Dan Lepard’s Orange Cassata Cake

4 Star, Cake, Layer cakes | 3rd November 2011 | By

Having missed trying a piece of the Orange and Earl Grey Cake, I was keen to make another one as soon as possible. I could have made the exact same one and one day I will, but having spotted a recipe for orange cassata cake in Dan Lepard’s Short & Sweet, I thought I’d try that one instead – it did contain chocolate after all!

This is how I did it:

  • Creamed 125g unsalted butter with 125g cardamom sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Grated in the zest of 1.5 oranges and creamed a bit more.
  • Beat in 3 medium eggs (sadly duck eggs are no longer in season), alternating each one with a spoonful of the flour mixture.
  • Sifted 200g sifted flour (half spelt and half white), 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda, 25g custard powder (substituted for the cornflour which I didn’t have) and 75g icing sugar.
  • Stirred this in to the egg mixture alternately with 75g milk.
  • Divided the mixture between two 22 cm round cake moulds and baked at 180C for 20 minutes.
  • Left to cool for 10 minutes then turned out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Beat 250g curd cheese (I used quark). The recipe asked for ricotta which I’d wanted to use, but couldn’t get hold of any.
  • Grated in the zest from the remaining half orange, reserving a few strands for decoration.
  • Stirred in 40g chopped dark orange chocolate (I used Lindt Orange Intense which also contains pieces of orange and almonds), 1 tsp vanilla extract and 15g very finely chopped mixed peel. CT is not a fan of mixed peel so I didn’t use as much as the recipe stated.
  • Beat 100g icing sugar with 3 tbsp of orange juice until it was soft enough to spread but not so runny it would slide off the cake as the Earl Grey icing had previously done.
  • Sandwiched the two cakes together with the cheese mixture.
  • Topped with the icing and scattered the reserved strands of orange zest over the top.

This was a deliciously citrussy cake, but it tasted of real orange, rather than that horrible synthetic taste you so often get with some commercial offerings, which neither CT nor I can abide. It had a good firm, but moist texture and was well risen. With the chocolate in the filling only and all layers containing orange, the orange was allowed to be the star of the show. It’s an orange cake with chocolate not a chocolate cake with orange. The icing was just the right amount to give a welcome addition of sweetness, but not so much as to be cloying. The chocolate in the filling provided a nice contrasting crunch to the sponginess of the cake and the cheese was pleasantly tart and creamy. CT, who is not a lover of peel, remained mercifully silent on the subject of its presence – result!


  1. Leave a Reply

    Dom at Belleau Kitchen
    3rd November 2011

    Ooh it looks so lovely. I am so excited about winning the book. I cannot wait for it to arrive. So many recipes I’ve seen from it look amazing!!

  2. Leave a Reply

    3rd November 2011

    This looks a great cake – another one to add to my list of things to bake from the book!

  3. Leave a Reply

    3rd November 2011

    That looks good – it looks much more cakey than a lot of cassata cakes I’ve seen.

  4. Leave a Reply

    Karen S Booth
    3rd November 2011

    LOVELY looking cake and I am a sucker for all things citrus so this is right up my cake street! Also love the fact that it appears to be more cakey than than the usual cassata, better for me that!

  5. Leave a Reply

    3rd November 2011

    How many more sleeps is it till Santa arrives? My book is on his sleigh and I’m not sure I can cope with any more pictures of the treats inside, its driving me crazy I tell you!

  6. Leave a Reply

    Rolling Pin Claire
    3rd November 2011

    Looks amazing. I love the way you’re not afraid to make a few changes to recipes – they always seem to work!

  7. Leave a Reply

    3rd November 2011

    How perfectly gorgeous. I was thinking about you when watching the Great British Food Revival – James Martin was waxing lyrical over duck eggs! I will look out for them now, they might have them at the Farm Shop we go to once every 6 weeks or so. Never seen them in the supermarket up here.

  8. Leave a Reply

    3rd November 2011

    Yet another gorgeous looking cake from Dan Lepard’s book. I bet this one smelled amazing as it was cooking. I like the idea of using quark in the icing, very clever!

  9. Leave a Reply

    Baking Addict
    3rd November 2011

    This looks really, really good and I’ve just had cake! Am bookmarking this immediately. I really must get my hands on this book but I’ve bought so many recently, I can’t quite bring myself to buy anymore yet.

