Easy Chocolate Orange Cake

This moist chocolate orange cake recipe is made even easier thanks to boxed cake mix, orange extracts, and zest working to create an aromatic and flavorful cake worthy of licking the plate clean after.

chocolate orange cake on a white plate with orange slices and zest with oranges and flowers in background

Chocolate and orange cake

If you’re looking for a cake that is as elegant as it is easy, this one is it. It’s so simple and easy to make and tastes so incredibly good. The orange isn’t overpowering and is just visible enough that you can notice its presence.

That said the orange flavor is a bit stronger the next day, once it has time to concentrate and as such, I recommend making the cake a day before for the most fabulous of results.

an orange slice and zest garnished chocolate orange cake

Choc orange cake ingredients

Boxed Cake Mix: I used Betty Crocker Delight’s supermoist chocolate fudge cake mix, but any good chocolate cake mix will do (Devil’s food cake, etc.)

Water: Boxed cake mixes often request water to help them out. You could use the amount requested per box.

Vegetable Oil: This is the fat that is needed in boxed cakes to make it moist. Your boxed cake mix will say how much oil to use, but melted butter could be used too.

Eggs: We need eggs to help bind the cake mix together and create a nice cakey texture.

Orange extract: We want orange extract because it’s orange concentrated flavor that we can’t get from orange juice (I tried).

Orange zest: Adding in fresh orange zest will enhance the orange flavor and give a burst of freshness throughout the cake.

Sour Cream: Adding in sour cream makes the cake richer and even moister.

Ganache Frosting

Chocolate: You can use semi-sweet, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, chocolate chips, a mixture of different chocolates, or even chopped chocolate bars. I don’t recommend white chocolate as the process for ganache is different.

Heavy cream: Adding heavy cream makes our ganache perfectly thick, creamy, and rich. For a non-dairy version, you could use canned coconut milk.

Orange zest: We only need a little bit of this and it will be placed in the whipped ganache filling.

What you’ll need to make this recipe

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an aerial view of a chocolate orange cake with a slice cut but not removed

Tips for making dark chocolate orange cake

Nothing goes better with the taste of orange than a nice bittersweet chocolate but feel free to use milk chocolate if preferred. Personally, I opted for semi-sweet so every bitter, rich, tangy, sweet flavor was mine to savor. When combined with the sweet cake inside it wasn’t overly sweet and was perfect.

The ganache frosting is the most time-consuming part and if at all possible, I’d recommend making it a day in advance and storing it in the fridge. It would make life a LOT easier.

For the whipped ganache frosting you have to have cold ganache and an electric mixer. The colder the ganache, the faster it whips.

For those in a hurry, make an ice bath in a square baking dish and rest a glass bowl full of the ganache and orange filling mixture while the other portion of ganache rests in the freezer for up to 20 minutes.

With the ice bath, the whipped ganache will chill quickly while you’re beating air into the mixture just be careful not to get water into the chocolate as it may seize.

To ready the chocolate ganache frosting for piping it needs to be well chilled as well. It will warm up fairly quickly under the heat of your hands so it’s best to work efficiently.

Another great thing to make sure to note is the lower baking time. Unlike the boxed cake instructions that request you to use 350F we use 325F. This is IMPORTANT.

This is a tip given to me by my High School Culinary Arts teacher. If you lower the baking temp and extend the baking time cakes will bake flatter, so there is less leveling (if any) involved.

While I could have leveled my cake a tad, it wasn’t necessary and it remained nice and moist. So lower temps mean less work and great results! If you bake at a higher temp your cake is more likely to have a dome that needs leveling.

a sliced chocolate orange cake revealing moist chocolate cake inside

FAQ’s about chocolate orange cake recipe

Can I make chocolate orange cake in advance?

Yes, this cake can be made up to a few days in advance or the ganache can be prepped up to two days in advance as well. Assembled or disassembled just keep it well covered in the fridge for safekeeping.

How long is chocolate orange cake good for?

This cake is good for up to a week if stored covered in the fridge. Perfect for making sure you have plenty of time to enjoy every last bite.

a collage showing how to make the cake and ganache ad whipped ganache filling

How to make chocolate orange cake

Prepare the ganache as directed in the recipe card and store it in the fridge until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line 2 baking round cake pans with parchment paper and grease with cooking spray.

Beat together all of the cake ingredients until fluffy (about 2 minutes).

Divide the batter between the two prepped cake pans and bake for 30 minutes until a toothpick can be inserted and come out clean.

Let cool for 10 minutes in the pans before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Remove a cup of chilled ganache and mix it with orange zest in a bowl. Beat until stiff peaks form.

