Chocolate Orange Cake

Easy chocolate orange cake recipe for baking beginners and veterans alike. Made with a classic moist sponge and cocoa-orange zest coating, this dessert is as decadent as they come!

Chocolate Orange Cake

A delicious and unique cake is a must for holiday parties, and a chocolate orange cake is a classic and unexpected crowd-pleaser that will have you stand out. This holiday flavor masterpiece allows for plenty of customization to create a unique, delicious cake.

This easy dessert recipe is perfect for beginners who need a go-to recipe that isn’t difficult and doesn’t demand hours to put together. From start to finish, this takes about thirty minutes and uses little more than classic cake ingredients. Let’s dive into this delectable dessert and how to make it.

You may have received little chocolate orange slices during Christmases past. A chocolate orange cake has that same delicious flavor combo but in the form of a rich, moist cake. The orange flavor can be added to the sponge of the cake or the icing.

This recipe details a simple one-layer cake, but the recipe can be altered to add additional layers for an even more dramatic look.

chocolate orange cake glaze baking dessert recipe resized


A chocolate buttercream, cream cheese, or french buttercream works well with this cake. The dark chocolate can also have added orange flavor if you want it to be extra zesty. 

The frosting can be piped into shapes or designs on top, too. The garnishes available for this recipe are a great way to wow anyone at a party. 

Candied Orange Slices

Adding candied oranges on top of this cake is a delightful way to decorate it. If you can find them, adding classic chocolate orange pieces on top is an option too. 

Take orange slices, boil, cool in ice water. Then simmer them in two cups of water and two cups of sugar until they are slightly see-through (around 45-50 minutes).

Allow them to cool and set, then you can add them to your cake!

Sifting Flour

While today’s store-bought flour has been produced to yield fine particles, it’s still important to sift all-purpose flour when baking. Sifting helps to aerate the flour and break apart clumps that form during packaging and distribution. This helps to increase volume and prevent your cake sponge being too dense or flat. While it is true that modern day stand mixers help to aerate the flour, it’s still no match for old-fashioned sifting.

Add Salt

While salt primarily enhances food flavors, it has an added benefit in baking. It helps to enhance the sweetness provided by sugar, meaning that you can use less sugar. Why is this good? Because too much sugar disrupts the batter’s proteins from developing, making the cake too soft and unstable. Adding salt helps bring out the sweetness without running the risk of a flat cake.

Quick Tips

These are some general tips that will help improve and achieve your very best chocolate orange cake.

  • If you use orange oil, make sure you pay attention to the flavor concentration when you use it. If it’s too strong, it will ruin the cake.
  • Buttermilk is key to get a moist final result, and it combines well with the baking powder. 
  • Use unsweetened cocoa powder that has been Dutch Processed. This will give it a better texture.


A chocolate orange cake stores easily and lets you savor it over multiple days. If you wrap the individual pieces, they will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. By wrapping it, it freezes for up to two months and can be thawed later to enjoy.

chocolate orange cake glaze baking dessert
chocolate orange cake glaze baking dessert

Chocolate Orange Cake

Easy chocolate orange cake recipe for baking beginners and veterans alike. Made with a classic moist sponge and cocoa-orange zest coating, this dessert is as decadent as they come!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine European
Servings 8


  • hand mixer
  • 2 x 9-inch non-stick cake pans


  • 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup canola oil or vegetable/olive oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs room temperature
  • 3 tsp orange extract
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ½ cup water

Garnish (Optional)

  • candied oranges
  • chocolate shavings
  • orange zest


  • Sift flour into a large bowl. Add the cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Combine well.
  • In a second bowl, add the eggs, buttermilk, orange extract, orange juice, and water. Whisk to combine.
  • Add the flour mix to the egg mixture. Beat well.
  • Pour the batter into each cake pan evenly.
  • Bake for 25 minutes. Use a toothpick to test for doneness.
  • When done, remove cakes from oven. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.
  • Use frosting to coat the cake. Top with candied orange slices, chocolate shavings, or topping of your choice.