Chocolate Orange Cake is a delightful dessert that combines the rich and indulgent flavors of chocolate with the bright and citrusy notes of oranges. This cake is a harmonious fusion of moist chocolate layers infused with zesty orange zest and juice, creating a tantalizing blend of sweet and tangy flavors. Topped with a luscious chocolate orange ganache or frosting, this cake is a perfect choice for those who crave a harmonious balance of decadence and citrusy freshness in their desserts. Whether enjoyed as a special treat for celebrations or as a delightful everyday indulgence, Chocolate Orange Cake is sure to captivate the taste buds of chocolate and citrus lovers alike.


What is Chocolate Orange Cake?

Chocolate Orange Cake is a delectable dessert that combines the rich, velvety flavor of chocolate with the zesty, citrusy essence of oranges. It typically consists of several layers of moist chocolate cake infused with orange zest and often layered with an orange-flavored frosting or ganache. The cake is known for its harmonious contrast of sweet and tangy flavors, creating a delightful sensory experience.

Here’s a brief breakdown of its key components:

  • Chocolate Cake: The base of the cake is a chocolate-flavored batter made from cocoa powder and other typical cake ingredients like flour, sugar, eggs, and leavening agents. This chocolate cake is usually moist and tender.
  • Orange Zest and Juice: Orange zest, which is the finely grated outer peel of the orange, is added to the cake batter to infuse it with a bright, citrusy aroma and flavor. Freshly squeezed orange juice is also incorporated, enhancing the cake’s citrus profile.
  • Frosting or Ganache: Chocolate Orange Cake is often frosted with a chocolate-orange frosting or glazed with a chocolate-orange ganache. This frosting or ganache combines chocolate with orange extract or zest to create a delightful contrast to the richness of the chocolate cake.
  • Decorations: The cake may be decorated with additional orange zest, chocolate shavings, candied orange peel, or even fresh orange slices for added visual appeal and flavor.

Chocolate Orange Cake is a popular choice for special occasions, particularly during the holiday season, as its combination of chocolate and citrus flavors adds a festive touch to any celebration. Whether served as a slice for dessert or as the centerpiece of a dessert table, this cake is beloved by those who appreciate the delightful marriage of chocolate and orange.


Why you will love Chocolate Orange Cake?

There are several reasons why you might fall in love with Chocolate Orange Cake:

  • Tantalizing Flavor Combination: Chocolate and orange create a harmonious flavor combination that’s both rich and indulgent, thanks to the chocolate, and bright and citrusy, courtesy of the orange. This contrast in flavors makes each bite exciting and memorable.
  • Moist and Tender Texture: A well-made Chocolate Orange Cake is incredibly moist and tender, making it a delightful sensory experience with every bite.
  • Aromatic Zest: The addition of orange zest infuses the cake with a fragrant citrus aroma that enhances the overall eating experience.
  • Versatile for Occasions: It’s a versatile dessert suitable for various occasions, from everyday indulgences to special celebrations like birthdays, holidays, or anniversaries.
  • Visual Appeal: Chocolate Orange Cake is often visually stunning, with its dark chocolate layers contrasting beautifully with vibrant orange hues. The decorations, such as chocolate shavings and candied orange peel, add to its visual appeal.
  • Seasonal Charm: The combination of chocolate and orange is particularly popular during the holiday season, making it a perfect dessert choice for festive gatherings and celebrations.
  • Customizable: You can customize the level of orange flavor in the cake to suit your preferences. Whether you prefer a subtle hint of citrus or a bold orange flavor, you have control over how much zest and juice to add.
  • Memorable Taste: The unique and memorable taste of Chocolate Orange Cake often leaves a lasting impression on those who try it, making it a favorite for dessert enthusiasts.
  • Pairs Well with Coffee or Tea: It’s a wonderful accompaniment to a cup of coffee or tea, offering a delightful contrast of flavors that can elevate your coffee break or tea time.

