My Chocolate-Orange Birthday Cake

By • January 7, 2011 • 29 Comments

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Author Notes: Happy birthday to me! Today is my birthday! We're invited to a dinner party and I offered to bring dessert. (Don't be horrified. Most of my friends don't bake, or if they do, they use a mix. I love to bake, and I'm kind of a snob about it. This was fun for me.) Cake and ice cream--what else? This is a single-layer, rich dark chocolate cake that I adapted from Gourmet--I increased the chocolate, and added the orange. It's covered with ganache and sprinkles! The cake is really sophisticated and the sprinkles add a bit of fun. drbabs

Makes 1 9" cake

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered espresso
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 ounces butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • ________________________________
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces best quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
  • sprinkles for decorating
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter bottom and side of 9 inch cake pan (I used a springform pan.), then line bottom with a round of parchment. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, powdered espresso and salt into a bowl.
  2. With an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar in a large bowl at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in vanilla and orange juice and zest. Reduce speed to low and stir in flour mixture and milk alternating between the two. Don't over- beat. The batter may look curdled. It's OK.
  3. Pour batter into cake pan and smooth top. Bake until cake begins to pull away from side of pan and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool cake in pan 5 minutes, then invert onto a rack and cool completely, about 1 hour.
  4. When cake is cool, make the ganache. Bring cream to a simmer in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, then pour over chocolate in a bowl and let stand 1 minute. Gently whisk until chocolate is completely melted and blended with the cream, and the ganache is smooth, shiny and creamy.
  5. Ice the top of the cake with the ganache, and decorate with sprinkles. Have a happy birthday!
Jump to Comments (29)

Tags: Birthday Party, chocolate, rich

Comments (29) Questions (1)


7 months ago Jackie Clonan

So moist, delicious, DECADENT!!!! This will go into my top 3 chocolate cake recipes! Wish I would have thought to add some Grand Marnier as Lauryn Chun did to make the orange flavor even more intense - next time!


8 months ago Emma George

My fiancé and I could have gobbled this down entirely together; unfortunately we had visitors & had to share. The only alteration I'll make next time is adding more orange zest or perhaps sprinkling some on top!


8 months ago Frank

Had several friends over for dinner and made this for dessert. Happened to have some leftover cab from dinner and sweet lord and all things heavenly! The two together were insanely delicious! Between the 5 of us we finished all but 1 slice (there were 16 total slices).


11 months ago tulip549

This was very delicious. In an attempt to make it more healthy, I substituted coconut oil for the butter (1:1 ratio), although who knows how much more "healthy" that made it! ;)

You can really taste the orange- this was a good cake and I will be making it again.


11 months ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I'm so happy you liked it. Thank you for letting me know.


over 1 year ago phyllis

When I saw the photo from Jenny's article, my tongue about exploded. I wanted to bake the cake right then. I had all the ingredients, including the espresso powder, but I held back. Tonight we are having a small- ish dinner and watch the Oscars party. My house smells like chocolate and orange and I'm holding myself back from devouring the cake. Thanks so, so much drbabs and Jenny.


over 1 year ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Oh, Phyllis, thank you for making my day. I hope you and your friends enjoy it.


over 1 year ago phyllis

drbabs, Alas, the cake is no more. It was delicious; our guests loved it and left not a crumb. It couldn't have been easier, as well. Thanks again!


over 1 year ago Lauryn Chun

Thanks for this wonderful, easy recipe. I added Grand Marnier for added orange flavors and sprinkled orange zest (instead of sprinkles) for easy dessert for weekday dinner party. Didn't know how easy baking and 'ganache' can be!! It will be my go to cake and gets the seal of approval from a self described 'non-baker'.


over 1 year ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I'm so so glad you liked it. Thanks for letting me know.


over 3 years ago Table9

I made this for my boyfriend's birthday today! He just loved it. Unfortunately, he is a cake only kind of guy so I 86ed the ganache. But when it is my birthday I will make sure he puts the ganache on for me! Lovely.


over 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Hi Table9--I just saw this! I'm so happy you both enjoyed it! Thanks!


almost 4 years ago nannydeb

I missed this! Happy Belated Birthday! Oh, and I always make my own birthday cake...


almost 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks, nannydeb. Yes, I've found that baking my own birthday cake is the only way to avoid the grocery store bakery variety.


almost 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks again, y'all! It's all gone now! Time to make salad!


almost 4 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Happy Birthday! This cake looks and sound delicious, and the orange ice cream sends it waaaaay over the top.


almost 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Yum!!!! Hope you had a great Birthday yesterday!! My husband LOVES chocolate (well, really, who doesn't?), and so I'll have to make this for him soon! Thanks for the recipe!


almost 4 years ago Midge

This sounds great! Happy birthday drbabs!!


almost 4 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Happy Happy Day DrBabs! I hope you had a wonderful time to kick of another great year!!! Cake looks amazing!


almost 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you all so much! This is why I love Food52!


almost 4 years ago monkeymom

Happy Birthday drbabs! love the sprinkles.


almost 4 years ago luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

happy birthday! love chocolate and citrus... also sprinkles. great photo.


almost 4 years ago Phoenix Helix

I'm a cake snob, too! I was at a friend's birthday party & the cake was made from a combination of box mixes & candy bars and was called "Better Than Sex Chocolate Cake." I took a taste & thought to myself, "Oh you poor thing. If you believe that, you've obviously never had good cake or good sex." (I promise I didn't say it out loud!)


almost 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Oh, BlissfulBaker, you are a woman after my own heart!


almost 4 years ago lapadia

Happy Birthday & Cheers to another year of the good life, drbabs! Your cake sounds wonderful!!!


almost 4 years ago dymnyno

Happy Birthday to you! I have been on a orange and chocolate binge myself! Such a great combination.


almost 4 years ago Lizthechef

Happy Birthday to YOU!! I love orange and chocolate together. Party on...