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A few days after Christmas, one of my aunts planned a post holiday get-together/birthday celebration for my uncle at her house. In addition to the birthday cake, my cousin and I were each bringing a dessert. It had been a pretty busy week and I didn’t have a lot of time to come up with something elaborate so I thought..one could never go wrong with a chocolate cake! To make it more interesting, I also incorporated the orange flavor from fresh orange zest and orange marmalade.

For those who think orange + chocolate are terrible together, let me say that I used to believe that too. I thought citrus and chocolate could never complement each other. Sour oranges/lemons and bittersweet chocolate seem like a strange combination. I thought chocolate only went well with coconut, caramel, or strawberries.


When I started baking, I realized that as uncommon as it is, citrus and chocolate can actually be an amazing match. As long as one does not overpower the other, there’s no reason not to use them in one dessert. As a matter of fact, I’m also going to try something w/both lemon and chocolate sometime this year.

In December, I always seem to find chocolate around the house. My parents often receive boxes of Lindt/Ghirardelli chocolate from friends and colleagues or family and guests. It’s really convenient to have some on hand when I want to bake chocolate desserts. In fact, for this recipe I already had almost all the ingredients at home (..except the eggs b/c my family decided to make omelets for breakfast every single day of the week).


Using dark cocoa powder and 72% cocoa Ghirardelli chocolate, I made a simple single-layer dark chocolate cake generously covered w/orange marmalade and a blanket of orange flavored whipped cream decorated with lots of chocolate shavings. I also incorporated molasses in the recipe to substitute for some of the sugar and give the cake a texture similar to that of the gingerbread. (see previous post)

~Single-Layer Dark Chocolate Cake with Orange Flavored Cream~



  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  •  1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp granulated white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup orange marmalade
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk

Orange Cream

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tbsp granulated white sugar
  • zest of an orange
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • chocolate shavings

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, butter a 9 inch round pan and line it with parchment paper.

2. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, ground ginger, and salt.


3. Butter a measuring jar and pour in 1/2 cup of molasses.

4. Pour the molasses into a saucepan along with 1/2 cup of butter and stir them together until they come just to a boil.


5. Pour the molasses mixture into a large mixing bowl and add in the light brown sugar, granulated white sugar, and vanilla extract.

6. When the mixture has cooled down, beat in the eggs, add in the milk, and fold in the flour-cocoa mixture.

7. Bake the cake for 40 minutes and let it cool for 5 minutes.

8. Brush the top of the cake with the orange marmalade and let it cool completely before frosting it with the orange whipped cream. (If the marmalade is too thick, microwave it for 8 seconds)


9. To make the whipped cream, whip the heavy whipping cream with a simple whisk/handmixer/standmixer until it becomes thicker. 


10. Add in the sugar, vanilla extract, and orange zest. Then keep whisking until it reaches stiff peaks.


11. To make the chocolate shavings, use half or a whole bar of chocolate and firmly hold the edges of the bar while running a knife over the back surface to scrape off long, thin pieces of chocolate. (Tip: make sure the chocolate is cold so it doesn’t melt as quickly and don’t worry if the bar breaks into smaller pieces, that often happens)


12. Frost the cake with the whipped cream and decorate the top with the chocolate shavings.

I used orange zest because I wanted to keep the citrus flavor fresh. However, I had to add the marmalade as well in order to accentuate the orange and make sure it was not obscured by the dark chocolate.

I think my favorite part about this dessert is that it’s delicious but not too sweet at all. It worked out nicely because everyone could enjoy it along with the other desserts without an overwhelming feeling of sugar overload.