Deep Chocolate Cake with Orange Icing

By • September 30, 2009 • 13 Comments

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Makes 12 servings

Chocolate Cake

  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup strong coffee (or use instant espresso)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup whole milk
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F, first positioning a rack in the center of the oven. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.
  2. Combine the brown sugar, coffee, butter and chocolate in a medium heavy saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the butter and chocolate are almost completely melted. Remove from the heat and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the vanilla and set aside to cool.
  3. When the chocolate mixture is about at room temperature, add the eggs and using a wooden spoon, stir well to combine. Add the dry ingredients and the milk in stages, alternating between the two and stirring well between each addition. (The batter should be fairly smooth, but it’s okay if you end up with some small lumps.)
  4. Pour the batter into a greased pan measuring roughly 8 1/2” x 11” and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the center of the cake springs back when you press it lightly with your finger and a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely on a rack.

Orange Icing

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
  • 2 teaspoons Cointreau or other orange flavored liqueur
  • 1 tablespoon mascarpone
  • 1 - 2 tablespoon milk
  1. Using a wooden spoon, combine the butter and confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl. Stir in in the zest, orange extract, Cointreau and mascarpone, and then switch to a whisk to attack any lumps. Gradually whisk in the milk, adding just enough to make the icing spreadable.
  2. Spread a thin layer of icing over the top of the cake and refrigerate briefly so that the icing firms up a little. Cut the cake into squares to serve.

Comments (13) Questions (2)


2 months ago AngelaW

What can I substitute for the Marscapone?


about 1 month ago Leigh9980

I substituted softened cream cheese, and it worked fine.


about 1 month ago AngelaW

Thank you so much for the suggestion! I can't wait to try this cake


about 1 month ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

You can also just skip it, or use heavy cream instead of the milk!


2 months ago Girlfromipanema

Would this still be good without the icing?


about 1 month ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.



almost 2 years ago natashaepperson

i just wanted to mention that the icing on this is AWESOME


almost 2 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks! I could eat it on pretty much anything.


about 2 years ago betty888

Lovely cake. Had company in town and wanted a dessert I could pull together on the fly. The cake was super moist and the icing was delicious. I am a frosting freak so I doubled it. Delicious!


about 2 years ago Shalini

We made this and it was really good! I iced the cake a day after making it and my son put sprinkles on top. We used lemon extract with orange zest and next time will try the orange!


about 2 years ago sygyzy

Just made this tonight. I put it in a 9" round cake pan. 35 minutes was just right.


over 2 years ago Lorenza

Buona sera Merrill. I have prepared this little beauty and I wanted to share my insights. I do not have an 8 1/2" by 11" pan so I substituted a 9" round. Perfetto! The baking time increased by about 20 minutes and the result was lovely. I prepared 1/2 of the recipe for the icing and it was just right for covering the cake and allowing it to run off the edge. I did not have mascarpone, substituted creme fraiche. It looks just like your photo. Fantastico! This is a complex chocolate cake, deep and dark, not too sweet, lovely crumb and the icing is the perfect foil to the depth of flavors in the cake. My daughter just told me that she will be requesting this gem for her next birthday. Of course we will double everything and make a proper layer cake for such an occasion! Grazie, mille grazie Lorenza


almost 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

This is perfect for baking on vacation--the house we rent has no real baking supplies--I love that you can mix it all up with a spoon.