Friday, 28 March 2008

Dark chocolate and orange cake

When Julia at A Slice of Cherry Pie announced her Easter Bake event, I knew I was going to something relatively simple if I'm going to take part at all, being an inexperienced baker. So instead of going for the flowers, icing, chocolate eggs and fluffy chicks/bunnies, but still in keeping with the Easter theme, I went turned the chocolate quotient right up and went for a dark chocolate cake. I also wanted to balanced out the richness and intensity of the dark chocolate, to add a lightness of taste (and capture some lightness of spring) and orange came to mind.

Chocolate and orange is a classic combination, as any fan of Terry's chocolate orange will tell you. This was actually the first time that I tried making a full cake, rather than cookies, muffins or quick breads so it was a little daunting. But I'm happy to say that it turned out great and was much simpler than I thought.

Forget about juice and rind, this cake had an entire orange pureed into the mixture. How's that for orangey! The dark chocolate complemented the freshness of the orangey taste quite nicely, although I personally thought the chocolate ganache was too dark. I would probably add some icing sugar to sweeten it next time but it's a matter of taste. I also thought the recipe called for too much ganache, but then if you want more chocolate on top or spread around the sides of the cake, it would probably be a nice amount. This cake didn't take long to make and would be a knock out item to bring for a party.

Dark chocolate and orange cake 2

(Recipe taken from BBC Good Food Magazine)

Ingredients (makes 8-10 slices):
1 orange
3 medium eggs
280g caster sugar
240ml sunflower oil
100g dark chocolate, melted
25g cocoa powder
250g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

For the chocolate ganache:
200g dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
225ml double cream
Orange zest to decorate

1. Pierce the orange with a skewer and cook in a pan of boiling water for 30 minutes. Remove and whizz the whole orange in a food processor. Discard any pips and cool.
2. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Butter and line the base of a 9 inch round cake tin. Sift the cocoa, flour and baking powder into a bowl.
3. Using an electric mixer, lightly beat the eggs, sugar and oil. Gradually beat in the pureed orange and cooled, melted chocolate.
4. Fold the cocoa, flour and baking powder into the batter using a spoon or spatula. Pour into the cake tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 55-60 minutes. The cake should be well risen and a skewer inserted in the middle should come out clean. (Mine needed 5 more minutes in the oven after the skewer-check.) Cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
5. Put the ganache chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream in a small pan until it boils and then pour over the chocolate. Stir well until smooth. Cool the mixture for about an hour until firm enough to spread. Spread over the cake and decorate with orange zest.

Dark chocolate and orange cake 1


Kevin said...

That cake looks good! I like the idea of pureeing an entire orange for it.

Little Corner of Mine said...

Looks yummy and I love the combination. BTW, is something wrong with your blog? I can't see your side bar at all and can't scroll down your page beyond half of the noodle post, so can't even leave you a comment to let you know.

Julia said...

I'm salivating! That cakes looks sooo moist and I love the chocolate and orange combination. Thanks for entering!

Nilmandra said...

Kevin: My eyebrows went up when I read that bit of the recipe! But it really worked.

Little corner: Thanks it is a lovely combination. I was tinkering around with my template yesterday. Maybe you were reading while I was editing? It looks fine on different computers in my house, hopefully it's ok for you now.

Julia: Thanks for hosting the event, I'm glad I made it this time!

Elle said...

I adore orange and chocolate! this cake looks amazing. I'd love a slice right about now. :)

Pixie said...

Well done on your first cake. Chocolate and orange are a wonderful combination.

Tarah said...

That cake look delicious. And I love how you used dark chocolate. Beautiful.

Lisa said...

that looks so yummy! chocolate and orange is one of my favourite flavour combinations.

tigerfish said...

Dark chocolate for me, anytime! Yay!

Jules said...

I love chocolate and orange together. This looks scrummy!

Nilmandra said...

Elle: Thanks! I'm so glad the cake turned out well.

Pixie: I was a little nervous but it's building my confidence. I can't wait to do another cake soon!

Tarah: Thanks! Nothing like dark chocolate to make a pudding look and taste deliciously sinful (or sinfully delicious?).

Tigerfish: I didn't used to like dark chocolate till I was older. I think it's an acquired taste :)

Maya said...

Chocolate and orange have an affinity for each other.I bet it is wonderfully moist...

noobcook said...

wow, this looks really, really delicious!! You call yourself an inexperienced baker? heheh... The orange rind toppings makes the cake really pretty! :D

Wesa said...

I made the cake today, only I added cointreau to the ganache for a hint of orange. I also baked it in 5 ramekins so that I could give one to a friend for his birthday tonight. They bake much faster in a smaller container, about half the time that a full cake would require. Thanks for the new recipe. Here's my cake:

Nilmandra said...

Maya: The cake was nice and moist indeed, and stayed so even after a few days. It does keep well, if it stays around for that long!

noobcook: It was scary making a cake for the first time ok! ;p I'm so glad it turned out well. Made me look much more clever than I am haha...

Wesa: Great idea to bake them in ramekins! I assume you'd have to grease and dust the insides of the ramekins with cocoa powder to pop the cakes out? The cointreau is a good idea, I wish I had some on hand. That probably gave the ganache that nice glossy finish in your photo (which is beautiful btw).

didally said...

Gosh... orange and chocolate, my favorite combi! This looks so moist and rich. I must try this some day.

Nilmandra said...

Didally: It's definitely worth making if you like dark chocolate, and it works so well with the orange.

Antonia said...

Ooh - that looks like a fabulous cake! I bet it tasted superb - I just love the combination of orange and chocolate. Adding a whole boiled orange sounds interesting - one to try, I think!

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