Cake Mondays 001: Chocolate Orange Cointreau Cake

Hey folks! Time for a recipe share! It has been forever, I know. I basically bake every single day with my business so I rarely get to try new recipes and this has been bothering me. I used to bake a lot for pleasure and now I don't really have the time and when I've finished baking several hundred cupcakes on a Saturday there is no way I am going to turn that oven back on.

Chocolate Cointreau Cake

Chocolate Cointreau Cake


I try to take Mondays off if I can. Every Monday evening, Ali and I have our friends round for dinner and we usually end up watching a selection of Disney movies and/or Die Hard. I've decided to take this opportunity to try baking new cakes if I can. It's nice to have a day off baking, but I would rather be learning new skills with my time off. So here starts my new feature, a new cake on Mondays. I can't promise it will be every single Monday, but I can promise to try my very best! This is the first one I baked. It was fairly easy, although the ganache was supposed to drape around the cake and dribble down the sides, but I don't think I chilled the cake enough so it melted the buttercream a bit, when I resmoothed it I got that marble effect which I actually quite like - although it was a complete malfunction.

The cake tasted beautiful, I really love this buttercream although it is expensive and time consuming to make. I love buttercream but the sugar can give me bad headaches so this is a perfect alternative. This cake is adapted from 'Say it with Cake' by Edd Kimber.


-225g unsalted butter at room temperature
-325g plain flour
-50g cornflour
-4 1/2 tsp baking powder (I couldn't believe there was so much in there! But it worked, and you couldn't taste it)
-1/2 tsp salt
-350g caster sugar
-Zest of 2 large oranges
-1tsp Orange Oil (I use the Taste the Difference one from Sainsbury's)
-4 medium eggs
-300ml buttermilk (if you can't find this, you can make your own with milk and lemon juice)

For the Italian Meringue Buttercream:

-250g caster sugar

-6 medium egg whites
-450g unsalted butter (this is important, I used slightly salted butter because I was too lazy to go to the shop but I think it would have been much better unsalted)
-4 shots of Cointreau OR 250g orange curd (I used cointreau but the orange curd works well too).

NOTE: If you don't have a sugar thermometer, use this recipe instead).

For the chocolate ganache: 
-150g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
-200ml double cream


1. Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan oven). Line and grease 3 20cm tins. Whisk the flour, cornflour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.

2. Put the butter into a large bowl/mixer. Beat the butter on a high speed until smooth and light. Add the sugar and orange zest and beat until light and fluffy. Add the orange oil and mix to combine. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs one at a time. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk. Divide the batter between the 3 lined tins and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean, the cakes are golden brown and spring back when touched. Allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before removing on to a wire rack.

3. NOTE: If you don't have a sugar thermometer do not try this, like I have done before. It will fail and you'll waste loads of sugar. Instead, use a swiss meringue recipe. It's much more simple and can be done without a thermometer.

To make the Italian meringue buttercream, put 60ml water and the sugar into a pan over medium heat. Bring to the boil and have a sugar thermometer ready. Meanwhile, put the egg whites into a clean (if there's any trace of grease this might fail) bowl. Start whisking the whites on a high speed when the syrup in the pan reaches 115C. Cook until the thermometer registers 121C. With the mixer still running, pour the syrup in a slow stream down the side of the bowl containing the whites, avoiding the beaters. Continue whisking on a high speed until the meringue reaches room temperature.

4. With the mixer on medium speed, add the butter a few pieces at a time. Don't worry if it looks curdled, just keep mixing it. Trust me. Keep mixing until a smooth buttercream is formed. Add your cointreau or your orange curd, whichever you chose - and continue mixing.

5. Assemble your cake, sandwiching a generous filling of buttercream between each layer. Smooth the buttercream around the top and sides. Place the cake in the fridge and chill for AT LEAST 15 minutes while you make the ganache.

6. Place the chocolate in a bowl and set aside. Boil the cream in a medium pan, once it has reached boiling point - pour it over the chocolate. Allow to stand for a few minutes to form a silky ganache. I added some cointreau to this as well, but that's optional. Pour the ganache over the chilled cake, tempering it around the edges to spill down. Now - this is where mine went wrong! I didn't chill the cake really, I think I left it for about 5 minutes because I am impatient and lazy. My ganache melted the buttercream but it actually merged with it when I smoothed it, making it really tasty.

If you use a Swiss Meringue rather than Italian, allow the cake to come to room temperature before serving as the consistency of the buttercream will be too much like butter if you leave it in the fridge. It's fine to chill for the ganache, but once that's done leave it out of the fridge.


  1. This looks AMAZING! I seriously drooled over it when you put it on fb! I wish I had the skills to make such amazing looking (and i'm sure tasting) cakes!

    I'm jealous of your Monday evenings.. dinner, cake, Disney & Die Hard.. sounds like a dream!

    Amy x

  2. Yey! It's good to see you blogging again Claire. I can definitely understand why baking for pleasure has been overshadowed by your business! The cake looks beautiful and I love the unintentional marbling! x

  3. Wow! I think this is beyond my cooking skills, but it looks delicious.

  4. That looks amazing! :) x

  5. This cake looks amazing! I need a slice of it now!

  6. This looks amazing, I really don't know how you manage it, you always sound so busy!

    Maria xxx

  7. What a tempting treat this is!! xxxxx


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