Grand Marnier Chocolate Torte


  • Prep Time1 hr 10 mins
  • Total Time2 hrs 10 mins
  • Makes12 to 16 servings
*PLUS chilling time
Grand Marnier Chocolate Torte

Cake design by Shannon Nocos, Produced by Chantal Braganza and Sun Ngo, Photography by Christie Vuong, Prop Styling by Madeleine Johari, Food Styling by Michelle Lucas Larving.

Readers requested this citrusy layered cake recipe from the 1970s so often that we reprinted it in 2000. Now we’re doing so again—with a little ’70s swagger in the decoration.


  • 2 1⁄2 cups (300 g) all-purpose flour

  • 1 1⁄4 cups (105 g) cocoa powder, unsweetened

  • 2 tsp baking soda

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 3/4 tsp salt

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1 cup (198 g) granulated sugar

  • 3/4 cup (160 g) brown sugar

  • 3 large eggs

  • 1 tbsp vanilla

  • 2 cups buttermilk


  • 1/3 cup (about 2 oranges) orange juice

  • 1/3 cup (66 g) granulated sugar

  • 1/2 tbsp gelatin powder

  • 8 tbsp orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier, divided

  • Zest of 2 oranges

  • 2 cups 35% cream

  • 3/4 cup (85 g) icing sugar, sifted

  • 1 batch Buttercream Icing, see below

  • Pink, red, yellow and orange food colouring


  • Put rack in centre of oven; preheat to 350F. Spray four 6-in. round cake pans with oil, then line with parchment.

  • Cake: Stir flour with cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl until no lumps remain.

  • Beat butter in a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high, until creamy. Gradually beat in 1 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 min. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then vanilla.

  • Reduce mixer speed to low, then beat in one-third of flour mixture, then half of buttermilk. Repeat, ending with flour mixture. Beat just until blended. Divide batter among prepared pans.

  • Bake until centre of cake springs back when lightly touched and sides of cake pull away from pan, 30 to 35 min. Cool pans on a rack for 10 min, then turn cakes out onto rack. Remove parchment. Cool completely.

  • Filling: Meanwhile, combine orange juice with 1/3 cup sugar and gelatin powder in a small saucepan set over medium. Cook, stirring constantly, until sugar and gelatin are dissolved, about 5 min. Remove from heat and stir in 4 tbsp liqueur and zest. Press a sheet of waxed paper into surface of orange mixture and refrigerate just until it no longer feels warm to the touch, about 20 min.

  • Beat cream in a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium, until soft peaks form. Beat in icing sugar until combined. Fold in cooled orange mixture.

  • Assembly: Place a cake layer on a serving plate. Brush with 1 tbsp liqueur. Spread one-third of filling over cake, almost to edge. Top with a second cake layer, then repeat brushing with liqueur and spreading of filling. Repeat until all layers have been added, ending with the fourth cake layer. Refrigerate for at least 4 hrs, preferably overnight.

  • Divide buttercream icing into four bowls. Stir enough of each food colouring into each bowl to achieve desired shades. Fill four piping bags, fitted with large grass tips, with icing. Pipe patches of each colour on cake, starting from bottom and working your way up. Then on top of cake, pipe from the outside edge towards the centre.

Buttercream Icing recipe

Our Buttercream Icing is crucial to achieving this cake's ’70s-inspired look. Get the recipe here.

Get more of our decadent & delicious chocolate recipes.