These chocolate orange cakes or chocolate orange Cakelets are packed with tons of chocolate and natural orange flavor in every bite. They are made from scratch with basic baking ingredients you might have in your kitchen already. They are iced with orange chocolate ganache for a decadent dessert.
Chocolate and orange are a perfect match in the flavor combo world. This recipe can be made into chocolate orange cupcakes or layered chocolate orange cake. I have provided instructions on making these Cakelets into any form of the cake below.
Today’s orange chocolate Cakelets are for authentic chocolate and orange flavor combo fans. My family received chocolate-covered orange peel as part of a Christmas present, and I thought that was a great flavor combination for a cake. Even though I’m not a big fan of the chocolate-covered orange peel, this chocolate orange cake is delicious and moist. That is how I got the inspiration for this cake, and is one of the easiest cake recipes you will make.
All you need is to mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and the liquid ingredients in another bowl. Combine them, add the final ingredients, pour them into the baking pan, and bake. I used a spatula and whisk to mix the batter; you can use a hand or stand mixer if you desire. Before we dive into the recipe, this cake batter is not as thick as most cake recipes. That is the consistency we are looking for since we don’t want to have a denser cake texture like brownies.
Why You’ll like this cake
• This cake is easy to make from scratch with pantry staple ingredients. You don’t need any mixer, but mixing bowls and a whisk is all you need.
• The cake is very moist and delicious at the same time. The secret to this chocolate orange cake is that the recipe uses both oil and melted butter, making it super moist. I also use sour cream, which helps to achieve a moist texture.
• The Cakelets can be made into orange chocolate layered cakes by doubling the recipe. If you want chocolate orange cupcakes, then you can bake these in cupcake tins.
Ingredients for Making the Chocolate Orange Cake Recipe
• All-Purpose Flour: Flour is the base of this recipe, and I recommend all-purpose flour for these chocolate orange Cakelets.
• Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: Make sure you use natural and quality cocoa powder and not Dutch-process cocoa powder.
• Baking Soda and baking powder: the baking soda adds lift to the recipe.
• Salt and Vanilla Extract: add flavor!
• Olive Oil and melted butter are a guaranteed moist maker in this chocolate orange cake. Any vegetable oil will work too.
• Brown Sugar and white granulated sugar were used. The brown sugar adds a layer of flavor to the cake.
• Eggs: Eggs add structure, lift, and binding.
• Sour Cream: sour cream is my secret ingredient to this super moist cake.
• Orange juice and zest: I used freshly squeezed orange juice and orange zest for the best taste and flavor.
• Orange extract: if you want a more intensive flavor, you can add a teaspoon of orange extract or orange flavor oil for cooking. I have homemade orange extract, so I added some, but you can use the orange juice with the zest, and the flavor will come through. You can make your own extract and use it for baking. Check below for the recipe and note.
• Candied orange slices: this is an optional way to add color to your cake. The candied orange can be made in advance and stored for several weeks. For an easy candied recipe, I recommend this recipe from the taste of home.
Ingredients for Chocolate Ganache
• Chocolate: you can use semi-sweet chocolate or bittersweet chocolate, which is my personal preference. Milk chocolate or white chocolate will work too.
• Cream: use heavy whipping or double cream for the recipe.
• Vanilla or orange extract adds extra flavor to the chocolate ganache.
• Pinch of salt brings everything together.
Step by step instructions on How to Make Orange chocolate cake
Note: You can find the ingredients, measurement, and recipe instructions in the recipe card below.
STEP ONE: preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease mini-Bundt pans with butter and flour, or you can use my magic pan release. Set the pans aside.
STEP TWO: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until combined and set aside. In a small pot, bring water, oil, butter, and cocoa powder to a boil, add the hot mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Then add vanilla extract, orange juice, orange zest, sour cream, and eggs to the mixture and mix until combined but don’t over mix.
STEP THREE: Scoop the cake batter into the prepared pans. Fill the Bundt or Cakelets pans halfway since the cakes will be decorated and served upside-down style.
STEP FOUR: Bake the cakes in the preheated oven for 20 – 25 minutes or toothpick inserted in the middle of the cakes and clean and dry. Check on the cakes at 20 minutes if you use a small Cakeletes pan. Allow the cakes to cool for about 5 minutes in pans before transferring them onto cooling racks to cool completely.
