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Festive Chocolate & Orange Drip Cake

This delicious chocolate orange cake is decadent, dark and fudgy, perfect for Winter gatherings or for a great alternative to a traditional Christmas Cake. Decorated with chocolate orange segments, chocolates and candied sliced oranges – buy ready-made or make them easily at home.


12 Makes
MED Level

For The Cake
150g salted butter, softened, plus more for the tin
150g plain chocolate, chopped
180g light muscovado sugar
1 large orange, zest only
3 medium eggs free range eggs
125g soured cream, room temperature
140g Carr’s Self-Raising Flour
30g cocoa powder

For the buttercream frosting
300g softened unsalted butter
600g sifted icing sugar
225g melted plain chocolate, cooled
A little milk to loosen
Zest of one orange

100g plain dark melted chocolate, cooled slightly
Chocolate Orange segments
Chocolates of your choice (Juliet used Lindor dark and Lindor chocolate orange)
A few slices of candied orange, dipped in melted chocolate
Some edible gold lustre or spray

Equipment needed:

A stand mixer with paddle attachment, electric hand whisk or bowl and wooden spoon if doing by hand

x3 6″ cake tins

Cake plate or stand

Palette knife

Turntable (optional)

Piping bag with large open star nozzle

Cake side scraper (optional)



If you wish to make your own candied sliced oranges, it’s best to do this the day before or this can be done in advance as they will store well in an airtight container for up to a month.

Recipe for Candied orange slices

300g golden caster sugar

2 oranges, cut into approx. 3-4 mm thick

Put the sugar and 300ml water into a medium-large saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce to a gentle simmer, pop in the slices and simmer for about an hour until the pith is going translucent, turning occasionally. Line a baking tray/s with parchment. Carefully remove the slices from the syrup, shake off the excess and place on the prepared tray and set aside to dry overnight. Once they are dry you can add chocolate to them by melting approx. 100g of dark chocolate in a small bowl. Dip each slice about halfway and set to dry on fresh baking parchment until set. Any left-over chocolate can be saved and used in the sponge cake recipe.


For the chocolate orange cake

  1. Grease and line 3 x 6” round tins and preheat the oven to 160° / gas 4.
  2. Gently melt the butter, chocolate and sugar in the microwave for 30 second blasts, stirring after each time so it doesn’t catch. Alternatively, you can set a large bowl over a pan of simmering water until the chocolate chips have melted and it’s a smooth liquid. Remove from the heat and leave to cool a little, then add the orange zest.
  3. In another bowl, beat together the eggs with the vanilla and soured cream. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into another bowl and whisk to distribute. Stir the egg mix into the cooled chocolate mixture, then add in the flour mix and fold through.
  4. Spoon a third of the mixture into each tin and level off with the back of a spoon. Bake for 15-20 minutes until just cooked. The secret to a good chocolate cake is to slightly under bake it, a skewer or sharp knife inserted into the centre of the cake should come out a little pasty, not dry, but not glistening – they will firm up in the tins as they cool.
  5. Allow the cakes to cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Be careful as they are fragile.
  6. Make the frosting while the cakes are baking. Beat the butter until pale and creamy. Gradually add the icing sugar, mixing well between each addition.
  7. Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second blasts, stirring between each time to ensure it doesn’t catch. Let it cool slightly and then mix it through the buttercream, add a little milk if needed – you want the frosting to be a soft but palatable consistency that will hold its shape when piping.
  8. To assemble: check the cakes are flat and level so they stack nicely – if they have a little hump from the rise you can trim them with a bread knife. Put the first layer onto a cake stand and spread a layer of frosting on top, slightly going out over the edge, then add the second cake and sandwich together by pressing gently with your palm. Make sure the cakes are level and in line. Add another layer of frosting then take the third sponge and turn it upside down so that the flat (bottom) part of the sponge becomes the top.
  9. Spread the excess icing that is poking out between the layers, and smooth over the sides of the cake to fill the gaps between the layers. Add a little more frosting to the top of the cake and spread it all over the top and go around the sides getting a neat thin coating of icing all over the cake. This is what we call a crumb coat, which seals in any crumbs and sets the cake with a base coat, which we chill for 10 minutes in the freezer or 30 minutes in the fridge so that we can go all over the cake again with another layer of frosting.
  10. Add more frosting to the top of the cake, reserving about 100g for piping the decoration. Spread the frosting over the top and sides to give a flat coating using the palette knife to smooth around the edges. If you have a cake scraper you can use this to give you a very neat finish by holding it against the side of the cake and sweeping around, but this is not essential, you can embrace the luscious look and just add some lovely flicky lashings of frosting if you prefer.
  11. Create the drip effect by spooning your melted chocolate onto the top of the cake. Use a spoon to encourage it to cascade randomly over the edges of the cake.
  12. To add the rest of the decoration, load the excess icing into a piping bag fitted with a large open star nozzle. Decorate the cake by adding swirls of frosting, adding chocolate orange segments and the orange slices to create colour and height and give you a dramatic effect. Pipe a little icing behind the slices to give them a bit of support. Add some edible lustre pump or spray (optional) for a little gold detail.



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