birthday, celebration, chocolate cakes and bakes, family, Feasts and Festivals, fruity cakes and bakes
Comments 35

Not your average Chocolate Orange Cake


I had been looking forward to making this cake for ages. Cakes like these are all about getting as much of someone’s favourite flavours in, but also about looking spectacular.

The cake was for a friend of a friend, who had tried the Pistachio and Rose cake that I made in November of last year, and she wanted me to make the cake for her special celebration. Initially undecided about what kind of cake she wanted, she settled upon chocolate and orange. Instantly I knew which chocolate to use: Green and Black’s Maya Gold. It is dark with gently spiced orange through it.


The first thing I did was make some chocolate bark with 200g of Maya Gold, scattering chopped Candied Orange Peel (my new favourite ingredient) and sprinkles across it. I left this to set in a cool place overnight.

Then I set about making two batches of Nigella Lawson’s Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake. Whilst they were cooling I made an orange sugar syrup with 5 tablespoons of fresh orange juice, the zest of an orange and 75g of caster sugar, warmed in a saucepan until the sugar had dissolved.


Once the cakes were cool and rested I levelled the tops of them and brushed them with the orange sugar syrup.


I used the chocolate icing that Nigella’s recipe uses to fill the four layers of cake before chilling in the fridge to firm up a little. I didn’t use the Maya Gold for this icing: I wanted the orange sugar syrup to speak for itself.


Chocolate cake soaked in the orange syrup.

I mixed up a batch of Chocolate Buttercream to cover the outside of the cake. Once smoothed over the sides and top I put it back in the fridge for half an hour to firm up. Once out of the fridge I painted on two different shades of edible gold paint to add to the celebratory feel and tie in with the gold that would be on top of the cake.


I also cut the chocolate bark with a sharp knife and dusted the chocolates that I was going to use with edible gold lustre.

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Then I made the Chocolate Glaze, using the Maya Gold (100g), again, butter (60g) and golden syrup (2 teaspoons). Once it was cool I put it in an icing bag and drizzled it down the sides and on the top of the cake.


Then, very carefully, I inserted the glittery acrylic “forty” cake topper from Miss Cake, then pushed the shards of chocolate bark in.


I then continued to decorate the top of the cake with various sprinkles and the dusted chocolates, which included Monty Bojangles’ Orange Angelical truffles; Lindt’s Special Edition Orange Chocolates; and Terry’s Chocolate Orange segments. I also used some larger pieces of Candied Orange Peel to add texture and hint at the flavours within.

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Monty Bojangles’ Orange Angelical truffles dusted with edible gold lustre.

I was very pleased with how it turned out and I hope it gives you some ideas of how to create a celebration cake without using fondant icing and various tools and equipment.

Start, like I do, thinking about the flavours. Think about how to layer them, complement them, enhance them. Look in your supermaket for sprinkles, chocolates, sweets, anything that will tie in with your flavours. You don’t have to make chocolate bark: an artfully constructed pile of beautiful chocolates or truffles will still add height, interest and flavour.


However you decide to decorate your cake, have fun with it. I certainly did with this less than average Chocolate and Orange cake.

Miss Cake acrylic toppers




  1. I love this style of celebration cake so much Frances. They are so customisable and so much more “edible” than all that sugarpaste. Beautiful as always. Hungry Hubby is a Terry’s Chocolate Orange addict; this would be a great birthday cake for him πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for posting this.its so much easier than it looks and much nicer than your traditional iced ones! I’ll definitely be having a go

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Frances,
    Came to see the “Madeleine/biscuits” and got lost admiring this absolutely stunning cake!!
    Im totally delighted!
    Lia xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Rebecca Hawkins says

    Looks gorgeous and I have the same topper but for ‘thirty’. Can you tell me the exact quantities you used for the chocolate glaze?


    • Sorry, Rebecca. Of course, it’s 100g of dark chocolate, 60g of butter, and 2 teaspoons of golden syrup. Melt them all together over simmering water.


  5. Hi!
    Awesome cake. I’m trying to do my version for my daughters 17th birthday πŸ™πŸ»!
    Can you tell me what chocolate you use in the buttercream please. I can’t tell which would be easier to paint.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, it was Rainbow Dust’s Metallic Food Paint. Sometime I just make a paint with different metallic dusting powders (from a range of manufacturers) with gin or vodka.


  6. Hi, I’ve just order the ‘forty’ cake topper for my partner’s birthday cake and I can’t wait to get started next week. Just wondered if you had made the candied orange peel yourself as I can’t seem to find it anywhere except in the chopped form and I’d prefer longer strips…..thanks x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry for not replying sooner but I recently moved house and changed phone and didn’t have access to the blog.

      I bought the whole peel from Sainsbury’s, but it was a superstore and not easily found.

      I hope you managed and enjoyed it. Apologies again, frances.


  7. Hi, could you please tell me exactly what you used to make the chocolate buttercream for the outside of the cake. Great work on a stunning looking cake. I am attempting to make it for my Mum and Aunty’s combined birthday party.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Anna,

      I make my regular chocolate buttercream using a ratio of 1:1.5 butter to icing sugar. In this case I think probably 250g butter and 650/600g icing sugar, then add melted dark chocolate, probably about 120g for that amount of icing. I hope this helps.


      • Shoba Ram says

        Thank you! Also.. the gold paint you used to colour the buttercream, was that just straight forward gold paint or gold lustre dust? How did you apply that without it clumping? Many thanks πŸ™‚ Looks amazing btw and will give it a go

        Liked by 1 person

      • I used lustre mixed with vodka. If you paint it on when the buttercream is firm from being chilled it’s much easier.


  8. Hi I’m creating this list ok and wanted to ask which gold lustre dusts you used please? Many thanks. I absolutely love it. Also surprised you got such an amazing colour painting directly onto chocolate buttercream x

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sharron says

    Love this cake, I am going to make it towards the end of this month for a 40th birthday.

    Thank you for the idea.


    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Frances,

    Please advise how did you do the outer of the cake which looks a bit oranges and gold plus chocolate?

    You’re help will be very much appreciated.


  11. Great thanks.. So basically it’s covered with ganache and then gold lustre… is that correct?

    Thank you so much for getting back. Appreciate!!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Naishah says

    Hi I was wondering if you can give me a detailed recipe for this cake? Been wanting to do a chocolate orange cake but all the others seemed to be to difficult or too sweet. Maybe I’m just not good enough baker but was wondering if you could share your recipe! Many thanks. Naishah


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