Florida Grapefruit & Cointreau Golden Cake

I’ll be the first to admit, this cake made me crazy. I was inspired to make it when my Insta friend across the globe, Roohi, received a bottle of Cointreau and asked me for some ideas.

I recalled one of my all time favorite cookbooks by Camille Glenn: The Heritage of Southern Cooking , is filled with scores of recipes using spirits and libations. Camille’s famous Gala Golden Cointreau Cake recipe premiered in this book- a confection she created for debutantes and brides in Louisville, Kentucky.

She describes the cake texture as “diaphanous.”

At first glance, the recipe seems to be a straight forward chiffon cake- eggs separated, yolks whipped until fluffy and luscious with sugar, egg whites folded in with orange juice and a touch of Cointreau.

But that’s where I decied to try my own thing, not wanting to copy this famous recipe exactly. How do I take a classic cake, make it my own and still keep it light, fluffy and like an angel’s kiss?

My first attempts at this cake were – okay, but not very flavorful. The orange juice and Cointreau were too sweet for my taste buds. And I kept overbaking the cake. There was no moisture at all.

So here I go- deconstructing yet another recipe.

I began with the juice. I switched to Ruby Red Grapefruit juice from my friends at Hollieanna Groves in Maitland, Fl. I nearly doubled the amount of juice AND Cointreau. Now we’re talking.

I baked the cake for only an hour, immediately turned it upside down (in an angel food tube pan with legs) and the cake was perfect. Light, airy, and yes- diaphanous. The bite from the grapefruit was what it needed. Ahhh- baking nirvana.

Pick up a copy of this classic enclyopedia of Southern Cooking. The vintage photogaphs and excellent instructions are something everyone who loves Southern Food should have in their cookbook library. You’ll find recipes like “Tidewater Feather Rolls”, her famous “White Trillium Cake”, “Jupiter Island Lime Meringue Pie” and “Old Seelbach House Tenderloin Chunks”.

Enjoy Roohi- this one’s for you.

Florida Grapefruit and Cointreau Golden Cake

  • 8 large eggs, room temperature

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar

  • 1 cup all purpose flour, sifted twice

  • 3 tsp Cointreau

  • 1 tsp vanilla paste

  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

  • 1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar

  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice

  • Cointreau Frosting
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

  • 2 3/4 cups confectioners sugar ( icing sugar)

  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt

  • 3 TBSP ruby red grapefruit juice

  • 6-8 TBSP Cointreau or more if needed

  • 1 large egg yolk

Method- overnight

  • Pre heat oven to 325 degrees
  • Separate the eggs. Place the yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on high until they are a pale yellow and smooth but increased in volume. Slowly add in the sugar increasing speed until the yolks are thick and creamy. Whisk in the grapefruit juice. and blend well. Transfer to a large bowl.
  • Sift the flour over the whipped egg yolks and sugar and fold in by hand making certain there are no lumps. Fold in the vanilla and Cointreau. Set aside.
  • Sprinkle the salt over the egg whites. In a clean bowl of a stand mixer beat the egg whites until foamy and light. Add in the Cream of Tartar and beat on high until the whites hold stiff peaks- about 4 minutes total.
  • Delicately fold spoonfuls at a time of egg whites into the egg yolk mixture to loosen the batter. Gently fold in the remianing whites taking care not to deflate the batter.
    Spoon the batter into a UNGREASED 10″ angel food cake pan with a removeable bottom. Do not fill the cake pan more than three quarters full.

    If you have extra batter, you can make cup cakes.
  • Bake the cake on the middle rack at 325 degeees for 1 hour or until a cake tester comes out clean. Turn the cake upside down on the tube pan legs and let it rest at room temp overnight before frosting.
  • Remove the cake by using a sharp knife and then unmold the cake. You may need to run the knife under the base as well to loosen.
  • Pipe the frosting over the top of the cake leaving the sides bare. Chill until serving. The unfrosted cake freezed very well.

Cointreau Frosting- 10 minutes, plus 30 minutes to chill

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium high speed until fluffy. Slowly add in the sugar and salt until well combined. Beat on high until fluffy- about 1 minute.
  • Add in the egg yolk and the Cointreau tasting after 6 tablespoons to see if you need more. Add in the grapefruit juice . You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl to fully incorporate the ingredients. Beat until well combined.
  • Fill a piping bag and pipe the frosting on the top of the cooled cake or decorate with swirls.
    Chill at least 30 minutes prior to serving.
I prefer vanilla paste for this batter.
Look at this luscious batter coming together.
Fill an angel food cake pan with a removable bottom- do not grease the pan.
Ready for frosting
Swirls of Cointreau spiked frosting, citrus blooms and slices of grapefruit- such a pretty cake.
The cake is so light and airy- you can have more than one slice.

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