The “Marie Antoinette”


{Chocolate Grand Marnier® with Orange Zest}

This is a cupcake rich and decadent enough to be named after the last queen of France. Even so, I love that this recipe uses no butter in the cake, and no confectioner’s sugar in the icing!

I followed the recipe out of a book called Intoxicated Cupcakes, given to me by a couple of Memphis co-workers. For the most part, the recipe works very well as written. The only word of warning I have is that when you melt chocolate chips, you must melt only 2/3 to 3/4 of it, then keep stirring as it cools. You want to try not to let it clump up and dry.

This was actually one of 3 different cupcakes I made for my mom’s party:


The banana strawberry ones on the middle tier were the most popular, but I’ve already posted the recipes for that, just in two different spots. The banana cupcake comes from the Elvis, and the strawberry icing comes from the Jaliyah. Great combination. Speaking of swapping cupcakes and icing, the strawberry icing goes very well on this chocolate Grand Marnier® cupcake too!

Yields 18 cupcakes.

For the cupcakes:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups strong coffee, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Grand Marnier®
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar

For the icing: 

  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp Grand Marnier®, warm
  • zest from 1 large orange, for garnish


Cupcake directions:

1. Brew your favorite coffee. Let it cool to room temperature.

2. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line 2 cupcake pans with 18 cupcake liners. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. With an electric mixer on a low speed, slowly add the oil and vanilla until fully incorporated.

4. Gradually add the coffee and the Grand Marnier®. The mixture will separate and then come back together to form a smooth consistency. Add the vinegar, mixing until just combined.

5. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners.

6. Bake for 16 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.


Icing directions:

1. Heat the chocolate chips in a double boiler at a low temperature. If you don’t have a double boiler, take 2 pots of different sizes (or a pan and a pot). The smaller should be able to perch on the edges of the larger one. Place the chocolate chips in a glass bowl inside the smaller pot. Inside the larger pot, you will need to bring 1 to 2 cups of water to a simmer. The steam from the water will heat your top pot, so be sure there’s space in between the water and the top pot.

2. Stir until 3/4 of the chocolate is melted. Remove from the heat and continue stirring. Allow the chocolate to cool completely while stirring.

3. In a bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the Grand Marnier®. Gradually beat in the cooled chocolate, beating until thick and creamy.

4. Frost the cupcakes.

5. Decorate the tops with orange zest.


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