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Easy Chocolate Orange Cake

This Easy Chocolate Orange Cake Recipe is infused with fresh orange zest and juice. Frosted with a chocolate orange ganache. Bakes in 30 minutes!

Finished cake with ganache and dried orange slice

This is a dark chocolate orange cake recipe that is moist with a gooey chocolate orange ganache frosting, just like my Moist Chocolate Walnut Cake and Basic Chocolate Cake.

You can decorate your cake with either dried or fresh orange slices, orange zest or like my easy chocolate olive oil cake, just grate some dark chocolate on top.

Or leave it plain with just the delicious chocolate and orange ganache.

The beautiful flavor of orange shines through with the use of finely grated orange zest and freshly squeezed orange juice both in the cake and ganache.

If you have an abundance of fresh oranges, include them in my one-bowl orange poppy seed cake as well!

No extracts of orange are needed for this cake recipe, only the real deal.

With a light and fluffy texture and the classic combination of orange and chocolate, this cake is rich, indulgent, and easy to create. 

🍰 Why You Will Love This Cake

  • Moist chocolate orange cake recipe.
  • Chocolate and orange ganache frosting.
  • Perfect balance between orange and chocolate flavors without one overpowering the other. 
  • Easy and quick cake method.
Slice of cake ready to be enjoyed

My Classic Chocolate Cake also has a chocolate ganache frosting just without the added orange. Do you love to include the flavor orange in your cakes and cupcakes too?

These delightful Orange and Cinnamon Cupcakes also have an orange-infused vanilla cake and are piped with an orange buttercream frosting. 

If you’re looking for a chocolate cake that doesn’t use flour, try my Flourless Chocolate Cake which has that iconic cracked crust. 

📋 Ingredient Notes

Ingredients needed to bake this cake

Dutch-process cocoa powder: I highly recommend using a dutch-process cocoa powder for a deep dark chocolate flavored cake. Or you can use unsweetened natural cocoa powder, however, it will result in a lighter chocolate flavor and color. 

Butter: Be sure to bring your butter to room temperature before starting. This makes it easier for you to beat and cream with the sugar.

Caster sugar: For this cake, I used golden caster sugar but you can also use regular white caster sugar. 

Orange zest and juice: You will need about 2-3 medium-large oranges for this cake recipe. Using fresh oranges results in a more authentic flavor compared to bottled juice or extract. 

Cream: Cream for the ganache can either be canned coconut cream, using the thick part of the cream only, or regular dairy thickened/heavy cream. 

🥣 Step By Step Instructions

There is a full and detailed recipe card at the bottom of this post.

1) In a medium size mixing bowl, add flour, cocoa, baking powder, coffee, and salt. Whisk until well combined. Set aside. 

Whisking the dry ingredients together

2) In a large mixing bowl, using either electric hand beaters or a stand mixer with the paddle attached, add softened butter to the bowl and beat until creamy.

3) Add sugar and orange zest. Beat with the butter for 2 minutes until pale and creamy. 

Beating the butter and then creaming with the sugar and orange zest

4) Add eggs one at a time, beating for 10 seconds after each addition. 

Beating in eggs

5) Pour in orange juice, oil, and vanilla. Beat for 15 seconds until well combined. 

Pouring in the liquids and beating

6) Add half of the dry flour mixture and beat until just combined. Scrape down the sides and add the remaining flour. Beat until incorporated, ensuring not to over-beat, just until the flour has combined then turn off the beater. If you over-beat, the cake can turn tough and dense after baking. 

Adding the dry ingredients and mixing to a smooth batter

7) Pour into the lined pan and smooth out the top with a spatula. 

8) Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove and allow to cool completely. 

Spreading the cake batter into the baking pan

9) Break chocolate down into squares and place it into a small heat-proof bowl. Set aside.

Breaking down the chocolate block and heating the cream with the orange zest

10) Pour cream and add orange zest into a small saucepan and place over low heat to gently warm. Heat cream until small warm and steam starts to come off the surface and small bubbles begin to appear around the edges, do not let it come to a boil. Remove from heat. 

11) Pour warm cream over the chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes. Gently stir until well combined and all of the chocolate has melted and the mixture becomes smooth. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes until it has thickened up to a spreadable consistency. 

Pouring the cream over the chocolate and mixing until smooth

12) Spread frosting over cooled cake. Set aside and allow to set. If desired, decorate your cake with oven-dried orange slices, fresh orange slices/zest, or grated dark chocolate. Slice into triangles and enjoy. 

Spreading the ganache over the cake and decorating with dried orange slices

💭 Tips For Recipe Success

  • Beat softened room temperature butter for a few seconds until creamy, before adding the sugar and orange zest. This breaks down the butter which makes it easier to blend and cream with the sugar. 
  • Use fresh oranges for the zest and juice for best results.
  • When heating the cream for the chocolate and orange ganache, be sure to heat it over low-medium heat and ensure it does not come to a boil, otherwise, it will burn the chocolate. Heating it slower also gives the zest more time to infuse into the cream. 
  • Wait for the ganache to thicken up to a spreadable consistency so it’s easier to spread over the cake. Fasten up this process by transferring the ganache to the refrigerator. 
Slicing a piece of cake

📋 Storing Instructions

Store chocolate orange cake in an airtight container, in a dry and dark pantry at room temperature, for 3-4 days.

However, if the ganache begins to melt at room temperature if the house is too warm, it’s best to store the cake in the refrigerator to keep it fresh for 3-4 days. 

