Chocolate, Clementine and Grand Marnier Layer Cake

November 19, 2023 0 Comments

Chocolate, Clementine and Grand Marnier Layer Cake

Delicious and decadent this dessert also makes a striking centre piece for any dinner table. Chocolate and orange are a classic combination – a recent nationwide poll found that orange is the third most popular flavour (behind vanilla and chocolate), something we can attest to based on our bestselling ‘Orange Chocolate Crackle’.
The cream and fruit provide a refreshingly light edge to the rich moist chocolate sponge, ideal even at the end of a large meal. The addition of Grand Marnier is entirely optional, and although it has a fairly mild flavour, I think it adds a little depth to the orange, but any citrus flavoured syrup (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) would do the job.

 As with all our recipes, tweak according to personal taste preference and feel free to leave your own hints, tips and recommendations in the comments section.


Serves 12 


Sponge                                                                Filling

200g Self Raising flour                                    5 / 6 Clementines

225g Butter (salted)                                         3 Tbsp Grand Marnier – Optional

2 tsp Baking powder                                       500ml Double or Whipping Cream

225g Sugar

2 tbsp Cocoa powder

4 Medium Eggs

3 tbsp Oil (vegetable or sunflower)

Topping (Ganache)

125ml Double Cream

100g Robins and Sons chocolate chips


Mixing bowl

1 x round baking tin 20cm deep (greased)

1 x round baking tin 20cm shallow (greased)

Wooden spoon for mixing / Electric whisk


Preheat oven to 1700C / 3250F


1. Sieve flour, cocoa powder and baking powder together in a mixing bowl.

2. Add butter, sugar, eggs and oil into the dry mix (butter and sugar can be creamed separately if you prefer, however this ‘all-in-one’ method works just fine). Mix thoroughly with an electric whisk, if possible, until smooth. The mixture should fall off a spoon fairly easily when tapped on the side of the bowl, but if too thick, add a little water, until the consistency is looser.

3. Spoon 2/3 of the mixture into the larger tin, and the remaining 1/3 into the smaller tin. If your oven is large enough to accommodate 3 baking tins at one time, using 3 shallow instead of 1 shallow and 1 deep will save you having to slice the deeper sponge into 2 later on. But remember to shorten baking times accordingly. TIP – to ensure the cake rises fairly flat (rather than like a ‘volcano’), make a small ‘well’ in the centre of the mixture.

Christmas Chocolate Orange and Grand Marnier Cake Recipe             Christmas Recipe Chocolate Orange and Grand Marnier layer cake

4. Bake on the middle shelf of a pre-heated oven – remove the smaller sponge after 25 minutes, leave the larger sponge in for a further 5 minutes and then remove from the oven.

5. Insert a skewer or thin knife into the centre of the cake and if it comes out clean, your cake is cooked. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack. TIP: When cool, run a palette or flat edged knife around the outside edge of the cake and it will release more easily.

6. Segment the clementines – (see ‘How to segment an orange’). Top and tail the fruit first, stand it on one end, and slice in a downward motion to remove the peel. Then carefully run a sharp knife in between each membrane to release the segments. Place segments in a shallow bowl.

How to segment and orange christmas recipe

Optional. Drain away the excess clementine juice (not needed) and add 3 tablespoons of Grand Marnier to the segments. Leave to soak whilst the sponges are cooling.

7. When completely cold, slice the taller sponge into 2 horizontally. You should now have 3 layers of chocolate sponge in total.

8. Drain the clementine slices and reserve the liquor.

9. Whip the cream until firm.

10. Brush the top of the base and middle layer sponges with the reserved Clementine / Grand Marnier liquor and spread half the cream over the base layer and top with half of the drained clementine segments. Place some of the segments close to the outer edge of the sponge layer, so that they are seen once the cake is assembled.

Christmas Recipe Chocolate Orange and Grand Marnier Layer cake

11. Repeat with the second sponge layer, and then add the final top sponge layer.

Ganache Topping

12. Place the chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl and set aside.

13. Place the cream in a small saucepan and heat gently, stirring regularly until it starts to bubble, remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate chips. The warmth of the cream should start to soften the chocolate, then whisk until smooth

14. Allow the ganache to cool slightly before pouring over the top of the cake HINT: start at the centre of the cake and work outward. Decorate as desired.

TIP: For a fluffy frosting or chocolate filling, allow it to cool until thick, then whip with a whisk. 

Chocolate Orange and Grand Marnier layer cake