This orange chocolate chip bundt cake is perfect for a spring party. It features a bright and zesty orange flavor with a rich chocolate ganache on top.
We have an ongoing debate in our household . . . See that cake above? What does your family call something that looks like that?
I insist it is called a “bundt cake” meanwhile Tim is ready to die on the hill that calls it an “upside-down cake” because it is baked upside down.
No amount of explaining the difference between this and a pineapple upside-down cake will convince him.
Let’s just say, he’s lucky he’s cute.
He’s also lucky enough that I will bake this amazing orange chocolate chip cake from scratch for his birthday upon request. He lists it among the top cakes of all time and I’ve been making it for him on and off over the last nearly 20 years.
Normally we inhale it so quickly, there’s no time for photos to share with you. When he asked for it for his birthday again this year, I thought NOW is finally the time!
The bright and zesty orange flavor with the rich chocolate ganache on top is one of my very favorite flavor combos of all time. It would make an amazing Easter dessert this spring but we’ve been known to bake it at Christmastime, too.
You seriously can’t go wrong, no matter when you decide to bake it. For a party or for an everyday “just because,” we can’t recommend this recipe highly enough!
Tips for making the best orange chocolate chip bundt cake:
Trick 1: Make sure all the ingredients are room temperature
Before you do anything, set out the butter, eggs, and buttermilk to come to room temperature. Cold liquids can make softened butter curdle in the batter, we want to avoid that.
Trick 2: Carefully and thoroughly grease and flour your bundt pan
This is truly the most important step. You want your bundt cake to release from the pan neatly. If you’ve used a decorative bundt pan like I did, there may be lots of nooks and crannies.
I use room temperature softened butter and spread it all around the inside of the pan. I’ll use my fingers to get into all the spaces I can and then use a pastry brush as needed for the little creases.
Once I’m sure I’ve greased it well, I sprinkle in a tablespoon or two of flour and shake it all around. I tip it to the sides and rotate the pan over the sink so the excess flour neatly falls into the sink.
You can tell you’ve done it right when the flour evenly coats the entire inside of the pan.
See those black spots showing through the flour in my photo above? I’ll go back over those with a little more butter and another sprinkle of flour until it is evenly coated.
Trick 3: Use a pastry brush to clean up your cake
When you turn the cake out onto the wire rack, some of the butter/flour coating from your pan may cling to the elaborate designs of the cake.
You can clean that up with a very gentle brushing with a pastry brush. Don’t poke it or brush too hard or the cake might break and get more crumbly. But, it is a very thick cake, not a light spongy one. It can handle a brushing.
Trick 4: Don’t skip the orange glaze
You’re going to look at the recipe and be tempted to skip the glaze. You will think “But, isn’t the chocolate ganache enough?”
No. No, it isn’t. Do not skip the glaze. It only takes a few minutes and it is the secret to a mind-blowing cake your family will beg for again and again.
The cake will soak up most of the glaze but as it cools it adds a hint of sugary crispness to the outside. It is soooooo good.
Trick 5: Don’t skip the instant coffee in the chocolate ganache
If you’re going to skip anything, in my opinion, skip the ganache altogether. I love the cake just with the orange glaze.
My family would strongly disagree, though. Don’t be intimidated by the word “ganache”, it’s essentially melted chocolate chips. You can do this, I promise it is super easy.
If you make the ganache, do not skip the instant coffee if you can help it. It doesn’t make the cake taste coffee-like and your kids may not even know it is in there. However, the coffee helps accent the chocolate flavor so that it isn’t sickeningly sweet.
I keep a small jar of instant coffee in my pantry just for this case. If you’ve never worked with it, check out the link in the recipe. You can get it right on Amazon, easy peasy.
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs at room temperature
- 1/4 cup grated orange zest from 4 large oranges
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice from the fresh oranges used for zest
- 3/4 cup buttermilk at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups chocolate chips tossed in 2 tbsp flour
For the Orange Glaze
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
For the Chocolate Ganache
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp instant coffee granules
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Rub a pat of butter into every nook and cranny of a 10-inch bundt pan and shake a tbsp of flour around the pan to coat. Set aside.
Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat with the paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time and beat until just mixed. Add the orange zest, beat until just mixed.
Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to a large mixing bowl. Whisk them together.
In a large measuring cup or bowl, add the orange juice, buttermilk, and vanilla. Whisk them together.
Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternatively to the mixing bowl. Start with a third of the flour, then half of the buttermilk, a second third of the flour, the last of the buttermilk, and then the last third of the flour. Mixing in after each addition until just combined.
Add the chocolate chips to the batter and stir until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan. Spread it around evenly. Bake for 45 minutes - 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Let the cake cool for 10 minutes while you prepare the orange glaze.
ADD THE ORANGE GLAZE:
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stir together the sugar and orange juice until the sugar dissolves completely.
Carefully turn the cake out onto a wire rack over a baking tray. Use a pastry brush or spoon to coat the entire top of the cake with the glaze. Once the cake has cooled completely, transfer it carefully to your cake plate.
ADD THE CHOCOLATE GANACHE:
Place a glass or metal bowl over a small saucepan of water over medium-high heat. Add the chocolate chips, heavy cream, and coffee to the mixing bowl and stir gently until the chocolate has completely melted.
Drizzle the chocolate ganache over the cake while the chocolate is still smooth and warm.
Normally I don't fuss with room temperature eggs and buttermilk, but in this case it is definitely worth the effort. They help the butter to not curdle in the batter.
You may be tempted to skip the orange glaze. It is an extra step that is absolutely worth it. It gives the cake a deliciously crispy coating.
The cake is best the day you've prepared it but will be fine made ahead one day and stored in the fridge.