This super moist chocolate orange cake is made with fresh orange juice, orange zest, and dutch cocoa powder, and topped with chocolate orange buttercream.
This recipe for the cake is super easy to make, it comes together in one bowl, which is ultimate for cleaning! Made with the most amazing chocolate orange buttercream that has orange zest and melted chocolate in it!
This is adapted from my favorite chocolate cake recipe. If you like making layer cake as much as we do, check out our black forest cake, best ever chocolate cake, super moist carrot cake, strawberry jam cake, and our Nutella cake!
Why this recipe works
- Extremely easy to make.
- An extra moist cake that stays moist for 3 days!
- Made with simple ingredients.
- Is made with moist chocolate and orange cake layers that are topped with chocolate orange buttercream.
- Freezes beautifully and is great for making ahead of time.
How to make even cake layers
Our biggest tip to make even cake layers is to use a scale and cake strips. Weigh the chocolate cake batter and divide it into two even pans. Then use cake strips to make sure your cake layers bake evenly and don’t develop a dome on top.
Cake strips give you an evenly baked cake with a flat top.
Before you start to make this recipe, measure and prepare your ingredients so the cooking process will go smoothly and easily.
Flour– we used all-purpose flour for this recipe, self-rising flour, and cake flour will work great as well.
Dutch cocoa powder– we like to use Dutch-process cocoa powder for our chocolate cake because we like the deep and rich chocolate taste, but the natural cocoa powder will work great as well!
Baking powder and baking soda – to help the cake rise.
Granulated sugar– we like to use granulated sugar, also the most common sugar used in baking. Caster sugar will work great as well.
Vegetable oil – we used vegetable oil for this recipe. canola oil will work great for this recipe.
Orange juice- we highly recommend squeezing your own orange juice because it really adds a lot of flavor and aroma, way more than using store-bought orange juice.
Orange zest- you will need 1 teaspoon of orange zest. Don't skip this step, this really gives the cake a delicious orange aroma.
Eggs- To give the cake a good structure. Make sure you’re using room-temperature eggs.
Hot coffee- make a strong hot coffee, you can use espresso, or instant coffee, both will work.
Salt- We used kosher salt for this recipe. Salt doesn’t give the cake a salty taste, it helps to enhance the chocolate flavor.
For the chocolate orange buttercream:
Butter- use unsalted butter for this recipe. Only butter will work for this recipe, no margarine, and no coconut oil. Margarine has a weird taste and can ruin the flavor of these delicious cookies.
Vanilla extract- adds extra flavor.
Kosher salt- we like to use kosher salt.
Powder sugar- is known as confessional sugar. For a smoother buttercream, sift it before adding it to the butter.
Cocoa powder- we used Dutch cocoa powder. You can use natural cocoa powder as well.
Dark chocolate- melt the dark chocolate in the microwave or on the stovetop (bain-marie) and let it cool completely so it won’t melt the butter.
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180 (350f) and prep two 8-inch baking pans with parchment paper.
Step 3: Add the flour, baking powder, and baking soda, sift the cocoa powder and mix.
Step 4: Add the hot coffee, and mix well until the batter is smooth. Don't overmix!
Step 5: Divide the mixture into two 8-inch baking pans, we suggest using cake strips for even baking. (weight the batter for better results) and bake in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Tips: Let the cake cool completely before frosting.
For the chocolate orange buttercream:
Make the orange chocolate frosting: into a large bowl add room temperature butter and mix with a hand mixer or a stand mixer until the butter is light and fluffy.
Add half of the powder sugar and the cocoa powder and carefully mix until combined.
Add the other half of the powder sugar and mix until smooth.
Melt dark chocolate or semisweet chocolate and let it cool completely to room temperature. Add the melted chocolate to the mixture and mix until well combined and smooth.
Add the orange zest and vanilla extract and mix until combined.
Pipe a small dollop of the frosting on the surface that you will frost on. Lay the first cake layer over the frosting dot.
Pipe ⅓ of the frosting on top of the cake layer and spread an even layer.
Top with the second cake layer and frost the cake.
For decoration, smooth the sides of the cake (it shouldn’t look perfect) and make wave motions on the top of the cake for a rustic look. We like topping this cake with slices of fresh orange.
- Don’t skip the coffee in the cake, you can’t taste the coffee, it simply enhances the chocolate flavor.
- Use cake strips! Cake strips give you even and perfectly baked cake layers. Click here for the amazon link.
- Cool the melted chocolate before adding it to the chocolate frosting! This step is a must, if the melted chocolate will be hot, it will melt the butter and the chocolate frosting will be ruined.
- Use room temperature ingredients. It is important that you use room-temperature ingredients like eggs and butter. This step ensures that your mixture mixes into a homogenous mixture and bakes perfectly. you don’t want to place cold batter into the oven.
- Measure your flour correctly! When measuring your flour, avoid scooping it with a measuring cup. Instead, stir the flour with a spoon to create as many air pockets as possible, and spoon it into your measuring cup. Finally, level it with a back of a knife.
