Orange Chocolate Cake

This Orange Chocolate Cake is made with three layers of super moist chocolate cake and a fudgy chocolate buttercream that are all flavored with orange! The orange flavor pops just enough without being overwhelming and gives this chocolate cake a really fresh and yummy flavor!

full orange chocolate cake on a white cake stand with orange slices

orange chocolate cake slice on a white plate

Orange Chocolate Cake

Orange and chocolate are kind of a classic combination and yet not one that I have often. I tend to think of the chocolate covered orange candies and those just don’t really appeal to me much. However, this cake is a different story.

This Orange Chocolate Cake is super moist and chocolatey and the fresh pop of orange really compliments it. The majority of the flavor comes from the fresh orange juice and orange zest, which gives is a great natural orange flavor. Some orange extract is added as well, to help amplify the orange flavor even more. But if you don’t have orange extract, you could just leave it out. It does amp up the flavor, but there’s great flavor even without it.

The cake is frosted with a classic chocolate buttercream that is flavored with orange as well. Having orange in both the cake and frosting ensures there’s plenty of orange flavor, but it isn’t over the top. So good!

Recipe Ingredients

This cake is based on my Best Moist Chocolate Cake, so it uses a tried-and-true combination of ingredients with the addition of the orange elements. Here’s what you’ll need:

For the Orange Chocolate Cake Layers

  • All-Purpose Flour: For structure.
  • Sugar: To keep the cake moist and delicious.
  • Cocoa Powder: Use natural, unsweetened cocoa powder for the best flavor.
  • Baking Soda: You’ll need 2 teaspoons.
  • Salt: Enhances the flavors in the cake.
  • Eggs: Large eggs.
  • Milk: I use 2%, but whole milk would be fine too.
  • Vegetable Oil: For the most moist cake.
  • Vanilla Extract: I always love using a little vanilla. It just softens the harshness of other flavors.
  • Orange Extract: For orange flavor. But if you don’t have any or can’t find it, there’d still be plenty of orange flavor with just the orange zest and juice. This really just helps amplify the natural orange flavor of the zest and juice.
  • Orange Zest: For flavor.
  • Orange Juice: Also for flavor. I would recommend using fresh squeezed orange juice.

For the Orange Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • Butter: Unsalted.
  • Powdered Sugar: Gives the frosting its volume and consistency. Read more in this post about getting the right consistency with your frosting.
  • Cocoa Powder: Natural, unsweetened here too.
  • Vanilla Extract: I always love using a little vanilla. It just softens the harshness of other flavors.
  • Orange Extract: For orange flavor.
  • Orange Zest: For more orange flavor.
  • Orange Juice: Also for flavor. I would recommend using fresh squeezed orange juice.

the top of the cake with piped border and orange slicesslice of orange chocolate cake with a bite taken

How to Make Orange Chocolate Cake

The chocolate cake couldn’t be easier to put together and the buttercream is classic. Here’s what to do:

Make the Chocolate Cakes

  1. Prep for Baking: Prepare three 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper circles in the bottom, and grease the sides. Preheat the oven to 300°F. It’s a low temperature, but this is a slow-bake cake.
  2. Combine Dry Ingredients: Add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt to a large bowl and whisk together.
  3. Add Wet Ingredients: Add the eggs, milk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, orange extract and orange zest to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
  4. Add Orange Juice: Add one cup of fresh orange juice and mix until well combined.
  5. Bake: Divide the batter evenly between 3 cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.
  6. Let Cool: Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool for about 5 minutes, then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.

Make the Frosting

  1. Beat Butter: Once the cakes have cooled, add the butter to a large mixer bowl and beat until smooth.
  2. Add Half of Powdered Sugar & Cocoa powder: Add about half of the powdered sugar and the cocoa powder and beat until well combined and smooth.
  3. Add flavorings: Add the vanilla extract, orange extract, orange zest and 5 tablespoons of orange juice and beat until well combined and smooth.
  4. Add Remaining Sugar & Juice: Add the remaining powdered sugar and beat until well combined and smooth. Add additional orange juice until it reaches the right flavor and consistency. Add salt to taste.

Build Your Cake

  1. Level the Cakes: Once the cakes are cool, remove the cake domes from top with a large serrated knife. See my tips on how to level a cake and how to stack a cake.
  2. Assemble the First Layer: Place the first layer of cake on a cake plate. Spread about 1 cup of frosting on top and spread in an even layer.
  3. Finish Layering: Add the second layer of cake and add another cup of frosting on top and spread in an even layer.
  4. Frost: Frost the outside of the entire cake to finish things up. Feel free to use my tutorial for frosting a smooth cake.
  5. Decorate: I decorated my cake with some piping around the top of the cake and some orange slices, but feel free to add your own spin on it.

full cake on a white cake stand with a yellow napkintwo orange chocolate cake slices on white plates with oranges in background

How to Store this Cake

This cake should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 24 hours. After that, refrigerate it, but serve it at room temperature. It should be eaten within 4-5 days.

