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

dark chocolate blood orange cake

Dark Chocolate Blood Orange Cake Recipe

Bernice Baran
Moist dark chocolate cake infused with blood orange juice and frosted with blood orange buttercream and dark chocolate ganache.
4.53 from 130 votes
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 25 minutes
Course Cakes
Cuisine American
Servings 8 -12 slices


Candied Oranges

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

Dark Chocolate Cake

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

Blood Orange Buttercream

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

Chocolate Ganache

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


Candied Oranges

  • Begin with making candied oranges to give them time to set. In a large shallow saucepan, bring water to a simmer. Add sugar and simmer until the sugar is dissolved in water.
    1 1/2 (355mL) cups water, 1 1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar
  • Place sliced oranges in water (not overlapping them) and simmer them on medium heat for 15 minutes. Flip and simmer them on low heat for another 15 minutes.
    1 medium orange
  • Remove the oranges and place them on a drying rack to cool OR remove them and roll them in granulated sugar and then place on a drying rack to cool.

Chocolate Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350F/177C convection (or 325F/162C conventional) and grease four 6 inch cake pans (or two 8 inch pans).
  • Use a small grater to zest 5 blood oranges. Place the zest of 2 blood oranges in a large measuring cup with the olive oil. Set aside the zest of 3 blood oranges for the buttercream.
    Zest from 2 blood oranges, 3/4 cup (177mL) olive oil
  • Use a citrus juicer to juice all 5 blood oranges. Reserve 1/4 cup of juice for the buttercream and add 3/4 cup of the blood orange juice to the olive oil mixture.
    3/4 cup (177mL) blood orange juice (about 4 large oranges – reserve the zest for frosting)
  • Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda in a large bowl and whisk them together.
    2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 cup (300g) granulated sugar, 3/4 cup (60g) unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tsp baking soda
  • Add the olive oil mixture and water to the dry ingredients and fold them until smooth.
    1 1/4 cup (296mL) water
  • Distribute the batter evenly between the pans and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Blood Orange Buttercream

  • Use a stand mixer to beat the butter with the remaining blood orange zest until it's pale and fluffy.
    1 1/2 cups 3 sticks unsalted butter, zest from 3 blood oranges
  • Add half of the powdered sugar and beat until it's incorporated. Add the second half of powdered sugar and beat for 5-10 minutes, until the sugar is fully dissolved and the buttercream feels smooth.
    6 cups (720g) powdered sugar*,
  • With the mixer on low-medium speed, SLOWLY pour in the vanilla and blood orange juice. Beat until everything is fully combined.
    1 tsp vanilla extract, 1/4 cup (59mL) blood orange juice

Chocolate Ganache

  • Place the chocolate in a medium bowl.
    1/2 cup (3oz) dark chocolate
  • In a small sauce pan (or in the microwave), bring the half and half to a simmer. Remove it from the heat and pour it over the chocolate and let it sit for one minute.
    1/2 cup (118mL) half and half (or 1/4 cup cream with 1/4 cup milk)
  • Stir the chocolate until it is completely smooth.
  • Let the chocolate ganache cool for 5-10 minutes before pouring it on top of cake to get nice drips. If it cools too much, microwave it for 10 seconds and stir.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Let it set in the refrigerator for another 15 minutes and then top with the candied orange slices.


  • *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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Recipe Rating

  1. I found blood oranges at the store last week so I took the opportunity to make this cake since I’ve been looking at this recipe for forever!

    For everyone complaining about the lack of eggs: this is an olive oil cake. Not a standard bakery cake, but still very much a cake. It’s light, moist, and delicate, with a hint of fruitiness. I made this cake in 2 9×9 inch Pyrex pans just to test and see how the cake recipe came out. Nice and flat, no doming or cracking, cooked evenly through the middle at the directed time. Perfect! I actually couldn’t get the cake neatly out of the pans because it was so soft and moist that it stuck to the bottom, but that’s my own fault for being too lazy to line the bottoms with parchment (I did grease the sides and bottoms very well, though). We ended up just eating straight from the pans, no matter because it was still delicious! The buttercream was aromatic from the fresh juice and zest, but maybe just a tad too sweet. Maybe if I try this again I will make all the parts and construct the full cake properly.

  2. hey there! I tried to make the cakes tonight and it didn’t seem there was enough batter to split into four pans so I divided the batter into three 6-inch pans with about 10.5 oz of batter in each pan. After 25 mins in the oven all three of the cakes sunk in the middle. Is that because I had too much batter in each pan? I’m going to attempt the cakes again tomorrow morning so any suggestions would be much appreciated!

  3. I have made this cake several times and have even done it has cupcakes. To all those who complain about a cake without eggs…try it before you complain.
    Everyone I’ve ever served this to think it’s one of the best cakes they have had.
    Blood oranges showed up at my local market today so now I’m making it for a Christmas dinner I am going to. Can’t wait for a slice.

  4. 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

  5. was intending to make this cake the other day but cancelled those plans when I saw the recipe did not include eggs. I do not know of a cake that did not have eggs and cannot imagine what the texture of it would be like. I was thinking that the people that were not happy with the way their cake came out could also attribute it to this fact.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. This is a truly rubbish recipe. I make wedding cakes for a living, and love blood oranges, so I was keen to give this a try. No eggs??? Seriously? I made this cake, waiting to add the eggs to realise there were none included. But also, nothing to make a reaction for a rise in the sponge. (Like vinegar and baking soda, for instance. ) Beautiful pictures, but they are very misleading. This cake is dense, like a rubber cake. Don’t make it and waste all those beautiful blood oranges!!! Instead, make Nigella Lawson’s chocolate fudge cake recipe, and add a blood orange buttercream. WAYYYYY better than this mess…

  9. I am so excited that this recipe uses 6in rounds! Being just me and my fiance I hate doing the math when making a cake for just us. Blood oranges are my favorite food so I’ll have to try this for my birthday next month! thanks for sharing

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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 🙂

  14. 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!