Fudgy chocolate & orange gateau

Fudgy chocolate & orange gateau

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(3 ratings)

Takes a day in the kitchen

A challenge

Cuts into 18 slices
This sensational striped sponge requires careful assembly and lots of preparation to perfect the decoration, so set aside a good chunk of time in the kitchen. We've got a Guide to help you every step of the way, see the Tip box below

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per slice (18)

  • kcal765
  • fat44g
  • saturates26g
  • carbs81g
  • sugars69g
  • fibre3g
  • protein10g
  • salt0.7g
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  • flavourless oil, such as sunflower, for greasing
  • icing sugar, for dusting

For each chocolate sponge (4)

  • 40g butter



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 3 large eggs, separated into yolks and whites
  • 75ml whole milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 30g plain flour
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 75g golden caster sugar

For each orange sponge (3)

  • 40g butter



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 3 large eggs, separated into yolks and whites
  • zest and juice 1 orange



    One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren't necessarily orange - some varieties are…

  • splash of milk (if needed)



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a 'complete' food…

  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 80g plain flour
  • 75g golden caster sugar

For the orange frosting

  • 350g unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 600g icing sugar, sifted
  • zest and juice 2 oranges, at room temp



    One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren't necessarily orange - some varieties are…

For the chocolate icing

  • 100g butter



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 200g icing sugar
  • 100g cocoa
  • 100g dark chocolate, chopped
    Dark chocolate soup pots with double cream in spoons

    Dark chocolate

    dahk chok-o-let

    Dark chocolate means the shiny, dark-reddish brown treat produced from the cacao bean, theobroma…

  • 200ml double cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Making the sponges: Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. You’ll need to make 3 rectangular chocolate sponges, a pair of round chocolate sponges, and 3 rectangular orange sponges to assemble this cake, so get everything organised first. Take a look at our Guide and the additional tips, in the Tip box below.

  2. For every rectangular sponge, you’ll need to line the base of a 21 x 31cm tin (see Guide in the Tips below and Related guides box, right) neatly with baking parchment and grease the sides with a little flavourless oil.

  3. Start with the chocolate sponges. Put the butter in a small saucepan and heat gently until melted. Whisk together the egg yolks, milk and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Stir the flour and cocoa into the melted butter to make a paste. Transfer this butter-flour mixture to a big mixing bowl and whisk in the egg mixture a little at a time – this takes elbow grease to get it smooth, but keep going!

  4. Put the egg whites in a bowl and beat with an electric whisk until stiff. Add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is glossy and thick. Whisk a third of the meringue mixture into the chocolate mixture to loosen, then use a big metal spoon to gently fold the remaining meringue into the batter until just incorporated. Spread the batter evenly in the tin. Bake for 12 mins.

  5. Turn the cake out of the tin onto baking parchment very lightly dusted with icing sugar. Peel off the cake lining parchment and cover with a clean tea towel.

  6. Repeat steps 2 to 5 twice more. When the third rectangular sponge is baked, turn out as before but very loosely roll up the sponge like a Swiss roll, starting from one of the shortest sides, rolling up the tea towel inside.

  7. Make a final, fourth batch of the chocolate sponge recipe, but this time divide it between 2 x 20cm round, shallow sandwich tins. Bake for 10 mins, then turn out as instructed in step 5.

  8. Now make the orange sponges. Follow steps 3 to 6 again, but instead of milk, measure 75ml of the juice from the orange you’ve zested. If you don’t have enough, make up the difference with milk. Whisk in the zest.

  9. Cool all the sponges.

  10. Making the frosting and icing: For the orange frosting, beat together the butter, icing sugar, orange zest and juice. Beat until just combined – the acidity of the orange may start to split the mixture if overbeaten. If it looks a little split though, don’t worry – just stop mixing, it’ll still taste lovely. Can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days, but will need bringing back to room temp to use.

  11. When you are about to start assembling, put all the chocolate icing ingredients in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Gently melt together, stirring occasionally, until smooth and shiny.

  12. Assembling the cake: Cut each rectangular sponge into 2 long strips 7cm wide – trimming the long edges off will give you a neater finish (see step A in the Guide). It’s important to be really accurate, so use a ruler. Trim the short edges to neaten. When you prepare the rolled-up sponges, just gently unroll first – don’t worry if they crack a bit.

  13. Spread a thin layer of orange frosting over every strip, right to the edges. Gently peel the strips away from their paper – they will have stuck a bit. Start with 1 chocolate and 1 orange strip that was rolled up to cool, and lay one on top of the other – but don’t line up the ends. Sit the second sponge about an inch down from one of the ends of the bottom sponge (it doesn’t matter which is chocolate and which is orange). Start to roll up from this end – the bottom sponge should roll up and over neatly on top of the second, so the middle of the roll is nice and tight (see step A in the Guide).

