Dark Chocolate Orange Snack Cake

When the lovely Shannon invited Elina and I over for an impressive Etiopian feast earlier this week, I thought it would be fun to stick with the theme and bring a dessert we could also eat with our hands. For some reason, I couldn’t get the idea of making a snack cake out of head, even though I’m still not 100% sure what a snack cake actually is – I associate the term with Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Zingers, etc – but figured any sturdy cake we could pick up and enjoy without utensils would fit the bill! I also decided that our snack cake should also be super easy to make, so I whipped up my creation in just one bowl with a spoon (no fancy mixer needed!) and topped it with a simple 2 minute dark chocolate ganache melted in the microwave.

This is a rich and decadent treat that I loaded with three types of chocolate – melted unsweetened chocolate, cocoa powder, and dark chocolate chips. But, it also has a nice contrast of fresh orange flavor bursting through, from both the juice and zest of a few oranges. It’s sinful and super easy to throw together at the last minute. There are definitely more snack cakes in my future!

Dark Chocolate Orange Snack Cake
Printable Recipe


Chocolate Orange Snack Cake:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon espresso powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Dark Chocolate Ganache:
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy cream

Heat oven to 350˚F. Microwave the butter and unsweetened chocolate in a microwavable bowl at high power until the butter is melted, about 2 minutes. Place melted mixture in a large bowl and stir in orange juice, vanilla extract, and egg. Mix in sugar and espresso powder, followed by the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Stir in orange zest and chocolate chips.

Pour batter into an 8×8-inch square greased pan and bake at 350˚F for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.

In a small microwavable bowl, microwave the dark chocolate chips and heavy whipping cream, uncovered, on high for 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds. Continue stirring until the chips are melted and the mixture is smooth. Spread the ganache over the cake and refrigerate until the ganache is set, about 1 hour. Cut into 16 squares and serve.

Nutrition: 251 calories, 14.8g fat, 2.0g fiber, 2.6g protein per serving
Cost: $0.39 per serving

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38 Responses to Dark Chocolate Orange Snack Cake

  1. Monica H says:

    I love snack cakes and I feel less guilty about eating them…for some reason. ha ha!

    My mom loves the combination of orange and dark chocolate and I know she’d appreciate if I made this for her!

  2. Lucie says:

    The orange zest is a great addition–I’m pretty sure this is quite an addictive snack cake!

  3. peachkins says:

    love the flavor combo!

  4. maggie says:

    This looks wonderful! I love the chocolate and orange combination but I feel like I rarely see recipes combining the two.

  5. Joanne says:

    I agree, snack cakes MUST be eaten with the hands and MUST be absolutely indulgent. This fits the bill on both accounts. I love that you added the citrus to give it a lighter flavor. And I am so jealous of your Ethiopian feast! Love ethiopian food.

  6. Michelle says:

    Kerstin, this may sound stupid but what is the difference between a snack cake and a brownie? Either way, your dessert looks delish!

  7. Shannon says:

    Mmmm, so delicious!! … so does this fall closer to the muffin method? lol :)

  8. Liz @ Blog is the New Black says:

    This looks incredibly good! Gotta bookmark it!

  9. Nicole says:

    Yum! Those look incredible! I love chocolate and orange together – excellent combination. And those chocolate-covered orange slices…heavenly :)

    I am making your cardamom muffins today! I can’t wait to try them!

  10. Megan says:

    Dark chocolate and orange is one of my favorite combos. I love how easy this cake sounds. I haven’t read Shannon’s post yet… I’ll have to get over there to see what you’re talking about. :)

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  12. Emily says:

    That sounds like so much fun! I wish I lived in Boston so we could hang out. This snack cake looks amazing! I love chocolate and orange together.

  13. Sophie says:

    Waw!!! This piece of lovelyness looks so tasty & lovely to savour!!

    It looks pretty too!

  14. Erica says:

    What a great treat! Fruit & chocolate- just perfect together. You’re invited to my parties any time :) Hope you had fun with those ladies!

  15. CaSaundra says:

    I love the thought of a one-bowl cake that doesn’t come from a store-bought mix. I also (obviously) love the thought of how chocolatey this sounds–great recipe!

  16. Blond Duck says:

    How can you go wrong with Cake and 3 kinds of chocolate?

  17. Elina says:

    This was really delicious. The ganache and the chocolate chips were my favorite parts. And it’s going to sound weird, but it didn’t feel heavy (or that sinful) so I enjoyed a nice big piece guilt free. What more can you ask for? :D

  18. ingrid says:

    I still haven’t tried chocolate and orange together. Those flavors sound intriguing together especially if dark chocolate.

  19. Sues says:

    Ooooh! Chocolate and orange is SUCH a fabulous flavor combination! Snack cakes do totally sound like fun :)

  20. Reeni says:

    This is so much better than those snack cakes Kerstin! It looks so moist and rich and scrumptious! I am loving the orange and chocolate together.

  21. Meghan says:

    Oh my this snack cake looks amazing! I partially gasped when I saw the picture! Look at all that chocolatey goodness!

  22. sophia says:

    I can’t find orange in my area right now (SO weird!)…but wondering if lemon will work? Too acidic? The cake looks SOOO rich and delicious though!

  23. grace says:

    it always surprises me that orange and chocolate aren’t more frequently paired–it’s a delightful combo! great cake, kerstin.

  24. Alicia says:

    That looks scrumptious! I love ganache on anything!

  25. A terrific delicious looking cake and sounds so quick to put together, perfect!

  26. Kelly says:

    I love, love love dark chocolate and orange together so this sounds marvelous!

  27. Lauren says:

    This look so delicious, it sounds like a perfect holiday dessert, slightly complex flavor from the orange+chocolate combo but still easy.

  28. Katrina says:

    Ooh, I love it, Kerstin. What a perfect, simple (CHOCOLATE!) treat! And I love chocolate and orange together.

  29. donna says:

    LOVING the sound of the combination of dark chocolate and orange.. and the words snack cake.. youre killing me.

  30. Juliana says:

    Kerstin, chocolate and orange is a great combination…looks delicious!

  31. Julie says:

    Looks intense and wonderful..yum! I recently got to try Ethiopian food for the first time myself, interesting.

  32. sharon says:

    I just love orange and chocolate together though I have never had the combo in cake form…yum!

  33. Yum yum yum!! I love anything with the combination of chocolate and orange. I am going to have to give this a shot!

  34. Chocolate and orange are so great together. This looks like a very snackable cake!

  35. Betsy says:

    Well, it’s in the oven, and the batter is delicious!

  36. Eliana says:

    WOW – this looks awesome – And like a chocolate lover’s dream come true :)

  37. [...] pack a nutritional punch, which is much needed after you’ve spent several weeks indulging on various cakes and scones!Moroccan Stuffed Acorn Squash Printable RecipeIngredients: 5 acorn squash, cut in [...]

  38. Thanks everyone! I’m glad there are so many other chocolate and orange lovers out there :)

    Michelle – Ahh, good question and one I may not be qualified to answer! I think in general it’s a texture issue and cakes have more liquid, flour, and leavening than brownies. This is a sturdy cake though!

    Erica – Just let me know when :)

    Sophia – I think I’d personally wait until you can find oranges!

    Betsy – Hope you enjoyed them!

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