I’m so excited to share this chocolate orange drip cake recipe with you! Decorating the cake is time-consuming, but I promise it’s much easier than it looks. The “upside down” drip looks fancy but it’s a surprisingly simple process.
But of course you have to start by baking the cake. It’s light and citrusy, with a hint of cinnamon.This recipe is gluten free but you can easily make it gluten-full by substituting the flour.
The number of oranges you need depends on their size. The first time I baked this cake I only needed 2 large oranges to get 1 cup of orange juice. The second time I baked it I needed 5 medium oranges. So keep that in mind when you’re grocery shopping!
This recipe calls for blood orange olive oil. I found mine in a speciality store in Charlotte called Pour Olive, but you can also find it on Amazon.
I’ve found it’s easier to make the cake one day and then decorate it the next. Freeze it overnight, wrapping each cake tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. It’s much easier to decorate a chilled cake.
The decorating steps are explained in-depth in the recipe below. But here are a few tips:
**You’ll achieve a smoother finish if you start with a crumb coat. A crumb coat is a thin layer of frosting that seals in stray crumbs. After lightly frosting the cake you’ll chill it in the freezer for 10 minutes.
** The chilling and resting stages are crucial. Make sure you pay attention whether the cake should go into the freezer or the refrigerator and for how long. For example, the first drip needs to set before you can flip the cake upside down to do the second drip. Also don’t apply sprinkles to the drip immediately after pouring it on. The drip needs to set slightly, otherwise the weight of the sprinkles will make it drip too much.
** When you flip the cake upside down, the “top” becomes the “bottom” and vice versa. Make sure each cake layer is flat and level before assembling it. If there’s a slight dome on the original “top” then your cake won’t sit flat when you flip it over.
Don’t be intimidated by the upside down drip! Take things one step at a time, and trust the process. You can do this! Tag me @rosesandwhiskers on Instagram if you try it and use the hashtag #rosesandwhiskers.
Chocolate Orange Drip Cake
- 2 1/2 cups gluten free 1 to 1 baking flour substitute all-purpose flour for gluten-full cake
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 1/4 cup sour cream room temperature
- 1/4 cup blood orange olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 1 tbsp orange zest room temperature
- 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice room temperature
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 1 cup Crisco
- 8 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 6-7 tbsp whole milk
- 6-7 tbsp heavy cream
- 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp + 2 tsp heavy cream divided
- 3/4 cup + 3 tbsp milk chocolate chips divided
- sprinkles optional
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C) and grease three 8-inch round cake pans. (See the recipe notes.)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter, sour cream, olive oil and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, until well incorporated. Gently stir in the orange zest.
- Add 1/3 of the flour mixture on low speed, followed by 1/2 of the orange juice, 1/3 of the flour, the remaining orange juice and the remaining flour. Stir until just combined.
- Divide the batter evenly between the three pans. You can use a food scale to make sure there's an equal amount in each pan.
- Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the edges are lightly browned. Let the cakes rest in the pans for 10 minutes before removing them to a wire cooling rack. (See the recipe notes.)
- Let the cakes cool completely. Then tightly wrap them in plastic wrap, followed by aluminum foil. Place them in the freezer. I recommend doing this overnight.
Decorating the Cake
- Start by making the buttercream. Cream the butter and Crisco until light and fluffy. Add in 1/2 of the powdered sugar and 1/2 of the cocoa powder. Mix on low speed until incorporated and then beat on high speed until creamy. Add in the rest of the powdered sugar and cocoa powder, the vanilla extract and half of the milk and heavy cream. Mix on low speed until incorporated. Add in more milk and heavy cream as needed, one tablespoon at a time. Beat on high speed until creamy and fluffy.
- Remove the cakes from the freezer and unwrap them. Use a serrated knife to level out the cakes so that they're as flat as possible. Begin assembling the cake. Put one layer of cake on a cake board and spread 1 cup of frosting on top. Don't worry if it hangs over the edges of the cake. Add another cake layer and another cup of frosting. Top with the final cake layer and use another cup of frosting to add a crumb coat on the top and sides of the cake. Freeze the cake for 20 minutes. (See the recipe notes.)
- Take the cake out of the freezer and add a second layer of frosting to the sides of the cake (not the top). Spread it on using an offset spatula and use the spatula or a scraper to smooth the edges. Wipe the blade clean frequently to achieve a smoother finish. Place the cake in the refrigerator.
- Prepare the first batch of chocolate ganache for the drip. Pour 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp of milk chocolate chips and 2 tbsp + 2 tsp of heavy cream in a glass, heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a small sauce pan that's about 1/2 full of water (make sure the water doesn't touch the bowl). Melt over medium heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Once the chocolate is almost melted remove the bowl from the heat and whisk until it's completely melted and smooth. Let the ganache stand for 10 minutes.
- Take the cake out of the refrigerator and pour the ganache into a squirt bottle or piping bag. Hold it at a 45-degree angle along the top edge of the cake and gently squeeze. Apply varying levels of pressure on the bottle/bag as you pipe around the entire top of the cake. Varying levels of pressure achieves varying drip lengths. Let the drip stand for 5 minutes and then carefully add sprinkles. (I added sprinkles to every other drip.) Place the cake in the freezer.
- Take the cake out of the freezer after 10 minutes. Place another cake board on top of the cake and carefully flip it over. The original top is now the bottom of the cake! Remove the original cake board and frost the top of the cake. Place it back in the refrigerator.
- Prepare the second batch of ganache. Pour 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp of milk chocolate chips and 1/3 cup of heavy cream in a glass, heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a small sauce pan that's about 1/2 full of water (make sure the water doesn't touch the bowl). Melt over medium heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Once the chocolate is almost melted remove the bowl from the heat and whisk until it's completely melted and smooth. Let the ganache stand for 10 minutes.
- Repeat the drip step explained above. Before adding the sprinkles, pour the remaining ganache on top of the cake and smooth it out using an offset spatula. Then let it rest for 3-5 minutes before adding the sprinkles. Pipe the remaining frosting around the top of the cake to create a border. I used the Wilton #1M tip. Top with more sprinkles.
- Store the cake in the refrigerator, but bring it to room temperature before serving. Enjoy!