Orange, vanilla, chocolate and coconut, this cake has every flavour my heart desires. A foolproof, blissfully easy to make dessert, this is indulgence at the highest level! The cake is heavenly moist and light, with a melt-in-the-mouth texture and a soothing, gratifying effect that will make anyone love it. Dressed up for a celebration or served in all its simplicity, it is nothing short of magnificent. You don't need to wait for a special occasion to come up in order to enjoy it, make it simply because it's Monday or because you deserve a treat and I guarantee you it will make your day.
The irresistible combination of orange and vanilla-infused sponge cake, with the added freshness of apple, and the smooth chocolate coconut ganache makes this cake instantly comforting and uplifting. I've made it several times already and each time it was an absolute success with everyone who tasted it. I don't consider myself a chocoholic, but if I tell you I had three slices on each of the last two occasions that should give you an idea of how good it is. It may look innocent, not being all made of chocolate, but this cake is dangerously addictive.
You can either serve the cake straight away, at room temperature, to fully appreciate its tenderness and the depth of its flavours, or you can make it a day in advance and serve it chilled, to enjoy its refreshing goodness. The best part about making it ahead is that the ganache doesn't fully solidify, so after some chilling time it is still soft and that easy-melting consistency it gets is absolutely divine.
You don't even have to go through the trouble of making 4 layers. The cake is normally baked in two tins, so you can just sandwich the two parts with some ganache and use the rest to frost the top and sides. How easy is that? I even made it once in a single 23 cm (9") square pan and cut it into bars.
Lately I have focused more on taste/texture than on decoration, so I've pretty much kept things simple, even with this cake. A couple of years ago I made it for a birthday celebration and decorated it with vegan cream cheese frosting and glacé cherries (scroll down for pictures).
This was one of the very rare occasions when I tried a recipe that didn't have an accompanying picture. Sue Daniels' Best Ever Vegan Sponge Cake posted on Leicestershire Vegetarian/Vegan Group's website somehow convinced me to try it. I never actually made the original version, I replaced half the amount of oil with applesauce, which only added to its amazing taste, halved the sugar, added orange zest for extra flavour and used soy milk instead of water to achieve a little firmness and to be able to slice it easily. To this day I haven't changed anything to my version and now that I have found the perfect ganache for it this is one of those cakes that live up to the "best ever" label.
Super Moist Orange Cake with Chocolate Ganache
1 cup = 250 ml
Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Prepare 2 x 18 cm (7") sandwich tins: very lightly oil the bottom and sides and line the bottom with greaseproof paper.
- 2 cups (280 g) self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup (120 g) unrefined caster sugar (I tried demerara as well)
Whisk the dry ingredients well in a bowl. No need to sift the flour, by whisking it becomes airy and you also save time.
- 150 ml freshly squeezed orange juice (I now prefer minneolas, they're so sweet and juicy and their colour is so intense)
- 150 ml soy milk (you could also use almond or coconut milk)
- 1/2 cup sunflower oil
- 1/2 cup applesauce (if it has bits of apple make sure to push them through a sieve or blend the sauce to be smooth; I used Bramley applesauce)
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- finely grated zest of 1 orange (or minneola, it's so much easier to grate)
In a separate bowl mix the wet ingredients together. Add to the dry ingredients and whisk until well combined.
Divide the batter between the 2 tins and bake for about 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. The two cakes will be nicely risen, however once out of the oven they will deflate a little bit due to their moisture content. Place them on wire racks and allow them to cool in the tins for about half an hour. Once they are warm enough to handle, slide a knife around the sides, remove them from the tins and, without peeling off the paper, place them on the wire racks to rest until completely cool, another half an hour or so. Keeping the paper on prevents the bottom from drying out.
Once you have the cakes nice and cool, prepare the ganache.
Chocolate Coconut Ganache
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) creamy coconut milk (60% fat content)
- 1/3 cup (80 g) unrefined caster sugar (or demerara)
- 125 g vegan chocolate (60% cacao)
- 75 g vegan margarine (the one I used had 75% fat)
Pour some water in a tall pot and bring to a boil on the smallest burner of your stovetop turned to high. In a glass bowl mix the coconut milk and sugar. Place the bowl over the pot of boiling water (water not touching the bottom of the bowl). Stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar is completely melted. The milk should be hot by now. Turn the heat to low and add the chocolate broken into small pieces. Stir slowly until all the chocolate is melted. Make sure the resulting ganache is warm to hot. Remove the bowl and place it on your worktop. Gradually add in the margarine cut into small pieces (no need to bring it to room temperature in advance). As you add them, dip them into the ganache to start melting. Using a manual whisk, stir vigorously until all the margarine is incorporated. The cold margarine will bring down the temperature of the ganache, so you only need to let it rest on your worktop for about 10 minutes before frosting the cake.
Carefully invert one cake onto your hand (or a plate) and peel off the paper, then place it on your serving plate. Using a long knife cut it in half and move the top half onto another plate (I used the knife and a large spatula for this, as the layers are quite delicate and didn't want to risk breaking them). While cutting, keep your other hand on top of the cake.
Evenly spread 2 heaped tablespoons of ganache on the bottom layer. Place the second layer on top and repeat the process. Follow the same instructions for the second cake. There will be a little more ganache left to frost the top of the cake and the sides.
You can of course slice and serve the cake right away, but if you give it 10 minutes the ganache will firm up a little and you will get a clean cut.
Alternatively, give it half an hour in the fridge and then it's ready to be decorated.
The vegan cream cheese frosting I made before was great, a little icing sugar, a little lemon juice to balance the sweetness, and done. But the cake is very light and the cream cheese made it feel heavy (I also added a little cream cheese to the ganache instead of margarine), so I now prefer the simple ganache frosting.
Give this cake a try, the recipe is a definite winner:)
I would love to know what you think of this cake; once you try it please leave a comment below with your feedback, I would greatly appreciate it.
Enjoy and spread the magic!:)
Like this recipe? Share it with your friends and come back for more!