STEP FIVE: Make your chocolate ganache when the cakes are out of the oven. In a heavy pan, pour milk into it, add orange zest, and heat on medium heat until it starts to bubble. Stir to prevent scorching and pour over the chocolate discs or chips. Use a whisk or rubber spatula to stir until melted all the chocolate pieces. Add the salt, vanilla, and orange extract to the ganache and mix until smooth and creamy. Pour the ganache on a completely cooled cake.
Frosting for the cakes
The choice of frosting to pair with this orange and chocolate cake is endless. I have vanilla buttercream, which can also be made into chocolate buttercream by adding about ¼ cup of cocoa powder. For this post, I’m using orange chocolate ganache which is a nice compliment to the flavors in the cake. If you are a fan of cream cheese, you can make dark chocolate cream cheese frosting which pairs well with this flavor combo. Chocolate orange buttercream can be used as well.
This Chocolate ganache is one of the simplest frostings to make. It uses two main ingredients: chocolate and cream, with a few additions. The bonus part is that it is less sweet, stable to use as a filling between cakes and covering cakes. Ganache can be poured on cakes, whipped, or used for spreading. If you want a loose recipe for drizzling on cakes or drip cakes, this is the recipe for you. The recipe uses one part of chocolate to one part cream. For a firmer ganache, use this recipe here.
Uses of Chocolate Ganache
This ganache recipe can be used to drizzle on top of the cakes. But when the ganache is set or cool completely, you can whip and pipe onto cakes.
1. Piped chocolate ganache: allow the chocolate ganache to set or firm up, then scoop into a piping bag with or without tip. Pipe the icing onto your dessert and enjoy.
2. Whipped Ganache: allow the ganache to cool completely and transfer into a mixer bowl and whip it until light in color, fluffy and creamy.
3. Decorate layered cakes: make a thicker ganache and allow it to firm up overnight, and use it to decorate tall or layered cakes like you will use buttercream.
Tips for Making Perfect Orange Chocolate Ganache
• Use good quality chocolate for a luxurious and creamy ganache.
• Chop the chocolate: chopped chocolate melts quickly and faster.
• When you pour the warm cream onto the chocolate, allow the mixture to stand for a few minutes before stirring.
. Add orange zest to the cream before cooking for the orange flavor to infuse into the cream.
1. Sour cream is the secret to this moist chocolate cake, but plain yogurt can be used instead if you don’t have some.
2. Gluten-free flour will work with this recipe.
3. Use vegetable oil instead of olive oil to achieve the exact moist cake.
Variations to the Chocolate Orange cake
This orange chocolate cake is versatile and can be used to make different types of cakes, such as chocolate orange drip cake gooey chocolate orange cake by adding melted chocolate to the cake batter. You can also make blood orange chocolate cake by using freshly squeezed blood orange juice for the cake batter.
Other variations will be gluten-free orange chocolate cake, eggless orange chocolate cake, and dark chocolate and orange cake.
Decorating the Cakelets
These fancy little cakes can be decorated in so many ways. My preference is orange chocolate ganache pour-over the cakes. This is the most straightforward icing for decorating cakes. All you need is two ingredients with a few additions, which are optional. B il cream and pour over chocolate and mix until smooth. If you want to make the orange-flavored chocolate ganache, boil the cream with fresh orange zest to make infused cream, then use it for the ganache.
How to Make Chocolate Orange Cupcakes from this Recipe
This orange chocolate Cakelets recipe can easily be made into cupcakes. T make the cupcakes, mix the cake batter according to the instructions provided. T en preheats the oven to 350 F.
1. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners and scoop the batter into the lined baking pans. F ll halfway and bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and dry.
2. All the cakes to cool completely before frosting.
How to Decorate chocolate orange cupcakes
Frost and decorate the cupcakes according to your taste. You can use buttercream, Wilton 1 M piping tip and bag, and pipe swirls on the cupcakes. Then add some sprinkles for a perfect finish. You can also use pipe chocolate ganache on the cupcakes.
How to Turn this Easy Chocolate Orange cake into a Layered Cake
It is as easy to turn these orange chocolate Cakelets into a layered cake with no changes to the basic recipe. Just follow the same recipe as written to make the cake batter. The only addition will be to add parchment paper to your baking pans before baking. This cake is very moist, and we want to prevent the cake from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Adjust the oven racks, place the racks in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F or 180 C. Prepare two 8 inches cake pans or three 6-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray or use my homemade magic pan release spread.
Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pans and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Bake the cakes in the preheated oven for 30 – 35 minutes or until they have risen and firm or when a toothpick is inserted into the center and comes out clean and dry. Cool the cakes in the pans for about 10 minutes before moving onto a wire rack to cool completely.
How to Assemble Layered Chocolate Cake Recipe
• After the cakes have cooled completely, tort and level the cakes for a flat top for easy decoration. You can check this post on how to tort and level cakes easily. I used this buttercream recipe for icing the cake.
• To assemble the cake, place a nonslip mat on a turntable and then tape a 6 inches cake cardboard circle to an 8 inches cardboard circle (the 8 inches cardboard helps to transport the cake to the fridge and back easily) and place the cake board on the turntable.
• Apply a small amount of buttercream to the center of the 6inches cake board. Place the first cake layer on the board, add enough buttercream onto the cake, and smooth the buttercream as level as possible. ( check this post for visual guidelines).
• Place another cake layer on top of the frosting and repeat the process until all the cakes are stacked. The last cake layer should be placed flat side up that is, the bottom should face up. Press lightly on the stacked cakes to help the cakes stick to the icing.
• Crumb coat the cake with a thin layer of buttercream and smooth it with a cake scraper. R refrigerate the cake for about 30 minutes or 10 minutes in the freezer. B ing the cake out of the fridge and frost the cake with the remaining buttercream with an offset spatula and smooth with a cake smoother.
How to Decorate layered Orange Chocolate Cakes
This cake can be decorated with a chocolate ganache and allow the ganache to drip to the sides for an excellent presentation. You can also add candied oranges to the cake as a final decoration.
How to Freeze baked layered cakes
Wrap the individual baked and cooled cake layers tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze up to 3 months. B ing to room temperature, then continue.
watch how to Make Chocolate & Orange Cake
Make-Ahead instructions for Chocolate Orange cake recipe
Make-ahead instruction for the chocolate orange cake. These orange and chocolate cakes can be made in advance and stored for later use. Below are some notes to consider if you want to make these cakes in advance. The cake can be made one day in advance, covered, and stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
Frosting can also be made one day in advance, covered, and stored in the fridge until ready to use. When ready to use, bring them out of the refrigerator an hour before using. You can whip the chocolate ganache and pipe it onto the cakes or warm it to achieve pouring consistency for decorating. When using buttercream, re-whip the buttercream with a hand mixer or stand mixer to a more spreadable consistency. P pe the buttercream on the cakes and serve.
How to store the orange chocolate Leftover Cakelets
Cakeletes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days and the refrigerator for up to a week. F r more extended storage, allow the cakes to completely cool, then place them in the freezer on a cookie sheet for about an hour until frozen solid. T en transfer into a freezer-friendly container or Ziplock bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. T aw overnight on the counter and decorate and serve.
You can store leftover buttercream (when used) in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a month or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
TIPS For Making the Chocolate Orange Cakes / Cakelets
1. Measure your ingredients accurately, especially the flour. I recommend using a kitchen scale but if using cups, make sure to fluffy the flour and spoon into the measuring cup and level. Don’t tap on the measuring cup. I the flour is over or under-measure, it will affect your product.
2. Use room temperature ingredients. The cake batter will mix well when all the ingredients are at room temperature. I always take my ingredients out of the refrigerator an hour before I begin baking. This helps to reduce over mixing and baking.
3. Grease the Cakelets pans well; this is very important for the cakes to be released after baking. Brush the pan with butter or shortening and dust with flour before adding the cake batter. You can use a baking spray containing flour but not a regular cooking spray. Try this cake pan release recipe for all cake pan greasing, and you will thank me later.
4. if you make a layered cake, refrigerate the cake for at least 30 minutes before slicing to prevent the cakes from sliding around.
5. When zesting your orange, only grate the top layer of the peel and make sure you do not include the white part. The white parts turn to be bitter.
6. Don’t Overfill – Fill cake holes halfway, or they will overflow and cause a muffin top.
What Cocoa Powder to Use for the Chocolate Cake?
