Triple Chocolate Cake

The inspiration was from Baked to Imperfection. Although I’ve flirted with buying a bundt tin, I’ve not only made this GF but also substituted a standard traybake tin for my usual tasters.

I’ve applied the ‘chiffon‘ method to ensure maximum lightness; added my inevitable spices, and drizzled the white chocolate for wow factor.

Serves: up to 24


For the cake:

  • 100g dark baking chocolate (min 70% cocoa solids), broken into pieces
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 160ml soured cream (155g if weighing)
  • 85ml boiling water (85g if weighing)
  • 300g gluten-free flour
  • 30g ground almonds
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
    (about 8 green cardamom pods, husks removed, and seeds vigourously crushed)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 4 large eggs, separated (weighing 250g – 270g in total in the shell)
  • 200g unsalted butter, cubed and softened; plus additional cold butter to grease tin
  • 300g soft light brown sugar
  • 1 orange, juice only, approx. 6 tablespoons (save the grated zest for topping)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the ganache and topping:

  • 1 orange, grated zest only (see Cake Ingredients)
  • 100ml double cream (100g if weighing)
  • 150g dark baking chocolate (min 70% cocoa solids), broken into pieces
  • 50g white chocolate, melted, for decoration – see footnote
  • 1 tablespoon very hot water


  • A standard traybake tin 9″ x 12″
  • Baking/parchment paper
  • 4 mixing bowls
  • Mortar and pestle for cardamom seeds (if you don’t have ground cardamom)
  • A pot which holds a medium mixing bowl above
  • Manual whisk
  • Electric beaters (hand-held or stand)
  • Sieve
  • Large metal spoon, for folding
  • Cooling rack
  • Oven-safe plate

To make the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C  (160 C fan-assisted). Very lightly grease the bottom and sides of the tin, and line the bottom and sides with paper.
  2. Melt the dark chocolate in a medium bowl over a pot of simmering water on the hob. (Ensure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water.) Once fully melted, turn off the heat, and add the cocoa, soured cream, and hot water; manually whisk until really smooth. Leave the bowl over the pot so it doesn’t cool and harden.
  3. Whilst the chocolate’s melting, put the flour, almonds, baking powder, bicarb, and spices into a small bowl, and give it a good stir with a fork. Get a sieve to hand.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks, starting at low speed and gradually increasing to high speed as the colour and texture change.
  5. In another large bowl (no need to clean the beaters), whisk the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, with the orange juice and vanilla, whisking continuously. Because this needs to be well fluffy, it’s probably not possible to do by hand.
  6. Sift the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, then pour over the melted chocolate. Fold/stir until fully combined. (Don’t worry about over-mixing, as this is gluten-free – in fact, incorporate as much air as you can.) The batter will be quite thick at this stage.
  7. Add 1/3 of the egg whites to the batter, folding briskly to loosen the mixture. Then add the rest of the egg whites in thirds, folding gently until no white streaks or lumps remain. The batter will now be like mousse.
  8. Pour the batter into your prepared tin, and level the top. Bake for 20 minutes, then turn the tray and turn down the oven to 160 C (140 C fan-assisted). Bake for another 20 – 25 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven, and place the tin on a cooling rack. (Gluten-free cakes can be too delicate to turn out while still hot.)

To make the ganache and topping:

  1. When the cake has baked, turn the oven off. Spread the orange zest on an oven-safe plate, breaking up any clumps, and leave in the oven – door ajar – to dry out as the oven cools.
  2. Bring the cream just to the boil on the hob, then immediately remove from the heat. Add the dark chocolate pieces and whisk briskly, manually, until they’re fully melted and the ganache is glossy. (If the ganache hardens before you’re ready to top the cake, put it over the gentlest of heat until it softens enough.)
  3. Melt the white chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water (don’t let the bottom of the bowl touch the water). Add about 1 tablespoon very hot water once it’s mostly melted and keep stirring. It will darken in colour just a bit. Add a touch more hot water, if necessary, until it’s drizzling consistency.
  4. Spread the ganache over the fully cooled cake. Drizzle over the white chocolate in your choice of pattern, then sprinkle over the dried citrus zest. Rest the cake for about 30 minutes to allow the topping to slightly harden (you can put the tin in the fridge if the ganache is very wet).

Chocolate & Orange  v  Chocolate & Coffee
If you know my recipes, I tend to advocate adding orange to most chocolate cakes. You don’t have to, of course. You could replace the orange juice with 3 tsp instant coffee granules dissolved in 6 tablespoons hot water.

If you do this, modify the spicing by deleting the ginger and cardamom, and add 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg instead. Also, add 1 tsp instant coffee granules to the ganache’s double cream before boiling; and, grate over some fresh nutmeg instead of using dried orange zest on the ganache.

Alternate White Chocolate Garnish
You could grate about 20g white chocolate over the top if you prefer.

Preparation and Ingredient Storage Notes
On my Notes on Recipe Instructions page, I talk about separating eggs and storing the yolks and whites in the freezer, then defrosting when needed. Another thing that works is to grate the zest and squeeze the juice of oranges, lemons or limes, and freeze the elements separately.

I use oven-dried citrus zest often as a cake topper, and defrosted-from-frozen works perfectly well for this. And of course, citrus juice when defrosted is just like fresh for baking purposes. Just make sure you label each container for how much and when stored, and use if possible within 5 weeks.


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