Rosace à l’Orange Recipe

This is a Gaston Lenôtre classic, but I’ll be using components from the blog here to put it together. The original recipe uses one of those old foil cake layer pans — the kind you can sometimes still find in supermarkets — as a mold. You can use a 9″ round cake layer pan as a substitute, if you have one with sloping sides so much the better. In an ideal world the oranges should be sliced on a mandoline, since that gives the best presentation. If you don’t have one, a steady hand works almost as well. You’ll need:

1 large navel orange
1 cup (8 ounces) water
1 cup (8 ounces) sugar
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
about 2 1/2 cups diplomat cream
1 recipe génoise baked in a 9″ round cake pan, greased and lined

First, prepare the oranges. Slice them very thin, about 1/16″. Combine the sugar and water in a medium saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the orange slices and simmer for 2 hours. Pour the mixture into a bowl and let it sit on the counter overnight.

Combine about 2/3 cup of the orange syrup you’ve made with the Grand Marnier. Set six or seven of your best orange slices aside for decorating and roughly chop what’s left. Combine the pastry cream and whipped cream. Separate the mixture in two, and fold the chopped orange pieces into one half.

Line the cake pan with plastic wrap, then with orange slices, arranged in a decorative pattern. Fill the mold half way with the diplomat cream (without orange slices). Cut the génoise cake layer in two and brush each half with the Grand Marnier syrup. Place one of the layers into the mold. Cover the layer with the diplomat cream that has the chopped orange in it. Lay on the other piece of génoise, fill in the edges with more of the non-chopped-orange diplomat cream. Put a cake circle or plate on top and press down gently but firmly to compact it. Leave the plate on the cake and refrigerate it for at least two hours.

When you’re ready to unmold the cake, place a serving platter on top and flip everything over. Remove the mold, then very gently the pastil wrap. Brush the orange slices with remaining syrup to make them shiny. The cake will hold for up to 48 hours.

14 thoughts on “Rosace à l’Orange Recipe”

  1. I have never seen one of these. I would think they were quite delicious but the thought of running oranges across a mandolin makes me shudder! What a mess that would make. Maybe after I win the lotto and can pay someone to clean up after me 😉

  2. This sounds amazing! Is it better to use thin skinned oranges? And what would lemons or limes be like? Perhaps Meyer lemons?

    1. Yes indeed it does work with other types of citrus, Tonia. Orange is just the most famous version.

      Great question!

      – Joe

  3. when I tossed the cake on to a plate and removed plastic cling film the cake collapsed as the creme patissière wasn’t firm. Should I have put it in the fridge for somw time and for how long?

    1. Hi Joan!

      This cake is trickier than it first appears, as you discovered. But yes, some refrigeration usually helps to set pastry cream, even after it’s already been applied. Best of luck with the next attempt, and I trust that it was still quite tasty even if it didn’t hold its shape. Heaped into a dish it makes great trifle!


      – Joe

  4. can I put the cake into the freezer before removing the mould and if so, for how long

    1. Hi Joan!

      You can do that, but you don’t want to freeze the cream, so I’d say 20-30 minutes, just to firm everything up!

      Best of luck,

      – Joe

  5. Thanks for the great recipe.
    I was wondering whether you can freeze the rosace-a-lorange after it has been made to eat at a later date?

    1. Hey Marvin!

      Unfortunately no, it doesn’t freeze. Invite some friends over and pour the coffee!


      – Joe

  6. Dear Joe, I just found your site and am going to make this cake. Made the génoise and am doing the oranges right now. Tomorrow the rest. I have never made anything as unusual as this and am apprehensive. Wish me luck! Sorry to see you are not continuing with this but this is how life goes and at least it is for good things.

    1. Hey Lauren!

      I’m sure you’ve discovered how tricky this cake is, and how beguilingly delicious. Hope it went well and thanks for the note. Keep baking!

      – Joe

  7. Hi Joe!
    I would like to know why the orange slices are a little bit bitter and the syrup too

    1. Hey Natasha!

      It is the white “pith” of the orange, which is just beneath the skin (zest). It’s just bitter. But that touch of bitterness is simply part of the aesthetic of the dish!

      Hope yours turned out great!

      – Joe

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *