Orange and almond cake with chocolate buttercream – three layers of moist, flavourful vegan orange and almond cake with vegan chocolate orange buttercream, chocolate drip and candied orange slices. Easy to make and perfect for celebrations!
It was my birthday at the weekend (32 in case you were wondering) and while I am not really fussed about having a large celebration; cake is absolutely a must of course. I would happily eat pretty much any and all cake flavours which makes narrowing it down to one choice of cake pretty difficult!
After much deliberating I settled on a vegan orange and almond cake with chocolate buttercream, dark chocolate drip and candied orange slices. It is a delicious showstopper that isn’t too tricky to make and will please both vegans and non-vegans alike.
The cakes are very easy to make – just whisk together the wet ingredients then whisk in the dry. Just be careful not to over-beat the batter as that can make the cake tough. The mixture can be baked in either three 15cm/6 inch tins as seen in the photos, or you can use two 20cm/8 inch tins instead if you don’t have the 15cm ones.
Vegan Chocolate Buttercream:
I find that vegan ‘butters’ by themselves have too low a fat content to make a good buttercream – you are likely to end up with a split, gross-looking mixture.
But by using half vegan butter/margarine and half vegetable shortening, you up the fat content and end up with a much more stable mixture that doesn’t split, pipes and spreads well and won’t melt (unless it is really hot out).
I think that it is best to use the kind of margarine that comes in a stick, rather than the spreadable kind in a tub. In the UK I use Stork and in the US I think that Earth Balance Buttery Sticks would be the one to use. For the vegetable shortening I use Trex.
The buttercream is flavoured with both cocoa powder and melted dark chocolate. Use a good quality dairy free dark chocolate around 70% cocoa solids so that the buttercream doesn’t end up being too sweet.
I also added a drop of orange extract to up the overall orange flavour of the cake. This is optional and you can omit it or swap for vanilla extract if you want a less strong orange flavour..
Candied oranges are easy to make, taste fantastic and are great for using as cake decorations.
To make them you simply slice up an orange thinly and simmer it in sugar syrup for 30-40 minutes until translucent then lay the slices on a piece of baking parchment for an hour or two to dry a little.
They keep well in the fridge (in the syrup) so can easily be made in advance. On this cake they are mostly just there for decoration rather than flavour so feel free to omit them if you like. If you do make them, don’t throw away the syrup, it is amazing on pancakes!
Vegan Orange And Almond Cake With Chocolate Buttercream Recipe:
Orange And Almond Cake With Chocolate Buttercream (Vegan)
- 1 small, thin-skinned orange
- 250 g (1 1/4 cups) granulated sugar
- 400 ml (1 + 2/3 cups) water
Orange And Almond Cakes:
- 320 ml (1 1/3 cups) unsweetened almond milk (or other plant milk)
- finely grated zest of three oranges
- 100 ml (1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp) freshly squeezed orange juice
- 100 ml (1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp) light olive oil
- 160 g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 185 g (1 1/2 cups) ground almonds
- 225 g (1 3/4 cups + 2 Tbsp) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 150 g (5.3 oz) dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids) chopped
- 150 g (1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp)) dairy free butter/margarine (the kind in a stick rather than a tub is best - I use Stork)
- 150 g (3/4 cup) vegetable shortening (I used Trex)
- 50 g (1/3 cup) cocoa powder sifted
- 300 g (2 1/3 cups) icing (powdered) sugar sifted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp orange extract (optional)
- 50 g (2 oz) dark chocolate chopped
- 10 g (2 tsp) coconut oil
Slice the ends off the orange then cut into thin slices using a sharp knife, about 3-6mm/1/8-1/4 inch thick.
Place the sugar and water in a pan and heat gently while stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add the orange slices and bring up to a simmer, leave to simmer gently for about 40 minutes, until the liquid has reduced to a thick syrup and the oranges are soft and the peel has become slightly translucent. Turn the slices occasionally to unsure that they are evenly covered.
Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool for a while then carefully remove the orange slices from the syrup and place on a baking parchment lined tray to dry a little.
Orange And Almond Cakes:
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Grease three 15cm/8 inch tins (or two 20cm/8 inch ones) and line the bases with baking parchment.
In a large bowl, whisk together the almond milk, orange juice and zest, olive oil, sugar and vanilla and almond extracts until smooth. Whisk in the ground almonds.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Add to the wet ingredients and whisk gently until combined. Do not over-mix.
Divide the batter between the tins and bake for about 30 minutes until golden and firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Leave the cakes to cool in the tins for 15 minutes then carefully turn them out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
Melt the chocolate, either in a bain marie or in short bursts in the microwave. Set aside to cool a little.
Place the margarine and vegetable shortening in the bowl of your stand mixer (or you can use a hand mixer). Whisk until smooth. Add the cocoa powder and mix on a low speed until combined.
Add the sifted icing sugar and mix on a low speed until combined then turn the mixer up to a high speed and whisk for a good few minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl every now and again.
Check that the melted chocolate is no longer hot to the touch then add it to the buttercream and whisk until smooth. Finally whisk in the extracts.
Trim the tops of the cakes if needed. Place one cake layer on a serving plate or cake stand and spread over a layer of the buttercream. Place another cake layer on top and repeat.
Place the last cake layer on upside-down (to give you a perfectly flat top). Spread a thin layer of buttercream over the top and sides of the cake. Place in the fridge for about 15 minutes to firm up.
Spread another layer of buttercream over the whole cake. Getting it as smooth as you can with a bench scraper or spatula. Return the cake to the fridge while you make the chocolate drip. (You want the cake to be cold when you add the drip).
Melt the chocolate, either in a bain marie or in short bursts in the microwave. Stir in the coconut oil until smooth and melted. Set aside to cool until it has thickened slightly and is no longer warm to the touch.
Use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate drip around the edge of the cold cake, using the back of the spoon to encourage it to drip over the edge. Spoon the rest into the middle so that the top of the cake is fully covered.
Return the cake to the fridge until the drip is set.
Place the leftover buttercream in a piping bag fitted with a star shaped nozzle. Pipe decorative dollops of buttercream on top of the cake as you like and top with a few candied orange slices.
The cake will keep in an airtight container at cool room temperature for a couple of days.
For more vegan cake inspiration, check out my vegan chocolate fudge cake, vegan lemon almond cake with coconut whipped cream and strawberries, vegan lemon layer cake and vegan chocolate sheet cake.