Chocolate Orange Cake

It can’t just be me who instantly associates chocolate orange with the festive season – sales at Terry’s must go up a thousandfold as soon as November the first hits. So I thought it was time for a fabulously festive cake that celebrated the gorgeous union of chocolate and orange all in one. The basis of this cake is my mum’s failsafe sponge recipe, which always deserves another outing – it’s my absolute go-to, any time I want to make a quick cake that’s guaranteed to turn out perfectly. I’ve added a little sparkle with candied oranges for decoration – they’re really simple to make and as a bonus, they make the house smell incredible, so if you’ve got guests coming over it’s a win-win.

For the buttercream I’ve used a product from one of my blogging clients – Sugar & Crumbs’ Chocolate Orange Cocoa Powder. I want to tell you right now that she didn’t ask me to write this and it isn’t part of the service I provide – I just love this product so much I reckon it deserves to be shouted about. The flavours used are all natural and you can really tell, because the taste is absolutely fresh, delicious and not at all artificial. I would definitely recommend you try it out for yourself.

Ingredients
3 large eggs
180g margarine
180g caster sugar
150g self-raising flour
30g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
For the buttercream:
Margarine
Icing sugar
Sugar & Crumbs Chocolate Orange Cocoa Powder
For the candied orange slices:
1 orange
110g caster sugar
118ml water
To decorate:
Terry’s Chocolate Orange Minis

Start by preheating the oven to 170°C (180°C fan). The secret of this sponge cake is achieving a perfect balance between the ingredients, so weigh the eggs, in their shells, and make a note of the amount. You’ll use this to show you how much of the other ingredients to use (the amounts above are just a guide).

Break the eggs into a bowl and add the same weight of margarine (you can use butter if you like, by the way, I just feel that margarine gives you a lighter cake). Beat well, then add the same weight of sugar and beat again. Finally, add the same weight of flour minus 30g, the 30g of cocoa powder, and the tsp of baking powder, and beat again.

Grease two sandwich tins and line with baking parchment. Divide the mixture between the two tins, spread out roughly, and place in the oven for 22 minutes, until the cakes have risen well and a fork inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow them to cool for a couple of minutes, and then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

While the cakes are cooling, make the candied oranges. Put the sugar and water into a frying pan and bring to the boil, stirring well until all the sugar is dissolved. Turn the heat down to a simmer. Cut a couple of slices of orange, as thinly as you can, and lay in the sugar water. Keeping the heat low, let the oranges sit for about 40 minutes, turning every now and then. When the time’s up, remove the pan from the heat and let the orange slices cool for a moment before transferring to a clean plate, leaving the syrup behind (you don’t need it for this recipe, but try drizzling it over ice cream).

Making the buttercream is a bit of an inexact science – it all depends on how sweet you like it. Start by popping a couple of spoonfuls of margarine into a bowl and adding about the same amount of margarine. Mix really well and then add a little cocoa powder. Taste and keep adding sugar or cocoa powder as required until it’s perfect for you.


To finish off the cake, spread one of the layers with half the buttercream and lay the second layer on top. Top off with the rest of the buttercream, the chocolates and the candied orange slices (you may find it easiest to cut them in half with scissors), and a sprinkling of orange zest.