chocolate orange spice cake

I’ve got a very special event today that called for a new recipe. I was going to wait until after the fact to tell you all about it but I figure since you’ve all been so supportive  and making donations to the 12 Days of Sharing campaign, it’s time to give back with a truly special recipe. I’ll be serving it to François Payard and Barbara Fairchild and trying not to get too caught up in the potential hysteria it can induce. Yes, I’d love to win the grand prize—a trip to Vegas Uncorked, but what I really want is to turn out a dessert I believe in. If it tickles the judges fancy, then that’ll be the icing on the cake. It’s already passed the taste test with the Mr. and the kiddies, and really they’re the ones I pour my heart and soul into cooking for everyday. They are the ones that really matter here.


It always helps to start with quality ingredients, and very lucky for me the folks at Scharffen Berger generously stock my test kitchen (and secretly feed my chocolate addiction). I’m also excited to add Scharffen Berger to our list of donors—they’ve donated a gift basket of assorted chocolate for nibbling and baking valued at $100. All the more reason to go make a donation now, since each one automatically enters you into the giveaway.

But back to “the” cake. I was on a chocolate and orange inspired palate with the cookies I made earlier in the week. I wanted a kick at the end but not necessarily heat so started thinking more about gingerbread flavors. And that my friends is how recipes are born in my kitchen. I hope you, Chef Payard and Ms. Fairchild like it as much as my family did.


Now before you go off and make this, go visit Noel over at Noel’s Kitchen Tips. She’s today’s 12 Days of Sharing co-host and has made some Holiday Eggnog Fudge for all of you (and while you’re there get the recipe for zesty lemon muffins too). While you’re peeking inside the virtual cookie jar, don’t pass up some of the nut crescents from Michelle and I’m loving Kate’s cream cheese pastry cookies and orange infused snowballs. And before you put the cover back on the jar, think about all the wonderful recipes everyone has contributed and pay it forward with a donation. Even small amounts add up to a big impact, so give what you can.





Ok, I’ll fess up. I nibbled a bit before snapping this shot.

Chocolate Orange Spice Cake

Makes one 9-inch layer cake

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon cloves

Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1/4 cup dark molasses

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Zest of one orange

1/2 cup buttermilk

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9-inch springform pan, or alternately coat with cooking spray; set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Whisk to mix well; set aside.

In the mixing bowl of your Cuisinart Stand Mixer, combine the sugar and butter and beat until fluffy. Add the eggs and beat until mixed well. Add the molasses, vanilla and orange zest; beat until well mixed. Add half flour mixture and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Pour in half the buttermilk and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Repeat same process with remaining flour and milk. Scrape down sides of bowl and mix on medium-high speed for 30 seconds more.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 28 to 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.Let cool two minutes in pan, then loosen springform ring. Cool completely and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

This recipe is being featured on Oprah’s holiday 2009 website. Yes, I’m beyond excited about it, so go visit and see my other recipes being featured.