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Chocolate Orange Spice Cake

Recipe updated 10/2021. Same great recipe with just a little more frosting to play with!

This Chocolate Orange Spice Cake is the perfect holiday recipe. It’s sweet and warm at the same time thanks to the almond flour, ground cinnamon, cloves and orange zest baked inside!

Chocolate Orange Spice Cake

Orange Spice Cake

Almond Flour: You’ll notice the addition of almond flour in this cake. Nut flours can be pricey, and they also turn rancid quickly so be sure to store nut flours in the freezer and bring to room temperature before using.

Room Temperature/Softened Unsalted Butter: 65 to 67 degrees is the perfect temperature for baking. You can also cut the butter up into pieces to speed up the softening process. To check if your butter is ready you can either stick a thermometer in it or bend it. If it bends without breaking then it’s ready!

Buttermilk: Sometimes you might see buttermilk in some cake recipes. Buttermilk helps add a tangy flavor and texture. When used with baking soda and/or baking powder it add fluffiness to the cake. You’ll usually just need a cup or 2 of buttermilk per recipe, and you probably don’t want to buy a whole carton of buttermilk. There are a couple of options to use:

  • Buy shelf stable powdered buttermilk
  • Add one tablespoon of lemon juice or distilled white vinegar to one cup milk and let sit for 10 minutes. Viola, buttermilk!

Chocolate Orange Spice Cake

Chocolate Frosting

Per request I updated this recipe (10/2021) to allow for more frosting to play with. This chocolate frosting is sweet and a little on the thick side. If you need help spreading the frosting over the cake, use a metal offset cake spatula warmed with hot running water and wiped dry. But as long as you apply a crumb coat and your cake is chilled the frosting should go on pretty smoothly. 

Chocolate Orange Spice Cake

How To Make Candied Orange Peel

  • 3 oranges, scrubbed
  • 1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ cup (3.5 ounces) granulated sugar
  1. Using a vegetable peeler or sharp paring knife, remove the peel of each orange in vertical strips, being careful not to include any of the bitter white pith. If you do get a little pith on the peel, place the strips on a cutting board and using a paring knife with the blade parallel to the board, carefully slice it off. Cut the zest into julienne strips.
  2. Half fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add the zest strips and reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse the zest.
  3. In the same saucepan, combine sugar, water and cream of tartar and bring to a boil, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar. Add the zest, cover the saucepan and reduce the heat to low. Let the zest simmer for another 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and drain zest. Toss zest with sugar, breaking up any lumps of sugar with your hands. Spread the zest onto a baking sheet to let dry at room temperature for about 2 hours before using.

Note: The dried orange slices used on the top of this cake were picked up at my local Sprouts grocery store.

Chocolate Orange Spice Cake

 

Assembly Tips

Applying a crumb coat is helpful in achieving a smooth final coat of frosting. A crumb coat helps catch any loose crumbs as well as fills in any gaps sealing up the cake and keeping it fresh. Plus a chilled cake is easier to work with when apply the final coat of frosting.

I would be lost without my cake turntable. A good cake turntable is a worth while investment. It helps me get my icing on smoothly as well as a bench scraper

With the remaining frosting I added to a piping bag fitted with my favorite Ateco piping tip #827 and piped a basic shell border around the cake.

Next, I garnished the top center of the cake with dried orange slices and decorated the bottom edge with candied orange peel.

Chocolate Orange Spice Cake

 

Plan It Out

Day 1: Make candied orange peel and bake cake layers.

Day 2: Prepare frosting, assemble cake and serve.

Chocolate Orange Spice Cake

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Chocolate Orange Spice Cake

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Chocolate Orange Spice Cake

Adapted from Layered: Baking, Building, and Styling Spectacular Cakes

Chocolate Orange Spice Cake

Chocolate Orange Spice Cake

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 32 minutes

Three layers of orange spice cake, filled and frosted with chocolate frosting and topped with candied orange peel.

