To me there is no better flavour combination than chocolate and orange and it works so well in this festive cake. You need to allow plenty of time for the filling and the mirror to chill and set. I like decorating cakes but it’s not for everyone. If you want to save time and effort, feel free to use ready made chocolate decorations. I have made the coffee essence optional. You will not be able to taste it but it does boost the chocolate flavour.
Chocolate Orange Cake
For the Pastry
- 80g butter, softened
- 40g icing sugar
- 1 medium egg, beaten
- ½ tsp coffee extract, optional
- 120g plain flour
- 40g cocoa powder
- Pinch of salt
For the Sponge
- 5 egg yolks
- 5 egg whites
- 125g caster sugar
- 80g plain flour
- 50g cocoa powder
- ½ tsp coffee essence, optional
For the Orange Filling
- 350ml smooth orange juice
- 30ml orange liqueur
- 2 egg yolks
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 tbsp corn flour
- 6 Gelatine leaves, soaked in cold water
- 400g double cream, beaten to soft peaks
- 200g orange curd
For the Orange Mirror
- 1½ gelatin leaves
- 215ml orange juice
To Finish and Decorate
- 150ml double cream
- ½ tsp vanilla essence
- 25g icing sugar
- 80g dark chocolate, melted
- Glitter icing (optional)
- To make the pastry place the softened butter, salt and icing sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the egg and coffee extract and beat until well incorporated.
- Sift over the flour and cocoa powder and gently fold in with a large spoon. If necessary, use your hands, but try not to overwork the dough.
- Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Line a 23cm spring form with parchment paper.
- Roll out the dough between 2 sheets of cling film into a 23 cm circle and use to line the base of the tin. Chill for another 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan. Prick the pastry several times with a fork and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack but do not turn off the oven yet.
- For the sponge cake, line a large Swiss roll tin with baking parchment. Beat the egg whites in the bowl of your stand mixer or in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer, while slowly adding the sugar until stiff.
- In a jug, stir together the egg yolks and coffee essence and gently stir the mixture into the egg whites.
- Sift together the flour and cocoa powder and carefully fold into the egg mixture, working in thirds, until the flour mixture is incorporated.
- Spread the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the preheated oven for 8 – 10 minutes until golden and firm to the touch.
- Turn the sponge out onto a wire rack lined with baking parchment sprinkled with a little caster sugar. Leave to cool and only remove the parchment paper after the sponge has cooled completely.
- For the orange filling, in a saucepan, bring the orange juice to a boil and simmer until reduced to 125ml. Pour into a jug, add the orange liqueur and set aside.
- Place the egg yolks, sugar and corn flour into a small saucepan and stir until smooth.
- Slowly and stirring constantly, beat the concentrated orange juice into the egg mixture. Again stirring constantly, heat the mixture until just boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in the squeezed out pre-soaked gelatine until dissolved. Pour into a bowl to cool.
- As soon as the mixture starts to set, stir in the beaten double cream.
- Place the pastry base onto a serving dish. Spread over 2 tbsp of the orange curd and close the ring of the spring form around the pastry.
- Place the sponge onto a large cutting board and remove the baking parchment. Spread the sponge with a thin layer of the orange curd, then spread with two thirds of the orange cream but leaving about 2 cm free on one of the longer sides.
- Cut the sponge into 4cm wide strips. Roll the first strip into a spiral and place into the center of the pastry. Continue adding strips of sponge around the center strip until all the sponge is used up and the spring clip edge is reached and filled. Spread the top of the cake with the remaining orange cream.
- Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
- To make the orange mirror, heat 40ml of the orange juice until just below boiling and pour into a jug. Add the squeezed out gelatine to the hot juice until dissolved and set aside to cool to room temperature. When cooled slowly stir in the remaining orange juice and pour over the top of the cake. Return the cake to the fridge until the orange mirror has set.
- Remove the spring form ring from the cake. Beat the cream with the icing sugar and vanilla essence until stiff but spreadable. Spread about two thirds of the cream around the cake.
- Spoon the remaining cream into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle and pipe small rosettes all around the top of the cake. Top the rosettes with a little glitter icing if using.
- To decorate spoon the melted chocolate into an icing bag. Place a sheet of parchment paper onto a baking sheet and pipe Christmas tree shapes and one star shape onto the paper. Leave to set. Once set, decorate the cake with the chocolate trees. If using, decorate the chocolate trees with some glitter icing.