How to Train Your Orange-Chocolate Skeptic

I have taken this opportunity to make something in the spirit of one of the most divine combination: chocolate and orange. A combination that divides audiences and friendships alike.  Without voices in the background going “but its so wrooooong” I have settled for a cake that I believe embodies this match made in heaven in all its’ glory. Well… kind of. I just liked the look of the recipe and knew that I could try it out without anyone moaning about it. 

I guess I got a little over-excited with the decoration, and even attempted some chocolate work. While I found out this is not my calling, I am generally pleased with the result and am hoping to convert some non-believers with this beastly yet subtle creation.

The recipe involves four layers of cake with orange syrup, almond cream, chocolate ganache and pâtisserie-quality decorations: challenge accepted!

Chocolate Orange Almond Gateau


You’ll need
for the Orange Sponge (makes 2 x 8″ cake tins):
150g plain flour
25g cornflour
150g powdered/icing sugar
pinch of salt
2 tsp baking powder
3 large eggs, separated
5 tbsp sunflower oil
5 tbsp water
Zest of 1 orange
1 tbsp orange juice
1 tsp orange extract (we didn’t find this in swiss supermarkets so just added a bit more zest and juice)

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (fan-oven). Grease 2 8″ sandwich spring form tins and dust with flour.
  2. Sift the cornflour, plain flour, baking powder, salt and powdered sugar into a mixing bowl.
  3. With a whisk, lightly mix the oil, water, yolks, juice, zest and extract (or more juice/zest) together. Stir into into the dry ingredients.
  4. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth.
  5. Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gently fold into the cake mixture.
  6. Divide between the two prepared tins and bake for 20-25 minutes and golden brown. Check with a knife or a wooden pick if it is done.
  7. Leave in tin for 10 minutes, then turn out and cool completely on rack. Once cool, cut each cake into 2 layers with surgical precision like we obviously did.

For the Chocolate Ganache:
225g dark chocolate (we used 45% cocoa)
200ml cream (full-fat if you’re badass like us… seriously… like low fat is going to make any difference to your diet)

  1. In a pot heat the cream and half of the chocolate over medium heat until melted and smooth.
  2. Place the remaining chocolate into a bowl, broken into small pieces. Pour the cream mixture over the rest of the chocolate and stir until melted and glossy. Set aside to thicken.

For the Almond Cream
600ml cream, chilled
4 tbsp almond meal
4 tbsp icing sugar

  1. Whip the ingredients together in a bowl until thick with peaks. Keep in the fridge until needed.

For the Orange Syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 cup water
1/2 tsp orange extract (again we did not have this sooo we used orange zest instead. And added 1 tsp because we like orange flavors. Correction, we love orange flavors.)
1 cinnamon stick, for fun really because you can barely taste it

  1. Before you start: make this syrup just before assembling the cake. This way it will soak properly into the sponge because it’ll still be nice and liquidy. (Sadly we did not do this).
  2. Simmer until the sugar has dissolved and a syrup has formed. Remove the cinnamon stick and set aside until needed.

And now to assemble and decorate your cake patisserie style:
You’ll need
the orange syrup
the chocolate ganache
the almond cream
candied orange pieces
chocolate shavings
toasted slivered almonds
icing sugar

  1. Place the bottom layer of the cake on a plate. Brush with some orange syrup. Top with some almond cream. Place your second sponge layer on top and repeat. Repeat until you have your four layers, finish off with your final sponge layer on top (no cream, no syrup, although if you have enough syrup left you might as well pour it over the top layer).
  2. Frost the sides and top of the cake with the chocolate ganache. If the ganache is still too liquid, pop it into the fridge for about 15-20 minutes and try again.
  3. Decorate the sides of the cakes with your toasted almonds.
  4. Decorate the top of your cake with chocolate shavings, icing sugar and candied oranges. We tried to make our own little chocolate creative swirl for the middle. Melt chocolate and doodle creatively on some baking paper. Freeze….. It did not turn out as pretty as in the original recipe and decided to melt almost immediately once taken out of the freezer… note to self: maybe taking a patisserie course would not be a bad idea:-)


 Rating: 10/10

Chocolate and Orange SUCCESS! This is, so far, the baking masterpiece.

Bonus: failed attempt at chocolate work!


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