Chocolate Orange Cake

Dec 08

Chocolate Orange Cake – Dark chocolate cake layers with a hint of orange zest, covered with a chocolate orange buttercream.

Chocolate Orange Cake Update

Oh, this cake was due for an update! I first came up with this recipe a couple years ago when I went to Fox 13’s The Place, a local lifestyle show here in Salt Lake City. It was a super simple recipe back then, and still is today, but one that is totally going to win you over.

My goal was to make the cake taste exactly like the chocolate orange I used to get in my Christmas stocking as a child. It’s a flavor combination that will always make me think of Christmastime. And I think you’ll really like it in cake form!

I used my go-to chocolate cake recipe and added some orange zest for a hint of flavor in the cake. It’s the buttercream, however, that I think really steals the show. To add flavor to the buttercream, I used orange emulsion by Lorann, which you can find HERE. Emulsions are a lot like extracts, but are water based. Extracts are alcohol based. I typically lean toward emulsions because I like the flavoring better, but an extract will work too. Just sub it 1-for-1 in the recipe.

I don’t think this cake needs a lot of added decorations, but love how a little rosemary and dried oranges give the brown some contrast.

Excited for you to whip this one up!

For more Christmas cake recipes, check out this post: 10 Cakes Perfect for the Holidays.

For cake tools and supplies, make sure to check out



For the cake

  • 2 cups (240g) all purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups (350g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (88.5g) good quality cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp (8g) baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp (3g) baking powder
  • 1 tsp (5.6g) kosher salt
  • zest of two large oranges
  • 1 cup (240g) buttermilk room temperature and shaken
  • 1/2 cup (109g) vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 tsp (4.2g) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (236g) hot coffee or hot water

For the frosting

  • 2 cups (452g) unsalted butter slightly chilled
  • 10 oz (187g) good quality dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup (57.7g) heavy whipping cream
  • 5 cups (625g) powdered sugar measured and then sifted
  • 2 1/2 tsp (8.4g) orange emulsion
  • pinch of salt
  • *This buttercream recipe makes enough to fill and cover your cake. If you want to add additional piping, you’ll want to make an extra 1/2 batch.


For the cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch or four 6-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray. Line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper and spray the pans again.

  2. Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. Add the zest and mix until combined.

  3. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, coffee or water and vanilla.

  4. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

  5. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans and bake for about 16-18 minutes.

  6. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

  7. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill until ready to use. You're still going to want to level your cake layers to ensure a completely even surface for frosting and stacking.

For the frosting

  1. In a microwave safe bowl, heat the heavy whipping cream for about one minute. Pour the heated cream over the chocolate chips and stir until the chocolate chips are melted. Set aside

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium-high speed for 2 minutes.

  3. Turn the mixer to low and gradually add the powdered sugar, orange emulsion and pinch of salt.

  4. With the mixer on low speed, add the chocolate ganache. Beat for another 3 to 5 minutes on medium-high.

  5. Before frosting your cake, give the frosting a good stir with a wooden spoon to push out any air bubbles.  

28 thoughts on “Chocolate Orange Cake

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  1. Looks yummy, but I’d love to see a white orange cake….don’t see it on the website, unless I’m missing it! Keep it up, Courtney!

  2. Best Cake Ever!! I made this cake for my birthday. Yes, I made my own cake. But I love to bake and these are my favorite flavors and it did not disappoint. The cake was super moist with just the right amount of citrus flavor. I used dark chocolate cocoa for the buttercream and I could have eaten the entire bowl! It was amazing! Thank you for this recipe, it will be saved and made time and time again I’m sure!

  3. Holy crap. I have tried soooo many youtubers and bloggers recipes and always walk away underwhelmed or straight up disappointed in how bad it was. But I decided to take the plunge with your recipes starting with this one tonight. Soooo good!!! Even my husband who is never thrilled when I try doing a cake texted me from work to tell me it was AMAZING. And it was. And sooo simple to make too. Thank you for actually delivering on GOOD recipes!

  4. I made this for our NYE party and OMG it was SO GOOD. Tasted JUST LIKE a chocolate orange. Obsessed. Eventually had to bring it into work so we didn’t eat all the leftovers at home. Coworkers devoured it. Thanks for the awesome recipe!

  5. Hey I made this cake this past week and now I can’t find the recipe. are you updating this cake? I loved the cake and wanted to make it again. Thanks so much,

  6. Hi Courtney,
    The recipe seems to be missing on this page. Thanks for sharing your cake expertise! Excited to make this one!

  7. Made this over New Years and it was amazing. Came back to make it again and the recipe seems to have disappeared? Any way you can put it back up? This is as favorite!!

  8. 5 stars
    I’m hoping to try this recipe out but had a question about the chocolate chip quantity. It has 10oz as 187g, but in the UK 1oz is about 29g so 10oz would be 290g! I’ve seen a similar ratio to oz as yours on other sites using chocolate chips too so I’m probably missing something – are US oz different or is it to do with conversion from cups or something? Thanks for your time – I love your recipes – you are my go to baker whenever I want to try out something new and delicious! x

  9. What a pretty cake! I am going to make this for my friends birthday this month. I wonder how you achieve the look. Did you add food colouring to the buttercream? And did you make different shades of colur as well?


  10. Hi! This cake looks amazing and I am definitely going to try this out. What can I use instead of orange emulsion
    Thanks in advance

  11. It’s perfect, have no more words to describe such beautiful recipe.
    Thanks from Portugal🇵🇹