Sticky Orange Chocolate Cake

This is not a “light-as-a-feather, airy-fairy cake”. Far from it, indeed. (I’m not saying light cakes aren’t also lovely) This cake is sticky, rich, dense and oh so chocolaty.

Makes: 10 – 12 slices

Level: Fairly easy

Time: 60 minutes to prepare the orange ahead. 20 – 25 minutes hands on followed by 40 – 50 minutes baking, plus cooling time. 5 minutes to make the ganache then another 15 minutes to cover and decorate the cake once the ganache is ready.

Need: A 20cm/8” round cake tin, ideally with a loose bottom

Cake ingredients

  • 150g/5½oz  butter/Stork
  • 1 medium orange (pureed to give around 100g/3½oz)
  • 125ml/4½fl oz Fizzy orange drink
  • 175g/7oz self-raising flour
  • 30g/1oz cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ¼ tsp fine salt
  • 200g/7oz caster sugar
  • 100g/3½oz dark chocolate chips (or milk or white)
  • 50ml/1¾fl oz buttermilk (or use milk)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Some orange extract/flavouring (optional)

Ganache

  • 100g/3½oz white chocolate, broken into small pieces
  • 60ml/2fl oz double (heavy) cream
  • 15g/½oz butter
  • ¼ tsp orange extract/flavouring (optional again)
  • A squeeze of orange food colouring

Method

1. Prior to baking the cake, prepare the orange. Wash it and place in a saucepan of just boiled water. Simmer for about an hour then cut into small pieces, remove any pips and blitz it in a food processor until smooth. This could be done the day or night before baking.

2. Heat the oven to 180°C / fan 160°C / 350°F / Gas 4. Butter and fully line the tin, ensuring that the sides are raised about 25mm/1” above the rim as the mixture will rise well.

3. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium/low heat then add in the fizzy orange, and the orange puree. Stir then set aside.

4. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large bowl then stir in the sugar.

5. Add the liquids (butter, fizzy orange etc) into the dry ingredients, together with the buttermilk, eggs and orange extract (if using). Stir in the chocolate chips and keep stirring until all dry ingredients are mixed in. Pour into the tin. It’s a wet mixture, don’t worry.

6. Bake for about 40 – 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave for about 15 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool fully. If necessary, seal the cake edges and top by brushing on diluted apricot jam.

NB For the cake shown here, I didn’t need to seal the edges; I also turned the baked cake over and used the flat bottom.

7. Originally, I’d planned to let the cake cool then slice it in half horizontally and use a filling to join the two halves together. However, the cake was so wonderfully sticky, I decided against this. It’s your choice.

8. You could finish the cake by simply dusting it with icing sugar, but a ganache may be a nicer option. Break up the white chocolate into a bowl and heat the cream almost to boiling. Pour it over the chocolate and add the butter. Leave for a few minutes then stir in the orange extract (if using) and the food colouring. Set the ganache aside until it has cooled and thickened.

NB I wanted mine thick enough to sit on top of the cake with minimal “run-off”. If you want your ganache to trickle down the sides, use it sooner.

9. Before adding the ganache, have your chosen decorations ready to hand. A cake decorating turntable is very useful now, but no problem if you don’t have one.  Pipe or spoon on the ganache and add your decorations.

NB Sometimes I make my own decorations, but I’m in my seventies and life’s too short, so I’m happy to occasionally buy suitable chocolates or sweets (candies).

Gallery 1

Gallery 2

I hope you enjoy this lovely cake. If you want more cake recipes click this link, or have a look at my site for lots of other great recipes, both sweet and savoury.

Below are a few cakes that you might want to try:

Strawberry and Pistachio Polenta Cake

Hummingbird Cake

Coconut & Lime Chocolate Cake

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A larger, lighter, (later) version

This cake went down so well that I decided to make another one a few days after the first one, but with some variations. First, I wanted it larger, so scaled up the ingredients for a 23cm/9” tin. I also wanted a lighter version, so I separated the eggs, whisked the whites and folded them in at around stage 5.

I also found that this time the orange puree was quite bitter so I stirred in 3 tsp of icing sugar (confectioners’ sugar). The bake time was longer too. I’d recommend around 55 – 65 minutes, but check it. I also made a dark chocolate ganache.

One thing I regret is that I should have made the shop-bought chocolate decorations more attractive, maybe by glossing them with a little syrup or even a light brushing of melted chocolate. Even a wipe with a damp cloth might have helped. Ah well, a lesson learnt for next time.

Here’s the list of ingredients:

  • 175g butter/baking spread
  • 1 large orange
  • 150ml fizzy orange
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 35g cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • ¼ tsp fine salt
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 100g chocolate chips
  • 60ml buttermilk (or use milk or maybe Greek yogurt)
  • 2 large eggs
  • Orange extract/flavouring

The ganache

  • 150g dark chocolate
  • Around 80ml double cream (heavy cream)
  • A squeeze of golden syrup (US – corn syrup, or just leave out)
  • Around 25g butter
  • A little orange extract/flavouring

Happy Baking everyone

Ian