Chocolate Orange Cake

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This extra moist Chocolate Orange Cake is covered in a luscious orange cream cheese frosting flavored with fresh orange juice and zest!

Chocolate orange cake with orange cream cheese frosting with a slice cut out

Let’s be real here, orange and chocolate is a top tier flavor combination. The rich chocolate and citrusy orange balance each other out so well that even my boyfriend who doesn’t like chocolate cake LOVED this recipe!

Ingredient Breakdown

Granulated & brown sugar – sweetens and tenderizes cake. Either light or dark brown sugar will work.

Orange zest – adds extra orange flavor by rubbing zest and sugars together until it looks like wet sand. This releases orange oil from the zest.

Baking soda & baking powder – both leaveners are needed to help the cake rise.

Buttermilk – adds flavor and moisture.

Orange juice – gives the cake its orange flavor. Always use fresh orange juice for the best flavor. If using regular store bought orange juice make sure its 100% juice.

Vegetable oil – adds moisture and makes the cake super soft. Also allows more chocolate flavor to shine through versus butter!

Vanilla extract and salt – enhances flavor.

Hot water – enhances chocolate flavor

How to Make Chocolate Orange Cake

1. Make the chocolate orange cake batter: in a large bowl rub together granulated sugar, brown sugar and orange zest until it looks like wet sand.

Orange sugar for chocolate orange cake

2. Add the all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt to the orange sugar mixture. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl whisk eggs, buttermilk, vegetable oil, orange juice and vanilla extract.

Chocolate orange cake batter

4. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Once combined, slowly mix in the hot water. Evenly divide batter between three 6-inch pans, two 8-inch pans or two 9-inch pans. Bake at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

5. Make the orange cream cheese frosting: cream butter on a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or with a hand mixer. Add cream cheese and beat until just combined.

6. Add confectioners’ sugar and mix on low until combined.

7. Add orange juice, vanilla extract, orange zest and salt to taste.

8. Assemble the cake: level the tops of the cakes with a serrated knife. Place one on a cake board on top of a turntable. Spread an even layer of frosting on top using an offset spatula. Repeat with remaining cake layers placing the last one upside down so the top will be flat. Use an offset spatula to spread frosting along the sides and top of the cake then use a cake scraper to smooth out the sides. Store Orange Chocolate Cake covered for up to 5 days in the fridge.

Slice of chocolate orange cake with orange cream cheese frosting on a plate

Pro Tips For Chocolate Orange Cake

  • Weigh your ingredients using a kitchen scale! Measuring ingredients by volume is not accurate.
  • Don’t over mix the cake batter otherwise it will develop too much gluten and be dense/gummy!
  • Make sure your water is hot NOT boiling and slowly add it to the batter while stirring so you don’t accidentally cook the eggs.
  • Wait until the cake is COMPLETELY COOLED before frosting otherwise the frosting will melt and slide off.
  • Do not over mix the cream cheese frosting otherwise it will begin to break down and become runny.

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If you try this recipe then please leave a rating/comment below to let me know how you liked it and feel free to ask any recipe questions you may have! 🙂

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5 from 1 vote

Chocolate Orange Cake

This extra moist Chocolate Orange Cake is covered in a luscious orange cream cheese frosting flavored with fresh orange juice and zest!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Calories 7622kcal
Author Maria Azzarelli

Equipment

  • Stand mixer or hand mixer
  • Cake pans

Ingredients

Chocolate Orange Cake

  • 250 g (1 1/4 cups) granulated sugar
  • 150 g (3/4 cup) brown sugar
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 210 g (1 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 60 g (3/4 cup) cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 240 g (1 cup) buttermilk
  • 3 eggs
  • 120 g (1/2 cup) vegetable oil
  • 60 g (1/4 cup) orange juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 60 g (1/4 cup) hot water

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 226 g (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 480 g (4 cups) confectioners' sugar
  • 30 g (2 tbsp) orange juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 orange

Instructions

Chocolate Orange Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line cake pans with parchment paper. This recipe makes enough batter for either three 6-inch pans or two 8-inch or 9-inch pans.
  • In a large bowl rub together granulated sugar, brown sugar and orange zest until it looks like wet sand.
  • Add the all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt to the orange sugar mixture. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl whisk buttermilk, eggs, vegetable oil, orange juice and vanilla extract.
  • Mix wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Once combined, slowly mix in the hot water. Evenly divide batter between prepared cake pans. Bake at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Cream butter on a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or with a hand mixer. Add cream cheese and beat until just combined.
  • Add confectioners' sugar and mix on low until combined.
  • Add orange juice, vanilla extract, orange zest and salt to taste. Decorate cakes as desired once completely cooled.

Assemble The Cake

  • Level the tops of the cakes with a serrated knife. Place one on a cake board on top of a turntable. Spread an even layer of frosting on top using an offset spatula. Repeat with remaining cake layers placing the last one upside down so the top will be flat. Use an offset spatula to spread frosting along the sides and top of the cake then use a cake scraper to smooth out the sides. Store Orange Chocolate Cake covered for up to 5 days in the fridge.

Notes

  • Weigh your ingredients using a kitchen scale! Measuring ingredients by volume is not accurate.
 
  • Store Chocolate Orange Cake covered for up to 5 days in the fridge.
 
  • Butter: I recommend using unsalted butter in the cream cheese frosting. You can use salted butter, just be sure to omit the extra salt.
 
  • Nutrition: the provided nutritional information is an estimate for the entire cake. Please read my Nutrition Disclaimer for more information.

Nutrition

Calories: 7622kcal | Carbohydrates: 1111g | Protein: 96g | Fat: 337g | Saturated Fat: 150g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 80g | Monounsaturated Fat: 85g | Trans Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 1031mg | Sodium: 5764mg | Potassium: 2734mg | Fiber: 28g | Sugar: 899g | Vitamin A: 7061IU | Vitamin C: 45mg | Calcium: 1572mg | Iron: 23mg

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