Deliciously decadent chocolate orange cake


A chocolate cake you won’t believe is vegan and gluten-free… but more on that shortly.

Well, this year is just flying by! It’s almost time for the famous QVC event that either makes you shudder or gets you as excited as a tiny child on Christmas Eve. Yes! Christmas in July! It’s like Marmite. You love it or you hate it.

Personally, I loooooooooove it! I also love Marmite. No, this blog is not sponsored by Marmite, or Christmas in July for that matter. I just adore both. Our event allows you to get ready in advance but I mainly like it because it gets me in the mood for Christmas. I love how it brings out the nice side of people. It seems to coax out the inner child within us.

Christmas in July is on the 25th as it’s 6 months to the day until Christmas Day. July 25th is an especially important date in my calendar as it’s my daughter’s birthday! She will be 25 years old this year.

I can’t quite fathom where all that time has gone. Chrissie has been so busy since playing at Glastonbury. She’s been booked for lots of festivals and her latest single release has been very popular. If you’re new to the blog you can read more about her story in my previous blogs.

My son’s birthday is also in July. He turned 27 a couple of weeks ago. I can’t begin to express how Tom and Chrissie are my absolute world. Seeing as I was just twenty when I had Tom and 22 when Chrissie was born, I feel as though we have grown up together on many levels. We have such a closeness.

They are both pretty private people so I’m allowed bragging rights, but I also respect the fact they don’t want me to bang on about them constantly. There are times when exceptions are made to the rule, however, so you may see me post about their singing and songwriting every now and again.

Ok, ok, enough about my wee bairns! The reason for mentioning birthdays is that I made a cake for Tom’s birthday which turned out to be utterly divine! I’m thrilled to share it with you. I found a basic recipe online and added my own touches to it as I do like a bit of tweaking… oh stop, I didn’t mean it like that!

I’ve just realised that this would also be a great Christmas cake due to it’s festive flavour combination of chocolate and orange. So, without further ado, here it is…enjoy!

Deliciously Decadent Chocolate Orange Cake

For the cake:

  • 275g of gluten-free plain flour is what I used, but I’m sure you could use any flour of your choice. Experiment! It’s half the fun of home cooking
  • 50g raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
  • 1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 300ml oat milk (or any other non-dairy milk of your choice)
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp agave nectar
  • 150g of gluten-free, non-dairy spread (I use ‘pure’)
  • 1 tsp of orange extract ( I used Valencian orange extract from Sainsbury’s)

For the icing:

  • 300g icing sugar
  • 50g cacao powder (or cocoa)
  • 150g dairy-free spread
  • 3 tbsp of water
  • 1 tbsp of orange liqueur (I used Cointreau)
  • A handful of chopped nuts and raspberries to decorate


  • Start by greasing two 20cm/8″ cake tins and preheat the oven to 180° C/160° C fan/gas mark 4.
  • Mix the lemon juice and milk together and leave to one side.
  • Melt the non-dairy spread over a medium heat and set aside.
  • For the next step, I bypassed using a sieve as I have a KitchenAid mixer I bought as a Today’s Special Value from QVC about seven years ago… if you have a mixer don’t worry about the sieve stage, just mix the ingredients together.

  • If you don’t have a mixer sieve the flour, cocoa, caster sugar, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a big bowl.
  • Add the melted spread, milk, agave nectar and orange extract to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly until smooth.
  • Divide the mixture between the two cake tins and bake in the oven for around 30-35 minutes. This could vary a little with a fan-assisted oven. Mine took just under 30 minutes.
  • Whilst the cakes are cooking you can make the icing.
  • This bit is super easy. All you have to do is mix together all of the icing ingredients (keep the nuts and raspberries to one side for decorating at the end).  I used my KitchenAid mixer again, I do love that gadget, I must say! However you’re doing it, just make sure everything is mixed together until it’s all nice and smooth.
  • I found my icing to be very ‘liquidy’. I know, I’m always making up words! If you want a firmer icing then pop it in the fridge to harden up a little before icing your cake. I didn’t this time but may do it in the future so I can shape the icing a bit more. It was rather like a chocolate puddle but still tasted great and it firmed up in the fridge later.
  • When the cakes are finished cooking, allow them to cool down in their tins for about ten minutes and then carefully remove them and allow some further cooling time on a wire rack.
  • Once they are completely cool, you can ice them by sandwiching icing between the cakes – one on top of the other – and then either pouring or spreading the icing all over the cake.
  • Finally, sprinkle the chopped nuts and raspberries on top for a nice finishing touch.

Grab yourself a large slice and a cuppa and enjoy!

Oh, one more thing… don’t go telling me off for this being so sugary and fattening. It’s a treat not an everyday staple, ha ha! I hope it comes in useful for you if you have to bake for anyone with special dietary requirements such as gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan, but I also, genuinely, believe you wouldn’t even know it was gluten-free and dairy-free! So why not give it a go and let me know how you get on?

Have a great week and I’ll be back next Wednesday with a freshly baked blog.

Love Catherine xx


  1. Annie Hawkridge July 24, 2019 at 1:52 pm -  Reply

    Hate to tell you Catherine but it’s only five months til Christmas Day, not six. Closer than you think! Good to be prepared x

  2. Karen July 24, 2019 at 5:36 pm -  Reply

    Looks lovely….like you said it does not look like vegan… looks very yummy. I think I will be giving it a go….the cake that is. I love getting ready for Christmas early so I love Christmas in July. I must confess I’m nearly done only a couple of pressies to get,so will be watching for ideas.

  3. Bionda July 24, 2019 at 6:52 pm -  Reply

    What a delicious chocolate cake. Looks sooo yummy and tempting. Thank you for sharing Catherine!

  4. Kay Heffernan July 24, 2019 at 9:13 pm -  Reply

    Oh Catherine thank you so much for this recipe I’m gluten free and this is perfect for me to make for special occasions thank you xx

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