This vegan Chocolate Blood Orange Cake is our go-to dessert when blood oranges are in season. Who can resist an orange chocolate cake? This upside-down cake is soy-free, nut-free, and is easy to make for the chocolate lover in your life!
Chocolate and citrus are the perfect flavor combination, especially over the winter when it's citrus season!
I can find a certified organic blood oranges bag here in Arizona for two dollars. Depending on the variety, they are deliciously sweet with a hint of raspberry. I love the taste and unique fragrance of this citrus fruit!
Ever since I was a child, I have enjoyed dark chocolate and orange around the winter holidays. Does anyone else remember those round chocolate oranges?
I have fond memories of getting those orange chocolate spheres around the holidays. I still love chocolate and orange together, especially in this rich chocolate cake, a flavor combination that seems ideal for winter or Valentine's Day!
Here's what you'll need to make this vegan chocolate orange cake. This recipe is similar to an olive oil cake, but I chose to use grapeseed oil for its milder taste which is my preference.
If you love the flavor of olive oil in cakes, feel free to use it. The specific amounts are in the recipe card below.
- Plant-based buttery stick - Use plant-based buttery sticks for greasing the cake pan, such as Earth Balance, Country Crock, or Miyoko's.
- Grapeseed oil - I chose this oil for its neutral flavor profile.
- Sea salt - Himalayan or Celtic, as long as it's finely ground.
- Coffee - This enhances the flavor of the chocolate.
- Baking soda and apple cider vinegar help the cake rise.
- Vanilla extract - essential for most dessert recipes!
- Organic fresh blood oranges - you can use any variety that is available.
- Vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips- mini or regular size chocolate chips (optional)
- Dutch-process Cocoa or Cacao Powder- I used Guittard Cocoa Rouge 100% Dutch process cacao.
- All-purpose flour - I prefer unbleached and organic all-purpose flour.
Here is what you will need to make this recipe:
- 8-inch or 9-inch round cake pan or tarte tatin pan. If you use an 8-inch pan, the baking time may take a little longer.
- Large bowl and separate small bowls
How to make this Vegan Chocolate Blood Orange Cake
This cake is simple to make; here is how to make it:
Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare the cake pan. Generously with plant-based butter, grease the bottom and sides of an 8 - 9-inch cake pan (or a Cerise tatin pan like the one I have pictured above; I've had it since 2003!). You do not want to skimp on the butter, or the cake might stick to the pan. Next, sprinkle the cane sugar on the bottom of the cake pan for the caramelization of the oranges. Do not sprinkle it on the sides.
Prepare the oranges
Cut both ends off each orange and remove the skins with a sharp paring knife. Take care not to remove the flesh of blood oranges; remove the white pith, which is bitter, and the hard skins. Here is a video on how to cut an orange.
Then thinly slice the blood oranges; refer to the photo above for the end result. As you cut the oranges, put them in a small bowl; the juice will collect at the bottom. Save the juice to drink and get your Vitamin C; it's too precious to discard!
Prepare the wet and dry ingredients
- 1. Make the orange zest and oil mixture. Measure the grapeseed oil—zest one orange and place the orange zest in the oil before preparing the other ingredients.
- 2. Mix the dry ingredients. Sift the flour, cane sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together and make a well in the middle.
Combine the ingredients
- 3. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients.
- 4. Mix vigorously with a whisk until combined.
- 5. If adding chocolate chips, add them after the wet and dry ingredients have been combined.
- 6. Layer the thinly sliced oranges on the pan's bottom; start in the middle and work your way outwards. Try not to overlap the orange slices. If you have any gaps, you can fill them in with the smaller pieces of blood orange.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.
Bake immediately in the preheated oven for at least 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs.
At this point, the cake edges should be pulled away from the pan. If they're not, continue baking and check every five minutes. If the blood oranges are super fresh and juicy, you may need to bake longer, up to 55 minutes or more.
Let the cake cool for 30 to 45 minutes. Take a plastic or butter knife and cut at the edges of the cake to loosen it before carefully inverting it onto a cooling rack. Serve when it has thoroughly cooled.
Variations and Substitutions
Blood oranges: feel free to try other types of citrus, such as the various regular oranges that are in season where you live.
To make this delicious cake fudgier and even more chocolatey, double the cocoa powder and add the chocolate chips.
Grapeseed Oil: You can use a quality fruity extra-virgin olive oil instead.
Apple cider vinegar: You can use distilled white vinegar or fresh lemon juice.
Gluten-free: you can try a 1:1 gluten-free flour; I like Bob's Red Mill and I have tried it in this recipe successfully.
Fresh coffee: you can instead use
- One tablespoon of espresso powder in a cup of hot water, let it cool before mixing it into the cake batter, or
- One teaspoon of coffee extract in one room-temperature cup of water.
Sprinkle the cane sugar on the bottom of the cake pan for the caramelization of the oranges, not on the sides, or the cake may stick to the sides of the pan. If it sticks after baking, gently loosen it with a thin sharp knife all around the sides.
Try to obtain a variety of fresh and high-quality blood oranges to get different colors for the top of your cake. Otherwise, you can use whichever oranges are available, such as navel oranges or Cara Cara.
Let the cake cool completely before storing it in the fridge for up to 3 to 5 days in an airtight container.
If you make this vegan Chocolate Blood Orange Cake, let me know what you think by ★★★★★ star rating it and leaving a comment below. You can follow me on Instagram and Facebook and share your creation with me! Just tag me @resplendentkitchen and hashtag #resplendentkitchenrecipes.
Vegan Chocolate Blood Orange Cake
- 8-inch or 9-inch cake pan or tarte tatin pan
- Large and small mixing bowl
- ⅓ cup grapeseed oil or fruity extra-virgin olive oil
- Zest of one blood orange
- 2 tablespoons plant-based butter for greasing the cake pan
- 1 cup organic cane sugar plus 3 tablespoons divided
- 5 organic blood oranges peeled and cut into slices
- 1 ½ cups organic unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup organic Dutch process cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup coffee or 1 cup water with 1 teaspoon coffee extract, or 1 cup water with 1 tablespoon espresso powder
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar or lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips optional
- Mix the grapeseed oil with zest of one blood orange and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch cake pan with 2 tablespoons of butter. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of organic cane sugar on bottom of pan, tilting the pan to get an even coating of sugar, avoiding the sides. Layer the sliced blood oranges on the bottom of the pan.
- Sift the flour, cane sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle.
- Mix the coffee, grapeseed oil with orange zest, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla extract. Whisk until combined.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the well of dry ingredients. Mix vigorously by hand with a whisk until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips if desired. Pour batter into the greased cake pan.
- Bake for approximately 45 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with crumbs clinging to it.
- Let the cake cool for at least 30 minutes before gently flipping it onto a cooling rack. Loosen the edges first with a butter knife or a plastic knife.
- Calorie calculation is done without chocolate chips.
- If you are using an 8-inch cake pan, the baking time may be slightly longer.
- Let the cake cool completely before storing it in the fridge. Store in fridge for up to 5 days in a covered container.
- If your oranges are especially juicy the baking time may take a bit longer than the recommended time. Check for doneness every 5 minutes.
- To make this cake fudgier and even more chocolatey, double the amount of cocoa powder and add the chocolate chips!
Resplendent Kitchen offers nutritional information for recipes contained on this site as a courtesy. Although resplendentkitchen.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information from online calculators, these figures are estimates.