Looking for a delicious chocolate cake that you don't have to put a ton of effort into? This single layer Orange Chocolate Cake with chocolate ganache frosting is the recipe for you! It's so easy, moist and tastes just like a chocolate covered orange!
This post is sponsored by Lifeway Kefir but all opinions are my own. It contains affiliate links, meaning that I could earn from purchases made through them. It doesn't add any extra cost to you, but it does help support this blog!
This easy cake recipe requires very minimal time and energy. No mixer or intense decorating of layers is required. You don't even need to squeeze any oranges because the flavor comes just from the zest! I love one layer cakes because they're so simple, pretty, tasty and I just do not have the patience for multilayered ones!
While this is a cake for any occasion, if you need an excuse to make it, Chocolate Cake Day is January 27th and it's a great way to take advantage of citrus season! And, if you're looking for another amazing recipe with orange juice and zest, try my Orange Poppy Seed Muffins!
- All purpose flour
- Unsweetened cocoa powder: Dutch process cocoa powder works best for this recipe, but natural can be used as well.
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Granulated sugar
- Heavy whipping cream
- Chocolate chips or a chopped up bar: Use high quality chocolate (like Ghirardelli or Baker's Chocolate) that's at least 60% cocoa.
- Lifeway Organic Plain Whole Milk Kefir
- Vegetable oil: Any other neutral oil will work, such as canola oil.
- Orange zest: This calls for the zest of 1 orange but feel free to use more or less depending on your flavor preference.
- Water: Make sure you heat the water so that it's hot before adding it to the batter! This helps enhance the chocolate flavor in the cake.
See recipe card below for quantities.
Substitutions & Variations
This recipe has not been tested with any substitutions. If you do replace any ingredients, please let us know how they turned out in the comments below!
If you'd like to make this recipe into a plain chocolate cake, go ahead and leave out the orange zest!
Feel free to swap out the chocolate ganache for any other frosting you'd like - homemade or store bought. A whipped cream frosting would be a nice light way to top it off, or a Chocolate Orange Buttercream would enhance this flavor combination even more! It's also delicious without any frosting on top!
This batter can be made into Orange Chocolate Cupcakes instead of a cake. Follow the instructions for the cake as is and fill 12-14 cupcake liners ½ - ⅔ full. Bake the cupcakes at 350°F for 14-19 minutes.
This recipe uses one 8 inch round cake pan. You'll want to coat the bottom and sides with nonstick spray. Then, cut a round piece of parchment paper and lay it flat on the bottom. This will make the cake much easier to remove from the pan.
You'll need a tool to zest the orange. I recommend using a microplane.
Step by Step Instructions
Making the Orange Chocolate Cake Layer
Step One (Picture 1 above) - In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. This will ensure that all of the dry ingredients are distributed evenly throughout the batter without having to overmix.
Step Two (Picture 2 above) - In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, orange zest, oil, kefir and egg.
Step Three (Picture 3 above) - Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and then mix them together just until the flour streaks have mostly disappeared.
Step Four (Picture 4 above) - Carefully stir the hot water into the batter and then pour it into the prepared cake pan. Bake at 325°F until a toothpick comes out of the center clean.
Making the Ganache
While the cake is cooling, make the chocolate ganache. Add the chocolate to a bowl and then heat the cream in the microwave or over the stove, stirring every 20 seconds, until it starts to simmer. Pour it over the chocolate and then place a plate on top to trap the heat for 5 minutes. When the time is up, gently stir the mixture in a circular motion until you achieve a silky, slightly thick ganache. Pour it over the cake and spread it around with a knife or spatula.
Expert Baking Tips
Measuring the Dry Ingredients:
Measuring the flour correctly is super important to make sure your cake isn't dry and dense! The best, most accurate way to measure it is to weigh it in grams on a scale (see the metric units in the recipe card below). If you don't have a scale, you can get one for about $20 on Amazon or in department or kitchen stores. The next best way to measure is to scoop the flour into a measuring cup and then level off the top with a straight edge.
Use High Quality Chocolate:
This is very important to make sure the chocolate ganache turns out right! Be sure to use high quality chocolate chips or a bar, such as Ghirardelli or Baker's brand. It should be at least 60% cocoa. If you use low quality chocolate, it may not incorporate well with the warm cream and your ganache might turn out grainy or too liquidy.
