Three rich moist layers of dark chocolate cake filled with decadent dreamy dark chocolate orange almond ganache and covered in the smoothest whipped orange chocolate cookie crumb buttercream frosting. Wow, that’s a mouthful in all aspects, saying and eating, but let me tell you it was chocolate orange layer cake heaven! This flavour combination is fun, bold, and totally festive. If you’re a chocolate orange lover, this one is for you!

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Christmas Morning Memories

With a show of hands, who here got a Christmas orange in the bottom of their stocking every year? I sure did! Without fail, after the little gifts of nail polish, hair elastics, toothbrushes, and socks, there at the toe of my stocking would sit a Christmas orange. Honestly, I rarely ate it but it always brought a smile to my face.

It’s a tradition that I’ve carried on with my children. Totally nostalgic and such a special memory for me every Christmas morning as I watch my girls open their stockings and make their way to that bottom orange.

Chocolate Cake Go-To

This dark chocolate cake uses my go-to chocolate cake layers with a splash of orange emulsion added in and dark cocoa powder in place of regular cocoa. Next, the super decadent ganache filling was made with almond milk and a vegan dark chocolate orange bar that had little bits of slivered almonds in it. It came together beautifully and really gives this cake flavour a bold and unique depth.

Buttercream But With a Twist

Instead of the regular chocolate or orange buttercream, I decided to add chocolate cookie crumbs with the orange extract to give it an orange oreo cookie type taste. Plus, who doesn’t love a speckled buttercream slathered cake, right?! I hope you love this Chocolate Orange Layer Cake as much as I did! 🍊

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Chocolate Orange Layer Cake

  • Author: Katie
  • Prep Time: 2 Hrs
  • Cook Time: 35 Min
  • Total Time: 2 Hrs 35 Mins
  • Yield: 10 Slices 1x


Layers of dark chocolate cake filled with a chocolate orange almond ganche and covered in a whipped orange chocolate cookie crumb buttercream frosting. Perfect for Christmas!




  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 cups sugar

  • ⅔ cup dark cocoa powder

  • 2 tsp. baking soda

  • 1 tsp. fine sea salt

  • 2 cups coffee, hot

  • 1 cup vegetable oil

  • 1 tbsp. orange extract/emulsion

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 3 tbsp. white vinegar


  • 200 grams dark chocolate orange bar *I used Lindt Orange Intense (this is not dairy-free)

  • ⅓ cup dairy-free milk


  • 1 cup dairy-free salted butter, room temperature

  • 1 cup all-vegetable shortening

  • 8 cups icing sugar

  • 1 tbsp. sea salt

  • ⅛ cup dairy-free milk

  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract

  • 2 tsp. orange extract/emulsion

  • 1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs


  • ½ cup dairy-free dark chocolate chips

  • 3 ½ tbsp dairy-free milk




  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare three 6-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray.

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer add in all the dry ingredients and give a quick whisk together.

  2. Add in the coffee, vegetable oil, orange extract/emulsion, and vanilla extract and mix until fully incorporated.

  3. Add in the vinegar and mix until fully incorporated. Be careful to not over mix the batter at this stage.

  4. Divide the cake batter between the prepared pans and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.

  5. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then invert on a cooling rack to fully cool.


  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the dark chocolate and milk in 30-second intervals until fully melted and smooth. Stir between each interval.

  2. Allow the ganache to cool to room temperature before filling the cake.


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the butter and shortening on high speed with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. This should take approximately 5 minutes.

  2. Add in the icing sugar, salt, orange emulsion/extract, and milk and mix on low until combined.

  3. Add the chocolate cookie crumbs and mix on low until fully combined.

  4. Turn the mixer up to high and let mix for 5 minutes until smooth and creamy. Scrape the sides of the bowl when necessary.


  1. In a microwave-safe bowl heat the dark chocolate chips and milk in 30-second intervals until fully melted and smooth. Stir between each interval.

  2. Depending on the kind of milk, the drip may require a touch more milk to thin or a bit more dark chocolate chips to thicken. *I always test my ganache drips over the edge of the kitchen sink before applying to a cake to check the consistency.


  1. Place one leveled layer of dark chocolate cake on a cake board or plate. Top with approximately 1 cup of buttercream.

  2. Pipe a buttercream border around the edge and fill with approximately half the dark chocolate orange ganache filling.

  3. Repeat with the remaining layers and apply a thin coat of buttercream all over the cake. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

  4. Cover the cake with another layer of buttercream and smooth sides using the Wilton Cake Smoother. Refrigerate while the dark chocolate ganache drip is prepared.

  5. On a well-chilled cake, with a spoon or a piping bag, drip the warm dark chocolate ganache over the edges of the cake and put back in the refrigerator to chill.

  6. Decorate as you please. I piped some simple buttercream dollops with the Wilton 8B around the top border and decorated with leftover Intense Orange chocolate bar and Christmas orange segments. Enjoy!

  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: baking, cake, dairy-free cake, chocolate orange cake, dark chocolate cake, Christmas cake, chocolate, orange