With dark chocolate cake with the fluffiest Chocolate Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
This Chocolate Orange Cake. This cake is a sign of my growth and maturity as a human being. It took me until, well, now, to figure out that I like chocolate and orange together. And I mean really like it.
If you asked me ten years ago I would have told you that orange and chocolate is stupid and why would you even eat that???
No, I don’t know what was wrong with me.
Maybe what I needed all along was this easy cake. It’s rich, dark and chocolatey, which is the perfect compliment to the bright, shiny (shiny???) orange flavour. You see, I’ve always been into contrasts… sweet & salty… artisan bread & fake cheese… blouses & ripped jeans… it always works. I should have known that I liked this. I should have tried harder.
I’m a better person now. Thanks for joining me on this journey of enlightenment.
A word about making the fluffy chocolate orange cream cheese frosting…
Adding heavy cream to frosting is an idea that came from my daughter, who is the master of frosting in this house. I swear she’s a frosting magician and hers is always absolutely perfect. So, I rarely make my own frosting these days… I just tell her what flavour I want and let her work her magic.
If I’m following her lead, the cream is crucial in achieving maximum fluffiness and why wouldn’t you want that? I also advise that you use brick cream cheese, not the stuff in the tub. I’ve found that the tub stuff can turn watery sometimes. You could also use a straight buttercream frosting or a ganache on this cake, but I like the added tang of the cream cheese.
Also, whip the heck out of it. That’s important.
Anything Special You Need to Know about how to make this recipe?
*As it is, this recipe makes a single, 9 inch round cake, but you can easily double the recipe and make a layer cake though… if you need a showstopper… or if you just really like cake.
*I use frozen (but thawed) orange juice concentrate in the cake and in the icing and I think it makes a world of difference in the flavours here. It gives an extra pop of tart orange flavour that I just love. Freshly squeezed orange juice is delicious, and store bought juice isn’t bad, but they don’t give the recipe quite enough flavor for me. I also wanted to make this cake without orange extract because I wanted to use readily available ingredients.
*If you need me to help you justify a reason for making and eating this delicious cake on, say, a Tuesday afternoon, I found this handy article about the health benefits of chocolate. I got you friend.
I think orange zest is key and you can also use fresh orange juice or prepared orange. Orange extract is an option as is orange oil. I often use orange juice concentrate because I think it works really well to add extra orange flavor.
If you read my opening to this post you’ll know that it took me a while to discover that heck yes it’s a good combination. It’s under appreciated and absolutely delish.
I like to keep it simple with just a few curls of orange zest made with a vegetable peeler, but you could also add dark chocolate curls or even candied orange pieces.
Chocolate Orange Cake with Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting
For the cake:
- 1 cup plus 1 Tbsp flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp espresso powder
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1 egg
- 1 Tbsp orange zest
- 1 Tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate thawed
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup boiling water
For the frosting:
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 1/2 – 3 cups icing sugar
- 1/2 cup cocoa
- 1 tbsp Orange juice concentrate
- 2 tsp Orange zest
- 1/2 block cream cheese
- 2 Tbsp whipping cream
- Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder in a bowl and mix well.
- In a separate bowl mix together the buttermilk, oil, egg, orange zest, orange juice concentrate and vanilla. Whisk well.
- Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and mix until combined.
- Stir in the boiling water.
- Pour the batter into a greased and lined 9” round pan.
- Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.
- Cool before frosting.
- To make the frosting add the butter to an electric mixer and beat until fluffy.
- Add in the icing sugar, cocoa, vanilla, whipping cream, orange concentrate and zest whip again until fluffy.
- Add in the cream cheese and mix until well combined.
- Frost the cake.