Frost the top of a cake with the whipped ganache and layer the other cake on top.

Spread half of the remaining ganache over the top and sides of the cake to cover and frost well.

Place the last portion of ganache into a piping bag with a fitted tip and pipe a nice border around the top and bottom of the cake.

Garnish with oranges as desired and serve or place in the fridge until ready to slice.

aerial view of a slice removed from a whole garnished chocolate orange cake and a fork taking a bite

More great dessert recipes to try

a wedge removed from a slice of orange slice and zest garnished chocolate orange cake
Print Recipe
5 from 5 votes

Chocolate Orange Cake

This moist chocolate orange cake recipe is made even easier thanks to boxed cake mix, orange extracts, and zest working to create an aromatic and flavorful cake worthy of licking the plate clean after.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Cool Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 45 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chocolate and orange cake, chocolate ganache frosting for piping, chocolate orange cake, dark chocolate orange cake, ganache frosting
Servings: 12 slices
Calories: 248kcal
Author: Beeyond Cereal

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg Chocolate cake mix
  • 1 1/4 cups Water
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable oil
  • 3 large Eggs
  • 2 tsp Pure orange extract
  • 1 Tbsp Orange zest
  • 1/2 cup Sour cream

Ganache Frosting

  • 16 ounces Chocolate (about 2 2/3rds cups)
  • 2 cups Heavy cream
  • 1 tsp Orange zest (for the filling)

Instructions

Ganache Frosting (prep BEFORE cake!)

  • Place chocolate in a large mixing bowl and in a saucepan heat your cream until just barely boiling. There should be skin forming at the top of the cream and bubbles around the edge, or the pan, this is a good sign it's warm enough.
  • Pour the hot cream over the top of the chocolate in the bowl. Place a lid or plate over the top of the bowl and let it sit for 5 minutes without touching.
  • Remove lid/plate and whisk ganache until thick, creamy, and wonderful. It wil look like runny chocolate milk at first but it gets darker and thicker as you whisk.
  • Once ganache is made, place in fridge to chill while you prep the cake.

Cake

  • Prehat the oven to 325 degrees F and line two 8 inch cake rounds with parchment paper. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine all of the ingredients for the cake. The cake mix, eggs, oil, water, extracts, zest, and sour cream.
  • Beat for 2 minutes with an electric mixer until well combined and fluffy.
  • Divide between two cake pans and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted and come out clean.
  • Let cool for 10 minutes in pan before flipping onto wire cooling racks and finish cooling completely.

Assembly

  • Remove one cup of chilled ganache and place it in a mixing bowl with one teaspoon of orange zest. Leave remaining ganache in fridge.
  • Beat the orange and ganache mixture until stiff peaks form.
  • Fill a plastic bag with snipped corner with the whipped ganache filling and spread it on top of one cooled cake layer. Spread it out evenly and then top with the other cake layer.
  • Fill another baggie with snipped corner with half of the remaining ganache and spread it around the top and sides of the stacked cake, spreading it around to frost the entire thing evenly.
  • Now grab a piping bag with fitted tip and fill it with the last half of chilled ganache. Pipe a border around the top and bottom of the cake.
  • Top with orange slices, zest, or other garnishes and serve or place in fridge and let chill before serving. The ganache will continue to set as the cake chills.
Tried this recipe?Mention @BeeyondCereal or tag #BeeyondCereal!

Notes

*I used Betty Crocker Delights Triple Moist Chocolate Cake Mix, but regular chocolate, and devil’s food cake would be other great options.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 248kcal | Carbohydrates: 35.5g | Protein: 4.2g | Fat: 15.1g | Saturated Fat: 9.5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3.1g | Cholesterol: 49.9mg | Sodium: 356mg | Potassium: 184.8mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17.2g | Vitamin A: 31.9IU | Vitamin C: 0.8mg | Calcium: 79.4mg | Iron: 1.5mg

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    chocolate orange cake with ganache frosting

    4 Comments

    1. 5 stars
      Loved making this recipe! I was looking for a good orange dessert recipe since it’s citrus season and my partner wanted a chocolate recipe, so this was perfect! We loved the frosting!

    2. Bintu | Budget Delicious

      5 stars
      Chocolate orange is a combination that everyone in my family loves so this would go down a real treat! I love how easy it is to make too!

    3. 5 stars
      I love the combination of chocolate and orange, it’s one of my favorite flavor combos! It looks so decadent too!

    4. 5 stars
      Chocolate and orange is like a marriage of flavors made in heaven! Can’t wait to give this one a try. Perfect for this weekend.

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