Make Ahead

Cointreau Daffodil Cake

July  3, 2021
1 Ratings
Photo by First photo: Julia Gartland. Remaining Photos: Pia Silver | The Inspirational Nook
  • Prep time 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • Serves 12
Author Notes

Some things just never go out of style... they just get better with time!

Light as cotton, airy as a Spring breeze carrying hints of fragrant orange blossom, this fluffy pale yellow and white daffodil cake, delicately flavored with orange Cointreau liqueur and decorated with sugared pastel violas is a delightfully refreshing take on a retro dessert recipe from the 1940s, specially and symbolically revamped for 2021.

The original version from the 1940s:
Open up any recipe book from the '40s and '50s from Good Housekeeping to Betty Crocker and you are sure to find Daffodil cake featured under sponge cakes, sandwiched somewhere between its more popular cousins, Angel food cake and Chiffon cake. Daffodil cake is a completely butter-free and oil- free cake, featuring egg yolks in half the batter and egg whites in the other half, layered in swirls and baked into a light and high, airy sponge cake.

Retro revival revamped for 2021:
My update to this timeless and memorable old-fashioned dessert was flavoring it with bright citrus notes and and decadently lacing it with Cointreau liqueur and a sweet Cointreau icing with orange zest. Decorated with fresh or sugared edible flowers (pansies and violas in spring or nasturtiums in summer) this cake is truly a delight for the senses.

I specially chose to resurrect this vintage dessert for 2021. Last year was a very difficult year for many, but a year where we trimmed the fat and realized what's really important. As the clouds lifted earlier this year and the sun started to peek through, this low-fat, fragrant, light and sunny yellow cake, is a symbolic representation of 2021; a much needed breath of sweet fresh air and an edible ray of sunshine. A reminder that happiness and hope is on the horizon... and a reminder that things only get better with time. —Pia Silver | The Inspirational Nook

What You'll Need
  • For Meringue or White Batter
  • 6 Large egg whites at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Orange extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons Cointreau liqueur
  • 2/3 cup Fine granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup Cake flour- spooned and leveled
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • For Yellow Batter
  • 6 Large egg yolks at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons Cointreau liqueur
  • 1/2 cup Cake flour- spooned and leveled
  • 1/2 cup Fine granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Baking powder
  • Pinch Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Orange extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F. To prepare the Flour Mixture for the White Cake/ Meringue Batter: Sift the flour, baking powder and salt required for the White Cake Batter and set aside.
  2. To prepare the Flour Mixture for the Yellow Cake Batter: In a separate plate, sift the flour, baking powder and salt required for the Yellow Cake Batter and set aside.
  3. To prepare the White Cake Batter/ Meringue: Place egg whites in a large, clean bowl. Add cream of tartar, orange and vanilla extract; beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Add the Cointreau. Gradually add the sugar in a little at a time until the mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks. Add a 1/4 of the flour mixture at a time (prepared in Step 1) and fold it into the egg white mixture using a spatula until just combined. Do not over handle or over mix. Once all the flour mixture has been combined with the egg whites, set aside.
  4. To prepare the Yellow Cake Batter In another large bowl, beat egg yolks and Cointreau together. Add the orange and vanilla extract. Add the sugar, a little at a time and continue to beat well until the the mixture becomes a pale yellow. Add the flour mixture (prepared in Step 2) a little at a time, continuing to beat well until the batter is completely smooth and creamy. Using a spatula, fold in 1/3 of the White Meringue batter until just incorporated. Do not mix but fold, turning the bowl as you go.
  5. In an ungreased TUBE pan (not bundt pan), using a spoon, spoon in half the white meringue batter into the bottom of the tube pan, spreading lightly if necessary to cover the bottom of the pan. Then, spoon in or pour the yellow batter into the tube pan. Finally top, with the remaining white meringue batter, smoothing it out gently. Use a knife to cut through the batter to create a swirl or marble effect. Then, tap the pan on the counter twice to eliminate any air bubbles.
  6. In a pre-heated oven, bake in the lower third of oven (one notch below the half mark line) at 350°F for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and immediately invert pan onto a wire rack and leave it to cool completely. Approximately 1.5 hours to 2 hours. To remove from pan, use a knife/flexible rubber spatula to loosen the inner and outer edges of cake from the tube pan.
  7. Glaze the cake (OPTIONAL) (These ingredients are not part of the ingredient list above and are additional) Using a teaspoon, drizzle 1/4 cup of Cointreau onto the top and sides of the cake. Or use a pastry brush to brush the Cointreau into the cake. In a small bowl, combine 1 1/2 cup sifted confectioner's sugar, 2 tablespoons orange juice, 1 tablespoon Cointreau, 1 tablespoon melted butter and zest from 1 orange. Stir until smooth. Consistency should be thick and creamy enough to drizzle onto the cake. If not liquid enough, warm for 5-10 seconds in the microwave. Then drizzle all over the top of the cake. Glaze will harden slightly as it cools.
  8. Decorate (OPTIONAL) Before the glaze hardens, top the glazed top with fresh or candied flowers (pansies/ violas in Spring or nasturtiums in Summer). If available, arrange a small centerpiece of cut daffodils and narcissus or other seasonal flowers in a wine glass and set in the center of the cake. Bon appetit!

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