So that people who avoid alcohol could still enjoy the extraordinarily moist yet soft texture of my Grand Marnier cake, I’ve adapted the recipe using ground almonds and lemon. The almonds are responsible for the wondrously moist and dense crumb. The divinely luscious flavor of lemon is punched up with zesty lemon oil.
Creating this cake presented a challenge. It required less leavening because more sugar was necessary to balance the lemon juice. I couldn’t add the extra sugar to the syrup because it wouldn’t dissolve, so it had to be added to the cake, which made the cake more tender. All-purpose flour with its higher protein compensated perfectly for the increased tenderness. I love this cake so much that I’m offering it in two sizes, first in a full-size 10-cup fluted tube pan, and also as a variation at two-thirds the size, in a 6-cup fluted tube pan, which is perfect for holiday giving. You can serve this cake the day it is made, but the lemon flavor mellows and becomes more pure, and the syrup distributes more evenly, by the next day.