Dark Chocolate Blood Orange Cake

The ultimate dark chocolate blood orange cake entails a super moist and rich chocolate cake infused with blood orange juice and frosted with blood orange buttercream. Top with dark chocolate ganache and candied orange slices.

Soooo this was my first time baking with blood oranges and oh my goodness, are they beautiful or what?! Not only are they easy on the eyes but I got pretty lucky with those dark ones, they are so flavorful.

The easiest chocolate cake recipe ever

Going to be totally transparent here, I adopted this recipe from Tasty’s Blood Orange Chocolate Olive Oil Cake. When an idea pops into my head I always google it to see what others have done and when I saw how MOIST this cake looked, I had to try it. Let me just tell you, this cake crumb is phenomenal!

Oh, and did I mention the chocolate cake is also vegan?! So if you want to use a vegan butter for the frosting, you totally can. Ingredients for this cake are super simple:

  • Flour
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Baking Soda
  • Salt
  • Blood Oranges
  • Olive Oil
  • Water

Better yet, there’s basically four steps to this recipe:

  1. Zest and juice all the blood oranges.
  2. Whisk together all the dry ingredients plus the sugar.
  3. Combine all the wet ingredients plus the zest.
  4. Fold the wet and dry ingredients together.

How to make blood orange American buttercream

Flavoring American buttercream isn’t as easy as it sounds. The steps are simple but you have to get the ratio right because you don’t want it to taste too buttery or too sweet. The consistency has to be just right for frosting. Then when you add flavorings like blood orange juice, you can’t add too much because it will change the consistency and texture.

You can boil the juice until to evaporate some water but honestly…I’m too lazy for that. I’ll take the easy way out and just not do that, LOL. So If you add too much juice, the frosting will either split or just be an odd consistency. If you add too little, you won’t taste it. Sooooooo I made up for it by add more blood orange zest and only adding a 1/4 cup of juice.

How to make candied oranges?

I thought this would be so much harder than it was but oh my goodness, it’s so easy. You literally just simmer them in water with sugar for 15 minutes and then flip and simmer for another 15 minutes.

You can choose to dip them in granulated sugar for a little sparkle action or just leave them plain and silky. If you dip them in sugar, make sure to do it as soon as you remove them from the hot water because they dry rather quickly. Place them on a drying rack to cool completely before decorating.

How to store dark chocolate blood orange cake?

A fully frosted cake, like this blood orange chocolate cake, does not need to be covered unless it’s sliced and an unfrosted area is exposed to air. The cake can stay at room temperature for a couple days but for longer than that, refrigerate. If you’ve sliced it, store slices in an airtight container. If the cake is still whole with slices cut out, cover the exposed area with plastic wrap to keep it moist.

I hope you all enjoyed this post. I was never an orange chocolate fan but this cake has fully converted me! & isn’t it just so beautiful too?! ugh, I’m obsessed. If you make this dark chocolate blood orange cake, make sure to tag me @baranbakery on instagram. As always, have a blessed day and happy baking lovebugs!

Love, B

Yield: 1 6" cake

Dark Chocolate Blood Orange Cake

dark chocolate blood orange cake

Moist dark chocolate cake infused with blood orange juice and frosted with blood orange buttercream and dark chocolate ganache.

Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 25 minutes

Ingredients

Candied Oranges

  • 1 medium orange
  • 1 1/2 (355mL) cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar

Dark Chocolate Cake

  • 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup (300g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (60g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Zest from 2 oranges 
  • 3/4 cup (177mL) olive oil
  • 3/4 cup (177mL) blood orange juice (about 4 large oranges - reserve the zest for frosting)
  • 1 1/4 cup (296mL) water

Blood Orange Buttercream

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6 cups (720g) powdered sugar*
  • 1/4 cup (59mL) blood orange juice
  • zest from 3 blood oranges
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1/2 cup (3 oz) dark chocolate
  • 1/2 cup (118mL) half and half (or 1/4 cup cream with 1/4 cup milk)

Instructions


Candied Oranges

  1. Begin with making candied oranges to give them time to set. In a large shallow saucepan, bring water to a simmer.
  2. Add sugar and simmer until sugar is dissolved in water.
  3. Place sliced oranges in water (not overlapping them) and simmer on medium heat for 15 minutes.
  4. Flip and simmer on low heat for another 15 minutes.
  5. Remove and place on a drying rack to cool OR remove and roll in granulated sugar and then place on a drying rack to cool.

