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Chocolate Orange Cake

Chocolate Orange Cake

From Chef Oonagh Williams of Royal Temptations Catering

Chocolate Orange Cake

Makes single layer 8-9 inches or 4 thin layers using Wilton Giant Whoopie Pie Pan. (adapted from regular flour by Scott Phillips of Fine Cooking, 2004)

This cake is easier, quicker and lower in fat than my regular gluten-free chocolate cake that contains a lot of melted chocolate, butter and sour cream.

I was always taught that a three layer cake meant three layers of cake and then filling and topping. Now, I see that lots of recipes and restaurants are adding the numbers of fillings to cake layers to call three actual cake layers, a six layer cake.

For years I have only served single cake layers at parties. I might make three layers, but I only frost and serve them one layer at a time. Far too many people cut the same size wedge from 3 cake layers as one layer and then waste it. Plus, I always think once you’ve cut a cake it looks ‘attacked.’

I took my single cake layer batter, cooked it in Wilton Giant Whoopie Pie Pan and made 4 layers with filling and frosting. It becomes really melt in the mouth, but not so guilty, less calories and less money.

Be sure to make Ganache (recipe below) and Orange Curd the previous day so they can chill.


  • ¾ cup (3 oz., 85g) my gluten-free flour mix or 3 oz., ½ cup gluten-free King Arthur Flour (stronger, heavier flour)
  • ¼ cup (1 oz.) almond meal
  • 1 oz. (¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp.) unsweetened natural cocoa powder -regular Hershey
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder -Rumfords is labeled gluten-free, non-gmo and aluminum free
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. xanthan gum
  • 4 oz. (½ cup, 112g) butter or Earth Balance, melted and still warm
  • 1 ¼ cups (7 oz., 200g) packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. (10ml) gluten-free vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (120ml 4 fl. oz.) hot water


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F, 180°C. Grease and parchment paper line the Wilton Giant Whoopie Pie Pan with 2 holes, it will stick otherwise. Each hole is 7 ½ inches across and ½ inch deep (19×1 cm). My parchment paper circles come up the side of the pan, which makes turning out so much easier. You will have to cook the cake in 2 batches if you only have 1 pan. Or else cook the batter in a lined jelly roll (swiss roll) pan and cut into squares or rectangles.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the gluten-free flour, almond meal, cocoa powder, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt.
  3. Add the melted butter, brown sugar, eggs, water and vanilla; stir until well blended. Or you can quickly use a hand mixer.
  4. Scrape half the batter into the 2 holes of the prepared pan.
  5. Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes for the The cake is very soft and sticky on the top. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edge and invert the cake (peel off the parchment). Invert it again onto the rack and let cool completely. Repeat with second half of batter.
  6. Whisk half of the chilled ganache so it looks like whipped cream. Stack the 4 layers with ganache, topped with about 3 Tbsp. chilled orange curd on each layer. I had some sweetened cream cheese frosting, so I put some of that in one layer showing in the photo. Spread more of the unwhipped, but chilled, ganache over top of cake so it starts dripping down the sides. Preferably chill for several hours so filling will firm up and top ganache layer will stay. Chilling stops cake from sliding off serving plate when you cut it. Top with chocolate curls, nuts, toffee, fresh orange slices from the orange curd, etc.

Ganache: Heat 1 cup (240ml, 8 fl. oz.) of whipping or heavy cream to nearly boiling, add 1 cup (6 oz., 175g) Nestle semi sweet chocolate chips and 1 tsp. gluten-free vanilla extract. Let stand for a few minutes, then stir and microwave more if necessary until a totally smooth sauce is formed (looks like thick chocolate syrup). I use my immersion blender to make sauce totally smooth, otherwise you taste a graininess from the chocolate. Chill until ready to use. I like to add 2 Tbsp. Grand Marnier orange liqueur to the ganache.

My gluten-free flour mix:

  • 1 x 14 oz. bag potato starch, which is 3 ½ cups
  • 1 ¾ cup of tapioca starch – 7 oz.
  • Just under 1 cup of amaranth or millet (actually ¾ cup plus 2 Tbsps. – 4 oz.)
  • Just under 1 cup of sorghum (actually ¾ cup plus 2 Tbsps. – 4 oz.)

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