In summary, Chocolate Orange Cake is beloved for its exquisite flavor profile, tender texture, and the way it combines the best of both chocolate and citrus worlds. Whether you’re a fan of classic flavor combinations or looking for something new and exciting, Chocolate Orange Cake is sure to capture your heart and taste buds.


Chocolate Orange Cake Recipe


For the Chocolate Cake:

  • 1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 and 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (from about 2-3 oranges)
  • 1 cup hot brewed coffee

For the Chocolate Orange Frosting:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Optional Garnishes:

  • Additional orange zest
  • Chocolate shavings
  • Candied orange peel
  • Fresh orange slices


For the Chocolate Cake:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper for easy removal.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, orange zest, and orange juice until well combined.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not overmix.
  5. Gradually add the hot brewed coffee and stir until the batter is smooth. The batter will be thin; this is normal.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
  8. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for about 10-15 minutes, then remove them from the pans and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the Chocolate Orange Frosting:

  1. In a mixing bowl, beat the softened butter until creamy and smooth.
  2. Sift in the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder. Add the orange juice, orange zest, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt.
  3. Beat on low speed at first to prevent the powdered sugar from flying, and then increase the speed to medium-high. Continue to beat until the frosting is light, fluffy, and well combined.


  1. Once the cakes are completely cool, place one cake layer on a serving platter or cake stand.
  2. Spread a generous layer of the Chocolate Orange Frosting evenly over the top of the first cake layer.
  3. Place the second cake layer on top and frost the top and sides of the entire cake with the remaining frosting.
  4. Decorate the cake with additional orange zest, chocolate shavings, candied orange peel, or fresh orange slices, as desired.
  5. Slice and serve your delicious Chocolate Orange Cake.

Enjoy your homemade Chocolate Orange Cake!


How to serve Chocolate Orange Cake

Serving Chocolate Orange Cake is a delightful experience, and here are some tips on how to serve it:

  • Slice with a Sharp Knife: Use a sharp knife dipped in hot water for clean and smooth slices. This helps prevent the cake from sticking to the knife and ensures neat portions.
  • Portion Sizes: Consider the size of your cake and the number of guests. A typical 9-inch round cake can yield 10-12 slices, but you can adjust the size of each slice based on your preferences and the occasion.
  • Plating: Place each slice on a dessert plate or cake stand with a decorative design for an elegant presentation.
  • Garnish: Add a finishing touch by garnishing each slice with a sprinkle of additional orange zest, a dusting of cocoa powder, a few chocolate shavings, or a piece of candied orange peel. This not only enhances the visual appeal but also adds extra flavor.
  • Accompaniments: Consider serving Chocolate Orange Cake with a dollop of whipped cream, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or a drizzle of chocolate sauce for a decadent treat.
  • Beverage Pairing: Chocolate Orange Cake pairs wonderfully with a variety of beverages. Offer your guests choices like coffee, tea (black or herbal), hot chocolate, or even a glass of milk. Some might also enjoy it with a glass of orange juice for an extra citrusy kick.
  • Special Occasions: For special occasions, such as birthdays or holidays, you can add candles to the cake slices for a celebratory touch.
  • Enjoy the Layers: Encourage your guests to savor the layers of flavor in each bite—the rich chocolate cake, the zesty orange notes, and the creamy frosting. The contrast of flavors is what makes this cake special.
  • Store Properly: If there are leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator to maintain freshness. Be sure to bring the cake to room temperature before serving again, as the flavors and textures are best appreciated when the cake is not too cold.
  • Share and Enjoy: Finally, share your homemade Chocolate Orange Cake with friends and loved ones, and savor the joy it brings to those who have the pleasure of enjoying it.

Serving Chocolate Orange Cake is not only about presenting a delicious dessert but also about creating a memorable dining experience for those who gather around the table to enjoy it.


