This rich and decadent chocolate cake is naturally flavoured with oranges! It is packed with citrus flavour thanks to orange zest and orange juice. This easy cake only takes 26 minutes to prepare, and is covered in a chocolate orange fudge frosting.
Tell me about this recipe!
- The cake layers are very simple to make, and no mixer is required. The cake is based off my chocolate and peanut butter layer cake, but doesn’t have any coffee in it and is packed with orange flavour from the orange juice and zest.
- This cake recipe doesn’t need any fancy ingredients, you probably have everything already in the kitchen.
- The frosting is so rich and fudgy, it’s made with dark chocolate, orange zest and orange juice. You start off by making a chocolate ganache and then add in confectioners’ sugar.
- This is the kind of cake that tastes better the next day! Keep it well wrapped in the fridge and let it come to room temperature before digging in.
The printable recipe card with the full list of ingredients and instructions can be found at the bottom of this post.
- Buttermilk: I love using buttermilk in cake recipes to make it super moist, don’t skip out on this!
- Orange Juice: since I was already getting oranges to get zest, I also squeezed the oranges to get fresh orange juice. You can however use store bought orange juice if you prefer
- Oil: the chocolate cake is an oil based cake – meaning no butter is added to the cake batter. This gives you an extra moist cake. You can use vegetable oil, rapeseed oil or canola oil – you want to use an oil that as no flavour and not much colour to it.
How to make this recipe
One: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease and line two 8″ baking pans. Combine your flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
Two: In a large jug, whisk together your buttermilk, oil, eggs, vanilla, orange zest and orange juice.
Three: While the mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, is on low speed, slowly pour in the jug of wet ingredients. Then slowly pour in your hot water. The batter will be very thin.
Four: Pour the batter into your two tins, making sure they are of equal weight, and bake for 35-40 minutes. A toothpick inserted should come out clean. Let them cool completely while you work on the frosting.
Five: In a small saucepan, mix together heavy cream, butter and salt. Over medium-low heat bring it to a gentle simmer.
Six: Add your chopped chocolate and make sure it is covered by the mixture, then take off the heat and let it sit for 2-3 minutes.
Seven: Whisk the mixture together until completely smooth. It may at first seem curdled, but keep whisking!
Eight: Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer and let it cool completely. It should become thick. If it’s a hot day, place it in the fridge for 20-30 minutes to thicken up.
Nine: Add your orange zest and orange juice to the mixture, then place the bowl into your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Ten: While the speed is set to low, add your confectioners’ sugar a spoonful at a time. If your frosting looks a bit grainy, add some more cream until you have the consistency you want. Frost your cake.
- I highly recommend using a weighing scale and measuring out your ingredients the metric way. It makes a huge difference to your baking and is the most accurate way to bake!
- I make sure that all of my ingredients are at room temperature before I start the recipe, so pull out all of the ingredients (including the buttermilk!) before you start baking.
- Give yourself plenty of time to make the cake. You don’t want to frost a still warm cake, if you do that then the frosting will become too warm and soupy. You can make the cake layers the day before and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Make the cake layers ahead of time. Once cool, wrap each layer in plastic wrap. You can do this the day before assembling the cake. I don’t recommend making the frosting ahead of time though.
Keep the cake in the fridge for up to 5 days, bring to room temperature before eating
Yes! Freeze the cake for up to 3 months and let it defrosting overnight in the fridge. Let it come to room temperature for an hour or so before eating the cake.
I decorated my cake with thin slices of orange and mixed candied peel. It would also look great with grated orange zest, Terry’s Chocolate Orange slices, candied orange, or sprinkles!
Make your own buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice/white wine vinegar to 1 cup of milk. Let it sit for 5 minutes before using.
More Chocolate Cakes You’ll Love
Make sure to tag me on Instagram @alpineella and leave a review below if you’ve made this cake! If you want more baking ideas, you can follow me on Pinterest
Chocolate Orange Cake
- 2x 8" cake pans
- 240 ml hot water
- 65 grams cocoa powder
- 350 grams granulated sugar
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 220 grams all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 240 ml buttermilk room temperature
- 120 ml vegetable oil
- zest 2 oranges
- 2 tablespoon orange juice
- 80 ml heavy cream
- 146 grams unsalted butter room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 300 grams bittersweet chocolate chopped
- 200 grams confectioners' sugar sifted
- zest 1 orange
- 2 teaspoon orange juice
- Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C. Grease 2x 8-inch cake pans with butter, then line the bottoms with parchment paper.
- Combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment. Set aside. In a large jug, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, orange zest and orange juice and vanilla
- While the mixer is on low speed, slowly pour in the ingredients in the large jug
- While the mixer is still running, slowly add the hot water and mix. Your batter will be very thin. Make sure the mixer is on your lowest speed so it doesn't splash everywhere
- Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted
- Allow the cakes to cool completely before removing from pans.
- In a medium saucepan over a low heat, mix together the cream, butter, and salt and bring to a simmer until completely melted. Add your chocolate and make sure it is completely covered by the cream. Let it sit for 2-3 minutes, then whisk until smooth. It may look curdled at first, but keep whisking it!
- Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Allow the mixture to cool completely, it should get thick like a ganache. If it is a hot day when you are making this, place the bowl in the fridge for 20-30 minutes to thicken up.
- Add your orange zest and orange juice to the bowl, then place the bowl into your stand mixer and turn the speed to low.
- Add your confectioners' sugar a spoonful at a time, making sure it is well incorporated before adding the next spoonful. Use immediately
- Frost your cake! Place your cake in the fridge to firm up a bit. I decorated my cake with orange slices and chopped mixed peel.
Fantastic flavor! I used the metric measurements per your recommendation. You might want to check the oil measurement used in the US conversion. I think it is supposed to be 1/2 cup, not 1 1/2 cups.
So sorry about that! I pressed the 1 by mistake but I’ve fixed it now. Thank you so much for the heads up!
Hi I like your recipe however I find American cake recipes much sweeter then European, is there a ratio to cut down on the sugar amount? Also I’m more used to using caster sugar in baking, will that make a difference in the sugar amount? Thanks
Hi! If you want a less sweet buttercream I would suggest using a Swiss meringue buttercream, I have a few on my site. I can’t help with cutting down the sugar from the recipe though as I haven’t tested that. You should be fine with using caster sugar, I use it regularly in my baking too as I prefer the texture!