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Orange Velvet Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Orange Velvet Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting. A moist and tender crumbed orange cake with a simple but delicious chocolate buttercream frosting.

Photo of one slice of Orange Velvet Cake on a white plate with oranges in background

Orange Velvet Cake

Originally published October 2012.

This cake happily reminds me of my grandmother Morgan. She always had a cake baked and ready to serve any time her throng of grandchildren would drop by for an unexpected visit.

Most likely it was a boxed cake mix that she had prepared. However, one of the most common combinations you would find in Nan’s pantry was an orange cake with chocolate frosting.

Photo of uncut Orange Velvet Cake on a white serving platter

Orange Velvet Cake

It was always garnished by a sprinkle of coconut too. That may well have been where my love of the chocolate orange flavour combination came to life.

This cake pays homage to my those visits to Nan’s pantry as a kid. The cake is very moist and tender and gets it’s citrus flavour punch from the finely minced zest of oranges incorporated into the batter.

My kids came home from school to find this one waiting to be devoured and they have already put quite a dent in it. I guess that’s their stamp of approval.

Use the best quality cocoa powder you can find for the frosting recipe.

I generally bake this cake in round 8 inch pans or 9 inch round Aluminum Cake Pans but the recipe can also be made as a sheet cake in a 9 x 13 baking pan.

I’ve found that the 9 inch pans may bake up a little quicker so be sure to check it 5 minutes early. Depending on whether you use glass or not, the 9×13 size could take a few minutes longer. Just let the toothpick test be the final judge.

Even more Velvet Cakes to enjoy.

If you loved the texture and flavour of this cake you will want to take a look at the growing number of different flavours in our Velvet Cake Recipe Collection.

The Velvet Cake Collection collage photo for Pinterest

The Velvet Cake Collection


Like this Orange Velvet Cake recipe?

You’ll find hundreds of other sweet ideas in our Cakes & Pies Category and even more in our Desserts Category.

Photo of one slice of Orange Velvet Cake with title text added for Pinterest

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photo of uncut Orange Velvet Cake with title text added for Pintertest

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Photo of one slice of Orange Velvet Cake on a white plate with oranges in background
Yield: 12 -16 servings

Orange Velvet Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Orange Velvet Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting. A moist and tender crumbed orange cake with a simple but delicious chocolate buttercream frosting.


For the Cake

  • 1 1/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, use a fine grain sugar if you have it but regular granulated sugar will work fine
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening at room temperature
  • 2 tsp good quality vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • zest of two large oranges, finely minced
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

For the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • 4 cups icing sugar, powdered sugar
  • 4 tbsp cocoa
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup melted chocolate chips, cooled almost to room temperature, not hot
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-4 tbsp milk


  1. Grease two 8 or 9 inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Sift together the all purpose flour, the cake flour, baking soda, baking powder salt and sugar. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat together the oil, shortening and vanilla well at high speed with whisk attachment until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
  5. Fold in the orange zest.
  6. Fold in the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk. I always add dry ingredients in three divisions and liquid ingredients in 2 divisions. It is very important to begin and end the additions with the dry ingredients. Do not over mix the batter. As soon as it has no lumps in the batter, pour into the two prepared 8 or 9 inch cake pans.
  7. Bake at 325 degrees F for about 35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The 9 inch pans will bake faster because the cake will be shallower.
  8. Allow the cake to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely.
  9. I’ve frosted this cake with chocolate buttercream frosting but plain vanilla buttercream is great on this cake too or add a little orange zest to it for some extra zing. Marshmallow frosting is a terrific choice for this cake too.

To make the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  1. Mix the butter, cocoa and icing sugar together until the butter is broken up well into small pieces and distributed throughout the sugar. It may still look powdery at this point.
  2. Add the melted chocolate chips, vanilla extract and a couple of tablespoons of the milk.
  3. Add only 2 tbsp milk at he beginning and add more only as needed to bring the frosting to a spreadable consistency. Beat together well until smooth, fluffy and creamy. If you add a little too much milk just add a few tbsp more of icing sugar to bring it back to the proper consistency.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size

1 g

Amount Per Serving Calories 611Total Fat 30gSaturated Fat 12gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 16gCholesterol 69mgSodium 372mgCarbohydrates 84gFiber 2gSugar 63gProtein 5g

The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by third party software and is meant as a guideline only. Exact accuracy is not guaranteed. For recipes where all ingredients may not be used entirely, such as those with coatings on meats, or with sauces or dressings for example, calorie & nutritional values per serving will likely be somewhat lower than indicated.

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Monday 18th of January 2021

I can only buy a vegetable shortening in New Zealand that is made from coconuts. Would that work or should I use butter and oil in the orange velvet cake.

Sadia Monzur

Saturday 14th of March 2020

This recipe is so informative to make. The photograph looks so attractive. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I will try it.

Kudzai Emily Chagonda

Saturday 13th of October 2018

Im in ZImbabwe, Just bumped into your site whilt looking for easy mix moist cakes without hustles of creaming. woooooow thanks, your orange velvet was awesome,day 1 tasted dry n flat, but better with each day by the 3rd day it had become more moist and tasted even better even my mum was so glad. cant wait to try the lemon & choc velvet range, highly recommended.

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