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Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake

October 24, 2011

Life is very sweet at the moment. There are the thigh rolls, the hiccups, the squeaks and squawks, the first little smiles. So much sweetness I can hardly sleep at night lest I miss a few moments of staring in wonder. All this sweetness and she’s still just a little blob – her smiles, as sweet as they are, are just an involuntary reflex; her squeaks, digestion or gas. I can’t even imagine how much sweeter it will be to be smiled and squawked at, kissed back.

Just to ensure we all have cavities and sugar highs galore, we’ve been loving this orange and chocolate chunk for breakfast. LOVING. I made it just before Stella was born during my by now infamous race to fill the fridge lest we all starve postpartum, and am so glad I did. It’s been such a welcome sight in the morning, groggy though I may be. To be honest, I don’t mind the sleeping less, the trying to cut my dinner with a fork (because baby is in one arm), the not being able to run out the door on a moment’s notice. My mornings are still sweet. And this cake only makes them that much sweeter.

It’s bursting with orange flavor thanks to zest and syrup and the big, imposing chunks of dark chocolate add crunch and a welcome contrasting bitterness. It’s kind of like new motherhood. The sweetness is everywhere. The bitterness is having to wait for those first few smiles.


This delicious keeper of a cake has been adapted ever so slightly from a recipe by Ina Garten, aka Barefoot Contessa, via Leite’s Culinaria. Makes enough for one bundt cake or 2 loaves. The original recipe called for a chocolate ganache on top, but I skipped it and didn’t miss it at all. I recommend making sure the chocolate chunks are real chunks – you’ll appreciate getting a big hunk of bitter creaminess as you dig in.


1/2 pound (250 grams/2 sticks) butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 extra-large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup grated orange zest (from 4 oranges)
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups good semisweet chocolate chunks

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan.

Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar for a few minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the orange zest.

In a separate bowl, sift together 3 cups flour, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, combine the orange juice, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately in thirds to the creamed butter, beginning and ending with the flour. Toss the chocolate chunks with 2 tablespoons flour and add to the batter. Pour into the pan, smooth the top, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour (slightly less if using 2 loaf pans), until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

While cake is baking, make the syrup. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, cook the sugar with the orange juice until the sugar dissolves. Remove the cake from the pan, set it on a rack over a tray, and slowly spoon the orange syrup over the cake, allowing it to be absorbed before spooning more. Allow the cake to cool completely before serving.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 24, 2011 8:10 pm

    I’ll never tire of orange and chocolate and this cake looks worthy of their combined deliciousness!

    Life sounds absolutely splendid at the moment. Enjoy!

  2. Lara permalink
    November 14, 2011 9:49 am

    Hi Leanne, the cake was a great success! Very yummy!

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