Are you searching for a zesty spin on a traditional chocolate cake? Look no further than this delightful recipe for a chocolate orange cake!
Orange and chocolate are a classic and beloved flavor combination—fresh, fruity notes of orange perfectly balance the rich, intense chocolate flavor.
So, what better way to take advantage of this delicious flavor combination than making a moist, decadent chocolate orange cake?
This recipe is equal parts easy to make and delicious, and our simple frosting and garnishing tips will make cake presentation a breeze.
Orange Chocolate Cake Recipe
1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 ¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup oil (coconut, vegetable, olive, etc.)
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup warm freshly squeezed orange juice
2 teaspoons orange extract
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Two 9-inch round cake pans
Hand mixer or whisk
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 24 minutes
Decorating Time: 15-30 minutes
Total: 54-69 minutes
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
- Grease two 9-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper and grease parchment paper.
- Mix flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.
- Whisk together eggs, oil, milk, orange juice, orange extract, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl.
- Add the dry ingredients slowly to the wet ingredients, and whisk until combined.
- Pour an even amount of batter into each of your round cake pans.
- Bake for 24 minutes. Once you can stick a toothpick into the center of the cake and remove it without any batter attached, your cake is finished!
- Cool your cakes on a cooling rack before removing them from the pan
- Remove cakes from the pan, frost, and enjoy! See notes about frosting below.
Ingredients for Your Chocolate Orange Cake
This recipe uses all-purpose flour. However, if you’re looking for a gluten-free substitute, you can use Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour or another gluten-free flour substitute to make this cake gluten-free.
Don’t skimp on the sugar—granulated sugar is what makes your cake taste sweet and delicious!
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
There are two types of cocoa powder used in baking: Dutch-process and natural cocoa powder. We recommend using unsweetened natural cocoa powder for this recipe.
Baking Soda & Baking Powder
Baking powder helps your cake to lift, and baking soda helps balance out the acidic citrus in your cake.
Vanilla Extract & Salt
Vanilla extract and salt add to and balance the flavor of your cookies.
Eggs add structure and texture to your cake, and they also help to bind the ingredients together.
Whole Milk & Oil
Whole milk and oil help to keep your cake moist, tender, and flavorful. You can use coconut, vegetable, canola, or olive oil for this recipe.
While we recommend using whole milk, you can swap out this milk choice with almond milk, oat milk, or another dairy-free milk alternative to make this cake dairy-free.
Orange Juice and Orange Extract
Now, for the flavor! We recommend using fresh-squeezed orange juice for this recipe for a vibrant, zesty flavor.
Pure orange extract helps to enhance the bright, refreshing flavor of the juice so that you can taste the citrus in the cake.
Tips & Tricks for Frosting & Garnishing Your Cake
Once you’ve finished baking your cake, it’s time to make it look beautiful! Here are some frosting and garnishing tips for a stellar cake presentation.
Freeze Your Cake Overnight
Before you frost your cake, we recommend freezing it overnight, or at least for a few hours. Frozen cakes are much easier to torte, build, and frost.
Level & Torte Your Cake
Your cake will rise in the oven to become an uneven dome shape. If you want the top layer of your cake to rest flat against the bottom layer, you will need to torte the cake. Watch this excellent video tutorial by Wilton on how to level and torte a cake for extra guidance!
Use Store-Bought Frosting
The fastest, easiest frosting option for your cake is to use a high-quality, store-bought dark chocolate frosting. Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy Dark Chocolate frosting is a fan-favorite for flavor and presentation, but any chocolate frosting you have on hand will work, too.
Make Homemade Chocolate Frosting
If you’re looking to go the extra mile for your chocolate orange cake, you can make your own homemade chocolate orange buttercream frosting.
You’ll need these ingredients:
- 1 cup softened unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon orange extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
Just follow these simple steps:
- Beat the butter, vanilla, orange extract, and salt in a large bowl until creamy.
- Mix the powdered sugar and unsweetened cocoa powder in a small bowl.
- Add the powder mixture and the heavy whipping cream to the butter mixture slowly while beating.
- Continue beating the mixture for 2-3 minutes, or until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Make your cake look beautiful with some orange garnish. Here are some garnish ideas for your cake:
- Candied oranges—Follow this recipe by Taste of Home to make fancy and fun candied orange slices.
- Fresh orange slices—Garnish your cake with fresh, thin orange slices. You can even twist each slice for added presentation!
- Orange zest—Zest an orange on top of your cake for enhanced presentation and orange flavor.
Impress Friends & Family with Your Chocolate Orange Cake
You’ve baked, assembled, frosted, and garnished your cake—now it’s ready to serve!
This chocolate orange cake is a delicious choice for birthday parties, family gatherings, and office parties year-round, but it’s especially perfect for serving during citrus season.
Leftover cake slices should last for three to four days in an airtight container in the refrigerator or up to two months in the freezer.
However, we wouldn’t be too worried about storage for this cake—we’re confident someone will eat the last slice in a matter of minutes!