Chocolate and Orange Marbled Loaf Cake

Here’s a lovely light loaf with a classical combination of two distinctive flavours that work so well together. Perfect for high tea, or low tea, or whatever level of tea that you fancy.

Serves: 10 – 12 slices

Time: 90 – 95 minutes + cooling

Level: Easy

Tins: A 1kg (2lb) loaf tin + paper liner (As shown in the picture above. They’re very convenient, especially if you want to give the cake to someone.)


For the cake

  • 75g/3oz good quality chocolate, broken into small pieces (use dark chocolate or a mixture of dark & milk)
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 175g/6oz Self raising flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 150g/5oz softened unsalted butter, or baking spread
  • 150g/5oz caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • Juice & zest from half an orange
  • 1 tsp orange extract or orange flower water (optional)
  • A small amount of orange food colouring (optional)

For the topping

  • 50g/2oz good quality dark chocolate
  • 25g/1oz butter
  • zest from half an orange


1. Preheat oven to 180°C / fan 160°C / 350°F / gas 4.

2. Either grease and line the loaf tin, or simply insert the paper liner without greasing the tin.

3. Melt the chocolate with the milk in a bain marie or carefully in the micro wave using short blasts and regular stirring*. Set aside to cool.

4. In a large bowl, sift in the flour and baking powder then add the butter, sugar and eggs. Beat until everything is fully combined.

5. Put half the mixture in another bowl. Into one half stir the melted chocolate; into the other half stir the orange juice, orange zest, orange extract and orange food colouring.

6. Place alternate “blobs” of each mixture into the tin and swirl the two together with a skewer, knife or similar instrument. Don’t overdo this or the two shades will not be distinctive.

7. Bake for 60 – 70 minutes. Leave in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to fully cool.

8. To make the topping, melt the chocolate and butter in a bain marie. Allow it to cool a little then spread* over the cake and add the remaining zest.

*I like to brush it on.

* There are two methods to melt chocolate. Both have their advocates. I use both. Here are some of the points “For” and “Against”, in my opinion:

Micro waveBain-marie
It’s a quicker method
No risk of condensation
Good for small amounts

Easier to burn chocolate
Need to use immediately
Needs regular stirring
Needs close attention
Offers more control
Allows more time to use
Good for larger amounts

Can sit on hob – use later
Risk of condensation/water

Slightly slower method

There may be other points that I’ve not listed, but whichever method you use, treat the chocolate with respect and keep stirring, especially if using a micro-wave.

If you like this recipe you will also like my Double Chocolate Marbled Loaf cake recipe:

If orange isn’t your favourite fruit then try changing things around and create other versions. Strawberry sounds a likely possibility, or how about a minty version? Let me know how they go.