Chocolate and Vanilla Grand Marnier Torte

Chocolate and Vanilla Grand Marnier Torte ~ Delicate layers of chocolate and vanilla bean sponge cakes soaked in a simple syrup of Grand Marnier and finished with an  elegant draping of Valrhona chocolate.

Grand Marnier Chocolate and Vanilla Bean Torte BakerRoyale Pot3 1024x7681

Chocolate and Vanilla Grand Marnier Torte

You can make this recipe as one large layer cake, but I prefer making mini cakes. I know cupcakes are all the rage and I’m part of it. I love them and love making them, but my signature before the cupcake takeover was for mini cakes.

Sticking with what I do best, this is one of the first mini cakes I made and still one of my favorite mini cakes. It’s simple to assemble, subtle in sweetness and always a show stopper.

A few notes:
1. Your cakes can be made the night before and assembled the next day.
2. Torte here is taking on a untraditional role as most Americans understand it. Most Americans refer to torte cakes as one containing almonds in the mixture.The word torte in most European countries simply means cake.  In this recipe I am following the European understanding of torte.
3. Your palate, your preference. Get creative and create your own flavor as this cake is extremely versatile. A flavor change out I have used with great success is raspberry for orange, Framboise for Grand Marnier and then garnish with sugar frosted raspberries instead of candied oranges.
4. For the chocolate and vanilla bean sponge cake I use Rose Levy Beranbaum’s recipe from her book Cake Bible. If you don’t have this book, follow the link to JoyofBaking’s site for the chocolate recipe and for the vanilla bean recipe. Stephanie of Joy of Baking adapts both of Rose’s sponge cake recipe (sorry, can’t reprint without permission).
5. For the vanilla sponge cake I added two scraped vanilla pods and added it to the sugar to give the cake an extra vanilla bite. You can skip this if you do not have any on hand.

Chocolate and Vanilla Grand Marnier Torte

Yields 12 2×3 mini cakes

{Printer Verion}


Chocolate and Vanilla Bean Sponge Cakes: See notes for recipe

Grand Marnier Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 3 tablespoons Grand Marnier

Chocolate Ganache Covering:

  • 12 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon of Grand Marnier

Candied Orange Peel:

  • 4 oranges, peel only
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water


Grand Marnier Simple Syrup:
In a small saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil; simmer until the sugar is dissolved, 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in Grand Marnier once cooled.

Chocolate Ganache Covering:
1. Place the chopped chocolate into a medium bowl and set aside.
2. Heat the cream and butter in a saucepan over low heat and gently stir. Heat cream and butter until bubbles start to form around the edges of the pan. Remove saucepan from heat.
3. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let the mixture rest for 3 minutes. Then gently stir until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Add the liqueur and whisk to incorporate.
4. Pour over mini cakes once mixture has cooled to the consistency of heavy cream.

Candied Orange Peel:

1. Using a peeler zest orange of longs strips of peel until orange is only covered in pith.
2. Cut peels into1inch strips.
3. Bring sugar and water to a boil and gently add peels. Simmer for 30-45minutes or until peels are translucent.
4. Remove peels from syrup and dry on a cooling rack until ready for garnishment.


1. Evenly cut 1/4in layers from each cake.
2. Using a pastry brush coat each layer with the Grand Marnier simple syrup. For a stronger Marnier intensity give the cake one full brushing after assembly.
3. Place assembled mini cakes on a cooling rack and pour melted ganache to cover.
4. Garnish with candied oranges.

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  1. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonMary says

    The Joy of Baking recipes specify certain baking pans — do you use mini cupcake pans?


    • Avatar for Naomi Robinson

      Naomi replied: — October 11th, 2010 @ 8:34 pm

      Hi Mary,

      No, I actually use Chicago Metallic’s Mini Cheesecake pans or I use cake rings and place the rings on a silpat. If you don’t have a silpat, parchment paper will work just as well.