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Chocolate, orange & hazelnut cake

Chocolate, orange & hazelnut cake

A star rating of 4.8 out of 5.17 ratingsRate
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  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Prep:
    • Cook:
    • plus 8 hrs drying
  • More effort
  • Serves 10

You'd never guess that this spectacular dessert is dairy-free, decorated with a zesty ganache using orange juice instead of cream

  • Freezable (un-iced)
  • Dairy-free
Nutrition: per serving


  • 175ml light-coloured olive oil , plus extra for greasing
  • 140g blanched hazelnuts
  • 100ml orange juice , plus zest 1 orange
  • 140g self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 175g light brown muscovado sugar

For the candied orange slices

  • 300g golden caster sugar
  • 1 large orange , cut into 3mm/1/8in slices

To decorate

  • 75ml orange juice
  • 100g dairy-free dark chocolate
  • 50g blanched hazelnuts , toasted
  • 1 tsp edible gold powder (see tip)


  • STEP 1

    Make the candied orange slices a day ahead if you can. Put the sugar and 300ml water in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce to a gentle simmer, add the orange slices and cook for 1 hr-1 hr 10 mins or until the pith is translucent, turning occasionally. Line a baking tray with parchment. Carefully remove the slices from the syrup, place on the prepared tray and set aside to dry (at least 8 hrs) before cutting in half. Reserve the syrup.

  • STEP 2

    Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Lightly grease a loaf tin (mine was 900g) with olive oil and line with a strip of baking parchment.

  • STEP 3

    Grind the hazelnuts in a food processor until they resemble coarse breadcrumbs (do not blitz them too much or they will become oily), then add to a bowl along with the orange zest, a pinch of salt and the flour, baking powder and cocoa. Mix together until evenly combined.

  • STEP 4

    Pour the oil and the orange juice into a jug and mix together. Put the eggs and sugar in a tabletop mixer or large bowl and whisk together for 5-10 mins or until the mixture has tripled in volume and holds a ribbon on the surface when the beaters are lifted out. Slowly pour the oil mixture into the egg mixture and fold together until combined.

  • STEP 5

    Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture in 3 or 4 additions, folding together until combined. You can’t sieve this mixture over the eggs because of the hazelnuts, but try not to dump the flour in one place – you need to be careful and fold the batter to retain its lightness. Once fully combined, pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 50-55 mins or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

  • STEP 6

    Prick the top of the cake all over, then pour over 5 tbsp of the reserved orange syrup. Cool in the tin for 15 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Trim the top of the cake (keep this for a mini trifle) and turn out, cut-side down, onto a serving platter.

  • STEP 7

    To decorate, pour the orange juice into a small pan and bring to a simmer. Put the chocolate in a small bowl, pour the orange juice over and stir together to form a smooth ganache. Set aside in the fridge until thickened, about 20-25 mins. Tip the hazelnuts into a small bowl and add the gold powder with a dash of water, stirring together to coat. Put the ganache in a piping bag fitted with a small round piping tip. Pipe in peaks over the top of the cake, decorating with the golden hazelnuts and the orange slices. Will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container.


I find that supermarket brands of edible gold powder don't tend to stick so I used one from Squires Kitchen Shop.


Most good-quality dark chocolate will be naturally dairy free, but always check the pack, as some may contain traces of milk. You can buy dairy-free chocolate (made in factories that don’t handle dairy products) online.

Goes well with

Recipe from Good Food magazine, December 2015


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A star rating of 4.8 out of 5.17 ratings

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