  14. Keep adding extra sponges and rolling up to make a giant Swiss roll but as you roll, the ends of each different-coloured layer won’t finish together (and this difference increases as the roll gets bigger). So you’ll need to add chocolate and orange sponges individually from now on, rather than sandwiching together first, then adding to the rolled cake. Where each strip ends, you’ll stick on a matching sponge – so a chocolate strip always continues with another chocolate, and the same with orange (see steps C & D in the Guide). This is the fiddly bit, as you’ll find you’ll need to partly stick on 1 coloured strip, then snuggle in the other coloured strip partway through. (This sounds more complicated than it is. When you start to do it, this will all make sense.) If you have a spare pair of hands in the house, this is the time to use them.

  15. It’s up to you whether you find it easier to work as a roll (see step E in the Guide), or to turn the roll on one of its flat ends to work with (see step F in the Guide). I started rolling, and just as it got towards the ends and was getting quite heavy and bulky, I flipped it to continue. Have the round sponges to hand as you near the end, to check whether you’ve reached a roll of 20cm diameter plus. As soon as you do, stop – you may have 1 strip of 1 colour left over.

  16. Sit the rolled cake on one of its flat ends if you haven’t already. Spread a good layer of orange frosting over the top, then press on 1 of the round chocolate sponges (see step G in the Guide) – line it up to the middle of the roll, rather than one of the edges of the roll. This means you’ll have to take a sharp knife and trim the roll all around, until it is perfectly flush with the round sponge top. Flip the cake upside down onto your serving plate. Spread some more orange frosting over the new top, and add the second round sponge.

  17. Gradually spoon on, and spread over, the chocolate icing with a big palette knife. If should still be runny enough to gently run down the sides, giving you a shiny finish (see step H in the Guide).

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Comments, questions and tips

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23rd May, 2018
This is a lovely cake. It's easy to make, it just takes time.
9th Jan, 2016
This truly delicious cake is well worth the effort and what a show stopper! The instructions are easy to follow but you do need to allow yourself a day of uninterrupted time in the kitchen.
23rd Mar, 2014
This was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon and I was really please with how it turned out. With all the icing, the cake was a smidge too sweet for me.
17th Feb, 2014
I made this cake for an orange themed dinner party, it went down a treat! It was easier to put together than i thought it would be. Just have to take your time. The two rolled up cakes did crack a bit but i just stuck it back together with the orange frosting. With the orange frosting i creamed together the butter & icing sugar before adding the orange juice. That way it doesn't spilt. I made the all the sponges one day, then the next day added the frosting and assembled the cake. It keeps well. Everyone said it looked great, one friend thought it was a made by a professional!!! haha. It is a lovely cake, very light sponges with a rich creamy ganache. The best genache Iv'e used on any other cake before.
11th Feb, 2014
This was a nice cake that I made for a birthday party. It took quite some time to make however the result was good. Some points: Using a 20cm round cake for the base and top makes a very small cake! When I rolled the layers around themselves, I had enough left over to make another one (so I got two cakes for the price of one ;). Be careful with the orange frosting - it can split and then ooze juice from the bottom of the cake when assembled. The sponge layers were nice, though make sure they are cooked enough and try and minimise handling of the batter, when you add the egg whites so they remain nice and fluffy. I wish I'd used contrasting layers of frosting (chocolate or similar) so there was more variability in the cake. Also, use a good dollop of frosting (if it's too thin, the layers can separate). Overall, this is a nice cake for a special occasion - I'd recommend it (however, it is time consuming and I'd advice you can get a spare set of hands to help with all the cakes and assembling them). Oh and the chocolate ganache was delicious! I'll be using that for other cakes!
9th Mar, 2015
Hi, I intend to make this cake, but with a simpler pattern such as 4 layers (checker board effect) I just wanted to double check the quantities. The ingredients list shows a total of 21 eggs is this correct? I appreciate you have spoke of leftover sponge but it is fundamentally just a tall 20cm round cake. 21 eggs seems a lot. I made a 10" square sponge cake last week which was about 15/16 In total. Please confirm I really would like to make this cake for Mother's Day and it looks yummy!
goodfoodteam's picture
13th Mar, 2015
Hi Stclare29, thanks for your question and great to hear you want to make this recipe. The ingredients list is correct but we cannot guarantee perfect results if you want to change the design. If you're looking for a checker board effect this recipe might be better for the result you want http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/chocolate-raspberry-rose-battenberg-gateau
12th Oct, 2014
Has anyone tried making this with gluten free flour? I wonder if that would work or if there is any other alternative to the plain flour? Any hints and tips would be great! :)
goodfoodteam's picture
28th Oct, 2014
Hi there, thanks for your question. As this recipe is quite complex and has not been tested with gluten-free flour, we wouldn’t suggest you attempted to substitute the flour.
15th Mar, 2014
this recipe is a challenge for a daring baker who want to have sweet success at end of the task, however i have some questions, firstly your measurement indicates that we will have six 7cm sponges after baking ? six chocolate and six orange flavored. secondly what is the thickness of one sponge in one swiss roll tin? and thirdly if i want to half the recipe or make 2 chocolate and 2 orange sponges will it be ok? please answer me back soon as i have wanted to try it since november.
goodfoodteam's picture
24th Mar, 2014
Hi there. For this cake, tou make 3 rectangle and 2 round chocolate sponges and the same with the orange. As this recipe is quite complicated we wouldn't advise halving it as it has not been tested in this way.
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