Dark Chocolate Orange Cake with a dense and moist dark chocolate orange sponge with a smooth and delicious buttercream frosting – also with chocolate and orange! It is the best combination of flavors, in this easy and fabulous cake.
And here it is. Dark Chocolate Orange Cake with Buttercream Frosting. YUM. Dark chocolate and orange is one of my favorite flavor combinations.
The citrusy tang from the orange and the bitter but sweet dark chocolate makes me so happy. That is also why I love this zesty orange hot chocolate!
How to make a smaller sized cake
Simply make the cake layers as stated in the recipe card below. Once you’re ready to assemble, you can just make one layer! The other two layers can be frozen (see next paragraph) and eaten within 3-4 months.
It doesn’t even have to be orange chocolate cake like this one, but it could be a black forest cake (with a hint of orange of course), or frosted in this brown butter buttercream frosting. They are also pretty delicious with Baileys and coffee frosting.
One layered cakes may not be as festive, but then you’re sure nothing goes to waste. You could also make them into cupcakes.
How to convert cake recipes into cupcakes
It’s easy to convert practically any cake recipe into cupcakes. You don’t have to do any changes to the cake batter. This recipe yields about 24 standard cupcakes.
This orange chocolate cake is usually baked at 325F (160C). Low and slow baking is to make sure the cake stays nice and flat. Perfect for layer cakes!
However, that’s not so important when making cupcakes. Instead I like to bake them at 375F (190C) to create that beautiful cupcake dome. You can of course bake them at 325F, as the cake and bake for 22-25 minutes. But my preference is 375F for about 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick comes out pretty clean!
Let them cool in the muffin tin for 5 minutes before cooling completely on a wire rack.
How to store this cake
The beauty about this orange chocolate cake is that it keeps really well in the refrigerator. There’s no very perishable ingredients, like whipped cream or fresh berries (as in my fresh strawberry cake). Considering that, you can keep it in a cake carrier or something completely covered for a week in the fridge.
So, you may not have room in your fridge. Shouldn’t be a problem, as this cake is so darn delicious it will go fast. It also keeps covered on the counter for about 3 days, but this will depend on how hot it is in the room.
The cake is also freezable. The best way to freeze it is to just freeze the single chocolate cakes without the buttercream (in other words; unfrosted cake layers). Cover each of them well with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and write what kind of cake it is. Keeps about 3-4 months.
It is best to frost the cake while it is still frozen, as you won’t get any crumbs in the frosting – so that’s a bonus!
Chocolate Orange Cake – the cake layers
This recipe is adapted from Taming Twins. Begin with greasing 3 x 18cm (7inch) or 2 x 20cm (8 inch) round cake tins. Preheat the oven to 325F (160C).
Cream your room temperature butter with the sugar, until it’s pale, light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg.
Combine the dry ingredients together. Using a spatula, fold in the flour mixture into the butter mixture a small amount at a time. You can also sift it. This makes the cake fluffier. Stir in the melted and slightly cooled chocolate, orange extract and zest of one orange.
Pour equal amounts of batter into the cake tins, smooth out with the back of a spoon. Bake for around 35-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool completely on a cooling rack.
Dark Chocolate Orange Buttercream
Meanwhile, make the icing. Beat your room temperature butter until it’s pale, light and fluffy. Beat in your powdered sugar, orange extract and orange juice.
Either combine all this with the melted chocolate for one single color, or you can divide the buttercream for several colors.
Divide it into two bowls, 3/4 in one and 1/4 in the other. In the largest bowl, add in the slightly cooled melted chocolate, mix in completely. You can color the other bowl with orange if you want.
Assemble the cake
When the cakes are completely cold, level them if needed. Since we baked them low and slow at 325, the chances are good that your cakes already are pretty flat.
If they are domed, take a serrated knife and make them level. I’ve explained this more in detail in my fresh strawberry cake recipe. If you baked the cakes in 2 x 8″ cake pans, I would slice them in half, making 4 layers instead of 3.
Spread chocolate buttercream on each layer, including the top, but reserve some for decoration.
Place the buttercreams into two piping bags with a round tip. Pipe droplets around the edges of the two (or three) lower layers, decorate with the two different colors on top. Some sprinkles never hurt either!
Did you like this chocolate orange cake? Here’s more perfect birthday cakes:
- Tiramisu Cake with White Chocolate Mousse
- Black Forest Cake with Cherry and Chocolate
- Fresh Strawberry Cake with Lemon Curd
- Lemon Ricotta Cake with Vanilla Pastry Cream
- Apricot and Rum Pastry Cream Soft Cakes (portion sized!)
- Chocolate lava cake (also portion sized!)
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This recipe was originally published on Jan 31st 2018, but updated on Aug 31st 2020 for better photos and content.
Dark Chocolate Orange Cake with Buttercream Frosting
Dark Chocolate and Orange Layer Cake
- 1 1/3 cups butter 300g*, room temperature
- 1 3/4 cups sugar 350g
- 6 large eggs
- 1/2 cup buttermilk 125ml, Norwegian: kulturmelk
- 2 1/8 cups all purpose flour 270g
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 80g
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3 1/2 oz dark chocolate 100g, melted
- 1 tbsp orange extract
- 1 orange, zest only about 1 tbsp
Orange Buttercream Frosting
- 1 1/3 cups butter 300g, room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar 600g
- 5 1/3 oz dark chocolate 150g, melted
- 1 tbsp orange extract
- 1/2 cup orange juice 125ml, about 1 to 1.5 large orange
- orange food color optional
Dark Chocolate and Orange Cake
- Begin with greasing 3 x 18cm (7inch) or 2 x 20cm (8 inch) round cake tins. Preheat the oven to 325F (160C).
- Cream your room temperature butter with the sugar, until it's pale, light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg. Add in buttermilk.
- Mix the dry ingredients together: flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Using a spatula, fold in the flour mixture into the butter mixture a small amount at a time. This helps keep the sponge fluffy. Stir in the melted and slightly cooled chocolate, orange extract and zest of one orange.
- Pour equal amounts of batter into the cake tins, smooth out with the back of a spoon. Bake for around 35-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool completely on a cooling rack.
- Meanwhile, make the frosting. Beat your room temperature butter until it's pale, light and fluffy. Beat in your powdered sugar, orange extract and orange juice.
- Optional: Divide the buttercream into two bowls, 3/4 in one and 1/4 in the other. In the largest bowl, add in the slightly cooled melted chocolate, mix in completely. You can color the other bowl with orange if you want. Or you can simply add all of the chocolate into one bowl and make just one color buttercream!
- When the cakes are completely cold, level them if needed. Take a serrated knife and cut them level. If you used the 2 x 8" pans, I would also slice the cakes in half, creating 4 layers instead of 3.
- Spread equal amounts of chocolate buttercream on each layer and on top of the cake, reserve some for decoration. Place the reserved buttercreams in two piping bags with a round tip. Pipe droplets around the edges of the two (or three) lower layers. Decorate using the piping bags as you wish!
- Keeps 3 days on the counter and about 1 week in the fridge in a cake carrier or something completely enclosed. Best to let it come to room temperature before eating.
An old photo for old time’s sake!