Chocolate Orange Layer Cake

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A few weeks ago I made a birthday cake for a close friend of ours.  He absolutely loves orange, so I knew I wanted that to be one of the flavors in the cake.  Orange pairs really well with chocolate so that combo became my inspiration.  The joke at work is that this final version is Chocolate Orange Cake 3.0 because they tried the first and second versions before I perfected it. I mentioned Project Cookbook awhile ago on my instagram and this was the first recipe I used it for!  It was fun making notes after each iteration (and useful to future Rachel). This cake is impressive because it’s tall and has a nice finish of two different fillings.  The cake is moist and chocolatey which helps the orange flavor really pop.

I will say that this recipe may look more daunting than most I’ve shared, but it’s actually no too difficult and the end result is totally worth it.  You got this!

You’ll start by baking the cake so that it has time to cool before being frosted.  This will be a 3-layer cake so make sure you have 3 cake pans that are the same size (version 1.0 was 2 layers because I only had 2 cake pans, he he).  If you don’t have 3 pans, you can just make 2 thicker cakes.

Preheat the oven and then cream together the butter, sugars and zest in a mixer.  Mixing the zest in now will help it release oils that will make the cake taste even more orange-y.

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Add the eggs one a time, thoroughly mixing after each one. Now mix in the vanilla.

Mix together the cake flour (this is a finer textured flour made with a different part of the wheat germ and you can find this in the baking aisle near the regular flour), cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder with a fork (learn from my mistakes and use a bigger bowl than you think you’ll need- when am I going to learn, ugh).  The espresso powder is just going to give the chocolate flavor a boost.

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Mix in half of the flour mixture.  Now pour all of the buttermilk in and mix until it’s combined.  If you don’t have buttermilk, you can use milk and white vinegar.  Just put 2 tablespoons of vinegar into your liquid measuring cup and add the milk until you get to 2 cups.  Let that sit for 5 minutes and stir before adding to the cake. Then you’ll add the rest of the flour mixture and blend until it’s almost mixed in.  Mix in the last bit by hand.

Now coat your cake pans with cooking spray and evenly divide the cake batter among them.  Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (baking time will be longer if you’re only making 2 layers).

While the cake is baking you’ll make the ganache.  To do this, heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until it starts to boil.

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Put the chocolate in a bowl and pour the hot cream over.  Now add the butter and whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.  Set aside to cool for about 2 hours, which will also thicken it.  You want the ganache thin enough to spread but thick enough so that it doesn’t roam off the edge of the cake.

 

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YUMMMM!

Now take the cakes out of the oven and let them cool.

Once the cakes are completely cool and the ganache is the right consistency you can make the orange cream cheese frosting.  This frosting is the best!  The slight tartness of the cream cheese really enhances the orange flavor and all of it just goes lovely with the chocolate. Start by beating together the butter, cream cheese and orange zest until creamy and combined.  Add in the powdered sugar and start beating on low so that it doesn’t fly everywhere (Rachel from the past wants to warn you about this). Increase the speed to high and beat until the powdered sugar is fully mixed in and the frosting is fluffy.

Now you’re ready to assemble the cake! Get out the plate or stand you plan to serve the cake on and place the bottom cake layer on it. To get the cakes out of their pans, run a butter knife around the edges several times and them flip out of the pan onto your hand.  Now plop it right side up on the serving plate. Choose the most attractive cake for the top and if the other ones have divots or bumps you can turn them upside down so you have a flatter surface for frosting. Now take half of the orange cream cheese frosting and spread it on the bottom layer, going almost all the way to the edges.

Put the 2nd cake on next and spread all of the ganache on going to the edge.

Now put the final layer on and spread the rest of the orange cream cheese frosting.  This is the layer of frosting that everyone will see so take your time spreading it on evenly.

I think this cake is already a beauty so I didn’t add any garnishes.  If you really wanted to go over the top, you could put candied orange peel or chocolate shavings.  Since this cake is tall, it’s enough to serve a crowd.

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I love that you can see flecks of orange zest in the frosting!

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Does anyone else see Pacman?

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Just look at those layers!

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Enjoy!

 

 

Yields 12 large slices

Chocolate Orange Layer Cake
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Ingredients

    Chocolate Cake
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • Chocolate Ganache
  • 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 ounce box of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 4 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

    Chocolate Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and then cream together the butter, sugars and zest in a mixer. Add the eggs one a time, thoroughly mixing after each one and mix in the vanilla. Mix together the cake flour cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder with a fork.
  2. Mix in half of the flour mixture. Pour all of the buttermilk in and mix until it's combined. add the rest of the flour mixture and blend until it's almost mixed in. Mix in the last bit by hand.
  3. Coat cake pans with cooking spray and evenly divide the cake batter among them. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Take the cakes out of the oven and let them cool.
  4. Chocolate Ganache
  5. Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until it starts to boil. Put the chocolate in a bowl and pour the hot cream over. Add the butter and whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool for about 2 hours.
  6. Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
  7. Beating butter, cream cheese and orange zest until creamy and combined. Add in the powdered sugar and start beating on low so that it doesn't fly everywhere. Increase the speed to high and beat until the powdered sugar is fully mixed in and the frosting is fluffy.
  8. Get out the plate or stand you plan to serve the cake on and place the bottom cake layer on it. Take half of the orange cream cheese frosting and spread it on the bottom layer, going almost all the way to the edges. Put the 2nd cake on next and spread all of the ganache on going to the edge. Put the final layer on and spread the rest of the orange cream cheese frosting.
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http://www.rachelpounds.com/2016/12/23/chocolate-orange-layer-cake/

 

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Peanut Butter Cookies with White Chocolate & Macadamia Nuts - By the Pounds

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