Easy and quick to make, yet decadent and moist, this Chocolate Orange Cake is the perfect dessert for any occasion! With vibrant colors, very few ingredients, its citrus flavor, and a perfectly classy flavor combination, it will definitely become a favorite all year round.
This chocolate orange cake recipe is surprising: you have an upside-down moist orange cake sponge as a base for a glorious chocolate drizzle on top!
Whisk together the orange sponge batter in five minutes and flavor it with freshly squeezed orange juice, orange zest, and thin slices; bake in the oven, and voila'... ready to decorate to your liking, with chocolate buttercream or drizzle, some simple chocolate oranges or orange zest, or some fancy buttercream frosting and sprinkles (your call!).
The freshness and lightness of the citrus, coupled with the richness of the chocolate, make this cake a great choice for most occasions, be it an afternoon tea, a mid-morning snack, or an after-dinner treat.
The flavor combination will definitely make you think of the festive season, such as Christmastime, however, the color pairing will work perfectly for Halloween... this orange chocolate cake is definitely an all-rounder!
- Dark Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: Only for dusting the cake tin, but if you have it, it is nicer than using flour.
- Oranges: This is the best ingredient you can put in the orange cake, as it makes the sponge taste better and its juice keeps it moist, compared to artificial orange flavor!
- Unsalted Butter: Butter is an important ingredient in baking as it helps to make the cake moist and fluffy, as it offers fat content.
- Caster Sugar, Self-Raising Flour, Whole Eggs: Together with the unsalted butter, these are the key ingredients to make a sponge cake.
- Baking Powder: Baking powder helps your cake to rise that little bit extra - even if you are using self-raising flour.
- Dark Chocolate: To decorate the cake after baking.
How To Make Chocolate Orange Cake?
This chocolate orange cake is flavored with fresh oranges and drizzled with chocolate and the preparation involves four main steps.
- Prepare the cake tin: start by covering the bottom of the round cake pan with a piece of parchment paper. Cover the sides of the pan with some unsalted butter, then with some unsweetened cocoa powder, remove any excess and your cake pan is ready.
- Should you want, you can grease the sides with some vegetable oil or olive oil instead of butter, as it is known for working well with oranges, however, ensure you use a mild one.
- Prepare the two oranges: you will need three main ingredients from the two oranges, these being (1) The zest of half an orange (2) One tablespoon of orange juice (3) Roundels to cover the base of the baking tin; these should be about 0.2 inches (5mm) thick.
- Prepare the orange cake batter: start by beating the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl on medium speed using an electric hand mixer (or a self-standing one, like a food processor) until you achieve a homogenous fluffy mix.
- Once done, add two eggs to the mix, before mixing and adding the second two; once these are all well mixed, add the orange juice, orange zest, and baking powder and mix well once more.
- As the last step, at a low speed, add the cake flour a bit at a time and allow it to completely incorporate into the mix; once done you are ready to put the chocolate orange cake batter in the prepared pan, on top of the orange slices (which can be positioned to achieve the preferred design).
- When putting the batter in the cake tin, don't bang the pan on the counter or try to make the batter flat, as this will remove the air bubbles formed during the beating and make for a dense cake.
- You are now ready to bake the chocolate orange cake in the center of the oven at 180 degrees Celsius (FAN), 350 Fahrenheit FAN, gas 6, or static oven at 200 degrees Celsius or 400 Fahrenheit for 35-40 minutes.
- Timing may slightly vary depending on the oven, so keep an eye on your sponge as you do not want it to overcook, but you want to achieve a moist cake. I have used a 10-inch round cake pan (25.5cm), so if your size is different, you will need to amend the time considering that as well.
- To test, insert a toothpick in the center of the orange cake and if it comes out clean, the sponge is done; additionally, see if the sides of the cake are lightly separating from the tin.
- To cool the cake down, place it on a wire rack and, once it reaches room temperature, remove it from the tin and turn it upside down, making the top of the cake the one with the orange slices.
- Prepare and apply the chocolate drizzle: melt the chocolate Bain Marie and remove it from the heat as soon as it has melted.
How to drizzle chocolate? There are a few ways this can be applied to the top of the cake; allow the chocolate to lightly cool down (without starting to harden) and use a sac a poche (to fill it, put it in a large glass, folding the sleeve around the rim), however, also a large spoon could be used for drizzling while the chocolate is hot.