- Don’t overmix the batter, you don’t want to develop the gluten in the flour. This step ensures you have a moist cake and not a dense and dry cake.
- Line your baking pan with parchment paper! This step helps the cake to bake evenly, and it makes sure that your loaf cake will release easily from the pan.
- Make sure that your butter is at room temperature. An hour or two before making these cookies, take the butter out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature. The butter should be soft to the touch. If your butter is too cold, it will be harder to mix and there will be lumps of butter in the dough.
- Be patient! I know it’s extremely tempting to frost this cake as it is pulled out of the oven, but let the cake cool for at least 1 hour so it will be more firm and won’t crumble up, and prevent the frosting from melting.
Yes! you can bake this cake into a 9x13 inch sheet cake. Change the baking time and keep an eye on the cake so it is fully cooked.
No! you can’t taste the coffee. Adding the coffee simply enhances the chocolate flavor. So, don’t skip the coffee on the cake!
We like to use Dutch prosses cocoa powder, because it gives the cake a deeper rich chocolate taste, and natural cocoa powder will work! It’s just a personal preference.
This cake will last up to 5 days stored in the fridge. Cover the cake with plastic wrap or foil to prevent it from drying out. This cake tastes amazing the day after.
Freeze this cake after it cooled completely in an airtight freezer-friendly container for up to 3 months, some people find the cake tastes better after freezing it.
our tip is not to freeze it decorated or covered with frosting, because it can ruin the decorating on the cake, we suggest freezing the cake and decorating it when you defrost it.
If you’re not looking to impress anyone with your decorating skills, it’s absolutely okay to freeze the cake with the frosting on.
Frosting- you can use your favorite frosting for this cake like classic chocolate frosting, caramel frosting, chocolate ganache frosting, dark chocolate frosting, etc.
Cupcakes- make this cake into cupcakes! Divide the batter and the frosting in half and make a dozen of chocolate orange cupcakes!
There are a few substitutions that may be helpful for your diet:
- Gluten-free - if you want to make this recipe gluten-free, simply replace the flour with gluten-free flour.
- Dairy-free - you can make this cake dairy-free by replacing the butter with vegan butter or using your favorite dairy-free chocolate orange buttercream recipe.
More chocolate recipes:
Double chocolate banana bread- This double chocolate banana bread is filled and topped with chocolate chips, extra moist, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
Best fudgy brownies- These fudgy brownies are made from scratch brownies are loaded with chocolate chunks, and take under an hour to make. These brownies are fudgy, rich in chocolate flavor, have a crinkly top, and are gooey on the inside.
Chewy double chocolate cookies- These double chocolate cookies are chewy, soft, have slightly soft edges, and are loaded with chocolate flavor and chocolate chips!
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Chocolate Orange Cake
- Cake strips to make perfect baked cakes with even tops.
- 8-inch cake pans to bake the cakes in.
- Mixing bowls best glass mixing bowls.
- Whisk set our favorite copper whisk set.
For the cake:
- 2 ½ cups Flour
- ½ cup Cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoon Baking powder
- 1 teaspoon Baking soda
- 2 cups Granulated sugar
- 3 Eggs
- ¾ cup Vegetable oil
- 1 cup Orange juice freshly squeezed
- 1 cup Hot coffee
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon Orange zest
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
For the chocolate frosting:
- 340 g Butter
- 2 cups Powder sugar
- ⅓ cup Cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- 100 g Semisweet chocolate melted and cooled
- 1 teaspoon Orange zest
For the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 180 (350f) and prep two 8-inch baking pans with parchment paper.
- Into a big mixing bowl, add the orange juice, eggs, oil, vanilla extract, sugar, and orange zest. Mix well until combined.
- Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sift the cocoa powder, and mix.
- Add the hot coffee, mix well until the batter is smooth. Don't overmix!
- Divide the mixture into two 8-inch baking pans, we suggest using cake strips for even baking. (weight the batter for better results) and bake in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting:
- Make the chocolate frosting: into a large bowl add room temperature butter and mix with a hand mixer or a stand mixer until the butter is light and fluffy.
- Add half of the powder sugar and the cocoa powder and carefully mix until combined.Add the other half of the powder sugar and mix until smooth.
- Melt dark chocolate or semisweet chocolate and let it cool completely to room temperature. Add the melted chocolate to the mixture and mix until well combined and smooth.
- Add the orange zest and vanilla extract and mix until combined.
For the assembly:
- Pipe a small dollop of the frosting on the surface that you will frost on. Lay the first cake layer over the frosting dot.
- Pipe ⅓ of the frosting on top of the cake layer and spread an even layer.
- Top with the second cake layer and frost the cake.
- For decoration, smooth the sides of the cake (it shouldn’t look perfect) and make wave motions on the top of the cake for a rustic look. We like topping this chocolate orange cake with slices of fresh orange.