A deliciously spiced Orange Cardamom Cake with a simple chocolate cream cheese frosting. With orange extract in both the cake and frosting, this dessert is bursting with winter citrus flavor! If you love chocolate and orange then you will love this cake!
Orange Cardamom Layer Cake
This blog post is a long time in the making. Sometimes I get so caught up with life that sitting down to write a post for a recipe I’ve already released to my followers just keeps getting pushed further and further away. But, alas, here I am. Finally, officially, publishing the recipe for this fluffy, spiced Orange Cardamom Cake! And let me just say, I love this cake. I think I’ve shared it at least three times over on Instagram in the past months, because it’s just that good. The cardamom pairs so well with the orange, and we all know that orange pairs perfectly with chocolate. Add a cream cheese frosting (which is so smooth and silky) and you’ve got a cake you won’t be able to resist!
Ingredients with Possible Substitutions
- All-purpose flour makes up the bulk of the cake batter. I like to use an unbleached variety, but bleached AP flour is okay, too. I haven’t tested this recipe with any gluten-free or whole wheat flours.
- Plant-based butter is used in both the cake and frosting. For this recipe, you can use regular stick butter, too. I don’t recommend tub “butter” as it tends to be too soft for frosting. But if you must use a plant-based tub butter then you will need less milk in your frosting.
- Granulated cane sugar sweetens the cake. Feel free to use unrefined cane sugar, raw sugar, coconut sugar, or white sugar – just note that the gram measurements will vary between kinds of sugar. I used an unrefined cane sugar in my cake.
- Orange extract brings the orange flavor to the cake and frosting. You can use orange zest in its place with a 2:1 ration. You’ll want to double the amount of zest, so instead of 1 tsp extract, you’ll use 2 tsp of orange zest.
- Plant-based milk brings moisture to both the cake and frosting. Feel free to use your favorite milk – almond, oat, cow’s milk, etc.
- Vegan cream cheese brings a slightly tangy flavor to the chocolate frosting. I find that it also helps to get a silky frosting texture. You can use regular cream cheese in its place – just be sure you use SOFTENED cream cheese if it’s made of cow’s milk (vegan cream cheese should be used straight from the fridge).
- Cocoa powder is used to create the chocolate flavor in the frosting. I like to use natural cocoa powder for a lighter chocolate taste, but you can use Dutched cocoa powder for a deeper flavor and color.
More Chocolate Orange Recipes
Orange Cardamom Cake
- 2 2/3 cups (347g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup (168g) plant-based butter (or regular butter), softened
- 1 cup (240g) unrefined cane sugar (or 1 cup regular white sugar)
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tsp orange extract
- 1 1/2 cups plant-based milk (or regular milk)
Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 cup (224g) plant-based butter (or regular butter), softened
- 1 cup (8oz) vegan cream cheese, cold (or regular cream cheese, softened)
- 1 tsp orange extract
- 1 cup (80g) natural cocoa powder
- 6 cups (720g) powdered sugar
- 3 Tbsp plant-based milk (or regular milk)
Make the Cake
- Preheat your oven to 350°F and prep two 8” cake pans with non-stick spray and parchment paper circles (cut to size) - spray first then put the paper down.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cardamom, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs and orange extract. Add in 1/3 of the dry ingredients and beat. Add 1/2 of the milk and beat. Repeat. Finally, add in the final 1/3 of the dry ingredients.
- Divide the batter between the two cake pans. Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cakes comes out clean.
- Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 10 min then turn them out onto a cooling rack. Allow the cakes to cool completely, around 1 hour, before making the frosting.
Make the Frosting & Assemble Cake
- In a large bowl, beat together the butter, cream cheese, orange extract, and cocoa powder. Add 1/2 of the powdered sugar and 2 Tbsp of milk and beat. Add the rest of the sugar. Beat, adding more milk as needed. You want the frosting to be thick enough to hold its shape but also easily spreadable.
- Level/trim the cake layers - I like to use a long bread knife to carefully slice the tops of the cakes off.
- Assemble the cake by laying the first layer right side up. Frost the top (this will be the layer of frosting between the two cake layers). Then add the second layer of cake right side down.
- Spread a crumb coat (thin coat) of frosting around the entire cake. Then frost as desired. I simply frosted mine using a spatula. Slice and enjoy!
- Store leftover cake in an airtight container at room temperature.