Dark Chocolate and Orange cake


So long not seen…time flies…I can’t believe it’s already been 6 months since my last post… and so on. I feel like I am the cliché’ queen all over again!

The truth is that despite never abandoning the kitchen, I found difficult in the last few months to put my thoughts in words. What’ been happening? Well, my last visit to Italy has been, how to say that… emotionally loaded and once back home I couldn’t bring myself to take on the camera, so I kept busy with studies and my day job. Many things have  changed, among others I am closer than ever to my dream job, I have to move (again!), my husband is now working full time on his start up and the cat finally lost weight (only the cat, I am still proudly round, which as the joke says, a shape) I also started doing yoga, which is both painful and rewarding.

I decided to step up with my recipes from now on, and try challenging dishes. I will also work on a new section of the blog, but I don’t want to reveal too much.

For today, I’ll leave you my latest creation: Dark Chocolate and Orange cake, a classic for winter! Don’t get scared by the length of the ingredients list 😉

Ingredients for the sponge:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ¼ milk
  • 1 ¼ warm water
  • ½ cup sunflower oil
  • 2 tsp powdered vanilla beans
  • 3 cups self-rising flour
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • zest of ½ orange
  • 1 ¼ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 1 tsp salt

Ingredients for the mousse

  • 400g dark chocolate (I used 300g 65% and 100g 70%, it depends on how you like your chocolate)
  • 300ml thickened cream
  • 1 ½ tbs rice syrup
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 2 tbs rum (I used Pampero but any will do)
  • 340g butter, softened (You must leave it out of the fridge for at least 3 hours or it won’t work
  • Optional : 200ml thickened cream
  • ¼ tsp powdered vanilla beans
  • 1 tbs marmalade
  • 1 tbs rum
  • 3 tbs water

Ingredients for the candied orange decoration

  • Thinly sliced orange peel
  • 3 tbs brown sugar

Preheat the oven at 180°. Grease a rectangular cake tin (I used a banana bread tin, but you can use a 20cm round pan if you prefer) and cover sides and bottom with baking paper. Set aside.

Using a standing mixer, combine the eggs with the sugar. Add milk, water, oil and vanilla, slowly beating until well combined. Then add the other dry ingredients: flour, cocoa, bicarbonate, salt and orange zest. Keep mixing on low speed, until the mixture looks smooth and glossy.

Pour the batter in the prepared cake tin, and cook in the oven for 35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out of the centre of the cake clean. Remove from the oven, and let it cool for the first 10 minutes in the tin, before turning it on a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, slice the cake into 2 even layers. If the top is too roundish, you can cut it off to have a nice flat surface.

For the mousse, first melt the chocolate with the cream, rum, rice syrup, orange zest in a medium saucepan on very low heat. Keep stirring until the chocolate has completely melted, then remove for the heat. For the love of cakes, don’t let that luscious mixture burn! Set aside to cool at room temperature. NOT in the fridge!

Back to your standing mixer, now with the balloon whisk attachment and a clean bowl. Beat the melted chocolate mixture on a medium high speed, adding butter little by little until it becomes paler, smooth and glossy.

Prepare the candied orange. Cut a small sheet of baking paper. Peel ½ orange, avoiding the white part (that’s bitter) and slice it very thinly. Boil the sliced peel for 5 minutes, then drain it. In a small saucepan, add the peel, 3 tbs brown sugar and 1 tsp water. Heat the orange and sugar on medium heat and let it boil for 2 minutes without stirring.

Pour the melted sugar and orange on your baking paper and let it cool and harden at room temperature.

If you like, you can beat the remaining cream with little bit of sugar and remaining vanilla, and use it for decoration.

You can also mix 2 tbs rum with 1 tbs marmalade and water and use it to soak the sponge to intensify the flavors.

Now it’s time to put together your cake. Sponge, mousse, sponge, then go crazy with the rest of the mousse and the cream. The picture shows one alternative, another is to glaze the cake with the mousse, and then cover everything with cream, or you can use more cream and eat the rest of the mousse, or use the cream because you tasted a little bit too much mousse… up to you!

Crush the candied orange layer in smaller pieces and use them to decorate the top of the cake.

Beware: this cake is not for the faint of heart (or if you are on a diet), but is perfect for birthdays, blue days and when simply you wish to immerse yourself in something absolutely decadent.

My recommended song to best enjoy this cake is ‘All you need is love’ by The Beatles. All you need is love, people. Well, and chocolate of course.


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