In the weeks leading up to winter break, I compiled a list of all the things I wanted to make as soon as I got home to a fully-stocked fridge and functional kitchen. Christmas cookies were a must, and I really wanted to perfect my challah technique, but this Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake was absolutely the first thing I needed to bake. 

I initially saw this recipe on an episode of The Barefoot Contessa (Side note: I dream of living Ina's life in the Hamptons someday), but she made the recipe into six mini cakes for some fabulous soirée she was throwing. I didn't have the molds required or the funds to acquire yet another baking utensil, so I made a few adjustments to make a single layer cake. It turned out perfectly and I've made it many times since. 

This cake is soaked in orange syrup before being drenched in ganache, which keeps it moist for days, if you can get it to last that long!

Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake

  • Prep Time:20 mins
  • Cook Time:1 hr
  • Total Time:1 hr 20 mins
  • Servings:8
  • Hard


  • 1 stick butter room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 yolk room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces good-quality semi-sweet chocolate chunks
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules
pie, cake, chocolate
Tatum Kenrick
  • Step 1

    To begin, preheat the oven to 350° F. Collect the ingredients for the cake itself into a common area to make preparation easy and quick.

    Tatum Kenrick
  • Step 2

    Combine the stick of butter and 1 cup of sugar in a large bowl.

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  • Step 3

    Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

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  • Step 4

    Add the eggs and yolk, and beat this mixture until smooth.

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  • Step 5

    Add 2 tablespoons of orange zest, and fold in with a spatula.

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  • Step 6

    Add baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and stir in thoroughly.

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  • Step 7

    Add in 1/2 cup flour, and gently fold until just combined.

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    Tatum Kenrick
  • Step 8

    Pour in 1/4 cup of orange juice, and mix until there is no longer standing liquid.

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  • Step 9

    Repeat step 7.

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    Tatum Kenrick
  • Step 10

    Pour in 1/4 cup heavy cream, and stir in as you did with the orange juice.

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    Tatum Kenrick
  • Step 11

    Add final 1/2 cup of flour, and fold to combine.

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    Tatum Kenrick
  • Step 12

    Use 1 tablespoon of flour to dust the 8 ounces of the chocolate chunks. This will prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the batter. After dusting, gently fold in the chocolate until it is evenly distributed.

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    Tatum Kenrick
  • Step 13

    Pour batter in an even layer into a greased and lined cake pan and bake for about 40 minutes, or until the top is browned and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

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  • Step 14

    While the cake is baking, make the orange syrup.

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    Tatum Kenrick
  • Step 15

    Combine 1/2 cup orange juice, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon orange zest is a saucepan, and allow to cook down.

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  • Step 16

    The finished syrup should be reduced by about half.

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  • Step 17

    When the cake is done, allow it to cool for about ten minutes on a wire rack in its pan.

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  • Step 18

    After cooling slightly, remove the cake and place on serving plate. Using a skewer, poke holes to allow the syrup to soak. Then pour syrup over the cake.

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  • Step 19

    While the cake is soaking, make the ganache.

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    Tatum Kenrick
  • Step 20

    Place remaining chocolate, cream, and instant coffee granules in a double boiler, and mix over heat until smooth.

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  • Step 21

    Pour finished ganache over the cake.

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    Tatum Kenrick
  • Step 22

    Spread the chocolate in an even layer.

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    Tatum Kenrick
  • Step 23

    Garnish the cake with a slice of orange and enjoy!

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Don't let the number of steps for this recipe deter you, because after one bite of this orange-chocolaty goodness you'll want to make it again and again.