Ingredients

SPECIAL TOOLS

  • 3 8-inch round cake pans
  • Nonstick baking spray
  • Stand mixer
  • Small offset cake spatula
  • 8 inch cardboard cake round
  • Cake turntable
  • Cake pedestal
  • Piping bag
  • Ateco piping tip #827

CANDIED ORANGE ZEST

  • 3 oranges, scrubbed
  • 1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ cup (3.5 ounces) granulated sugar

ORANGE SPICE CAKE

  • 2 ½ (12.5 ounces) cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoons ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups (14 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed juice from about 2 oranges

CHOCOLATE FROSTING

  • 16 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 cups (16 ounces) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup (1.5 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream, at room temperature

GARNISH

  • Candied Orange Zest (optional)
  • Dried orange slices (optional)
  • Flaked sea salt (optional)

Instructions

CANDIED ORANGE ZEST

  1. Using a vegetable peeler or sharp paring knife, remove the peel of each orange in vertical strips, being careful not to include any of the bitter white pith. If you do get a little pith on the peel, place the strips on a cutting board and using a paring knife with the blade parallel to the board, carefully slice it off. Cut the zest into julienne strips.
  2. Half fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add the zest strips and reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse the zest.
  3. In the same saucepan, combine sugar, water and cream of tartar and bring to a boil, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar. Add the zest, cover the saucepan and reduce the heat to low. Let the zest simmer for another 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and drain zest. Toss zest with sugar, breaking up any lumps of sugar with your hands. Spread the zest onto a baking sheet to let dry at room temperature for about 2 hours before using.

ORANGE SPICE CAKE

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 3 8-inch round cake pans with non-stick baking spray and set aside.
  2. Sift together the flours (Toss out any of the almond flour that does not sift through the sieve.), baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda and salt and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth about 1 minute. Add the sugar and orange zest and mix on medium-high speed until the butter is light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape down the mixer bowl as needed.
  4. Turn mixer speed to medium-low and add the vanilla extract, almond extract and eggs one at a time. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, and add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk in 2 batches, starting with the flour mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Add the orange juice and mix on low speed for no more than 30 seconds. Give the cake batter a few stirs by hand and divide evenly among the prepared cake pans. Using a small offset cake spatula, smooth the tops of the batter in the pans.
  6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cakes cool in their pans for 15 minutes. Then invert onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

CHOCOLATE FROSTING

  1. Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler and set aside to cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt and vanilla until combined. Turn the mixer to medium-high speed and mix until the frosting is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape the sides of the mixer bowl as necessary.
  3. Once the chocolate is cooled to room temperature, stir the sour cream into the melted chocolate. With the mixer on low speed, add the chocolate mixture to the frosting. Turn the mixer to medium speed and mix until combined and frosting is creamy.

ASSEMBLE

  1. Place one layer of cake on a cake board and place on a cake turntable. Spread about 1/2 cup frosting on top and level with an offset cake spatula to smooth out frosting. Top with the next layer of cake and spread another 1/2 cup chocolate frosting on top in an even layer, spreading frosting all the way out to the edges of the cake. Place the last cake layer on top (bottom side up) and spread a light coating of frosting all over the top and sides of the cake creating a crumb coat. Once the crumb coat has been applied, chill the cake in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  2. Apply the final layer of frosting over the top and sides of the chilled crumb coated cake. Place remaining frosting in a piping bag fitted with Ateco piping tip #827. Pipe a shell border around the top edge of the cake. Place candied orange peel or dried orange slices in the middle of the cake. Sprinkle cake with a little flaked sea salt if you like. Carefully transfer to a serving platter and serve.

Notes

This cake will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 770Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 88mgSodium: 456mgCarbohydrates: 129gFiber: 7gSugar: 93gProtein: 12g

*Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary.*

Did you make this recipe?

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Thea

Saturday 19th of October 2019

Thank you so much for posting this recipe! I just made this for my mother's birthday and she loved it! The cake is so moist and delicious. My only regret is that I didn't have enough frosting to make the extra decorations, so I used flowers instead. This recipe is definitely a keeper!

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