Orange Cake with Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

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These days I can’t let a birthday pass without baking something festive. Something homemade and tailored to the birthday girl/boy’s specific taste. If there is ever a time to bust out a layer cake and sprinkles, it’s on a birthday.

I thought about Sean’s birthday cake for months–chocolate is always a given, and the orange was added because the dude loves the zesty-ness of oranges juxtaposed against deep, dark chocolate. I made this cake for my guy because it’s his favorite. Because he is the best guy who makes me laugh every single day, and he doesn’t even get annoyed by my constant stream-of-consciousness singing…seriously, I’m pretty sure it’s like living in a really bad musical about the minutiae of life…and in my book that’s more than enough to deserve a birthday cake.

The cake is easy to put together, with a nice crumb and perfect tenderness. Lots of orange zest makes it bright and flavorful. The chocolate frosting has sour cream that brings a bit of tang to cut the dark richness–it spreads across the cake like a dream and takes on a fudgey quality once it’s set. A heavy dose of sprinkles make it the perfect party cake. Candles and tall glasses of milk are optional, but highly recommended.

Orange Cake

Adapted from How Sweet It Is

2 3/4 cups cake flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 cup orange zest (I used 6 oranges)

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

3/4 cup orange juice

1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350*F. Line two 8inch round cake pans with parchment circles, grease the pans and the parchment, set aside.

In a bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large measuring cup whisk together the vanilla, orange juice, and sour cream. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, rub the orange zest into the sugar until fragrant. Add the melted butter and beat until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping the bowl after each addition.  Add half of the dry ingredients, mix gently to combine, followed by the orange-sour cream mixture to combine, followed by the remaining dry ingredients, mix until just combined. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and bake in the center of the oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in pans on a cooling rack about 10 minutes before turning out and cooling completely.

Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

Adapted slightly from Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes

I subbed the corn syrup for golden syrup and added extra sour cream where the recipe called from half and half. 

12 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped or in chips

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter

2 Tablespoons golden syrup

pinch of salt

3/4 cup sour cream, room temperature

Melt the chocolate, butter, golden syrup, and salt over a double boiler until smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in the sour cream. Continue to whisk until spreadable, but still soft–use to frost the cake immediately. The frosting will set up to a fudge-like consistency at room temperature.

    • thanks! Golden Syrup is a golden sugar syrup–kind of like a really light molasses–that I like to use in place of corn syrup (I like the flavor better). I used Lyle’s brand.

  1. I love the orange-chocolate combo :) Reminds me of that chocolate they used to have with a foil orange wrapper outside and orange-shaped slices of chocolate inside…they were so good! I think I said it before, but Sean is definitely a lucky guy.

  2. Putting sour cream in the frosting is so interesting. That looks like a great birthday cake. It’s my birthday tomorrow and I’ve been thinking about what I wanted to make for months too, but I just decided the other day.

  3. This looks delicious- and perfect for my son’s birthday cake. Any suggestions as to how to make this in a 12X18X2 sheet pan? Double the recipe maybe?

    • I would start with doubling it, there might be a little extra batter. Sorry, I’m not the best at knowing until I do it. I hope it works out!

      • I did double the recipe (I made the batter separately and then combined before putting in the pan.) It came out super moist and really delicious. Everyone was raving about the cake. Thank you so much for the recipe!

  4. Hi There!

    Can the cake flour be substituted for all-purpose plain flour? If so will the measurements stay the same when addeding the all-purpose flour?

    Thank you :)

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