I fancied making something a little different to my usual sponge/buttercream combo a couple of weeks ago, and I'd been eyeing up a lemon and dark chocolate cake in an old recipe book of mine for a while.
Naturally, when I came to make the cake, we had no lemons. We did, however, have a couple of rather sad looking oranges lurking at the bottom of the fruit bowl. And so, after a bit of twitter reassurance that it wouldn't taste foul, the choc orange cake was born.
It was such a success that not only did I make another version of it a week later, but I have lost all interest in ever making the lemon version. My only top tip when using oranges rather than lemons would be not to use too dark a chocolate - I used 60% dark chocolate the first time and 70 or 80% dark chocolate the second time, and the bitterness rather overwhelmed the slightly more delicate orange flavour. I imagine that darker would be better with lemon cake though.
I've altered the original recipe enough that I no longer feel bad about posting it here.
Choc orange cake
6oz caster sugar
2 large eggs (3 if they're small)
Finely grated rind if two oranges
Juice of one orange (you can use the other orange to make salad dressing)
1tsp (a generous one) of baking powder
Pinch of salt if your butter is unsalted
6oz self raising flour
2oz granulated sugar
4oz dark chocolate (55-65% cocoa solids, ideally)
1oz butter (unsalted, ideally)
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 F) and grease/line a 20cm square baking tin
- Cream butter and caster sugar until fluffy
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until mixture is smooth (add a spoon of flour if it's lumpy)
- Add the grated rind and mix
- Fold in the flour and baking powder
- Stir in the milk to loosen up the mix slightly if necessary (it should be a bit looser than a normal sponge mix)
- Bake for 40-45 mins until cooked through (insert a skewer into the middle, it should come out clean)
- Turn out the cake, then turn it again only a clean board, so it is right side up. Prick all over with a fine skewer
- In a pan, mix the granulated sugar and orange juice. Heat over a low heat until sugar is dissolved, then bring to the boil and bubble for a minute or so.
- Pour the syrup over the cake, leave to cool for at least 30-40 mins
- Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water (or double boiler). Careful not to burn it! When the chocolate is melted, add the 1oz butter and stir till dissolved.
- Once the chocolate mixture is cool enough to spread without running everywhere, spread it evenly over the top of the cake
- Make tea