Allow the chocolate to settle in the fridge and harden again before serving. Enjoy!
How to make chocolate drizzle that hardens?
Once the chocolate has melted, it will harden again once completely cooled down; to help this process be faster, the cake can be put in the fridge. If wanted and needed, a bit of butter or cream can be added to the chocolate before melting it, however, this will make the chocolate fattier and therefore a tiny bit softer; do not add cold or room temperature cream or butter to the chocolate when it has melted already, as this will make it curdle, but add them to the Bain Marie pot at the same time.
What buttercream goes with orange cake?
Chocolate buttercream, as well as orange buttercream work perfectly on top of this orange cake, however, I have a few interesting alternative options up my sleeve!
If you do not want to decorate your cake with chocolate or with more butter, then there are many other ways this can be done.
One of the most popular is to prepare an orange cream cheese frosting with cream cheese, confectioner sugar, and orange syrup, essence, or zest; an alternative to cream cheese can be hung Greek yogurt, with which you can follow the same process, although this may taste tangier.
Another great alternative is an orange glaze; this is a very easy recipe as it only requires mixing confectioner's sugar with some fresh juice and some optional orange zest. For a crunch and a shinier top, you can also use granulated sugar instead, however, this will require a bit more mixing before applying to the cake.
Should you wish to make the frosting using sour cream, then you can beat it with some butter, confectioner sugar, and some orange zest or extract for a delicious topping.
Vanilla extract is not really a great pairing for oranges, so I wouldn't recommend that as an alternative.
~~ LOVE fruit-based cakes? Try this delicious 5 Ingredient Vegan Banana Cake!
How to decorate the chocolate orange cake?
This cake requires very little decoration, as it is an upside-down cake, making it a very easy and beautiful solution.
Should you not have a round baking pan, then this can be baked in different sizes of loaf pans as well, however, depending on the size of it, different baking times will apply. To decorate the orange loaf, you can spread some orange cream butter or orange frosting on it (any from the suggestions in the question above) and drizzle with some orange zest. Should you be a fan of bundt cakes, then this would look spectacular with any topping, but I must admit that dark chocolate rolling down the edges of the bright and light orange cake, has a fantastic effect!
For a layered cake, either bake two of these cakes in 10-inch pans cake layers or choose two smaller pans and adjust the cooking time accordingly; in between cake layers, spread some orange cream cheese frosting or a lighter fluffy orange buttercream and decorate with either some confectioner sugar or some chocolate drizzle to finish the top layer. Should you have some leftover oranges, make it a 'whole orange cake' and use its slices to decorate the top, and use the orange peel by caramelizing it with some sugar.
To follow through with the chocolate and orange theme, add some chocolate oranges on top of the cake; these may be hard to find when not in season (normally Christmas), however online retailers tend to have them year-round (also because these colors would look fantastic for Halloween!).
People Also Ask [FAQs]
Absolutely yes, chocolate and orange go super well together!
The freshness, fruitiness, and zesty tones of the oranges perfectly balance the intense, rich, and lush fattiness of the chocolate, making the perfect combination of this incredible dessert!
This orange cake will keep well in an airtight container for 3 days; to store it, wait until it cools down completely, as you don’t want to close the lid with steam in the container. Should you want to freeze it, then do so in single portions, individually wrapped; this will allow you to defrost just the amount needed.
You can easily make your mix; when following a recipe that calls for self-rising flour, then you can use all-purpose flour instead and mix it with baking powder. In cups, you will need one and a half teaspoons of baking powder for each level cup of all-purpose flour. In grams, you’d want 5% of the amount to be baking powder, so for every 100g of self-rising flour, you will have 95g of all-purpose flour and 5g of baking powder. When making your own the proportions need to be accurate to ensure you properly measure your dry ingredients.
Navel oranges are known for being very sweet, yet not too acidic in taste, and a good choice for using in cakes as they also peel very easily and do not have seeds. Should you not find navel oranges, then mandarins, which are small and sweet, or Cara Cara oranges, which are sweet like navel but have a hint of red, are excellent choices too, however, all types of sweet oranges will work well.
