Chilli-Chocolate Orange Cake

Prep Time

30 minutes + cooling

Cooking Time

35-50 minutes

For 2016's National Chocolate Week, Sam Stern sent us this recipe for his Chilli-Chocolate Orange Cake which can be easily customised to suit fiery tastes.


For the cake
  • 150g Divine 70% Dark Chocolate
  • ½ tsp coffee granules
  • 1 tsp crushed chilli flakes (more to taste)
  • 125g butter
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 75g self-raising flour
  • 1 pinch bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp Divine Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tbsp rum, orange juice or water
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tbsp water
  • Peel of half a medium orange, finely grated
For the glaze
  • 2 tbsp good orange marmalade
For the fudge icing
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 25g Divine Cocoa Powder
  • 125g butter
  • 4 tbsp water
For the bitter chocolate icing
  • 180g Divine 70% Dark Chocolate
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup



Preheat the oven to 160°C. Line and grease a 20-22 cm tin (springform or loose-based).


Melt chocolate in a bain marie by placing the pieces in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, not allowing the bowl to touch the water. Add the coffee granules and chilli. Let the mix melt then stir with a wooden spoon. Remove bowl and leave to cool.


Cream the softened butter with the caster sugar in a food mixer or with a wooden spoon, until light and white. Gently stir in the cooled chocolate and 4 egg yolks.


Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder into the bowl and then add the grated orange rind. Fold the mix gently together with a metal spoon using big scooping movements. Add the rum, vanilla and water.


Whisk 5 egg whites until stiff (don’t over whisk). Whisk the first tablespoon of egg white into the mixture until just combined. Then fold the rest in very gently using a metal spoon. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect as it can be hard to combine the two.


Pour the mix into the tin and bake for 45-50 minutes (check after 35 – ovens vary!). To test it, prick with a cocktail stick. It should come out clean. Don’t worry if the top of the cake has cracked a bit – you’ll be icing it up. Remove and place on a cooling rack. Take out of the tin after 5 minutes. Leave to cool slightly.


To make the glaze put the marmalade into a saucepan and melt over a low heat until runny. Brush this onto the cooling cake base with a pastry brush.


For the fudge icing combine the sifted icing sugar and cocoa powder in a bowl. Melt the butter and water and pour into the icing sugar mix. Beat until combined. It should be easily spreadable but not runny so you might not need all the liquid. Cover the top of the cake and sides generously with the icing, tip it then finish using a spatula


To make the bitter chocolate icing melt chocolate pieces in a bain marie with butter and golden syrup. Pour it over the cake for a smooth finish. Let it set.


Time to decorate! We used chocolate dipped hydrangea leaves but you can decorate with cherries, grated chocolate, crumbled flake or chocolate curls (peel from a bar of Divine with a potato peeler).