Rich dark chocolate flavors are combined with fresh citrus juice in this recipe for chocolate orange loaf cake! Topped with a homemade white chocolate ganache drizzle, the loaf cake it is moist, comforting, and so delicious. Naturally gluten-free and dairy-free.
I tested this recipe with King Arthur Measure for Measure Flour and it works very well. Be sure to check out my collection of King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour recipes. Several other gluten-free flours for baking will work. Cup4Cup (contains milk powder) and Pamela’s All Purpose Artisan Flour Blend are similar to King Arthur’s and will work well. If you use a flour blend that does not contain xanthan gum, guar gum or inulin (binders), add 3/4 tsp xanthan gum to the recipe.
Cocoa powder is the best way to get a strong dark chocolate flavor into baked goods. For a gluten-free cocoa powder, Hershey’s is the easiest to find. Unfortunately, Ghirardelli recently added a wheat warning to their cocoa powder. My personal preference is organic cacao powder.
The juice and zest of fresh oranges gives this cake a strong pop of orange. What is “orange zest?” The zest is the colored outer layer of the peel and has a strong orange flavor. It’s a great way to get flavor into a recipe without adding liquid. Use a microplane to get very finely grated zest that will disappear into the cake. Here is my quick tutorial on how to zest citrus.
If you want to make this cake a little quicker to prepare, here is an alternative to using fresh oranges, Use 3 Tbsp prepared, low or no-pulp orange juice and 1½ tsp. orange extract.
Dairy-free yogurt makes this cake rich and moist. My preferred vegan yogurt is Kite Hill Almond Milk yogurt. The flavor and texture are amazing. So Delicious and Coco Yo are good options. Forager Cashew Yogurt is very thick and not ideal in this recipe.
I prefer oil over butter in my cakes. Oil does a much better job of adding moisture to baked goods. Avocado oil, sunflower, canola or vegetable oil are all good options.
Mixing the Cake Batter
I must admit, as much as I love a one-bowl cake recipe this one takes three. Using this method assures that the cocoa powder is incorporated and creates a moist, rich texture in the cake. Have you ever tried to use unsweetened cocoa powder for hot chocolate? It does not easily dissolve into the milk and when it does, it’s lumpy.
We’ll avoid this problem by mixing the cocoa powder with heated oil and orange juice first. This way, the batter will be smooth and the cake will be fudgy and rich.
I have included a white chocolate ganache recipe below. For a dairy-free white chocolate, I prefer this vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free white chocolate (also nut, soy and peanut free). It’s a little sweeter than other white chocolates, so I recommend adding 1/4 tsp salt to the ganache for flavor balance. For a double dose of chocolate, my 2 ingredient, vegan, dairy-free chocolate ganache is a gorgeous easy topping.
If you prefer a traditional cake frosting recipe, try my 2 ingredient vegan chocolate frosting, vegan chocolate cream cheese frosting, pipeable cream cheese frosting or my traditional chocolate buttercream frosting and vanilla buttercream frosting.
More Cake Recipes
Gluten-Free Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake
- 1 c sugar
- ¾ c flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¾ c unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 eggs room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 medium-large sized navel orange OR 3 Tbsp orange juice + 1½ tsp orange extract
- ⅔ c oil sunflower, avocado, canola
- ½ c dairy-free yogurt Kite Hill recommended
White Chocolate Ganache Topping
- ¾ c white chocolate chips or 4 oz
- ⅓ c dairy-free milk substitute
- If your eggs are cold, place them in a bowl of warm water to bring to room temperature and heat the yogurt in the microwave for 10 seconds to take the chill off.
- Pre-heat the oven to 325°F and generously grease an 8" x 4" (8½ x 4½ ok too) loaf pan. Or, grease and line with parchment for easy removal.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk the sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.
- Beat the eggs and vanilla together in a small bowl.
- Place the cocoa powder in a large mixing bowl.
- Zest the orange using a microplane (check out my quick tutorial on how to zest citrus). You should have about 1 packed tsp of zest. As long as it is close to that amount, it is fine.
- Mix the zest with the oil in a glass measuring cup or small microwave-safe bowl.
- Cut the orange in half and juice it. You will need 3 Tbsp juice – usually 1/2 orange is enough. Add the juice to the oil/zest mixture.
- Heat the juice and oil mixture in a small pot or in a microwave safe bowl. I heat it in my glass measuring cup to save using another bowl. Heat until hot – 1 minute on high in the microwave or until it starts to bubble just a little in a pot.
- Add the hot liquid to the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth.
- Add the room temperature vegan yogurt to the cocoa/oil mixture and whisk to combine.
- Add the beaten eggs/vanilla and stir until smooth.
- Stir in the dry ingredients in 2 additions and stir until smooth. Do not over-mix.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to help release some of the air bubbles.
- Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the White Chocolate Ganache
- Wait until the cake is cooled.
- If using a bar of white chocolate, chop into chip sized pieces.
- Place in a microwave safe bowl and add the milk.
- Heat in the microwave on high for 20 seconds. Stir. Heat another 20 seconds. Stir thoroughly. If the residual heat is not melting the remaining chunks, heat for another 10 seconds.
- Pour or drizzle over the cooled loaf.