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Grand Marnier Carrot Cake

Delicious nuances of bright orange flavor grace this wonderfully moist carrot cake and luscious cream cheese frosting. The orange flavor is an unexpected, but nice surprise. This is my new favorite carrot cake recipe!

Grand Marnier Carrot Cake

Serves: 18

Yield:1 cake

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges, undrained
  • freshly-squeezed orange juice
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil (note*) or 1 cup vegetable oil (note*)
  • 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier (or other orange liqueur**)
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened (note*)
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Grand Marnier (or other orange liqueur**)
  • 1 1/4 lbs powdered sugar
  • 4 teaspoons freshly-squeezed orange juice


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt; set aside.

Pour mandarin oranges with juice into blender or food processor and pulse a couple times just until oranges are roughly chopped; add enough freshly-squeezed orange juice to make 1 1/4 cups chopped mandarin orange-juice blend; set aside.

In mixing bowl, beat eggs and add sugars; stir in oil, the mandarin orange-juice blend, liqueur, and orange zest; then stir in carrots, coconut, and optional nuts; add dry ingredients and stir well to combine.

Pour batter into a 9x13" baking pan that has been greased and floured or just coated with no-stick cooking spray; a half-batch may be baked in either an 8x8" or 9x9" baking pan.

Bake at 350°F for about 40 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center of cake comes out clean; a 9x9" cake will be done in 35 to 40 minutes; cool cake completely before frosting.

For frosting: Beat together butter and cream cheese; stir in liqueur; gradually add powdered sugar, stirring well after each addition and gradually adding the freshly-squeezed orange juice; adjust powdered sugar and orange juice amounts as needed for proper spreading consistency.

Because of the cream cheese it's best to keep this cake refrigerated after frosting, but for maximum flavor you may want to bring the cake back to room temperature after refrigeration. The frosted cake freezes well.

*Note: The simple to make recipe halves very easily. Applesauce may be substituted for half of the canola oil and reduced-fat cream cheese may be used.

**Note: The Recipezaar Kitchen Dictionary provides the following substitution: 2 tbsp unsweetened orange juice concentrate or orange juice + 1/2 tsp orange extract = 2 tbsp Grand Marnier.

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