Cake slice on a plate

💬 Recipe FAQ’s

How to decorate a chocolate orange cake?

Decorate your chocolate orange cake with dried orange slices, which I did with this recipe by oven drying the slices at 180ºC (356ºF) for 30-40 minutes. Or if it’s hot outside, sit the slices out in the direct sun until dry. Or you can decorate your cake with fresh orange slices, orange zest, grated dark chocolate or leave it plain with just the delicious chocolate and orange ganache frosting. 

Why is my ganache not thickening up?

It will eventually thicken up at room temperature but if it’s hot or humid in your home, I suggest placing the ganache, still in the mixing bowl, into the refrigerator to fasten up this process. It’s also important to stir it occasionally whilst it’s cooling down. 

Is the orange overpowering in this chocolate cake?

No not at all! It’s a beautiful balance between the orange and chocolate with neither of them being overpowering. You will know this is a chocolate cake with orange when you enjoy a slice. 

Does chocolate and orange go together in a cake?

Absolutely! Orange infused into an easy chocolate cake recipe tastes like heaven. It’s sweet citrus paired with rich dark chocolate, it’s a perfect balanced contrast!

If you enjoy this recipe, please consider leaving a ⭐️ star rating and a comment review below. I love to hear what you think and it’s much appreciated. Thank you! Your email address will not be published. Sam x

Finished chocolate orange cake

Easy Chocolate Orange Cake

Samantha Pickthall
This Easy Chocolate Orange Cake Recipe is infused with fresh orange zest and juice. Frosted with a chocolate orange ganache. Bakes in 30 minutes!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 8 serves
Calories 660 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

Chocolate Orange Cake

  • 1 cup plain all purpose flour scoop & leveled
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder or unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp instant coffee powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt
  • 125 g unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup golden or white caster sugar
  • 2 Tbsp finely zested orange peel approx. 2 oranges
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature (approx. 55g-60g in shell)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice approx. 2 oranges
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Orange Ganache

  • 200 g plain dark chocolate block broken into squares
  • 200 ml canned coconut cream thick part only or regular thickened/heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp finely zested orange peel approx. 1 orange

Instructions
 

Chocolate Cake

  • Preheat oven to 180ºC (356ºF). Line a round 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper, set aside. NOTE: Alternatively, if you have a non-stick pan, liberally grease it with melted butter and dust it with a light layer of cocoa. This will leave your finished cake with smooth sides.
  • In a medium size mixing bowl, add flour, cocoa, baking powder, coffee and salt. Whisk until well combined. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, using either electric hand beaters or a stand mixer with the paddle attached, add softened butter to the bowl.
  • Beat butter for a few seconds to break it up and it begins to turn creamy. This makes it easier on your beater when the sugar is added.
  • Add sugar and orange zest. Beat with the butter for 2 minutes until pale and creamy. Scraping down the sides as needed.
  • Add eggs one at a time, beating for 10 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the sides as needed.
  • Pour in orange juice, oil, and vanilla. Beat for 15 seconds until well combined. Scrape down the sides again.
  • Add half of the dry flour mixture and beat until just combined. Scrape down the sides and add the remaining flour. Beat until incorporated, ensuring not to over-beat, just until the flour has combined then turn off the beater. If some excess flour and cocoa are still visible around the sides of the bowl, gently fold it in with a spatula. If you over-beat, the cake can turn tough and dense after baking.
  • Pour into the lined pan and smooth out the top with a spatula.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes.
  • Carefully remove from pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Orange Ganache

  • Break chocolate down into squares and place it into a small heat-proof bowl. Set aside.
  • Pour cream and add orange zest into a small saucepan and place over low heat to gently warm.
  • Heat cream until small warm and steam starts to come off the surface and small bubbles begin to appear around the edges, do not let it come to a boil. Remove from heat.
  • Pour warm cream over the chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes.
  • Gently stir until well combined and all of the chocolate has melted and the mixture becomes smooth.
  • Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes until it has thickened up to a spreadable consistency, stirring it occasionally. Or refrigerate until it firms up, still stirring occasionally. Keep a close eye on it though, once it thickens and reaches a thick consistency, it will turn solid quickly, and at which point, it will be difficult to spread.
  • Spread frosting over cooled cake. Set aside and allow to set.
  • If desired, decorate your cake with oven-dried orange slices, fresh orange slices/zest, or grated dark chocolate.
  • Slice into triangles and enjoy.

Notes

Beat softened room temperature butter for a few seconds until creamy, before adding the sugar and orange zest. This breaks down the butter which makes it easier to blend and cream with the sugar. 
Use fresh oranges for the zest and juice for best results.
When heating the cream for the chocolate and orange ganache, be sure to heat it over low-medium heat and ensure it does not come to a boil, otherwise, it will burn the chocolate. Heating it slower also gives the zest more time to infuse into the cream. 
Wait for the ganache to thicken up to a spreadable consistency so it’s easier to spread over the cake. Fasten up this process by transferring the ganache to the refrigerator. 
Store in an airtight container, in a dry and dark pantry at room temperature, for 3-4 days. However, if the ganache begins to melt at room temperature if the house is too warm, it’s best to store the cake in the refrigerator to keep it fresh for 3-4 days. 

Nutrition

Calories: 660kcalCarbohydrates: 53gProtein: 8gFat: 49gSaturated Fat: 31gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 75mgSodium: 107mgPotassium: 566mgFiber: 5gSugar: 26gVitamin A: 494IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 96mgIron: 6mg
Keyword chocolateorange, dark chocolate, orange
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