Chocolate Orange Drizzle Cake

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The idea for this cake came from my husband who came home one day with a photo of a cake and its name, without having tried it, and asked if I could recreate it. The name of the cake was ‘Chocolate Orange Drizzle Cake’ and the stunning (blurry) photograph was this:

Original cake

This was my first time combining recipes to essentially make my very own cake in a somewhat Great British Bake Off style challenge, and I must say I really enjoyed it.

So while the inspiration for this bake came from my husband, all of the recipes / ideas are taken from Frances Quinn and her book – ‘Quinntessential Baking’. I say Frances herself and not just her book because I met her a few weeks ago. My mother-in-law and I saw her do a cooking demonstration including her Brownie Owls and Orange-Flavoured Marzipan Bees. After the demo, while she was signing her book we had a quick chat (she commented on how many notes I made during her demo!) – her enthusiasm for baking, and more importantly her sense of design in baking is quite infectious. I’m usually one to follow a single recipe, but the satisfaction of making something up based on flavours and ideas was a much more satisfying and creative endeavour!

From the photo and name I took the somewhat obvious decision that the cake should be made from an orange-flavoured sponge and covered in a chocolate ganache, and finally decorated with white chocolate. I then decided that to add extra flavour to the sponge I would spike it with an orange syrup and also add a middle layer of orange mascarpone to add a touch of sharpness.

The outcome of the experiment was very tasty (even if I do say so myself!). The idea of turning this into my first blog post came from my desire to keep a record of each step so that I can recreate it one day. So here follows the recipe!


Orange sponge cake
(Adapted from Frances’ Basic Vanilla Cake)
  • 200g softened butter (as mine came from the fridge I chopped it into cubes and left it in the warming drawer for 5 mins)
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 4 tbsp orange juice (fresh from an orange – you will need about 3 oranges for this whole recipe)
  • Zest of 2 unwaxed oranges
Orange Syrup
(Frances’ Flavoured syrup)
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100ml orange juice (fresh from an orange)
  • 1 tbsp Cointreau
Orange mascarpone cream
(Frances’ sweetened Mascarpone cream and Orange curd)
  • 50g (here’s one I made earlier) home-made orange curd
  • 100g Mascarpone cream
Chocolate ganache
(From Frances’ brownie Owls)
  • 100g dark chocolate (I used Lindt cooking chocolate – 51% cocoa)
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150ml double cream
White chocolate drizzle decoration
  • Easy melt white chocolate drops
  • Single cream

Baking steps

Orange sponge cake
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160˚C (fan) placing a shelf in the centre position.
  2. Prepare the cake tin: grease the base and sides with butter, then cut a circle of greaseproof paper for the base and a strip for the sides. For an extra final precaution I sprayed it all with baking spray. This does seem over the top – but it was the neatest looking cake I’ve ever made so I think it was worth it!
  3. Beat the butter and sugar together in a stand mixer until very light, pale, and creamy (this was around 5 mins in my Kenwood Chef).
  4. Break the eggs into a jug, add the vanilla extract, and beat with a fork.
  5. Slowly add the egg mixture to the butter and sugar – beating well after each addition. If it curdles add a spoonful of flour to bring it back together.2015-10-17 11.58.07
  6. Sift the flour into the cake mixture in several batches – folding in until combined. You’re trying to keep the mixture fluffy at this stage.
  7. Fold in the orange zest and orange juice.
  8. Pour the cake mix into the prepared cake tin and level it out with a spatula.
  9. Bake for 45 minutes until risen and golden. Check that the cake is done by inserting a skewer into the centre and seeing that it comes out clean.2015-10-17 12.22.04
  10. While this is baking make the orange syrup.
Orange syrup
  1. Put the sugar and orange juice in a small pan over a medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring to help dissolve the sugar.
  2. Reduce the heat and simmer for around 2 minutes until the sugar has completely dissolved – the syrup should be clear orange (not foggy).2015-10-17 12.09.45
  3. Remove from the heat and add the Cointreau (or other orange flavouring).
  4. Leave to cool slightly – 5 to 10 minutes.
Finishing the orange sponge cake
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  1. Remove the tin from the oven and make lots of holes in the top of the cake using a skewer.2015-10-17 12.47.59
  2. Drizzle half of the syrup evenly over the cake.
  3. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for around 20 minutes.
  4. Remove the cake from the tin and allow it to cool completely.2015-10-17 12.53.11
  5. Cut the cake in half (I used a cake wire cutter) and place both halves “inside up” on two plates, as seen below.2015-10-17 17.27.42
  6. Drizzle the remaining syrup over the cut inside of each cake.
Orange mascarpone cream
  1. Beat the mascarpone and orange curd together until soft and creamy.
  2. Place in the fridge to firm up – between 10 and 20 minutes.2015-10-17 17.47.04
Chocolate ganache
  1. Chop the chocolate up into small pieces using a sharp knife.
  2. Put the chocolate, golden syrup, and vanilla extract into a medium sized heatproof bowl.2015-10-17 17.43.00
  3. Gently heat the cream in a small saucepan over a medium heat.
  4. When it’s just coming to the boil remove from the heat and pour the cream over the chocolate.
  5. Stir gently until the mixture has a smooth and shiny consistency.2015-10-17 18.00.41
  6. Leave the ganache to cool slightly – but you still want it to be runny.
Icing the cake
    1. Spread the orange mascarpone mix over the base half of the cake – trying to keep it in the centre and not dribbling over the sides!2015-10-17 18.09.00
    2. Place the top half back on the base, sealing the orange mascarpone in the middle.
    3. Put the cake onto a surface with plenty of room that you don’t mind getting messy (very messy!). I used a cake turntable on my kitchen worktop.2015-10-17 18.10.18
    4. Give the ganache a final stir and then pour it carefully onto the centre of the cake. It should be thin enough to slowly run from the centre of the cake and down the sides, covering it as it goes. You may need to pour slightly off centre to encourage an even covering – you can also touch up any bits which were missed with extra ganache.
    5. You should now have a completely chocolate covered cake (and a chocolate mess which I hope won’t go to waste!).2015-10-17 18.12.55
    6. Allow the ganache to cool until it firms up.
    7. In the meantime melt the white chocolate pieces in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water with enough cream to loosen it up slightly – don’t overheat as white chocolate has a lower melting point than dark chocolate and will go a funny texture.2015-10-17 19.30.112015-10-17 19.36.29
    8. Once the white chocolate has reached a pouring consistency pour it into the piping bag. If you’ve made your piping bag well the end will be sealed and you’ll have to snip off the tip before it comes out. If not plug it with your finger before you pour the chocolate in!
    9. VERY carefully move the cake from the decorating stand to the serving plate.2015-10-17 19.28.04
    10. Snip the tip off the piping bag – you want it small enough to be a controlled flow of chocolate but not so small that you have to squeeze it to get it out.
    11. Decorate the cake using the white chocolate – I just drizzled mine over to get a similar effect to the original photo.

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And there you have it – Chocolate Orange Drizzle Cake! It is worth storing this cake in a cool place to keep the mascarpone cheese filling fresh.

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The cake should be light but moist, with the mascarpone balancing out the richness of the chocolate ganache. Yum yum!

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Home-made versus original:

Original cake2015-10-18 10.58.57

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