Can I Freeze Extras?

Sure you can – this cake is freezer-friendly! I’d recommend slicing it, then freezing the slices. Wrap the slices tightly in plastic wrap, then again in aluminum foil. You can freeze this cake for up to a month. Be sure to thaw it in the fridge overnight before enjoying.

More Great Chocolate Cakes

Raspberry Chocolate Layer Cake
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake
Black Forrest Cake
Red Wine Chocolate Cake

Print
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orange chocolate cake slice on a white plate
Recipe

Orange Chocolate Cake

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 12-14 slices
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Orange Chocolate Cake is made with three layers of super moist chocolate cake and a fudgy chocolate buttercream that are all flavored with orange! The orange flavor pops just enough without being overwhelming and gives this chocolate cake a really fresh and yummy flavor!


Ingredients

Orange Chocolate Cake

  • 2 cups (260g) all purpose flour
  • 2 cups (414g) sugar
  • 3/4 cup (85g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (240ml) milk
  • 1 cup (240ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • 2 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 cup (240ml) fresh orange juice

Orange Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • 2 1/2 cups (560g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 9 cups (1035g) powdered sugar
  • 1 cup (114g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp orange extract
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 58 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • Salt, to taste
  • Orange slices

Instructions

  1. Prepare three 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper circles in the bottom, and grease the sides. Preheat oven to 300°F (148°C).
  2. Add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt to a large bowl and whisk together.
  3. Add the eggs, milk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, orange extract and orange zest to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
  4. Add the orange juice and mix until well combined.
  5. Divide batter evenly between cakes pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.
  6. Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes, then remove to cooling racks to cool completely.
  7. When the cakes have cooled, make the buttercream frosting. Add the butter to a large mixer bowl and beat until smooth.
  8. Add about half of the powdered sugar and the cocoa powder and beat until well combined and smooth.
  9. Add the vanilla extract, orange extract, orange zest and 5 tablespoons of orange juice and beat until well combined and smooth.
  10. Add the remaining powdered sugar and beat until well combined and smooth.
  11. Add additional orange juice until it reaches the right flavor and consistency. Add salt to taste.
  12. To build the cake, use a large serrated knife to remove the domes from the top of the cakes so that they’re flat.
  13. Place first layer of cake on cake plate. Spread about 1 cup of frosting on top in an even layer.
  14. Add second layer of cake and add another cup of frosting on top in an even layer.
  15. Add final layer of cake on top and frost the outside of the cake. Feel free to use my tutorial for frosting a smooth cake.
  16. Use the remainder of the frosting to pipe a border around the top edge of the cake, then decorate with orange slices.
  17. Store cake in an airtight container. It’s best if eaten within 4-5 days.

Keywords: orange chocolate cake, chocolate orange cake

cake slice on a plate and full cake on a white cake stand

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Recipe rating

23 Comments
    1. Lindsay

      You could. It’d be quite tall. You could also cut it in half for something a little less tall and use two or three pans.

  1. Georgia Day

    I would like to make this as one cake as I don’t use sandwich tins, would I need to maybe half the ingredient amounts?

    1. Lindsay

      Yes, you can use buttermilk. As for coffee instead of some of the orange juice, you can but you won’t have a strong of an orange flavor.

  2. Miranda

    One of the best cakes ever!!! Incredibly moist and delicious. Love the orange in the chocolate. Five star easily!!

  3. Jill Phillips

    I would like to bake the cake and freeze for a later date. Would the normal 3 months in the freezer be the maximum.

  4. Granny Renee

    I’m excited to find this recipe! My very favorite flavor combination.. orange and chocolate… yum!!! Would any changes need to be made to the recipe if I bake it in a 9 x 13? That would make it easier to transport to a pot luck or refrigerate leftovers.

  5. Maggie

    Hi there, apols if my comment is awaiting moderation, I can’t see it now!, I love yr recipes and hv made them with great success, but I wanted to make sure all purpose flour is what we in uk call plain, and also that we just put in baking soda, and no baking powder ? We call baking soda bicarbonate of soda …or shld we put in baking powder as well?. Thank you soooo much,

  6. Kathy Watkins

    I have not had a chance to try this recipe–but I will. The combination of chocolate and orange is one of my favorite things.
    Every winter I purchase very good quality navel oranges. I peal the oranges and slice off as much of the white bitter pulp as I can, leaving the flavorful zest strips. I then slice the pealed orange almost paper thin and put the zest strips and the orange slices in my dehydrator and dry them until crisp. I then grind this combination together and store it in a jar to be used to flavor a chocolate ganache that I use for a filling between layers of cake all during the year. The orange ganache might be a nice compliment to this lovely cake recipe.

  7. Nona Janus

    Can I convert this fabulous cake into cupcakes? We are empty-nesters and I like to freeze the unfrosted cupcakes so we don’t overdo our goodies! If so, what temperature and length of time in the oven? 😊

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

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“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12