Chocolate Grand Marnier Cake
Frothy with chocolate shavings, coated with dense ganache, flavored with strawberry and Grand Marnier, this is a cake to be reckoned with. The chef even tops it with chocolate-dipped enormous strawberries. Each step is relatively simple: two chocolate cake layers, a lot of ganache, and chocolate curls. Plus those strawberries!
- Chocolate Cake
- All Purpose Flour - 1 1/2 Cup
- Cocoa Powder - 2 tablespoons
- Baking Soda - 1 teaspoon
- Salt - Pinch
- Sugar - 10 oz
- Butter - 1/2 cups (1 stick)
- Vanilla Extract - 1 teaspoon
- Egg - 1
- Milk - 1 cup
- Grand Marnier - 1/2 cup (alt. orange-flavored liqueur)
- Strawberry preserves - 1/2 cup
- Chocolate Ganache
- Semisweet Chocolate - 1 lb, chopped
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 4 cups
- Sugar - 1/4 cup
- Semisweet Chocolate - 4 oz
- Strawberries - 8 large, fresh
- Cocoa powder - For dusting
- Confectioner’s sugar - For dusting
To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and line two 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a mixing bowl, beat the sugar and butter together until fluffy. Add the vanilla extract. Beat in the egg and continue to beat at medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes. Gradually beat in the blended dry ingredients. With the mixer running, gradually add the milk and beat until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Remove from the pans, lift off the parchment paper, and let cool completely on wire racks.
To make the ganache: Combine all the ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Let cool.
To assemble: In a small heavy pan over low heat, melt 1/4 cup of the ganache. Dip the fresh strawberries in the melted ganache and set aside on a wire rack to cool. Sprinkle one cake liberally with Grand Marnier. Spread with the strawberry preserves. Place the remaining ganache in a pastry bag fitted with a large fluted tip and pipe a spiral of ganache on top of the preserves. Top with the second cake. Sprinkle the top with Grand Marnier and pipe ganache over the entire outside of the cake. With a spatula, spread the ganache evenly over the cake, creating a small rim at the top. Pour the remaining melted ganache on the top of the cake. Place the cake in the refrigerator to chill.
Shave the remaining four ounces of chocolate: pull a vegetable peeler over the chocolate, or pull the chocolate over the broad cutter of a food grater or mandoline. Transfer the chilled cake to a serving plate. Arrange the largest shavings in rosettes on top of the cake, pressing them into the ganache covering. Garnish the top with the chocolate-dipped strawberries. Press the remaining shavings around the cake sides to cover it. Dust lightly with cocoa powder and confectioner’s sugar. Keep chilled until service.