Zesty orange cake with whipped cointreau ganache

I've been suffering from a chocolate orange craving recently that just WON'T QUIT. Now the thing is, I physically can't bring myself to buy a Terry's Chocolate Orange outside of Christmas time so I knew I'd have to bake myself out of this particular craving.

Orange cake isn't a very popular cake flavour is it? Lemon is the real citrus fruit that steals the show.

My all time favourite snack cakes from the US had to be the amazingly dreamy Hostess Orange Cupcakes. Orange flavour cupcakes filled with that famous Hostess cream and topped with an orange fondant glaze...OK, I'm totally drooling right now...

I've been on the hunt for a good orange cake recipe and they vary so much that I decided to start simply and just make my usual american sponge cake and add in some freshly squeezed orange juice and zest.

I wasn't sure how the additional citrus would effect the recipe, but it was perfect! When I make this recipe again I'd definitely add a simple orange syrup to drizzle over the freshly baked cake as I can see it will dry out quickly so I've added a simple syrup recipe below.

I cooked this cake in 2 x 8" round tins and it was a tall cake so you could probably bake this in 3 x 8" tins which would make your tiers a little less daunting...!
 Orange cake
  • 220g unsalted butter at room temp
  • 450g caster sugar (I added orange zest from 1 orange to my sugar to give it more flavour)
  • 3 x large eggs at room temp
  • 375g self raising flour
  • 240ml full fat milk (I replaced 2tbsp of milk for freshly squeezed orange juice)
  • 1tsp Orange extract
Orange buttercream
  • 250g unsalted butter at room temp
  • 500g icing sugar
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1tsp orange extract 
  • Juice of 1 orange
Cointreau ganache
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 100ml double cream
  • 2tsp cointreau (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350f/170c/160c fan oven. Grease or line 2 or 3 8" round tins and set aside. Add orange juice and orange extract to milk mixture and stir well.
  2. Combine sugar and zesty butter and beat for approx 5mins until very light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs one at a time and continue beating until combined and fluffy.
  4. Add milk mixture and flour alternating between wet and dry ingredients. Beat well between additions and continue mixing until no flour can be seen.
  5. Divide mixture into tins and bake for 25-30mins if using 3 x 8" tins and 40-45mins if using 2 x 8" tins. Test with toothpick to ensure no crumbs stick before removing from the oven.
  6. Cool cakes completely in tins before removing and allowing to cool fully on a baking rack.
  7. Ganache: Chop chocolate into small pieces and place in a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Watch carefully and bring *just* to the boil. When the cream has come to the boil, pour over the chopped chocolate, and whisk until smooth. Add cointreau if desired. Allow to cool in the fridge for 1hr before using a handmixer to whip to desired consistency - it should take about 5mins.
  8. Buttercream: Beat the butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy and slowly add icing sugar. Once combined, add orange juice, extract and zest to taste. If your mixture is too stiff, add a few drops of milk. If it's too wet, add a few more spoonfuls of icing sugar.
  9. Assemble cake by spreading ganache onto one layer of cake and sandwiching. Spread buttercream onto cake using an offset spatula and pipe decoration as required. Add sprinkles and orange zest for a pretty finish! Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
  10. Optional: if you'd like to make a simple orange syrup to douse your cake with then add 200ml of water and 200g caster sugar to a small saucepan. Heat until boiling and stir for approx 5mins until all sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and add orange zest/orange juice and allow to cool fully before drizzling over your cakes whilst they are still warm.


  1. Ok so I am making this tomorrow….FACT!

    1. Yay, I can't wait to hear how you get on with it. I haven't been able to stop eating it yet and I'm definitely making the syrup next time :)

  2. That looks so yummy, I have to try this! I also adore terrys chocolate orange, so I can feel your pain! Thanks for sharing x

    1. I just wish I could get over my 'chocolate oranges are for christmas' thing! Let me know how you get on with it and thanks for visiting my blog :)

  3. This looks incredible, will definitely be trying it :)