Recipe: Vicki Ravlich-Horan | Photography: Ashlee deCaires

The beauty of this cake lies in what’s within. Its classic flavours come with a surprise when you cut into it. I used a large bunt cake tin for added drama, but a large ring tin would also be fine. Visit the Gilded Edge at Mount Maunganui for a great range of quality cake tins.

Chocolate Layer
175g butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs (size 7)
200g dark chocolate
1 tsp vanilla extract
1¼ cup flour
1½ tsp baking powder

Melt the chocolate and then allow to cool while you beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract then eggs one at a time, beating well between each, then pour in the melted chocolate. Mix well then fold in the flour and baking powder.

Orange Layer
175g butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs (size 7)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1¼ cup flour
1½ tsp baking powder
zest and juice of 2 oranges

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract then eggs one at a time, beating well between each. Fold in the flour and baking powder before adding the zest and orange juice. Mix until just combined.

Pour a third of the orange batter into a greased cake tin, placing a third of the chocolate batter on top, followed by the orange and so on until you have used all the batter up. Bake at 175°C for 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Allow to cool for at least 15–20 minutes before turning out. When the cake is completely cool, drizzle with chocolate ganache and garnish with extra slices of orange.

Tips for success

  • The butter needs to be soft but not melted. If you have forgotten to get the butter out to soften, don’t be tempted to nuke it in the microwave, this will almost always mean melted butter. Cut the butter into small cubes and place in a warm place, it will soften in no time.
  • Creaming the butter and sugar is a crucial step and unless you are up for a serious work out, best done with an electric mixer. Don’t confuse mixing with creaming. When you cream sugar with butter, the water in the butter starts to dissolve the sugar, trapping air as tiny bubbles in the fat. It is these bubbles that will make the cake rise when it bakes.
  • Use room temperature eggs and add them one at a time—this makes it easier for them to incorporate into the butter and sugar and avoid the mixture curdling. The egg proteins strengthen those precious air bubbles you made by creaming the butter and sugar, so when heated the air can expand and turn to steam causing the cake to rise.

Good quality vanilla will turn a plain cake into a delicious cake. Vanilla is a natural flavour enhancer, note I say ‘natural’. Throw out those fake vanilla essences and invest in the real deal—vanilla extract. There are now a number of great versions readably available, especially at great food stores like Red Kitchen (in Te Awamutu and Hamilton) and The Herbal Dispensary (Raglan).  Vetro (Third Ave, Tauranga)

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