There are two main types of unsweetened cocoa powder found in the US. The Dutch-processed cocoa powder and natural cocoa powder are two different powders with different chemical properties.
I love baking with unsweetened natural cocoa powder due to its acidic and robust chocolate flavor, and they are available in most stores. It was used to make this recipe, and I recommend it to you too. They are just the natural powder from roasted cocoa beans. On the other hand, the Dutch-process cocoa is pretreated with an alkaline potassium carbonate solution. The alkaline makes the Dutch-process cocoa powder less acidic and darker cocoa powder. For more information, read this article for more insight (Food Additives) and this from serious eat.
How to Make Homemade Orange Extract
Homemade orange extract is straightforward to make but needs about six weeks for the flavor to develop well. All you need is fresh oranges, vodka, and a bottle to store it in—First, Peel thin strips of zest from one orange. Place zest inside a sterilized and dried glass bottle, then add enough vodka to fill the bottle up to the neck.
Seal tightly, add a label with name and date, and store in a cool place for 5 to 6 weeks. Tilt the bottle upside down every few days to mix the liquid.
The homemade orange extract will be clear with no color at first, but the color will change after six weeks with a more robust orange flavor and ready for baking. After six weeks, you can take the peels from the bottle or leave the peels in for refilling.
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Chocolate Orange Cake / Cakelets
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ butter
- 3 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup white granulated sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ cup fresh orange juice
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 large whole egg
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon orange extract
Orange Chocolate Ganache
- 4 ounces chocolate
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- dash or orange and vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease 8 mini-Bundt pans with butter and flour or you can use my magic pan release. Set the pans aside.
- Zest the orange peel and squeeze the juice from the orange and set it aside. Measure all the ingredients needed for the recipe.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until combined and set aside. In a small pot bring water, oil, butter, and cocoa powder to a boil, add the hot mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Then add vanilla extract, orange juice, sour cream, and eggs to the mixture and mix until combined but don’t over mix.
- Scoop the cake batter into the prepared pans. Fill the Bundt or Cakelets pans 2/3 full since the cakes will be decorated and served upside-down style.
- Bake the cakes in the preheated oven for 20 – 25 minutes or toothpick inserted in the middle of cakes and comes out clean and dry. Check on the cakes at 20 minutes if you are using a small Cakeletes pan. Allow the cakes to cool for about 5 minutes in pans before transferring them onto cooling racks to cool completely.
- When the cakes are out of the oven, make your chocolate ganache. In a heavy pan, pour heavy cream into it, add orange zest, and heat on medium heat until it starts to bubble. Stir to prevent scorching. Strain the hot cream over the chocolate. Use a whisk or rubber spatula, stir until all the chocolate pieces are melted. Add the salt, vanilla, orange extract to the ganache and mix until smooth and creamy. Pour the ganache on a completely cooled cake.
Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners and scoop the batter into the lined baking pans. Fill halfway and bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and dry. All the cakes to cool completely before frosting. Chocolate Orange Layer Cake
You can also prepare this cake as a two- 8 inch or three-6-inch layer cake and double the recipe. Divide batter between 8-inch or 6-inch cake pans and bake for 25- 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. These cakes will be two-inch high, and you can tort them or use them as they are to create a tall cake. Make-Ahead Instructions for Chocolate Orange cake recipe
Make-ahead instruction for the chocolate orange cake. These orange and chocolate cakes can be made in advance and stored for later use. Below are some notes to consider if you want to make these cakes in advance. The cake can be made one day in advance, covered, and stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Frosting can also be made one day in advance, covered, and stored in the fridge until ready to use. When ready to use, bring them out of the refrigerator an hour before using. You can whip the chocolate ganache and pipe it onto the cakes or warm it to achieve pouring consistency for decorating. If using buttercream then re-whip the buttercream with a hand mixer or stand mixer to a more spreadable consistency. Pipe the buttercream on the cakes and serve. How to store the orange chocolate Leftover Cakelets
Cakeletes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days and in the refrigerator for up to a week. For more extended storage, allow the cakes to completely cool then place them in the freezer on a cookie sheet for about an hour until frozen solid. Then transfer into a freezer-friendly container or Ziplock bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight on the counter and decorate and serve.
You can store leftover buttercream (when used) in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a month or in the freezer for up to 3 months.