This easy Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake takes 15 minutes to make in only one bowl! Rich, decadent, and packed full of orange flavour, this makes a perfect cake for the Holiday season and any special occasion.
I'm so excited to bring you this easy-to-make Chocolate Orange Cake recipe. Just like with my French Yogurt Cake, Italian Plum Cake and Earl Grey Tea Cake - they can be thrown together quickly in one bowl and with no special equipment.
Chocolate orange has to be one of my favourite all-time flavour combinations. This simple loaf cake has two types of chocolate and two types of orange so that we can max out on flavour.
This cake has an incredibly moist and fluffy texture. It's light and tender with little pockets of melted orange chocolate throughout. And the smell is seriously out of this world!
🌟 Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Uses basic ingredients. All the ingredients are basic pantry or fridge staples. I love its humble simplicity - that's what makes this cake fantastic.
- No fancy equipment is needed. One bowl and one whisk- that's all you need. I LOVE a simple cake like this.
- Your kids can make this. It's so simple to make and they'll be proud as punch pulling this out of the oven. They'll love sneaking a piece of orange chocolate too!
- Ultimate flavour. The chocolate orange shines through in this cake. It's perfect over the Christmas season when this flavour combination really shines and adds elegance to your dessert table.
🧾 Ingredients Needed
All the ingredients are standard ingredients you'll have on hand at home or can easily find in the supermarket. Where I can, I provide substitutes.
The orange chocolate is the only ingredient that might be hard to come by but I'll give you some options below.
- Oil - For this recipe, use a vegetable, canola oil, or sunflower oil for a neutral taste. You can substitute for olive oil, which works really well with chocolate and orange. Either way- it's delicious!
- Yogurt - Greek yogurt is my favourite to use for its thickness and richness. You can substitute for sour cream or créme fraîche. You can also substitute with buttermilk or natural yogurt but as they are runnier in consistency, omit 60g/1/4 cup from the recipe.
- Orange Extract - To boost the orange flavour along with the orange zest, I've added orange extract. You only need 1 teaspoon to make an impact. Any more and it will be quite overpowering. It can be omitted if you prefer.
- Orange flavoured chocolate. Here in the UK, Terry's Chocolate Orange is an extremely popular orange-flavoured chocolate shaped in orange segments. I've added 100g chopped into the loaf but any store-brand orange chocolate will do. Or use regular dark chocolate!
- Dark Chocolate. I've used a standard Lindt 70% dark chocolate, for the ganache, but you can use milk chocolate or orange chocolate if you prefer. Terry's Chocolate Orange comes in both milk and dark chocolate variety.
- Cream. Use double (heavy cream) for richness and flavour.
- Orange Loaf Cake with Chocolate Chips. Omit the cocoa powder and replace it with more flour. Then add in chocolate chips for a moist and flavourful loaf.
- Decadent Chocolate Loaf. Don't fancy the orange flavouring. No problem. Simply omit the orange extract and orange zest and replace the orange chocolate with regular dark or milk chocolate. Take decadence to the max!
- Chocolate Loaf with a Cream Cheese Frosting. Add 320g powdered icing sugar, 180g cream cheese, 20g butter & 1 teaspoon vanilla extract into a bowl and beat for 5 mins until thick and creamy. Spread over cooled loaf cake. Enjoy!
- Chocolate Orange Cupcakes. This recipe is perfect to turn into cupcakes. Simply fill the paper case ¾ full and bake for 15 minutes. Drizzle in ganache or make a chocolate orange buttercream.
👩🏻🍳 How to Make
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full ingredients list & instructions!*
Make the Chocolate Orange Loaf
STEP 1. Prepare pan and orange sugar. Grease the base and sides of a 2lb loaf pan. Line the pan with parchment paper leaving an inch or more of the paper to overhang the sides to form a sling later on (Image 1). It makes it way easier to lift the cake out once baked.
STEP 2. Rub the orange zest and sugar together. Add the white sugar and orange zest into a large mixing bowl. With your fingertips, rub the two together for a minute until fragrant and the sugar is a pale orange colour (Image 2).
TIP: Always rub your zest into the sugar first!
