Cointreau Double Chocolate Cake

Let’s be honest here: chocolate cake is good. Double chocolate is even better. But double chocolate cake flavored with orange liqueur? That’s the best.

After I made dark chocolate ganache dessert cups, I knew I wanted to create another dessert featuring good quality dark chocolate and Cointreau. It took me a couple of months, but the wait was worth it.

I made a soft, sponge-like chocolate layer cake, brushed on a generous amount of orange liqueur, then frosted everything with a thick, bittersweet sour cream frosting.

I added a ring of raspberries and a shower of white chocolate shavings just to make it a little prettier, but in reality, when you’re eating a cake that tastes this good, you don’t really need to worry about prettying things up.

I made this for a small dinner party I hosted a few weeks back, which coincided with the season opening of True Blood. For some reason, a liqueur-infused cake just seemed right for the occasion. I also served vincotto fettucini (I figured a red wine dish would work while we’re watching sexy vampires) and some appetizers and a cheese plate:

I love serving a variety of little bites when entertaining. My cheese plate consisted of some aged gouda, red pepper jelly, marinated mozzarella balls, dried figs, flaxseed crackers, and strawberries. I also served some orange cardamon chocolate almonds, edamame hummus, mini savory crackers, and olive oil potato chips:

I bought almost everything at Trader Joe’s except for the aged gouda and dried figs (which I got at Whole Foods) and the heavenly almonds (which I received as a sample from Q’s Nuts, thanks again Q!).  There is red pepper jelly at Trader Joe’s, too (mine is from Stonewall Kitchen). And no, this post is not sponsored by Trader Joe’s. I just really like TJs.

But back to the cake.

So yeah, chocolate cake.

That is brushed with Cointreau.

Then slathered with dark chocolate sour cream frosting.

Really is the best kind of chocolate cake.

Cointreau Double Chocolate Cake



2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature (for greasing the pans)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk (I just used milk with lemon)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
1/3 cup orange liquer (Cointreau)


15 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (I used Callebaut)
2 1/4 cups sour cream, at room temperature
1/4 cup honey
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Make the cake. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Butter two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.
  3. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a big bowl and mix until combined.
  4. In another bowl, combine the milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Mix slowly, and add the wet ingredients to the dry. Add the coffee and stir just to combine. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
  5. You can also pop the cakes in the freezer for 30 minutes to firm them up, because that makes it easier to slice off the domed tops. Using a pastry brush, coat the cake layers with the orange liqueur.
  6. Make the frosting. Melt the chocolate in the microwave, using 30 second increments then stirring. Whisk together the sour cream, honey, and vanilla extract until combined. Add the chocolate slowly and stir quickly until the mixture is uniform.
  7. Now you can assemble your cake. This recipe makes a substantial amount of frosting so don't be stingy when icing your layer cake :)

cake recipe modified from Ina Garten's Chocolate Cake

frosting recipe modified from Smitten Kitchen

This is just my second attempt at making a layer cake so I’m not making up any of my own recipes yet. I am also learning a lot with each try. I wish I thought of adding Cointreau to the icing itself, or even soaking the raspberries in Cointreau – then adding more raspberries in the middle with the frosting. But there’s always next time. Another cake, another time.

PS – I admit I do like my birthday cake better, but I’m just biased because… well, it was MY birthday cake!


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