Tips and Tricks for the best Orange Chocolate Cake
- Zesting: When grating the zest of the oranges it is important that these are clean from any wax they may have had on top (wash under warm water or buy unwaxed oranges) and not to grate any further than the first layer. While the orange part of the zest is delicious and citrussy, the white part of the orange zest is very bitter and unnecessary for cake baking.
- Overmixing: Do not overmix the batter of the cake, this is very important. As soon as the flour is incorporated well into the rest of the orange chocolate cake batter, stop mixing. Overbeating the batter breaks down its structure and may result in a dense and chewy cake.
- Wet Ingredients: Give yourself enough time to use room temperature wet ingredients, as these will make your batter fluffier with air bubbles, creating a light and airy sponge cake. Ensure the butter is at room temperature, not melted.
This may be the first time you will bake a chocolate orange cake, or you may be looking for an alternative for next time it does not matter. This extra moisture, perfectly tasty, orange cake will soon become your favorite, as it is made with simple ingredients, does not require any fancy methods, and other than a hand or stand mixer and a cake pan, it does not require any special ingredient or accessory.
When you prepare it next, be your own chocolate orange cake tester and enjoy a slice in peace, you deserve it!
🥗 If you enjoyed this recipe, you may want to take a look at:
Chocolate Orange Cake Recipe
- 1 teaspoon Dark Cocoa Powder
- 2 Oranges Peeled and cut in rounds about 5mm thick
- 225 g Room Temperature Unsalted Butter a bit extra for buttering the cake pan
- 225 g Caster Sugar
- 4 Whole Eggs Room Temperature
- ½ teaspoon Baking Powder
- 250 g Self Raising Flour
- 100 g Dark Chocolate
- Warm up the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (FAN), 350 Fahrenheit FAN, gas 6 or static oven 200 degrees Celsius or 400 Fahrenheit.
Prepare the cake pan
- Line the bottom of the cake pan with some baking paper; butter the sides of the tin and then cover with cocoa powder. To remove the excess, bang the sides of the tin and shake the powder out.
Prepare the oranges
- You will want different parts of the oranges for this recipe: the zest of half an orange, one tablespoon of fresh orange juice and enough orange roundels to decorate the cake as desired, which should be about 0.2 inch (5mm) thick. Put the slices of orange on the bottom of the cake pan as desired.
Prepare the orange sponge
- In the mixing bowl, add the unsalted butter and sugar and mix on low-medium speed, until completely amalgamated and uniform.
- Nest, start adding the eggs to the batter, mixing well after adding each one of them for about 30 seconds.
- Once all the eggs are well mixed to the wet batter, add the orange zest, baking powder and orange juice and mix well once more (about 15 seconds).
- At this stage, add the self-rising flour a bit at a time, mixing in between, to ensure it is mixed well. Once all the flour has been added, the orange cake batter should look creamy and uniform.
- Add the batter to the cake pan, trying not to move the decorative orange slices. Once all the batter is in the pan, do not bang it to make it flat, as this will make the air bubbles escape; should the batter not cover all the base of the pan, use a spatula to spread the mixture, without pressing down too much.
- Place the cake in the middle shelf of the oven and bake for about 40 minutes, or until the cake is cooked. To check that the cake is cooked, use a toothpick to poke the middle of the cake and if it comes out clean it is ready. When the cake is ready you will also notice that the sponge pulls from the sides of the pan as well.
- Once the sponge cake is ready, allow it to completely cool off on a cooling rack before removing it from the pan; once it is cool, remove it from the pan and turn it upside-down, so to have the orange slices on top.
Decorate the cake
- To prepare the chocolate drizzle, bring some water to the boil in a sauce pan; you will not need more than 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water. Once it boils, put a heat resistant container (i.e.: glass that can be used in the oven or another pan) on top if it, ensuring the water doesn't come out of the container. Add the dark chocolate to the pan or bowl and melt it, mixing it continuously.
- Once the chocolate has melted, remove the container from the heat and decorate the cake. Should you use a spoon to drizzle the cake, you can do so straight away, being careful not to burn yourself; should you prefer to use a sac a poche, then it is recommended to wait for a couple of minutes until the chocolate lightly cools down, but it does not start hardening again.
- Once the cake is decorated, allow the chocolate to cool down further and harden, before serving. Enjoy!
I made this over the weekend for my family, it came delicious!
?? Thank you, Jerri!