butter, softened
2 Tbs orange extract
220 g fine sugar
90g flour

FILLING
280 ml double cream (crème florette, at least 30% fat)
200g demi crème fraiche
Zest of 1 orange

ICING
150g dark chocolate
100ml double cream (crème florette, at least 30% fat)
2-4 Tbs Cointreau
25g grated chocolate or sprinkles or both (I used gold sprinkles)

CANDIED ORANGE ZEST
½ c sugar plus extra for dredging
½ c water
Zest of 1 orange

CAKE INSTRUCTIONS

1. Grease and flour 1 round cake tin. Heat your oven to 140 C (280 F)

2. Melt 120 g chocolate in bowl (microwave or bain-marie). Cool for 5 min then beat in egg yolks
In another bowl, beat butter and 100g sugar until soft and creamy. Mix in melted chocolate and yolks

Melted chocolate

Nothing like some melted chocolate to melt your heart

3. In yet another bowl (I feel bad for whoever’s doing dishes), whisk egg whites to stiff peaks then beat in remaining 120g sugar – do this in 3 batches of sugar to avoid deflating the egg. Continue whisking until stiff.

4. Beat a third of the meringue into chocolate mix. Then gently fold in alternate spoonfuls of the flour and remaining meringue. It’s basically going to look like chocolate mousse. And that makes all the difference with this cake.

Chocolate cake batter

Making the mousse-y cake batter for a light, moist cake.

5. Spoon your batter into your greased and floured cake tin, level off with spatula or back of spoon, and bake 40-45 minutes until top forms a light crust and toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven, cooling 10 minutes before taking out of tin. Cut in half longways (giving you 2 circles of pie) with a serrated knife. Alternately you could double the recipe and pour the batter into 2 cake tins… but that’s a LOT of cake.

Chocolate cake crust

Your crust will get flaky but not to worry!

 

FILLING INSTRUCTIONS

6. In a bowl beat the double cream until thickened, but not stiff. Mix in crème fraiche and zest.
Spread bottom half of cake with zesty cream and put other half on top. Place on a rack with a large plate underneath (you’ll see why in a second).

 

ORANGE ZEST INSTRUCTIONS

7. In medium saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.

8. Add zest of 1 orange (peeled into long strips with vegetable peeler) and simmer, swirling occasionally, until zest is tender (10-12min)

9. Drain and transfer to a plate. Dredge zest in sugar and slice thin. Yes, you can eat a piece now but JUST one!

 

ICING INSTRUCTIONS

10. Break up chocolate into pan and add double cream. Melt over very low heat and stir until smooth. It will be very liquidy so cool it off until it’s the consistency of thick pouring cream then add the Cointreau to taste. Pour over cake.

Frosted chocolate Cointreau cake

Post-icing, I moved my cake to a nicer dish

11. Let excess icing pour off cake and onto plate (see?). Spread icing evening on top and around the side using the back of a spoon or spatula. While icing sets sprinkle grated chocolate or sprinkles on top and around sides.

12. Arrange candied orange zests wherever you want them – I put them along the edges of the top of the cake.

Chocolate cake decoration

Close up of candied orange zests

So there you go. As much as I would have liked to show you what this delicious thing looks like when cut into, unfortunately ALL the slices were eaten before I could even get my camera out! This cake is that good. Bon appetit!

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