Orange Chocolate Gateau


Last Wednesday, I turned 27. For my birthday cake, I figured I’d kill two birds with one stone by making one of my dad’s cakes that I had yet to attempt to make, his orange chocolate gateau.

This one isn’t what you’d expect, it’s not a chocolate orange cream with chocolate sponge, no, it’s an orange cream with chocolate sponge. I asked my dad why it couldn’t be a chocolate orange cream – surely that would be more decadent? Of course, dad was right and with good reason, keeping it to orange cream ensured that the sweet, light, citrus notes would burst through the layers of the pale orange cream which contrasts against the dark tones of the soft, chocolate sponge.

When one of my friend’s back in Canada mentioned that perhaps “someone could make my birthday cake this time”, it made me chuckle and I responded saying that I was more than happy to be the one in charge of my own cake. Also, one of the cultural differences I’ve noticed in the UK is that on your birthday, you’re the one who brings in the cake/treats for everyone to share. But to be honest, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate another year than with spreading smiles around with one of my dad’s cakes, and on that note: here’s to many more years of cake.


Serves 12-14 (or half your office, in this case)

Part 1: Chocolate sponge

This can be made up to two days in advance – wrap in saran wrap and store in the fridge.

4 Eggs
1 Egg yolk
120g Sugar
30g Cocoa powder
120g AP flour
¼ tsp Baking soda
10g Melted butter, cooled.
½ cap Vanilla flavouring

  1. Set oven at 175⁰C/350⁰F
  2. Grease a 9” tin, then lightly coat with flour. Shake any excess out.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, egg yolk and sugar with a hand mixer until the mixture doubles in volume, and forms a thick mixture. The more air that is beat into the eggs will help make the sponge rise.
  4. Sift flour, cocoa powder and baking soda together.
  5. Slowly fold the flour into the egg mixture until just incorporated. Careful of over mixing here as it could deflate the eggs.
  6. Take the melted butter and slowly pour it in, while folding, add half a cap of vanilla flavouring and keep folding until incorporated in.
  7. Pour mixture into your greased tin and place within centre of oven to bake for 45 minutes to an hour.
  8. You may need to turn the tin 20-30 minutes in depending how even the baking is. To check if the sponge is ready, use a sharp knife, or toothpick, and stick it in the middle of the sponge. If it comes out clean it’s ready.
  9. Set aside and cool.

Part 2: Orange cream

This can be prepared 3 days in advance and stored in the fridge. You’ll need to bring it back to room temperature before assembling your cake.

100g orange juice (freshly squeezed from 2-3 oranges, or store bought)
142g sugar
150g unsalted butter
Zest of one orange

8g gelatin powder
8g sugar

5pcs egg yolk, lightly whisked

2tsp orange oil (or to taste)
3 caps Grand Marnier liqueur (optional)

  1. In a small bowl, combine the gelatin powder and 8g of sugar and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring the orange juice, sugar, butter and zest to boil.
  3. Mix about ⅓ of the juice mixture with the egg yolks to regulate the temperature before pouring all the egg mixture into the saucepan and bring to a boil, keep stirring until it has thickened.
  4. Remove from stove and mix in the gelatin powder/sugar mix, stir until melted.
    Mix in orange oil to desired taste.
  5. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and cover with cling film/saran wrap, ensuring it touches the orange mix (to prevent any skin formed).
  6. Once cooled to room temperature and before use, mix in the grand Marnier.

Part 3: Assembly


As with any cake, finishings and decorations are where you can be as creative as you wish. I like the contrast of the dark chocolate against the pale orange cream though. Oh, and some bright orange chocolate macaroons to top it off.

3tbsp sugar
¼ cup hot boiled water
2 caps grand marnier
600mL double cream or whipping cream
50g dark chocolate

  1. Dissolve the sugar with boiling water in a small bowl or cup, set aside and once cool, mix in the caps of brandy or rum to make a sugar syrup and set aside.
  2. Take the chocolate sponge and horizontally slice off 0.5cm of the top to remove the top coating. Slice remainder of the sponge cake horizontally into 3 equal, level layers.
  3. These should be about 1.5cm thick. Set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric hand mixer to whisk the cream until softly whipped.
  5. Mix in ⅓ of the whipped cream with your orange mixture until well incorporated.
    Then mix orange mixture with remaining whipped cream.
  6. Place a layer of the chocolate sponge down as the base, lightly brush the sponge with the sugar syrup to moisten the surface.
  7. Spoon the orange cream on top of the sponge, spread evenly until it is 0.75” thick.
  8. Place the next layer of sponge on top and repeat steps 6-7 until you end up with a top layer of the orange cream.
  9. Finish the sides with remaining cream, ensuring an even layer of orange cream throughout.
  10. Place in the fridge before serving to ensure the orange cream has had time to set – to be on the safe side this should be for at least an hour.
  11. Melt the dark chocolate in a small heatproof bowl over a bain-marie.
  12. Prepare strips of parchment paper (doing this in 4 pieces is easiest), ensuring that they are 0.5” higher than the top of your cake.
  13. Place the strips of parchment paper on a plate/small tray and pipe the chocolate into “fences” or something similar.
  14. Stick the tray of parchment paper in the fridge for 2-3 minutes to allow the chocolate to start hardening, – this will help maintain the distinct patterns you’ve piped, but also ensure that it’s still relatively pliable.
  15. Remove the cake from the fridge and wrap your pieces of parchment paper on the sides, return to the fridge for another 10-15 minutes until the chocolate has fully hardened.
  16. Peel the parchment paper off slowly to avoid any cracks in your chocolate.



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