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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Chocolate Orange Cake With Chocolate Frosting

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I’m excited to share my chocolate orange cake recipe, a dream come true for chocolate lovers seeking a citrusy twist. You’ll find layers of moist orange cake topped with a luscious chocolate frosting – perfect for anyone craving a sophisticated yet simple dessert. Not only is this recipe easy to make, and is adaptable for vegan and gluten-free diets, I’ll guide you through each step, ensuring a stunning result that’s both make-ahead friendly and effortlessly elegant.

Chocolate orange cake topped with orange slices and a chocolate ganache frosting on a white cake board.

Chocolate and orange are a classic and divine combination. If you’re unsure about the orange-chocolate combo, one bite of this soft chocolate cake and chocolate orange ganache will convert you.

Don’t be fooled by its pillowy-soft texture and silky smooth frosting, this easy chocolate orange cake recipe is simple to make but looks super fancy!

I like to make this for Christmas, birthday parties, and special occasions. You can also try some of these other delicious cakes like this chocolate walnut cake, this gingerbread bundt cake, and this chocolate mango cake!

Great for beginner bakers, this cake turns out perfectly every time – with minimal effort. I promise, this will quickly become your favorite chocolate cake recipe!

👩‍🍳 Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Hint Of Orange Flavor: Citrusy orange intensifies the flavor of chocolate cake and adds a bright, fruity aftertaste. I use real, fresh orange juice in this recipe for the best flavor – no orange extract or other substitutes needed!

Easy To Modify Or Adapt For Dietary Needs: If you have food allergies or know someone who does, this from scratch orange chocolate cake can easily be made vegan or gluten-free. Just a few simple swaps and you can accommodate anyone (see the variations below). You can even make these into cupcakes if you’d like!

Make Ahead Option: You can make the cake layers ahead of time and freeze, then all you have to do is make the frosting and assemble. Great for making ahead or meal prep!

Soft And Fluffy: The tender chocolate cake layers will remind you of your favorite bakery’s cake! And the decadent chocolate ganache frosting will melt in your mouth!

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🥘 Ingredients

This chocolate orange fudge cake requires simple ingredients found at your local grocery store. Here’s what you need:

Ingredients for easy chocolate orange cake recipe.
  • Oat Milk & Lemon Juice: Oat milk and lemon juice create a dairy-free buttermilk. You can swap the oat milk with whole milk if that’s what you have.
  • Brown Sugar: Adds a rich caramel-like sweetness! The molasses in the brown sugar reacts with the baking soda to make a light and fluffy cake.
  • Coconut Sugar & Salt: If you don’t have coconut sugar, swap it with white sugar. Salt won’t make your cake salty. It accentuates the sweetness and flavors of the cake.
  • Baking Powder & Baking Soda: Leavening agents create carbon dioxide bubbles that make the batter rise in the oven. Without them, the cake would be dense.
  • Natural Cocoa Powder: Unsweetened cocoa powder gives the cake its chocolatey flavor. For a darker chocolate cake, use dutch cocoa powder instead of natural.
  • All-Purpose Flour: All-purpose flour has the right amount of protein to give you a sturdy yet soft cake. Avoid bread flour or whole wheat flour for this recipe.
  • Orange Zest & Orange Juice: The orange peel contains plenty of citrusy, natural orange flavor! Try not to get any white pith though since it’s bitter. For the juice, fresh oranges are best! Squeeze navel orange juice into a measuring cup and remove any seeds.
  • Olive Oil: It’s best to use a light-flavored olive oil so it doesn’t overpower the flavors of the cake. Vegetable oil, canola oil, or melted coconut oil also work.
  • Eggs: Eggs provide structure and richness. Always use large eggs unless otherwise specified.
  • Instant Coffee & Boiling Water: The boiling water hydrates the coffee powder before you add it to the batter. It won’t make your orange chocolate cake taste like coffee. It will intensify the rich chocolate flavor.
  • Dark Chocolate & Cream: For the ganache frosting! For a sweeter ganache, use milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate. For best results, use a high-quality chocolate bar or high-quality chocolate chips like Ghirardelli. Hot cream melts the chocolate and makes it silky smooth. Use this recipe for chocolate orange frosting to frost this cake!

🔪 How To Make Chocolate Orange Cake

This orange cake with chocolate frosting couldn’t be easier to make! Here’s how:

Preheat Oven, Make Buttermilk: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an 8-inch round cake pan with parchment paper and set aside. Whisk together the oat milk and lemon juice. Set aside.

Wet ingredients for orange chocolate cake mixed in a mixing bowl.