How to store Chocolate Orange Cake

Storing Chocolate Orange Cake properly is essential to maintain its freshness and flavor. Here’s how to store it:

1. Room Temperature (Short Term):

  • If you plan to consume the cake within 1-2 days, you can store it at room temperature in a cake container with a tight-fitting lid or under a cake dome.
  • Ensure the cake is completely cool before placing it in the container.
  • If the weather is hot or humid, it’s best to store the cake in the refrigerator to prevent spoilage.

2. Refrigeration (Longer Storage):

  • For longer-term storage, place the Chocolate Orange Cake in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.
  • Store the cake in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • If your cake has a perishable filling, like a custard or cream, or if the frosting contains dairy or cream cheese, refrigeration is necessary to prevent spoilage.

3. Freezing (Extended Storage):

  • To store Chocolate Orange Cake for an extended period (up to 2-3 months), consider freezing it.
  • Wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn and moisture loss.
  • Place the wrapped cake in an airtight container or a resealable freezer bag.
  • Label the container with the date to keep track of storage time.
  • When you’re ready to enjoy the cake, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for a few hours. This gradual thawing helps maintain the cake’s texture.

Additional Tips:

  • If your cake has delicate decorations (like fresh fruit), it’s best to add these after thawing to avoid potential moisture issues during freezing and thawing.
  • Sliced portions can be individually wrapped and frozen for convenient single servings.

Proper storage ensures that your Chocolate Orange Cake remains moist and delicious, whether you plan to enjoy it in the short term or save it for a special occasion in the future.

More Incredible Cake Recipes To Try

Tips to make perfect Chocolate Orange Cake

Creating the perfect Chocolate Orange Cake requires attention to detail and a few key techniques. Here are some tips to help you make a delicious Chocolate Orange Cake:


  1. Quality Chocolate and Cocoa: Use high-quality chocolate and cocoa powder for the best flavor. Dark chocolate works well with the orange flavor.
  2. Fresh Oranges: Use fresh oranges for both the zest and juice. Organic oranges are preferable because they don’t have wax or chemicals on the skin.
  3. Room Temperature Ingredients: Ensure that your eggs, butter, and other dairy ingredients are at room temperature. This helps with better mixing and smoother batter.

Cake Preparation:

  1. Properly Grease and Flour Your Cake Pans: To prevent sticking, thoroughly grease your cake pans and then dust them with cocoa powder instead of flour for a chocolate cake.
  2. Zest the Oranges: Zest the oranges before juicing them. The zest contains essential oils that add intense orange flavor.
  3. Sift Dry Ingredients: Sift the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt) together to remove lumps and ensure even distribution.
  4. Cream the Butter and Sugar: Creaming the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy creates a tender crumb. Use an electric mixer for best results.
  5. Alternate Wet and Dry Ingredients: When adding the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, do it in batches, alternating with the orange juice. Start and end with the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined each time.
  6. Fold in Chocolate Chips or Chunks: If you want extra chocolate goodness, fold in chocolate chips or chunks into the batter.


  1. Even Cake Layers: Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans to ensure even baking and uniform cake layers.
  2. Preheat the Oven: Make sure your oven is fully preheated to the correct temperature before placing the cakes inside.
  3. Use Cake Strips: To ensure flat, level cake layers, consider using cake strips soaked in water and wrapped around the cake pans.
  4. Don’t Overbake: Start checking for doneness a few minutes before the recommended baking time. Overbaking can result in a dry cake.

Frosting and Assembly:

  1. Orange Zest in Frosting: Incorporate some orange zest into the frosting for an extra burst of flavor.
  2. Let Cakes Cool: Allow the cakes to cool in their pans for about 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. Level the Cake Layers: Trim the tops of the cake layers to ensure they are level before frosting for a professional appearance.
  4. Layer and Frost Carefully: Use an offset spatula to spread frosting evenly between layers and on the cake’s surface. Consider doing a “crumb coat” first to trap any loose crumbs before applying the final layer of frosting.
  5. Decorate Creatively: Get creative with your cake decoration. Consider using orange zest, chocolate shavings, or orange slices for garnish.
  6. Chill Before Serving: For the best texture and easier slicing, refrigerate the cake for at least an hour before serving.

Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be discouraged if your first attempt isn’t flawless. With these tips and some experimentation, you’ll be well on your way to baking the perfect Chocolate Orange Cake.



1. Why did my Chocolate Orange Cake turn out dry?

  • Overbaking: Check your cake for doneness a few minutes before the recommended baking time. Overbaking can lead to a dry cake.
  • Too much flour: Make sure you measure your flour accurately, using the spoon-and-level method to avoid adding too much flour.
  • Not enough liquid: Ensure you add the correct amount of orange juice and follow the recipe’s measurements precisely.

2. How can I prevent my cake from sticking to the pan?

  • Properly grease the cake pans with butter or oil, and then dust them with cocoa powder or flour.
  • Consider using parchment paper circles at the bottom of the pans for extra insurance against sticking.

3. Why is my Chocolate Orange Cake too dense or heavy?

  • Overmixing: Be careful not to overmix the batter once you’ve added the dry ingredients, as this can lead to a dense cake.
  • Using expired leavening agents: Check the expiration date of your baking powder to ensure it’s still effective.

4. My cake layers are not rising properly. What could be the issue?

  • Expired or ineffective leavening agents: Make sure your baking powder is fresh and not expired.
  • Incorrect oven temperature: Use an oven thermometer to verify that your oven is at the correct temperature for baking.

5. How can I enhance the orange flavor in my Chocolate Orange Cake?

  • Use fresh oranges and zest both the juice and the zest. The zest contains essential oils that add a strong orange flavor.
  • Consider adding a touch of orange extract for an extra burst of orange aroma and taste.

6. Why did my frosting turn out too runny or too thick?

  • Runny frosting: If your frosting is too runny, add more powdered sugar gradually until you reach the desired consistency.
  • Thick frosting: If your frosting is too thick, add a small amount of milk or orange juice, a teaspoon at a time, until it reaches the right consistency.

7. How can I fix a cracked cake?

  • Cracked cakes are often caused by overbaking or uneven baking. To fix a cracked cake, you can trim the top to level it and then use extra frosting or a ganache layer to cover the cracks.

8. Can I make this cake ahead of time?

  • Yes, you can make the cake layers in advance and freeze them. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. Thaw them in the refrigerator before frosting.

9. Can I substitute ingredients in a Chocolate Orange Cake?

  • Substituting ingredients can alter the texture and flavor, so be cautious. You can often substitute buttermilk for milk, and some recipes allow for alternative flours or sweeteners. Always check the specific recipe for guidance on substitutions.

Nutrition information

The nutritional information for Chocolate Orange Cake can vary depending on the specific recipe and serving size. However, here’s a general estimate of the nutritional content for a typical slice (approximately 1/12th of an 8-inch cake) of Chocolate Orange Cake:

  • Calories: Approximately 300-350 calories per slice.
  • Total Fat: About 15-20 grams, primarily from butter or oil in the cake and frosting.
  • Saturated Fat: Typically 7-10 grams due to the presence of chocolate and butter.
  • Cholesterol: Around 50-80 milligrams, mostly from eggs and dairy ingredients.
  • Sodium: Approximately 150-250 milligrams, depending on the recipe and how much salt is used.
  • Total Carbohydrates: Roughly 40-50 grams, with sugar being a significant contributor.
  • Dietary Fiber: Usually minimal, around 1-2 grams per slice.
  • Sugars: Chocolate Orange Cake tends to be high in sugar, with approximately 30-40 grams per slice.
  • Protein: About 3-5 grams, primarily from eggs and a small amount from flour.

Please note that these values are general estimates, and the actual nutritional content can vary based on the specific ingredients and quantities used in your recipe. If you’re looking for more precise nutritional information, it’s advisable to use a recipe calculator or a nutrition analysis tool, which can take into account the exact measurements and brands of ingredients you use. Additionally, if you have specific dietary concerns or restrictions, you may need to make modifications to the recipe to suit your needs.

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