Prep Time: 15 mins Cooking Time: 40 mins Serves: 8-10

There is a real festive feel to this Orange and Dark Chocolate Cake. It is a really great alternative for those who don’t like Christmas cake. You could cover it with my Chocolate Candied Orange Peel or fresh Kumquats to dress it up.

willie's cacao recipes


For the cake:

200g slightly salted butter, softened

200g raw cane sugar

250g ground almonds

3 eggs

Grated zest of 3 oranges

Juice of ½ orange

75g medium-ground polenta

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp cream of tartar

50g candied orange peel, roughly chopped

60g ginger, preserved in syrup, roughly chopped

80g – 100% cacao, Willie recommends San Agustin 100 cylinder, roughly


(To use 70% cacao dark chocolate, replace with San Agustin 70 Chef’s Drops )

For the syrup:

Juice of 2 oranges

2½ tbsp ginger syrup (from the preserved ginger)


Mixing bowl

Cake tin



Preheat the oven to 160°C. Lightly grease the cake tin and line with baking paper.

Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy. 

Blend in the ground almonds, followed by the eggs, one at a time, beating well in between each one. 

Mix in the orange zest and juice, then fold in the polenta flour, baking powder and cream of tartar. Finally, mix in the candied peel, preserved ginger and cacao, keeping back a little of all three to decorate.

Tip the mixture into the prepared tin, smooth the top and sprinkle over the pieces of reserved candied peel, preserved ginger and cacao. 

Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin, then turn out onto a serving plate.

Prepare the syrup by placing the orange juice and ginger syrup in a saucepan over a medium heat. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and cook until reduced to about 65ml liquid. While still hot, brush the syrup all over the cake, using a pastry brush. Allow to the syrup glaze to cool completely before serving. 

This cake will keep well for just over a week, if kept in a cool place in an airtight container.

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Prep Time Cooking Time
2 hrs + 2 hrs


Prep Time Cooking Time
40 mins 1 hr 40 mins

Alternative Recipes


Prep Time Cooking Time
5 mins 5 mins


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