Orange cake with dark chocolate and cream cheese frosting
This light, citrusy cake is the perfect way to celebrate the new year, a birthday, a deep abiding love for chocolate, or any occasion. A cream cheese frosting and a layer of chocolate ganache puts it completely over the top.
Sometimes people in my office travel to awesome places that most people (sane people) do not want to visit – i.e. eastern Congo, South Sudan, Chad, etc. I do not get to go … but I want to. Getting chased by a monkey while on a run in Juba? Sign me up! Lost on the way to a refugee camp in Chad? I’m in. Randomly producing a music video for an African pop star? Yes please!!! (True stories.)Skip to next paragraph
Mollie Zapata started baking cookies with her mom in California back before she can remember and hasn't stopped since. She lives in Washington, DC, where she works at a human rights organization by day and bakes cakes for her friends, roommates, and co-workers by night. Mollie blogs at www.eatrunread.com.
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For the rest of us, ever desk-bound, all we can hope is that our intrepid colleagues come back safe and sound, with good stories/pictures/video, and bring back some delicious foreign treats to share.
Just before Christmas, someone brought back Belgian chocolates from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (not to be confuse with the Republic of the Congo – yes, there are two Congos). All colonial irony aside, apparently there’s still a lot of Belgian stuff in Kinshasa, and the chocolate is delicious! I had a dark chocolate and orange truffle and was suddenly reminded how good dark chocolate and orange are together.
That truffle was still on my mind as I considered my baking options last weekend. Orange cake? Hmmmm. Dark chocolate ganache? Yummmmm. Together? It could work!
I’ve never made an orange cake before, and couldn’t find any good-looking recipes online, so I adapted a lemon cupcake recipe and it worked shockingly well. So here’s the cake strata breakdown: orange cake, dark chocolate ganache, cream cheese frosting, orange cake, cream cheese frosting.
I chose this cake recipe based on ease and what ingredients I had – you could probably adapt any good lemon cake recipe. The ganache layer is key here, it really makes the orange-y-ness stand out. If you don’t like cream cheese frosting, you could do a butter cream frosting instead.
Orange Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache and Cream Cheese Frosting
1-3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
zest of two large oranges (about 2 tablespoons)
3 extra-large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3 cups cake flour (I only had 2 cups cake flour and therefore had to use one cup regular flour… it was OK, but the cake would probably be lighter if you had the right amount of cake flour.)
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