This totally drunk out of its mind Devil’s Food Cointreau cake has a bit of a sordid past I’m afraid. My parents, although very conservative, seemed to veer from the straight and narrow path in regards to child-rearing on one particular issue; anything done in the name of good food was not only acceptable but revered.
This Cointreau cake definitely was no exception. While other normal children were counting down the days to Christmas or Hanukkah with the hopes of tearing into presents, I (along with my dad) was counting down the days until Christmas Eve when my uncle’s girlfriend would bring her famous Cointreau spiked mini-cupcakes to my grandparents’ party. I don’t believe it ever occurred to anyone that the kids shouldn’t dig into these delights whose aroma of orange liqueur could be smelled from several rooms over.
To my chagrin, when my uncle split up with his girlfriend several years later, my first thought was, “But who will bring the cupcakes to Christmas Eve?!” and then switched to, “We don’t even have the recipe!” Believe it or not, I think she must have telepathically sensed my panic, and she actually mailed me the recipe, knowing that my dad and I were more than likely mourning the loss of her treasured Cointreau cupcakes.
The gauntlet had been handed down, and my mother and I were now the keepers of the magic cupcake recipe and would bring them to the party where everyone would snatch them up like gold treasure. No, we did not add anything more than Cointreau if you are beginning to wonder just how magical these little goodies were. Great food and good liqueur were just well appreciated over here (and still are I might add!).
Fast forward several years and picture me being a seventeen-year-old Cointreau Cake expert. For a class party in Calculus, I thought it would be just a dandy idea to bring my devilishly drunken cupcakes.
As a parent, I can see how ridiculous it would be to send my kid to school with alcohol laced cupcakes, but luckily, my teacher seemed to appreciate their “gourmet-ness” and never mentioned the improper addition of alcohol.
Of course, I now question his fondness for them and wonder what my parents (and I) were thinking for letting me bring them to school, but all’s well that ends well I guess. He even made a request for them at future class parties. Hmmmm?
Anyhow, just before I graduated from school, rather than getting sentimental about the leaving of one his more illustrious students (me incase you were wondering), I believe he was lamenting the loss of his cupcake dealer. Before my final day, he politely asked for the recipe and, of course, I obliged.
So, now I am bestowing on you this infamous Cointreau Cake recipe, EXCEPT that my old recipe included the use of a box mix and as we all know, I am just not a box mix kind of girl these days. So, I revamped this recipe and have decided that it is truly better than ever and still as drunk as it ever was so don’t get all sentimental on me.
It can be made into a layer cake, bundt cake or cupcakes so have at it and perhaps you will have a sordid tale to tell after you have shared them.
*So as not to seem like such a “made from scratch” snob, I have decided to also share the box mix version which honestly is amazing and very, very easy with a mix. Simply scroll to the bottom. Enjoy!
Cointreau Laced Devil’s Food Cake
Makes one bundt cake, one layer cake or about 24 cupcakes.
3/4 c. vegetable oil
3/4 c. Cointreau or Grand Marnier
1 c. buttermilk
2 egg yolks
2 c. granulated sugar
2 c. all purpose flour
3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa
1 T. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. boiling water
For the Cointreau Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 c. (one stick) of just barely softened butter
4 0z of cream cheese (low-fat is fine)
2 T. Cointreau 0r Grand Marnier
2 c. powdered sugar (+ more if frosting needs thickening)
For the Cake: Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Spray your bundt pan with cooking spray or prepare your two round 9 or 8 inch baking pans by spreading a pat of butter all over the bottom and sides of each pan. For cupcakes, just line your muffin tin with liners. Then drop a tablespoon of flour in each pan and tap the flour all over the pan, sideways and upside down at the end (over the sink) to remove excess flour. IMPORTANT: Make sure there are NO ungreased, unfloured spots on your pan. If there are, add a little more butter and flour on those spots. Heat your oven to 325 degrees.
In a stand mixer or mixing bowl, combine oil, Cointreau, buttermilk, yolks, and vanilla. Beat 2 minutes with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer at medium speed. In another bowl, sift together (or use a wire whisk like I do to avoid sifting) sugar, flour cocoa, baking soda and salt.
With mixer on LOW speed, add one third of the sifted dry ingredients to oil mixture and beat until blended. Then add one third of the hot water and slowly combine these (you don’t want the hot water to splatter on you…ouch!). Continue this process, scraping down the bowl often until all ingredients have been add and mixed.
Pour equal amounts of batter into the prepared cake pan(s) Bake at 325 for 45-50 minutes for the bundt cake or 35 minutes for the layer cakes (or 20-25 minutes for Cupcakes), testing the cake for doneness (clean toothpick and cake should be springy when you lightly touch it). Cool in pans on racks 15 minutes then transfer to a wire rack, remove cakes and cool completely.
For the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the Cointreau and sifted powdered sugar and beat to oblivion until you have a nice smooth frosting. If it is too runny, add powdered sugar 1/4 c. at a time until the thickness you need for frosting. For the bundt cake, I put the frosting into a ziploc bag fitted with a large piping tip and piped the big swoops of frosting in a zigzag motion. Don’t let your frosting sit out and get soft. It’s much better to work with it when it’s cold and a little bit thick/firm.
Refrigerate your cake until 1/2 hour before serving it and then let sit out at room temperature for just 3o minutes or so. The cream cheese frosting can get runny when too warm as you can tell from my photos which were taken in the warm California sun (yes, I do know how lucky I am and will never, ever be anything but a California girl).
Box Mix Cointreau Cake from the Recipe Files of Shirley
1 pkg. chocolate fudge or Devil’s Food Cake mix
1 c. sour cream
4 eggs (four, it is not a type-o)
1/2 c. vegetable oil (or Canola)
3/4 c. Cointreau
1/8 c. water
1 T. cocoa powder
Follow mixing and baking ingredients according to the package directions. Use my frosting recipe above and enjoy! You will NOT be disappointed.
Alternative Icing: Chocolate Ganache Laced with Grand Marnier*
8 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup whipping cream or half and half
1-2 Tablespoons Grand Marnier or Cointreau
1 teaspoon orange liquor
1/8 teaspoon salt
*This icing/glaze can be thick or thin depending on if you want icing or frosting. Just add less cream if you want frosting and you can add powdered sugar or cocoa powder if you need to thicken it a bit.
Instructions: Heat chocolate chips in a micorwave save bowl for 1 minute. Heat cream separately for 45 seconds to 1 minute, or until very hot/boiling. Pour cream over chocolate chips and wait for 1 minute. Beat with wire whisk until smooth. Stir in Grand Marnier, extract and salt. Add more cream if needed to thin out. Drizzle glaze over cake and let set before serving. You can refrigerate if you need the glaze to set up faster. Enjoy!