A Valentine's Day Gift From The Heart
I’ve always been crazy about decorative cake pans, from the little train pan I chose for our son’s second birthday to bundt pans of all shapes. So, when Nordic Ware reached out to me recently about their new Floral Heart Bouquet Bundt pan, I was all in. Stamped with an intricate design featuring roses, daisies, and leaves, I set about creating a special cake recipe for this romantic Valentine pan.
The result is Grand Marnier Valentine Bundt Cake – a pretty butter cake flavored with freshly grated orange zest and an easy Grand Marnier syrup that’s brushed onto the cake after baking. Adding the zest while the butter and sugar cream together extracts the natural oils from the orange skin, resulting in a more intense flavor than if the zest is simply stirred into the batter. In a nod to the current ridiculously high price of eggs, I made this cake using two large eggs, but for a moister cake I would recommend three, especially when baking at high altitude where the air is very dry.
The trick to any bundt cake, especially one with an intricate design, is successfully removing the cake from the pan. I swear by nonstick cooking spray-with-flour when it comes to cakes that release from the pan without sticking – especially critical when a decorative design is at stake – but even I discovered an extra heavy spray made a difference when it came to a perfect result.
Setting the cake on a wire rack to cool until it’s almost room temperature is also an important step, as a warm bundt cake is more apt to stick in all the wrong places. Once the cake is removed, the Grand Marnier syrup – a mixture of confectioners’ sugar and Grand Marnier – is readily absorbed by the slightly warm cake and seals in its flavor and freshness. At just six cups, this smaller bundt pan is the perfect size for a small gathering of friends or a Valentine celebration for two with leftover cake for the next two days.
Garnished with orange slices, a border of Chantilly cream, or swirls of buttercream frosting along the base of the cake, Grand Marnier Valentine Bundt Cake is a heartfelt gift from the oven. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Grand Marnier Valentine Bundt Cake
- 1 ¼ cups flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 2 eggs, at room temperature*
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 2 teaspoons Grand Marnier
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Nordic Ware Floral Heart Bouquet Bundt pan (6 cup capacity)
Position the oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well blended; set it aside.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter, sugar, and orange zest until light and fluffy, about 8 minutes. Add eggs, beating well after each addition. Gradually add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with the milk, beating until the batter is thick. Add Grand Marnier and vanilla, mixing well.
Spray the 6-cup heart-shaped bundt pan well with nonstick baking spray-with-flour. Spoon the batter into the pan, tap it several times on the bottom to settle the batter into the pan, and bake 30-33 minutes or until a tester inserted into the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and set it on a wire rack to cool. When the cake is almost cool, run a sharp knife along the center of the pan to loosen the cake, tap it several times on the bottom, place a wire rack over the top of the cake, and invert it to display the cake’s floral pattern.
Brush gently with Grand Marnier syrup, allowing it to soak into the cake and drip down the sides. Set the cake aside until the syrup has set. Transfer the cake to a platter and garnish as desired.
Grand Marnier Syrup
In a small bowl, whisk together ½ cup sifted confectioners’ sugar and ¼ cup Grand Marnier until the syrup is smooth.
*Chef’s Note: For a moister cake, use 3 large eggs instead of 2
Yield: 1 cake