Deep Chocolate Cake with Orange Icing

By Merrill Stubbs
September 30, 2009
22 Comments


Makes: 12 servings
Prep time: 2 hrs
Cook time: 30 min

Ingredients

For the chocolate cake

  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon 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

For the orange icing

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
  • 2 teaspoons Cointreau or other orange flavored liqueur
  • 1 tablespoon mascarpone
  • 1 tablespoon milk, plus more as needed

Directions

For the chocolate cake

  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 to 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.

For the orange icing

  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.

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Reviews (22) Questions (3)

22 Comments

Lorenza May 25, 2015
I would make a cream cheese icing to use between the layers.
 
swm780 November 3, 2014
Can you make this in a quarter sheet pan, or do you need a pan with higher sides?
 
Author Comment
Merrill S. November 3, 2014
I have never done it before, but I think it should work -- it's not that much batter.
 
swm780 November 3, 2014
Thanks. I'll try it and let you know how it goes.<br />
 
dbtb64 November 1, 2014
I substituted crème fraiche for the mascarpone and put this atop Maialino's olive oil cake, with some candied orange peel. It was perfect. I suspect mascarpone would give it extra depth and creaminess, so will spring for that next time, but didn't have it on hand this time.
 
Annie Y. June 16, 2014
Hi! Would it be okay to bake it in a cupcake mold or likes instead of a round cake pan?
 
Author Comment
Merrill S. June 17, 2014
Yes, just bake them for less time -- I'd start checking them after about 15 minutes.
 
Annie Y. June 25, 2014
Thanks! Another question. If I skip the Marscapone, do I need to used heavy cream instead of milk?
 
AngelaW February 13, 2014
What can I substitute for the Marscapone?
 
Leigh9980 February 17, 2014
I substituted softened cream cheese, and it worked fine.
 
AngelaW February 17, 2014
Thank you so much for the suggestion! I can't wait to try this cake
 
Author Comment
Merrill S. February 17, 2014
You can also just skip it, or use heavy cream instead of the milk!
 
Girlfromipanema February 12, 2014
Would this still be good without the icing?
 
Author Comment
Merrill S. February 17, 2014
Yes!
 
natashaepperson May 29, 2012
i just wanted to mention that the icing on this is AWESOME
 
Author Comment
Merrill S. May 29, 2012
Thanks! I could eat it on pretty much anything.
 
betty888 April 15, 2012
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!
 
Shalini March 31, 2012
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!
 
sygyzy February 26, 2012
Just made this tonight. I put it in a 9" round cake pan. 35 minutes was just right.
 
Lorenza November 30, 2011
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
 
Alexis V. May 25, 2015
The suggestion to make a 2 layer cake sounds great! What would you use between the two layers as filling?
 
drbabs July 8, 2010
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.