If you’re looking for a show-stopping special occasion cake, THIS. IS. IT.
This decadent Chocolate Orange Cake is a masterpiece of Candied Oranges, Chocolate Buttercream, and Chocolate Ganache literally dripping down the sides.
One of my favorite Christmas treats has always been those chocolate oranges that you have to break into segments and eat.
I would always receive one – only one – at Christmastime and I would make it last for days, enjoying and savoring each segment, making the experience last as many days as possible.
This cake recreates that special indulgence on a grander, share-able scale. (Because let’s be honest, no one else ever got a slice of my chocolate oranges.)
I typically go for cupcakes as they are a bit less intimidating to decorate (check out our Fresh Mango Cupcakes and Buttermilk Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting), but this ornate Chocolate-Orange cake is easier to make than you’d think. You just need to proceed with an air of confidence… and a bit of foresight!
The candied oranges for this cake take the longest because they need to dry for 24 hours. However, they can easily be sugared (dipped in water and then white granulated sugar), dipped in chocolate without being candied, or replaced with my favourite – those timeless chocolate orange segments.
All other components of this cake come together in about two hours, depending on your confidence in decorating. (Hint: the more confident you are, the quicker it will be!)
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Chocolate Orange Cake Ingredients:
For the Cake:
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 zests of orange
For the Chocolate Buttercream:
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 3-4 cups icing sugar
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- 2-3 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
For the Chocolate Ganache:
- 1 cup melting chocolate or chocolate chips
- 1 Tablespoon shortening, optional
For the Candied Oranges:
- 2 oranges, sliced into 1/4” thick slices
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups water
Kitchen Tools you might find useful:
- 9″ round cake pans
- KitchenAid stand mixer
- Non-slip mixing bowls
- Offset spatula for frosting
- Wilton #2D decorating tip
- Cooling rack
Directions to make Chocolate Orange Cake:
Start with the Candied Oranges:
(24 hours ahead of preparing the cake) Place sugar and water in a pot over medium heat and stir to combine.
Once the sugar has dissolved, add the oranges and cook until translucent, flipping about halfway through.
Using tongs, carefully remove the candied oranges to a cooling rack and allow to dry for 24 hours.
NOTE: SAVE THAT SYRUP! Reserve that delicious orange simple syrup (the sugar-water in which you candied your oranges) in a mason jar for gourmet homemade cocktails.
If you have extra oranges, make these beautiful and fragrant Orange Pomander Ornaments!
To prepare the Chocolate Orange Cake:
Preheat your oven to 325°F
Prepare (3) three 9″ circle cake pans with a spray of oil and lining the bottoms with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the vanilla.
Add the flour mixture to the bowl of wet ingredients, alternately with the milk; beat well. Add orange zest to batter.
Divide the the cake batter evenly among your three pans.
Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
To make the Chocolate Buttercream:
Place the cocoa, 3 cups of the icing sugar, butter, vanilla, and 1 Tablespoon of heavy cream in a large bowl and beat until completely blended.
Adjust the consistency with additional heavy cream, or adding more icing sugar or cocoa (select which to use based on the taste of the buttercream and your desired level of chocolatey-ness.)
To put the whole thing together:
When the cake has cooled, use our go-to floss method to level your cakes, and then sandwich them together using a generous, even layer of the chocolate buttercream.
Using an offset spatula, cover the entire cake in an initial crumb coat – this helps keep crumbs out of the final icing layer and does not need to be perfect, but try to make it as even and smooth as you can.
Cover your icing (I like to place mine in the fridge) and let the cake set for about 1-3 hours until no longer soft to the touch.
Using the offset spatula, smooth a final layer of frosting on the cake.
Place the remaining buttercream in a piping bag fitted with a 2D Wilton tip and set aside.
Heat your chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 25 seconds. Stir thoroughly and reheat if necessary.
Tip: Check the consistency of the melted chocolate by placing a spoonful of melted chocolate along the side of the cake and allowing it to drip down the side. Add a bit of shortening if the chocolate does not drip easily – you don’t want it too runny so it runs off the cake, but you want to get that dramatic drip.
Take your time placing spoonful after spoonful of chocolate along the side of the cake, rotating as you go. The chocolate will remelt nicely, so don’t worry about it hardening.
When you have covered the cake with the chocolate drips, take your candied oranges and dip them halfway in the melted chocolate. Set back on the cooling rack to set.
Take your piping bag and make short, quick spots of icing along the top, squeezing the bag to start the dollop, and then stopping pressure and pulling your hands away quickly to create that defined peak. This is a repetitive motion that you will quickly get the hang of – and feel free to use that offset spatula to remove any peaks that you don’t like and re-do them.
One you have covered the cake in a crown of chocolate buttercream peaks, arrange your dried chocolate oranges as you desire on top of the cake.
Marvel at your gorgeous creation and be sure to serve it with confidence!
More Delicious Chocolate Desserts:
- Luscious Cookies & Cream White Chocolate Lasagna
- Decadent Chocolate Mudslide Cocktails
- Gluten Free Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 3-Ingredient Cookies & Cream Ice Cream Cake
Pin this gorgeous Chocolate Orange Cake on Pinterest:
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