This orange cake is super moist, decadent, and just bursting in orange-chocolate flavor. Plus it’s very easy to make!
This chocolate cake is one of my all-time favorite desserts. It truly is in a league of its own, and I have not yet met a person who hasn’t totally fallen in love with this recipe!
The chocolate itself pairs amazingly with coffee, strawberries, raspberries, and of course, orange!
What Should You Use For Flavoring?
If you’re asking yourself how orangey this cake is, I’m just gonna go ahead and let you know it is absolutely packed with orange flavor. This cake is made not only with orange extract but also real, freshly squeezed orange juice.
Whenever possible, I tend to use real flavors instead of extracts. There is nothing wrong with the extracts, but some do not accurately mimic the real flavor.
The orange extract sometimes tastes fake, and it all depends on the type of brand you are using. When buying any extracts always choose the best ones from known brands.
The extract used here is just a touch that helps the orange stay prominent behind the dark chocolate. You can find that extract here!
Do I Need Buttermilk For This Recipe?
The buttermilk in this recipe isn’t here just for show! It has a very specific, important set of purposes:
- Buttermilk is a tenderizer that makes baked goods moist. Forget about dry cake when using buttermilk!
- Buttermilk is tangy, which is perfect for chocolate cakes. The buttermilk keeps the cake from being too sweet and gives the cake a rich and buttery taste.
- Buttermilk helps the cake rise as it reacts with baking powder.
So yes, you need buttermilk for this recipe if you want moist and juicy cake.
Which Orange Juice Works Best In This Recipe?
I like real, freshly squeezed orange juice. If you have a box of orange juice, make sure you are using 100% juice without any added sugar.
This is very important! No extra sugar! The cake itself has a decent amount of sugar in the sponge and frosting, so adding more sugar will make it just too sweet.
Which Frosting Is The Best?
There are many different frostings and options to choose from. I ended up making a frosting that has a mix of powdered chocolate, cacao powder, butter, powdered sugar, and a bit of milk.
This is a super delicious frosting that works on cake and cupcakes. If you want to try something else, you can use:
- Ganache frosting (milk chocolate ratio 1:2)
- A mixture of butter, cream cheese, and melted dark chocolate. Add in some vanilla, powdered sugar, salt, and cocoa powder.
This frosting is rich but surprisingly well-balanced. The cream cheese in the frosting makes everything fresh without being too sweet.
My Tips For The Cake
This cake is super easy to make, but I will admit that during my journey of perfecting this recipe there were a few hiccups along the way. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when making this:
- Always use parchment paper! Simply buttering your cake pans won’t do the trick. Having parchment paper lining the outside of these molds makes removing the cakes that much easier, and you don’t have to worry about accidentally breaking off chunks of the cake!
- Refrigerate the cakes before frosting! Sometimes cake can feel cold to the touch, but the center may still be warm. If this is the case, it’ll melt the frosting you spread over! Once your cake is cooled to the touch, pop it in a fridge for another 30 minutes or place it in a freezer for 10 minutes.
- Make sure to level your cake! Often, during the baking process, the cake may get a slight dome shape. There are two solutions to this problem: you can invert the sponge on a piece of parchment paper as soon as you pull it from the oven and let it cool like that, or just cut the top from the cake, making the cake perfectly flat. It is really important to have equal flat pieces when stacking the cake!
How To Make Orange Chocolate Cake
Assemble your ingredients.
In a mixing bowl, beat sugar, salt, eggs, vegetable oil, and buttermilk. Whisk in orange juice and orange extract.
Add flour, and baking powder.
In a mixing bowl, combine cacao and hot water until you have a smooth mixture.
Pour the cacao into the flour mixture and whisk until smooth and well incorporated.
Divide the mixture between two spring forms and bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating spring forms halfway through.
Cool the cake in a tin, then refrigerate the sponge for 30 minutes.
In a mixing bowl, beat butter with cacao and powdered chocolate.
Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk. Beat until smooth.
Place one of the cake layers on a cake stand. Top with 1/3 of the frosting. Cover with the second piece of the cake sponge. Use the remaining frosting to cover the cake completely.
Chill the cake for 1 hour in a fridge before serving.
Decorate with orange slices and enjoy!
For the cake
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cup sugar
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 ½ tsp orange extract
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- ½ cup warm, not hot, water
For the frosting
- ¾ cup softened butter
- 3 tbsp cacao powder
- 3 tbsp powdered chocolate
- 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 2-3 tbsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 9-inch spring forms with parchment paper.
- In a mixing bowl, beat sugar, salt, eggs, vegetable oil, and buttermilk. Whisk in orange juice and orange extract.
- Add flour, and baking powder. In a mixing bowl, combine cacao and hot water until you have a smooth mixture. Pour the cacao into the flour mixture and whisk until smooth and well incorporated.
- Divide the mixture between two spring forms and bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating spring forms halfway through.
- Cool the cake in a tin, then refrigerate the sponge for 30 minutes.
- To make the frosting, in a mixing bowl, beat butter with cacao and powdered chocolate.
- Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk. Beat until smooth.
- To assemble, place a layer of cake on a cake stand. Top with 1/3 of the frosting. Cover with the second piece of the cake sponge. Use the remaining frosting to cover the cake completely.
- Chill the cake for 1 hour in a fridge before serving.
To take your cake to the next level, you can optionally decorate your cake with candied orange slices.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 9 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 668Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 84mgSodium: 49mgCarbohydrates: 92gFiber: 3gSugar: 68gProtein: 7g
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