Don't Overbake the Cake:
Leaving the cake in the oven for too long will dry it out. When a toothpick comes out of the center clean, remove it from the oven. You can also tell if it's done by listening to the cake - if you can hear it bubbling a lot inside, it's probably not done just yet. The cake will be pretty quiet when it's done baking (this sounds crazy, but it's true! Try it!) It will continue baking a little bit in the hot pan after you take it out of the oven.
Bake at the Correct Temperature:
Some ovens run hotter or cooler than what you set them to. Use an oven thermometer to make sure it's at 325°F when you put the cake in and throughout its bake. If the temperature is higher, the cake may end up with a big dome and cracks on top.
Removing the Cake from the Pan:
Once the cake has cooled in the pan for about 20 minutes, place a plate on top of it and then flip it over so that the top of the cake is on the plate. Gently peel off the parchment paper and carefully flip it onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
This is the orange outer layer of the fruit grated into tiny pieces. Be careful not to grate the white layer underneath the orange layer. This microplane works great for zesting!
This is a silky, rich chocolate glaze often found on donuts, cakes, cupcakes and tarts. It's made with only two ingredients: high quality chocolate and heavy whipping cream. The ratio of these can be adjusted to yield various consistencies. This cake recipe uses a 1.5:1 chocolate to cream ratio, giving the frosting a thicker consistency.
This is very important! Be sure to use high quality chocolate chips or a bar, such as Ghirardelli or Baker's brand. It should be at least 60% cocoa.
I use Lifeway Plain Whole Milk Kefir for many reasons! It's organic, full of probiotics and lactose intolerance friendly. It also helps get the perfect moist spongey cake texture!
Check out lifewaykefir.com to locate it near you!
Vanilla isn't used because the chocolate and orange flavors are all this cake needs!
I sliced up an orange and made candied oranges using this recipe, and then layered them on top. Get creative or leave the cake as is, it'll be delicious either way!
- Room Temperature: The unfrosted cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
- Refrigerator: I don't recommend storing this in the refrigerator because this tends to dry out cakes.
- Freezer: Wrap the cooled cake tightly in plastic wrap and freeze it for up to 1 month. I like to also place the wrapped cake in a gallon storage bag for extra freezer-proofing. Let the cake thaw at room temperature a few hours before you plan to decorate and eat it.
- Room Temperature: The frosted cake should only be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days in an airtight container.
- Refrigerator: Although this tends to dry out cakes, refrigerating the ganache is necessary to make it last up to 1 week.
- Freezer: You can freeze leftover frosted cake in an airtight container for up to 1 month. I recommend consuming the thawed cake within a few days and storing it in the refrigerator afterwards.
Did you try this recipe?
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Orange Chocolate Cake with Ganache
Orange Chocolate Cake
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder preferably unsweetened Dutch process
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange zest (the zest of 1 orange)
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil or other neutral oil
- 1 large egg room temperature
- ⅓ cup Lifeway Organic Plain Whole Milk Kefir room temperature
- ½ cup hot water
- ⅓ cup heavy whipping cream
- ½ cup chocolate chips or chopped chocolate bar high quality (>60% cocoa)
Orange Chocolate Cake
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Coat the bottom and sides of an 8-inch round pan with nonstick spray and then place a round parchment paper sheet flat on the bottom of the pan.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, orange zest and oil. Stir in the egg and kefir until combined well.
- Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until only a few flour streaks are visible. Gradually stir in the hot water just until combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick comes out of the center clean (about 25-35 minutes).
- Let the cake cool in the pan for about 20 minutes, then carefully flip it out, peel off the parchment paper and let it finish cooling on a wire rack.
- Place the chocolate chips flat in the bottom of a medium bowl.
- Heat the cream in the microwave or over the stove (med/low heat) until it starts to simmer, stirring every 20 seconds.
- Pour the hot cream over the chocolate so that it's completely covered and then place a plate on top of the bowl to trap the heat.
- Let it sit for 5 minutes, then gently stir in a circular motion with a spatula until the chocolate and cream combine into a smooth, thick ganache.
- Pour the ganache on top of the cake and spread it around with an offset spatula or knife. Enjoy!
The provided nutritional information is an estimate per serving. Accuracy is not guaranteed.