  10. Leave a Reply

    4th November 2011

    Looks good, sounds good – must get that book – I like how you substitute things you haven’t got and it still turns out great.

  11. Leave a Reply

    4th November 2011

    This looks lovely and moist, and the frosting looks so fudgey and delicious. It’s not as chocolatey as a lot of the stuff you post, but can imagine the flavour is subtle and delicious. Another winner from Dan!

  12. Leave a Reply

    4th November 2011

    Dom – and there are just so many more 🙂

    Suelle – I think there’s enough in there to keep us all going for some time to come.

    Foodycat – well the sponge was meant to be split into four and as usual I didn’t quite follow the recipe!

    Karen – thank you. You’re all very familiar with cassata – I’m not, so had nothing to gage it by.

    Angie – well this was my first attempt too and I didn’t split the sponge into four as I should have done or used as much filling.

    Lou – I’m suddenly in love with orange. The trouble with that book (and most baking books if truth be told), is trying to pick on only one recipe to start with 😉

    Anna – Oh, I do hope you won’t be disappointed – I’m sure you won’t :-S

    Chele – had a good giggle over that one. It’ll be here before you know it and you’ll be wishing you had more time!

    Hannah – it was the first time I’ve put these particular flavours together and it did work very well.

    Claire – I’m just not very good at following recipes – I’m a bit blase in the kitchen. This might not be a good thing 😉

    MCB – I’m sure you wouldn’t regret it. There’s a baking challenge just for it too.

    Sarah – thank you. You’ll be spoilt for choice.

    BVG – thank you. Hope santa delivers – you’ll love it.

    Janice – oh will have to watch that on iPlayer. No, I sort of doubt duck eggs would be available in a supermarket. Buy mine in local farm shop or WI market.

    Laura – you’re so right, it smelt wonderful. The cheese worked well, but I’d really like to try it again with ricotta.

    Baking Addict – I know what you mean. There are so many baking books coming out at the moment, they’ll be bankrupting us as well as taking over our houses 😉

    Jennifer – thank you, that’s very kind. I’m a hit and miss kind of girl 😉

    Little Loaf – the chocolate definitely took a back seat on this one, but it played it’s part very nicely nonethe less.

  13. Leave a Reply

    4th November 2011

    If Amazon don’t ship my copy of Short and Sweet soon, I may explode! 🙂 Love the sound of this cake, Choc, as I’m a big fan of the choc-orange combination. I’ve recently found really good orange peel (which comes in strips rather than the horrible packaged stuff), I wish I could send you some. It even converted Pete, who like CT has never been a mixed peel fan…

  14. Leave a Reply

    4th November 2011

    Looks lovely – really well risen and a lovely sounding combination of flavours.

    Adding to Celia’s comment – does CT hate the mixed peel you can buy as whole pieces and chop yourself, or the ready chopped stuff. I hate the ready chopped stuff – it’s bitter and nasty, but the stuff you chop yourself is a million miles apart. The supermarkets used to sell it, but the Sundora stuff I was looking for doesn’t seem to be on mysupermarket.co.uk. Hmmm, will have to look for it instore.

  15. Leave a Reply

    5th November 2011

    I love peel. Mr Chocolate however not so much, anything vaguely like that and he says a polite,”it’s more of a you thing.” More for me twiddly-dee 🙂

  16. Leave a Reply

    6th November 2011

    Celia – thank you for the tip on strips of peel and for the nice thought. There must be a source over here somewhere as C says she gets large pieces of peel that need cutting up too. Hope you get that copy of S&S soon, don’t want any explosions.

    C – thank you. Will have to look out for that – didn’t know we could get any other type of peel here.

    CityHippy – he he – does this mean peel features a lot in your cooking?

    Venessa – I’m very much hoping I’ll get to meet him this time!

  17. Leave a Reply

    Johanna GGG
    7th November 2011

    fascinating idea – haven’t had cassata for ages but I like the idea of converting it to a cake – and the actual cake sounds great too – yet another reason to buy the book

  18. Leave a Reply

    11th November 2011

    This looks so good, it’s a bonus that it tasted of real oranges, I know the feeling when you are excited to eat something that is orange flavoured and tastes nothing like it!

    Jazz xo

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