This is the quickest way to get maximum flavour out of your ingredients. Rubbing the zest into the sugar massages it and releases the citrus oils from the skin which boosts the flavour. Win!
STEP 3. Whip the eggs, sugar, and orange extract. Add the brown sugar, both eggs, and orange extract into the mixing bowl with the citrus sugar and whip the eggs until they turn light, pale, and aerated.
If doing this by hand, don't whisk for less than a minute. We want lots of air in the mixture! This is your arm workout for the day! (Images 3 & 4)
STEP 4. Mix in yogurt and oil. Add the yogurt and the oil into the mixing bowl and whisk until just combined (Images 5 & 6).
STEP 5. Sift in dry ingredients. Keep it simple and sift the dry ingredients directly into our mixing bowl (less washing up). Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt through a fine-mesh sieve onto the mixture. (Image 7 ).
Fold through with a rubber spatula until a few flour streaks remain.
STEP 6. Add in chopped chocolate. Throw the chopped chocolate into the bowl and fold through until just combined (Images 8 & 9 ). Pour into prepared pan (Image 10).
TIP: Don't over-mix the batter
There will be small lumps in the batter- this is totally fine - don't be tempted to keep mixing to get them out as you'll end up over-mixing which runs the risk of a firm, gummy sponge texture.
STEP 7. Bake. Bake the loaf in a preheated oven for 45-50 minutes. The sponge should have a slight spring when pressed in the middle and a toothpick inserted should come out with a few moist crumbs but no batter (Images 11 & 12).
If after 30 minutes the top looks like it's browning too quickly, then tent the pan in aluminium foil. Cool in the pan for ten minutes before using the paper sling to lift out the loaf and cool completely on a wire rack.
Make the Chocolate Ganache
STEP 8. Make the ganache and decorate. Add the chocolate, butter, and cream into a bowl and microwave in 20-second increments, stirring in-between until melted and combined (Images 13 & 14).
Pour the ganache over the Chocolate Orange Loaf and smooth over. Then sprinkle over some orange zest as garnish (optional). (Images 15 & 16)
🥣 How To Serve
I love the decadence of the chocolate ganache but it is very rich. A thin slice goes a long way. A drizzle of cream over your slice can help cut through the richness.
You can also serve the Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake with a scoop of creme fraîche or vanilla ice cream.
💭 Recipe Pro Tips
- Use room-temperature eggs. At room temperature, the eggs whisk to a better volume capturing more air. Your Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake will be much lighter and tender.
- Max out the flavour of your orange zest. Rub that sugar and zest together. This step makes such a difference - it may seem a small step but it makes a mighty difference!
- Don't over-mix. Once the dry ingredients are added to the mixture, fold through gently. Mix until a few flour streaks remain. Over-mixed sponge results in a chewy dense sponge. That's a no-no!
- Don't over-bake. We've added yogurt into our sponge to create extra moisture and then we've been careful not to over-mix the batter. It would be such a shame to over-bake the loaf and ruin it!
📋 Recipe FAQs
Yogurt adds moisture through the extra fat content. Along with the oil, this results in a cake that will always be moist. This then makes it last longer! Bonus!
Absolutely! Bake in a 17cm-23cm (7 to 9-inch) cake pan -whichever size pan you have on hand. The bake time will change according to the size of your pan. Also, the thickness of the cake will vary.
A smaller pan will result in a thicker, taller cake which means a longer baking time. A larger pan will result in a thinner cake which means a shorter baking time.
The easiest way to zest an orange is by using a micro planer or zester. You'll be left with really fine zest. Just make sure to only get the orange outside peel and not the white pith underneath as this can be bitter.
As the loaf cake is so dark with the chocolate, you can't tell if it's turned golden like a regular cake!
Just press the center of the cake and it should have a slight spring. Also, a toothpick inserted into the centre should come out with a few moist crumbs. Wet batter on the tooth pick means the cake needs more time to bake.
❄️ Storage and Freezer Instructions
To store: This cake keeps exceptionally well due to the extra moisture from the oil and yogurt. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. It actually develops in flavour as the days go by! It makes a great make-ahead treat!