Combine Dry Ingredients: In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, coconut sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, flour, and orange zest.

Dry ingredients for cake combined in a mixing bowl.

Combine Wet Ingredients, Mix With Dry: Add the orange juice, oil, and eggs to the oat milk mixture and whisk. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well.

Wet ingredients and dry ingredients for cake batter mixed in a mixing bowl.

Add Coffee Mixture: In a separate bowl, mix the boiling water and instant coffee. Stir the coffee mixture into the cake batter.

Chocolate ganache for chocolate orange layer cake in a mixing bowl.

Bake Choc Orange Cake: Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake until a skewer comes out clean – about 45 to 50 minutes. If the top of the cake starts to brown too quickly, cover it with aluminum foil.

Chocolate cake batter added to cake tin.

Make Your Frosting: Follow the directions in my chocolate orange frosting recipe to make your frosting for the cake! You can do this while the cake is baking and store it in the fridge until the cake is ready to be frosted.

Let Cake Cool: Let the cake cool for 10 minutes before removing from the 8 inch cake pan and transferring to a cooling rack. This gives it time to set up so it won’t break.

Baked chocolate orange layer cake in a cake pan lined with parchment paper.

Slice Cake: Wait for the cake to cool, then use a serrated knife to cut the orange chocolate cake in half. Make sure to level your cake before frosting it (if your cake has a slight dome shape, slice off the top piece so it’s flat before frosting it).

Orange chocolate cake sliced into two pieces on a cutting board.

Frost Cake: Use an offset spatula to spread half of the orange chocolate frosting in an even layer over the first layer of the cake, then top with the second layer of cake.

Chocolate frosting applied to chocolate fudge cake.

Finish: Pipe or spread the remaining ganache over top of the cake, then finish with grated orange zest, orange slices, and grated chocolate.

Finished chocolate orange cake topped with chocolate frosting and orange zest on a wooden cutting board.

💭 Expert Tips

  • Cooling the cake is super important: You want to cool the cake on a wire rack before you frost it so that the frosting doesn’t melt. Also, don’t try to unmold this gooey chocolate orange cake right away. Hot cake falls apart!
  • Don’t skip the parchment paper! It is essential to removing the cake from the pan seamlessly and making sure it doesn’t stick to the pan.
  • Make sure to level your cake before frosting it: Cut off the slight dome shape and make it flat. It will make it so much easier to frost and stack your cake!
  • For perfect frosting, invest in a cake turntable: If you plan on making cakes more frequently, a cake turntable is a great investment! I find that it really makes frosting the cake so much easier and is totally worth it.

🧁 How To Convert Chocolate Cake To Cupcakes

It’s super easy to make cupcakes instead of a whole cake! Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a couple cupcake pans with cupcake liners. Fill 2/3 or 3/4 full and bake for about 15-20 minutes. (You may have to adjust the baking time – you know the cupcakes are ready when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean). Let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

✔️ How To Make This Cake Super Moist

I have one secret that makes this chocolate orange cake moist, and helps it to stay moist even after it’s been stored (after baking!) That secret is: using olive oil instead of butter. Oil based cakes feel softer and more moist because once the cake is cooled, butter will become more solid, while oil stays in its liquid form (coconut oil being the exception here).

Two other tips to making your cake moist are:

  1. Measuring your ingredients properly: Especially the flour – you want to make sure you’re not using too much flour by not measuring it correctly!
  2. Not overmixing: Mixing your cake batter too much will result in a dense, dry cake instead of a fluffy moist cake. You want to mix until the ingredients are just combined.

📖 Variations

This chocolate orange layer cake is easy to customize to fit your needs!

  • Vegan Orange Chocolate Cake: Swap the eggs with flax eggs and the cream with coconut cream. Be sure to buy a vegan brand of dark chocolate.
  • Gluten Free Chocolate Orange Cake: Swap the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend that contains xanthan gum. I recommend Bob’s Red Mill’s 1:1 Gluten Free Baking Flour.
  • Chocolate Orange Bundt Cake: Bake this moist chocolate orange cake in a bundt cake pan. Once the bundt cake is cool, spread the frosting over top.

🍽 Serving Suggestions

This cake is really amazing on its own, but I really love serving it with a hot drink for a cozy dessert. Here are some of my favorite ways to serve this cake!

With A Hot Drink: This cake goes well with regular coffee, tea, or even hot chocolate. I like serving it with my mocha latte for a more decadent pick me up!

With Toppings: In addition to the frosting, feel free to add a dollop of whipped cream, a drizzle of chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, or orange-infused syrup over the cake.

