Orange chocolate chip layer cake

Orange chocolate chip ice cream lovers rejoice – this one’s for you (and me).

Years ago, I used to live and work in Singapore. It was a pretty sweet gig – my accomodation was paid for and I got a daily living allowance which was awesome as dinner cost around $4. I loved experiencing life in a different environment, and while the food was amazing, I still got homesick and missed some good old kiwi favourites – mince & cheese pies, Dairy Milk (this was when it was still made in NZ), and orange chocolate chip ice cream. Lucky for me, there was a New Zealand Natural kiosk only a short train ride away, so I was able to find a little piece of home once (sometimes twice) a week.

Nowadays, the whole family are OCC lovers, even the pesky mint lovers will go either way, so it seemed fitting to dedicate a cake to this much loved flavour. This tastes exactly like orange chocolate chip ice cream!

Here’s the breakdown:

  • 3 rich chocolate cake layers, flavoured with orange rind
  • a very rich orange flavoured buttercream, studded with dark chocolate
  • silky chocolate ganache drizzle
  • a faux melted ice cream cone, with a giant ball of cake inside
  • leftovers that can be made into divine little cake pops

The actual cake layers and frosting are so simple and quick, and although the decorating takes a while due to the setting time in the fridge, it’s so worth it!

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For the cake


250g dark chocolate (I used 62%), chopped finely
250g butter, cut into cubes
300g flour
165g brown sugar
165g caster sugar
75g almond meal
40g cocoa, the darker the better
2½ teaspoons baking powder
375ml milk
4 eggs
3 tablespoons orange zest


Preheat the oven to 180°C, grease and line 3 x 8″ cake tins.
Combine chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and melt it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until smooth and glossy. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, then add the chocolate mixture, milk, eggs and orange zest and whisk until smooth.
Divide the mixture evenly between the 3 tins and bake for about 25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
Cool in tins for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. When they have cooled, torte the 3 cake layers so they are level (torting is when you slice the top of the cake off so it’s nice and flat.) Save the offcuts.

For the frosting 

425g butter, softened
½c cream
3 teaspoons orange extract (I used Hansells natural orange essence)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
7½c icing sugar
110g dark chocolate, finely chopped (see notes)
orange food colouring


In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and cream together on medium until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl when necessary.
With the mixer on low, slowly add the icing sugar. Mix on medium high until it’s well combined and light and fluffy.
Add the two extracts and mix again. Keep tasting it until you’ve got your preferred orange level. Add a couple of drops of food colouring and mix until well combined.
With the mixer on low, add the chocolate and mix until just combined.

For the ganache


110g dark chocolate, finely chopped
75ml cream
12g butter, in little pieces
1 icecream cone
¼c sprinkles, optional


Place the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl.
Heat the cream in a small saucepan to just under boiling. This won’t take long so keep an eye on it.
Pour the cream over the chocolate and swirl it around. Leave it for 10 seconds then gently whisk it until everything is combined. Add the butter and continue whisking until the ganache is smooth and shiny.
Leave it to cool for 10 minutes before using.

For the cone

Dip the cone into the ganache, you’ll want a border of about 1″. Holding the cone above a sheet of baking paper, shake spoonfuls of sprinkles over it, turning as you go. Place the cone on the baking paper and pop it into the fridge to set. IMG_3512

Take one of the offcut cake layers and crumble it into bowl. You want fine crumbs – you can achieve this with your hands but feel free to use a food processor. Add 2 tablespoons of frosting and mix well. The mixture should clump together, add a little more frosting if necessary.
Form the mixture into a smooth ball, using a spare cone as a guide for the size. Pop it on some baking paper and then into the fridge to set, around 30 minutes.


To assemble

Place one of the cake layers on a platter and plop a big dollop of frosting (about 1 cup) on top. Smooth it out close to the edges with a palette knife.
Repeat with the next two layers. At this stage I like to put the cake in the fridge for about 20 minutes to allow the frosting to set a bit, which stops the layers sliding around.
When you are ready to proceed, cover the top and side of the cake with frosting and smooth it over. There is enough to do a crumb coat if you prefer. Make sure the top is smooth and flat for the ganache. Reserve any remaining buttercream (see notes).
Remove the cake ball from the fridge and insert a skewer in about half way, then gently push the other end into the cake. This will keep it in place.
Slowly drizzle the ganache over the cake ball, making sure it’s dripped down to completely cover it. Continue to slowly drizzle the ganache over the top of the cake. I used a teaspoon to nudge it over the side, creating the drips.
Finally, place the cone on to the ball, then pop the whole cake into the fridge to set for at least one hour.

This is best served at room temperature so remove it from the fridge about 2 hours before serving. It will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 5 days.

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  • The chocolate needs to be finely chopped, otherwise it becomes too hard to create a smooth finish. Your palette knife will keep getting caught on big bits of chocolate.
  • I made little cake balls with the remaining cake tops and buttercream. Crumble the cake into a bowl and mix with buttercream. Form into balls and chill. I topped mine with a little dollop of leftover ganache.

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