I've had this recipe in my "Still Need to Make" file for awhile, probably almost since I got the Cake Bible as a gift from my cousin Bernadette. There are so many good recipes in that book that almost always turn out that I couldn't bake them all. But I finally got around to this one, mostly because I wanted to use up more of the oranges from my mom's orange tree.
I did take the liberty of omitting the almonds because - you guessed it - I don't like nuts in my cake, especially not when it's supposed to be part of the batter itself. I also left out the chocolate chips because I don't like a fruit flavor with chocolate. I know some people like it but I don't. Can't abide Black Forrest cake or the dark chocolate candy orange they sell and even a chocolate-covered strawberry isn't my first choice for dessert. I like fruit by itself, preferably in its natural state or with something other than chocolate. Chocolate is reserved for eating by itself or only paired with a complementary flavor like caramel. Fruits like anything citrus just seems like there's "too much going on" for my taste buds.
Anyway, despite this not being how Rose Levy Berenbaum probably envisioned it's supposed to be, I think it still turned out well with my modifications. It became more of a simple, tender-textured Bundt cake. I didn't use all of the soaking syrup on it as I was afraid the Grand Marnier would be too overwhelming but it turns out I didn't use enough because the orange taste wasn't that strong.
½ cup chocolate mini chips or bittersweet chocolate chopped into ¼-inch pieces
¼ teaspoon Grand Marnier
1 ½ teaspoons cake flour
3 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons orange flower water or 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
2 ½ cups sifted cake flour
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon unblanched sliced almonds, toasted and finely ground
1 cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons grated orange zest
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
Grand Marnier Syrup
½ cup sugar
¼ cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
1/3 cup Grand Marnier
One 9-cup fluted tube pan, greased and floured
1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
2. In a small bowl toss the chocolate chips and Grand Marnier until the chips are moistened and shiny. Add the 1 ½ teaspoons flour and toss until evenly coated.
3. In a medium bowl, lightly combine the eggs, ¼ cup sour cream and orange flower water or vanilla.
4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients and orange zest and mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add the butter and the remaining ¾ cup sour cream. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed (high speed if using a hand mixer) and beat for 1 ½ minutes to aerate and develop the cake’s structure. Scrape down the sides. Gradually add the egg mixture in 3 batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the sides. Stir in the chocolate chips.
5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with a spatula. Bake 55 to 65 minutes or until a wire cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. The cake should start to shrink from the sides of the pan only after removal from the oven.
6. Shortly before the cake is done, prepare the syrup: Heat the sugar, orange juice, and Grand Marnier until the sugar is dissolved. Do not boil. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, place the pan on a rack, poke the top all over with a wire tester and brush on ½ the syrup. Cool in the pan on the rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto a lightly greased wire rack. Brush with remaining syrup and cool completely before glazing with chocolate or wrapping airtight.