With Fruit: Orange slices are the obvious choice here, but fresh berries will also taste great and pair well with the flavors in this cake!

Ice Cream: Cake and ice cream are a classic combination. I love this recipe with a simple vanilla ice cream or chocolate ice cream.

🫙 Storage Directions

Refrigeration: Store leftover cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Since the ganache frosting is made with heavy cream, it needs to be refrigerated.

Freezer: You can freeze this cake assembled or unassembled. If you want to freeze the cake unassembled, let the cake layers cool to room temperature, then wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months. To freeze assembled, cut the cake into slices and place the cake slices onto a sheet pan. Place the sheet pan in the freezer until the cake slices are frozen. Transfer the slices to a freezer bag and use within 3 months. Thaw on the counter.

❓ Recipe FAQs

Does chocolate and orange go together?

Yes! Chocolate and orange are a luscious combination. An orange is bright and fruity, while chocolate is rich and intense. They balance each other out in the best way! This is why Terry’s chocolate oranges and chocolate dipped orange slices are so popular around Christmastime.

How do you add orange flavor to baking?

There are a few ways to add deep orange flavor to your baked goods without using any artificial flavors or ingredients. Try fresh orange zest (from 1-2 medium oranges), or dried orange zest, or orange extract, or orange oil.

What frosting goes well on chocolate orange layer cake?

I recommend my chocolate orange frosting recipe, but you could use a traditional chocolate ganache frosting, or even chocolate, vanilla, or orange buttercream! You could also use a vanilla or chocolate cream cheese frosting.

Chocolate orange cake topped with orange slices and a chocolate ganache frosting on a white cake board.

🍫 More Chocolate Dessert Recipes!

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Chocolate orange cake topped with orange slices and a chocolate ganache frosting on a white cake board.
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5 from 5 votes

Chocolate Orange Cake With Chocolate Frosting

This healthy chocolate orange cake boasts a deeply rich and moist chocolate cake topped with a dark chocolate orange ganache! It's a chocolate lover's dream. It's easy to make with a vegan and gluten-free option.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Chill Time30 minutes
Total Time1 hour 45 minutes
Course: Baking, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegetarian
Servings: 20 servings
Calories: 324kcal
Author: Anjali Shah


For The Cake

For The Frosting

  • 12 ounces dark chocolate (Vegan: Sub with vegan chocolate)
  • cup cream (Vegan: Sub with coconut cream)
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
Shop Ingredients on Jupiter


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F / 180 C. Line an 8 inch round cake pan with baking paper and set aside.
  • Whisk together the oat milk and lemon juice, set aside.
  • In a separate mixing bowl whisk the brown sugar, coconut sugar, salt, baking powder and soda, cocoa powder, flour and orange zest until well combined.
  • Add the orange juice, oil and eggs (or flax eggs if using) to the oat milk mixture and whisk.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  • In a separate bowl mix the boiling water and instant coffee.
  • Stir the coffee mixture into the cake batter and mix until incorporated.
  • Pour the cake batter into the prepared tin and bake for 45-50 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. If the cake is starting to brown before it is cooked cover it with foil to prevent it from burning.
  • Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing and cooling completely on a cooling rack.
  • Prepare the chocolate ganache: Finely chop the dark chocolate and place into a heat proof bowl.
  • Place ½ cup cream and orange zest into a microwave safe container and heat until steaming.
  • Pour hot cream over the chocolate and stir until smooth. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to become firm.
  • Place the firm ganache into the bowl of a stand mixer along with ¾ cup cream (or coconut cream if using) and whip until fluffy.
  • Slice the cake in half with a serrated knife.
  • Spread ½ of the ganache, in an even layer, over the cake base. Add the top layer of cake, finish off with remaining ganache, orange zest and grated chocolate.


  • Make this cake vegan using the substitutions mentioned in the ingredients list above.
  • Substitute the flour with 1:1 gluten free baking flour to make this recipe gluten free.
  • Leftover cake can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Use 70% or higher dark chocolate to reduce the sugar content.
  • Do not boil the cream when heating, just heat it until it begins to steam.
  • Be sure to chop the chocolate into fine pieces to ensure it melts completely. If the chocolate doesn’t melt, you can heat the bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds and stir to melt fully.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 324kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 143mg | Potassium: 285mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 21g

8 responses to “Chocolate Orange Cake With Chocolate Frosting”

  1. A great dessert to take care of that sweet tooth craving. Absolutely delicious and perfect for our family gathering.5 stars

  2. Orange and chocolate are a perfect flavor combination. Thank you for this delicious cake recipe, and all of the detailed instructions for baking success.5 stars

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