I have been working from home since mid-March and, judging by the empty shelves of flour at the market, everyone but me has been baking!
Thumbing through my cookbooks for inspiration, I came across the Barefoot Contessa’s Parties!, which was the first cookbook I ever purchased. Ina has a recipe for Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake with chocolate ganache that she said was a big hit at her store. Yum!
This recipe uses the zest from four oranges together with fresh-squeezed orange juice and buttermilk to make a delightfully moist, citrusy Bundt cake with big chunks of chocolate and, as if that isn’t enough, the moistness is sealed in by an orange syrup glaze and then drizzled with chocolate ganache.
This is a very easy cake to make, just make sure your butter, eggs, and buttermilk are at room temperate before you begin. Zest the oranges, and then squeeze them for the juice you will need for the cake and the syrup. The only change I made to this recipe was to marinate the zest in one tablespoon of Grand Marnier while preparing the cake. That is a trick we use in Tom’s Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes to boost the orange flavor.
I used our favorite Cara Cara oranges for this cake and it really was the best orange cake I have ever eaten. If you haven’t tried them, in addition to their lovely color, Cara Cara oranges are sweeter and less acidic than Navel oranges plus they contain more vitamin C and A than a regular Navel.
Lifting the lid off the cake platter, the aroma smells exactly like a chocolate orange truffle! And, just like a truffle, when biting into it, the orange flavor explodes, followed by hints of rich chocolate. I thought about leaving the ganache off, but it really is the icing on the cake!
For the cake:
8 oz. unsalted butter at room temperature
2 c. sugar
4 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 T. Grand Marnier (optional)
4 large Cara Cara oranges (zested and juiced)
¼ c. fresh squeezed orange juice
1 t. pure vanilla extract
¾ c. buttermilk at room temperature
3 c. all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons
½ t. baking powder
½ t. baking soda
1 t. Kosher or fine sea salt
2 c. good semisweet chocolate chunks
For the syrup:
¼ c. sugar
¼ c. freshly squeezed orange juice
For the ganache:
8 oz. good semisweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli)
½ c. heavy cream
1 t. instant coffee granules
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 10-cup (9 inch) Bundt cake pan.
Zest the oranges and combine with the Grand Marnier in a small bowl. Squeeze the oranges to get a one-half cup of juice, should be about two oranges. Set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, then the orange zest.
While the butter is creaming, in a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup orange juice, buttermilk, and vanilla. Toss the chocolate chunks with 2 tablespoons of flour.
Alternate adding the flour and buttermilk mixtures in thirds to the creamed butter, beginning and ending with the flour. Pour into the prepared pan, smooth the top and bake for 45 minutes to an hour until a cake tester comes out clean.
Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.While the cake is cooling, make the syrup. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, cook the sugar with the orange juice until the sugar dissolves. Remove the cake from the pan to a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Use a silicone brush to brush the orange syrup over the cake. Allow the cake to cool completely.
For the ganache, melt the chocolate, heavy cream, and coffee in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally. Drizzle over the top of the cake.
Serving Size: 12 – 16
Recipe very slightly tweaked from Barefoot Contessa Parties! Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake.