Orange Cake with a Heart of Chocolate

February 03, 2012

Chocolate Orange Cake

This simple vegan orange cake filled with chocolate cream and topped with chocolate ganache gets my vote for "the best cake" every time I make it. I love the irresistible orange-chocolate combination and use it in many desserts. I think the success of this cake is also due to the whole wheat flour. The type I use has bits of bran in it and creates a fantastic texture while adding a nutty flavour to it.

The orange cake is very light and fluffy, moist and wonderfully orange-scented. The chocolate cream is light and mildly sweet. The textures and flavours come together perfectly in this cake that needs nothing else to be a big hit. Last time I made it I was so anxious to taste it, because I hadn't made it in a long time, that I ended up assembling it and devouring a slice while the cream and cake were slightly warm. Words fail me to describe the absolute pleasure of eating it. It would simply melt in the mouth, leaving me craving for another bite...and another. The perfect bite! - that's what it is.

I wholeheartedly recommend this extraordinary cake for any special occasion (waking up craving chocolate counts as special occasion for me). I haven't tried to replace this type of flour with regular cake flour or even with finely ground whole wheat flour. It is already perfect! If you let it cool completely you'll understand why you don't need extra moisture.

I needed a heart-shaped cake for a birthday celebration and for lack of a heart-shaped pan I had to improvise, much to my enjoyment, because I got to eat all those crunchy, slightly caramelized edges all by myself :). A small rounded V at one end, a large V at the other, a little trimming around the sides and there I had a beautiful heart.

This cake was inspired by a recipe for cream-filled cupcakes. Sadly I cannot credit its author because at the time I didn't save the link for future reference and now I can't seem to find it. One note before we get on with the recipe: if you're using an electric oven with upper and lower heating elements, switch them both on. Leave them on for 10 minutes while the cake is baking on the middle rack, then switch the top one off. The cake batter is liquidy and too much heat coming from above makes the cake crack.

Chocolate Orange Cake

Prepare a 20 cm (8") loose bottom pan. Remove the bottom, cover it with parchment paper, fold it underneath and place it back inside the ring. Pull the paper from all sides until it's taut and trim the edges, leaving a 2 cm border, as shown below. Lightly oil the sides of the pan.

Dry Ingredients
  • 1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup unrefined caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Sift the flour in a bowl and add the remaining bran back to it (see below). Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Add the zest from 1 1/2 medium oranges (grate only the orange part) and mix.

Wet Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice with pulp
  • 3/4 cup oat milk (or soy milk)
  • 1/3 cup sunflower oil (for a fat-free version replace with applesauce, it works great too)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Mix the ingredients well in another bowl.

Note: The measuring cups I use are 250 ml (1 cup), 125 ml (1/2 cup), 80 ml (1/3 cup) and 60 ml (1/4 cup).

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix gently with a fork or spoon until just combined. Make sure you don't overbeat, or the cake will lose its fluffy texture.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan (bring the bowl as close to the pan as you can).

Bake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. See my notes on baking above.

Chocolate Orange Cake

Put the pan onto a wire rack and let cool for about 15 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan, slide it off the removable bottom and back onto the wire rack until it's completely cooled (to remove it from the pan, I just place the pan on top of a bowl and then carefully push the ring down with my thumbs while holding the bottom from underneath - of course, if you have a springform pan, you don't have to struggle with this). Peel off the paper and place the cake on a serving plate.

Chocolate Orange Cake

If you want a heart-shaped cake, just draw a heart with the tip of a knife and then trim off the edges. Otherwise just cut the cake in half to obtain 2 layers and carefully move the top layer onto another plate.

Spread the chocolate cream over the bottom layer and cover with the other one. If you like a more fruity cake you can add bits of orange to the cream. If the cake does crack a bit, use a little cream to fill the cracks and even out the surface before pouring the ganache over.

Chocolate Cream
  • 75 g chocolate (60%), broken into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tb oat milk (or coconut milk)
  • 25 g vegan butter or margarine
Put everything in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water (water not touching the bottom of the bowl). Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon until the chocolate is completely melted. Remove the bowl and let the cream cool completely, stirring occasionally to prevent crust forming.

Chocolate Orange Cake

Chocolate Ganache
  • 50 g chocolate (60%), broken into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar (or maple syrup)
  • 1 Tb oat milk (or coconut milk)
Put everything in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon until the chocolate is completely melted. Remove and let the ganache cool until just warm. Pour over the cake and spread it around with a spatula, covering the edges as well. Leave it for 1-2 minutes, then wipe the excess ganache off the plate with paper towels.

Chocolate Orange Cake

You can slice and serve the cake straight away or chill it in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

Enjoy and spread the magic :)

A lot of time, effort and passion goes into each recipe I post. My greatest satisfaction comes from your feedback. If you made this recipe, then please take a minute of your time to leave me a comment. And if you like it, please share it so that others have access to it as well. Thank you all in advance!



Even if this cake at first glance could recall a sacher torte for the kind of preparation and the appearance is actually much more intriguing and the chosen kind of flour combined with the other ingredients makes it a unique combination of healty and lustful sensations. This blog recipes have a very talented and creative mind behind.

Vegan Magic

Dear Elisabetta, I am humbled by your beautiful comment. It makes me happy to know that all the work I put into this post paid off. I greatly appreciate your feedback, as it motivates me to keep posting wonderful recipes which I hope you'll enjoy just as much.


Dear Vegan Magic...the Orange Cake ist so yummy. We eat a piece for desert...delicious. The whole wheat flour together with the orange juice, zest and the cake a great taste and smell!

...I felt so comfortable with your exact description...I had the feeling, that you really want, that all the readers and bakers have a great result.

Thank you gina

Vegan Magic

Thank you so much, Gina! Your comment has made me so happy:) It's wonderful to know that my favourite cake has made such a good impression on you:)

I've had my share of baking errors, that's why I try to give many details in my recipes so that anyone who tries them knows exactly what to expect. I hope you'll try more of my cakes, they're all so good:)


yum...just made the cake...just yum...but my cake wasnt thick enough that i could cut it and put the i just put a little bit of glaze...and choco orange combination was amazing just amazing...thnks for the recipe...

Vegan Magic

Thank you so much for giving it a try and for this wonderful feedback, I'm very happy you enjoyed the cake:) Try using a smaller pan or 2 small sandwich tins, the cake is amazing when layered:)


Ady, I just made the cake yesterday, and served it today... Let me tell you, everyone just devoured the cake! I was most nervous about the ganache, but it turned out perfectly! I think my pan was a little too wide, and so the cake was not very thick, but I was still able to slice it and add the chocolate cream.. Next time, I'll just make two of the same size cakes, and layer them. Thank you so much for your detailed instructions, it was very helpful!

Overall, delicious cake, and no one even knew they were eating a vegan version of the cake! Thank you much! :)

Vegan Magic

Suja, that's fantastic news!:) Thank YOU for trusting this recipe and for sharing your experience with this cake. I am thrilled to know it came out great and everyone loved it:) You can even make it in cupcake form, or lamingtons (there's another post for them). I can't wait to see what recipe you're going to try next;)

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