An easy, healthier-than-usual chocolate cake that’s butter-free and packed with orange flavor.
When it comes to cake, would you rather:
- A piece of an amazingly decorated, multilayered, out-of-this-world, show-stopping cake; or
- A piece of a simple cake topped with a little bit of frosting, or maybe just a dusting of sugar?
Personally, I’m much happier with an simple piece of cake. And I’m not just saying that because I’m terrible at decorating desserts.
Fun Fact: Apparently, there is a positive correlation between the amount of Nobel Laureates that a country produces and its average chocolate consumption.
Don’t get me wrong – those tall, intricately decorated cakes look amazing, and I’m amazed by the skill and effort that goes into making them.
But, the amount of frosting involved make the cakes way too sweet for my palate. Also, since there are so many layers, the slices are usually paper-thin. Give me a chunky slice of a single-layer cake any day (not that I’d turn down the fancy one!).
So, this Chocolate Orange Cake is for simple cake lovers like myself. It’s not difficult to make, there’s no food coloring or gold dust involved, and it’s healthier than most chocolate cakes.
There’s no butter in this cake, which means you don’t need electric beaters. Instead, we have lots of Greek-style yogurt and small amount of oil. Full-fat yogurt is ideal for ensuring the cake is nice and moist, but low-fat or even fat-free yogurt are fine too.
Oh, and the other trick to avoiding a dry cake is to avoid over-mixing the batter! A few small lumps in the batter are fine, you just need make sure there aren’t any giant lumps or flour pockets.
Even though this cake is simple, it’s still packed with flavor. The orange flavor comes from orange zest, fresh orange juice and some orange liqueur (Grand Marnier is my favorite).
As you can see, I decorated the cake with some chocolate frosting (I used this recipe) and grated chocolate. But I also like this cake plain, or with some good-tasting yogurt (or ice cream). You know what would be really nice? A scoop of ice cream and a drizzle of Grand Marnier. Man, why do I always think of ideas after I’ve eaten the cake?
By the way, the key to grating chocolate is to make sure your chocolate is at room temperature. If it’s cold, the chocolate will just crumble into a million pieces (which is still delicious, but not quite as pretty).
Fun Fact: In 1947, hundreds of Canadian children went on strike when the price of chocolate bars increased from 5 to 8 cents.
- 1 cup (130g) all purpose flour
- ½ cup (45g) cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon (10g) cornstarch (cornflour)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- ⅔ cup (120g) Greek-style yogurt
- ½ cup (100g) brown sugar, packed
- 3 tablespoons (45mL) orange liqueur
- 2 tablespoons orange zest, packed
- 2 tablespoons (30mL) maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons (30mL) canola oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup (120mL) fresh orange juice
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a round 7-inch (18cm) cake pan with cooking oil spray.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch, baking powder and baking soda. Add the salt, and stir to combine.
- In another large bowl, whisk the eggs with a fork. Whisk in the yogurt, brown sugar, orange liqueur, orange zest, maple syrup, canola oil and vanilla extract. Add the orange juice, and whisk until well combined.
- Pour the dry ingredients (the flour mixture) into the wet ingredients (the yogurt mixture). Mix until just combined.
- Transfer the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes, or until the top is dry and a skewer comes out clean (or with a few crumbs).
- Let the cake sit in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Make sure the cake has cooled completely before decorating.
- Store the cake in an airtight container.
Ideally, use room temperature eggs.
Avoid over-mixing the batter. It’s fine if the batter has small lumps – just make sure there aren’t any giant ones
I used Grand Marnier