To freeze: Either freeze as a whole wrapped well in plastic wrap or place in an airtight container. Alternatively, slice and wrap individual slices in plastic wrap. Freeze for up to 2 months. Leave at room temperature to thaw.
🍫 More Chocolate Recipes
If you tried this Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you go in the comments below. I love hearing from you.
Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake
Chocolate orange loaf cake
- 150 g granulated sugar
- 2 oranges, zest
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 55 g brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon orange extract
- 240 g Greek yogurt (or plain natural)
- 120 ml vegetable oil, or olive oil
- 220 g plain flour (all-purpose)
- 45 g unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 100 g orange flavoured chocolate, finely chopped, like Terry's Chocolate Orange
- 120 ml double cream (heavy cream)
- 100 g dark chocolate 70%
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Chocolate orange loaf cake
- Heat oven & prep pan: Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Grease with butter a 2 lb loaf pan 23 x 14cm (9 x 5.5-inch) and line the base and sides with parchment paper.
- Rub orange zest and sugar together. Add the orange zest and sugar into a large mixing bowl and rub the two together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist, lightly orange coloured and filled with the orange fragrance.
- Whisk eggs & sugar: Into the mixing bowl with citrus sugar, add the eggs, brown sugar and orange extract and whisk until pale and light - this takes approximately one minute.
- Mix in yogurt & oil: Add the yogurt and oil and whisk until fully combined.
- Sift in dry ingredients: Sift into the bowl the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Fold together gently: Using a spatula, fold gently until a few streaks of flour remain. Small lumps in the batter is totally fine. Don't be tempted to over-mix.
- Add chopped chocolate and mix with a few folds of the batter.
- Bake. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake on the centre shelf for 45-50 minutes until the sponge springs back or a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. If the cake is browning too quickly then cover in aluminium foil and continue to bake. Cool on a wire rack for ten minutes, then using the paper sling, remove loaf from the pan to cool completely.
- Make the ganache and decorate. Add the chocolate, butter and cream into a bowl and microwave in 20-second increments, stirring in-between until the chocolate and butter are melted and combined.Pour the ganache over the cooled Chocolate Orange Loaf and smooth over. Then sprinkle over some orange zest as garnish (optional). Slice, serve and enjoy.
All recipes are developed and tested in Metric grams. I strongly recommend that you bake using digital scales for a more accurate result. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.
This post was originally published in August 2019 but has been updated with new photos, new content, and a revised recipe.
Thats great hear! So glad that you liked it!
Loved this cake. It’s delicious and simple to make. The cream cheese frosting goes so well with the flavors. Thank you for sharing this recipe.
Hi Kristel, Thank you so much for leaving this review on my chocolate orange pound cake, and I'm so glad that you enjoyed it!
Could I reduce both sugars in the cake to 50g each. I am always conscious about how much sugar goes in my bakes. Would it still turn out okay?
Hi Rebecca, I haven't tested this recipe with a reduced amount of sugar, so I can't say whether it will work or not. I guess just have a go knowing that the end result will be different to what my pound cake would be. Sugar acts in multiple ways in baked goods- it tenderizes the sponge by providing moisture, helps to leven the sponge when creamed with the butter, and also provides the necessary sweetness. Let me know how you go 🙂
I am looking forward to trying your lovely recipe, but I am not a fan of the dark chocolate for the ganache. Can I use milk chocolate instead; e.g lindt milk chocolate
Hi Soad, Yes absolutely - as mentioned in the post you can sub the chocolate orange or dark chocolate for milk chocolate - basically what ever cocoa strength chocolate you prefer 🙂
I made this cake last week for my son's birthday as I thought it would travel well on the train when he went back to London and it did! Better still, he thought it my best chocolate loaf yet. Thank you Emma.
Hi Gay- That's an accolade in deed - glad he loved it!
Thank you for this wonderful recipe. It was a smashing hit! As always your instructions, photos and tips made this recipe so easy. Everyone should try this recipe for something truly decadent and delicious. Just another wonderful recipe I’ve tried from your repertoire.
Agh- thank you Kelly- such kind words- thanks!
Love this one too, easy to make, so full of chocolate and I don’t make the ganache, I leave as a tasty choc orange sponge.
Yes! I often make it and leave it plain- so tasty!