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Orange Liqueur Tipsy Cake

From Chef Oonagh Williams of Gluten-Free Cooking with Oonagh 

Chef Oonagh' Orange Liqueur Tipsy CakeSee me make this recipe on New Hampshire’s ABC WMUR Cooks Corner on Wednesday, December 7 during the noon news. I will also post on Gluten Free Cooking with Oonagh on Facebook. I found that when I tried to make this the traditional way, the egg butter mix curdled too much. In England, we used to make this for weddings in a 16” square, deep cake pan using a complete bottle of sherry or brandy until the cake was sitting in a puddle of alcohol laced syrup.

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1½ sticks (6 oz., 170 g.) butter very soft (Earth Balance is a good substitute)
  • ¾ cup (6 oz., 170 g.) sugar
  • 3 extra large eggs or 4 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. (15 ml.) gluten-free vanilla extract
  • Zest of one large orange
  • ⅓ cup (1¼ oz., 35 g.)  almond flour
  • 1 cup (4½ oz.) King Arthur gluten-free flour (not containing xanthan gum)
  • 4 tsp. (20 ml.) gluten-free baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 ml.) milk

Syrup Ingredients:

  • 2 cup (16 fl. oz., 480 ml.) orange juice
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ½ cup (4 fl. oz., 120 ml.) orange liqueur. Grand Marnier is wonderful, but also far more expensive than Triple Sec or Gran Gala. Choose whichever you can tolerate. Use brandy or rum as an alternative. Rum and brandy should both be naturally gluten-free, but flavorings may add gluten.


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 10” (25 cm) Bundt pan with food spray. A spring form pan can also be used, but the cake would then have to be placed in a different container for the syrup to soak in.
  2. Place softened butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, flour, almond flour, baking powder, milk and salt in mixing bowl. Beat with electric mixer until soft, fluffy and creamy, about 2 minutes. Stir in orange zest, which tends to stick to beaters, so you then have to the scrape zest off. Don’t skimp on this beating. Mix will get whiter and might look slightly curdled, but that won’t affect taste or texture.
  3. Spoon batter into prepared Bundt pan (it will only about half fill pan), smooth top and bake in preheated oven for approximately 30-40 minutes until cake is well-risen, deep golden brown and deeper brown around the edges. It might have a crack in the middle, but this will be hidden when you invert the cake.  Note: A dark pan will darken cake sooner.
  4. Remove cake from oven and leave to cool in pan for 10 minutes. Then use a thin spatula or thin plastic knife to release all edges of cake, including center hole.
  5. Turn cake out of pan onto plate. There is no need to let cake cool further.
  6. Make syrup by dissolving sugar slowly in orange juice, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 1 minute. Remove from heat, cool for a few minutes and add alcohol.
  7. Pour half of prepared syrup into Bundt pan and return cake to Bundt pan (no need to wash pan first). Pour remaining syrup over cake and leave in pan for about 10 minutes until cake has absorbed all syrup. It will look as if it is swimming in liquid at first.
  8. Carefully turn out onto serving plate (otherwise it might break) and leave to finish cooling. Don’t leave it in the pan to cool, as it becomes difficult to turn out. This cake does not need cream, but my mother (and me) always served it with whipped cream and sliced almonds sprinkled on top.

Note: I whip 1 cup of whipping cream with 1 Tbsp. orange liqueur and 1 Tbsp. powdered sugar, then I cut cake into slices and spread or pipe cream on top of each slice. Finish with chocolate curls, grated chocolate or chocolate shards. You can also leave cake whole and increase the quantity of cream and smother cake in cream with lots of chocolate curls and sliced almonds.

To make cupcakes: ⅓ of recipe makes about 4 muffins/cupcakes. Cook for about 15 minutes.


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