Chocolate Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease four 6 inch cake pans (or two 8 inch pans).
  2. Use a small grater to zest 5 blood oranges.
  3. Place the zest of 2 blood oranges in a large measuring cup with the olive oil. Set aside zest of 3 blood oranges for the buttercream.
  4. Use a citrus juicer to juice all 5 blood oranges. Reserve 1/4 cup of juice for the buttercream and add 3/4 cup or blood orange juice to the olive oil mixture.
  5. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda in a large bowl and whisk together.
  6. Add olive oil mixture and water to the dry ingredients and fold until smooth.
  7. Distribute evenly between pans and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Blood Orange Buttercream

  1. Use stand mixer to beat butter with blood orange zest until it's pale and fluffy.
  2. Add half of powdered sugar and beat until it's incorporated.
  3. Add second half of powdered sugar and beat for 5-10 minutes, until sugar is fully dissolved and buttercream feels smooth.
  4. With mixer on low-medium speed, SLOWLY pour in vanilla and blood orange juice. Beat until fully combined.

Chocolate Ganache

  1. Place chocolate in a medium bowl.
  2. In a small sauce pan (or in the microwave), bring half and half to a simmer.
  3. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate, let it sit for one minutes.
  4. Stir until completely smooth.
  5. Let chocolate ganache cool for 5-10 minutes before pouring it on top of cake to get nice drips. If it cools too much, microwave for 10 seconds and stir.

Assemble

  1. Place the first layer of cake on a flat surface and spread about 1/4 of the buttercream on top. Repeat with the next three layers and use the rest of buttercream to frost the outside of the cake.
  2. If at any point the cake feels unsteady, refrigerate it for 15-30 minutes. Once the cake is fully frosted, refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes and then pour the chocolate ganache on top.
  3. Let it set in the refrigerator for another 15 minutes and then top with orange slices.

Notes

  • *You can always add a little more powdered sugar or a little less, make it to your taste and make sure it's firm enough to keep the cake standing.

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35 Comments

  1. I’m in love with the recipe and can’t wait to try it out. Do you think it would do well in a 12×5″ tin

    Or would it be too thin ?

    • Hi, thank you I hope it turns out. If I’m being totally honest, I’m not sure if it will turn out in that tin. I would definitely adjust the baking time to 325f for at least half the time since the pan is deeper

      • Hi,
        This recipe looks fantastic, but your instructions talk about how to make each individual part, but not what you do to put in all together. I’m guessing that the butter cream goes on before the ganache, so you won’t want the ganache to be warm? What’s involved with constructing this cake?

        • Hi Darrin, thanks so much! I did just a layer of buttercream between all the cake layers, then frosted the outside with buttercream, let it set in the fridge for like 30 minutes and then pour the ganache on top. The ganache should still be runny but not super warm.
          So sorry about that, idk how I missed it lol I’ll update the recipe to be more clear

  2. I made this cake with three 9″ pans and it turned out pretty well!

    Are there any recommendations you would make to increasing the recipe contents to better fit 9″ pans?

    Also, what’s closest measurement you would use for the zest? I just eyeballed it out of fear of it possessing too much orange and it turned out, but next time I want to give it just a little bit more.

    • Hi Sean, so glad you liked the cake! I would probably double the recipe to make a three layer 9” cake.
      I would probably do about 2 tsp of zest for the 6” cake.

  3. I and my friends thought this cake was delicious, so moist and chocolatey. I’m wondering if you used regular size cake pans. Four 6″ pans are required or two regular cake pans.

  4. This is not a good recipe. The batter isn’t nearly enough for 4 thick layers that are pictured here. I ended up with 3 super thin layers and the cake didn’t taste great either. Would not recommend.

  5. I got distracted and somehow forgot the sugar but through some baking miracle the cake was still delicious (with icing) and so tender.
    Thanks for sharing your creativity

  6. This recipe is not great. Using the exact measurements the cake is too soft. The “buttercream” is also not very pleasant. Looks great in the picture but i wouldn’t recommend.

  7. What if I wanted to use a 9×13 pan? I don’t have a cake stand or anyway to store a 3 layer cake. Would this make too much batter?

    • Hi Randal, this cake should work just fine in the 9×13 pan! I would bake it at 350F and check it around 30 minutes. Once the cake doesn’t look wet anymore, poke the center with your finger and if it springs back, it’s done baking 🙂

      • Oh no! These are not the same! The UK refers to baking soda as bicarbonate of soda. It will probably work out in the end, but technically they’re not interchangeable.

        • Hi Roni,
          They are not the same and not always interchangeable but the proper amount of baking powder can almost always replace baking soda. I just wouldn’t replace baking powder with baking soda 🙂

  8. I’m going to make this cake today, and I’m so excited! I just wanted to thank you for how well organized your recipe is (especially accounting for all the juice and zest needed in the cake section so I don’t have to think about it as well as the cake storage tips.) Thank you!

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