Sunday, July 22, 2012

Grand Marnier Chocolate Fudge Torte

Four layers, four times the pleasure
This is one of my fanciest and most delicious cakes. I’ll be bringing it to a potluck dinner next month, where I have a hunch it will disappear very quickly! Important note: You’ll need 8 hours to make this delicious cake. While that amount of time may seem daunting, chill out! Much of this is refrigeration time. This four-layer party cake actually requires very little work. Mea culpa: I don’t know the recipe’s source! Maxima mea culpa: I don’t know and don’t care how many calories it contains. But maybe thats a good thing!
Grand Marnier Chocolate Fudge Torte:
To Prepare the Chocolate Fudge Torte:
1-¾ c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ c. cocoa powder
½ c. unsalted butter
1-⅔ c. granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1-⅓ c. water
¼ c. Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
Preheat oven to 350 deg. F. Grease two 8-inch round cake pans; lightly dust with cocoa. Line bottoms with parchment paper, greasing once more. Have all ingredients assembled and at room temperature. Combine dry ingredients in medium bowl; set aside. Using an electric beater, cream butter in large bowl, gradually adding sugar until no graininess remains and creamed mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl between additions. Add vanilla. 
Reduce mixer speed to low, beating in ⅓ of flour mixture. When flour and creamed mixture are well combined, beat in ½ water. Repeat, ending with flour mixture. Spoon into prepared pans, banging several times on work surface to remove air bubbles. Bake 30-to-35 min., until center of cake springs back when lightly touched or a skewer poked into cake’s center comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans for 5 min. before running a knife around the edge, up-ending them onto a wire rack. 

(When Ron said my knife wasn’t sharp enough to do the job, I gritted my teeth and said: “I’ve been doing it this way, with this knife, for years!” Replied Ron: “Consider the coefficient of sliding friction.” “And what is that?” I asked, becoming testy. “It’s a measurement of the force required to move an object from a static position.” I let him use his $#@% sharp knife. The cake turned out perfectly. Men! Cant live with em, cant live without em!) 

Peel away parchment paper, cooling completely on rack. Slice each cooled cake horizontally, making a total of four layers. Turn the layers cut-side up, sprinkling each with 1 tbsp. Grand Marnier. Wrap and chill each of the four layers.

Dust greased pans with cocoa. Lay parchment in pans 

Combine dry ingredients and set aside

Have eggs at room temperature

Mix sugar with creamed butter, adding eggs one at a time

Alternate dry ingredients with water. Pour into prepared pans

Peel parchment from cooled cakes

Split each layer horizontally in half

Drizzle 1 tbsp. orange liqueur over each of the four layers
To Prepare the Grand Marnier Filling:
¾ c. frozen concentrated orange juice, unsweetened
¾ c. granulated sugar
1 envelope (1 tbsp.) unflavored gelatin 
Zest of two oranges, coarsely grated
¼ c. Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
3-¾ c. heavy (whipping) cream
¾ c. icing sugar (confectioners or powdered sugar)
7 orange slices, as garnish
2 tbsp. orange marmalade, as glaze
In a medium saucepan, combine orange juice concentrate, sugar, and gelatin. Stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until sugar and gelatin are completely dissolved, 4 or 5 min. Remove from heat, stirring in zest and liqueur. Press a square of waxed paper onto the mixture’s surface, refrigerating until no longer warm to the touch but not yet jelled, about 20 min. Meanwhile, whip cream to soft peaks in a large bowl with an electric mixer. Gradually beat in icing sugar. Using a spatula, fold in Grand Marnier mixture. 
To Assemble the Torte:
Place one layer of cake, cut-side up, on serving plate (or on foil-covered cardboard circle that will later sit on pedestal cake stand). Spoon ¼ of orange filling into centre of layer, spreading almost to edge of cake. Repeat with next three layers, ending with filling. Stabilize cake by poking a wooden skewer into its center, ensuring the skewer penetrates all four layers. Snip skewer about an inch above cake using wire cutters. Refrigerate at least 4 hr., allowing flavors time to blend. Midway through chilling, clean up topping that has oozed too far over edge. Decorate with orange slices glazed with a little orange marmalade, slightly warmed to liquify it. Extract skewer before serving.

Important Note: My daughter-in-law, Deena Fisher, is a professional cake artist in Los Cabos, MX. She taught me that a multi-layered cake requires a brief period of freezing after each iced layer goes on. I forgot to do that! While my cake tasted wonderful, it looked a little tipsy. I promise to do better, next time, and will use her freezer trick between ... each ... layer!  

Assemble all ingredients: Here's my measured icing sugar

Add powdered gelatin to granulated sugar

Combine with thawed orange juice concentrate
Have liqueur and orange zest at the ready ... No tippling!

Press a square of waxed paper over orange solution; refrigerate

Add cooled orange solution to softly whipped cream

Fold in by hand

Use a quarter of orange-flavored cream for each layer

Repeat with  each layer

Clean up oozing cream after mixture starts to set;
stabilize layers with a long bamboo skewer

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