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Orange Marmalade Chocolate Cake

It was my birthday last week and this is the exchange I had with my 3 year old son on the morning of my birthday:

Andy: Happy birthday mommy, I love you.

Me: Thank you, Andy. I love you too.

Andy: I want some of your cake.

Me: What cake? It’s 9am, there’s no cake. I haven’t made a cake.

Andy: Then why did we say Happy Birthday?

So, despite the lovely southern pound cake Adam’s step-mother had made and we had enjoyed two days prior as my “birthday cake” I knew I wasn’t going to be able to dissuade my children from their expectation of a layer cake with frosting. Let the baking begin.


Adam took the kids to a movie so I could have some quiet time and about an hour into their excursion I caved in decided to bake a cake. I went with a cake that I’d tried before from Smitten Kitchen. It’s the chocolate cake part of her Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake and it’s a simple one bowl cake whose batter I could mix up with a fork. Oh, and it’s outrageously moist and delicious.

When it came out of the oven I went and sat on the porch, went to have a soak in the hot tub, took a shower, and then a quasi nap. By the time I got back to the cake it was 5:30pm and I had to figure out the frosting. I wanted mocha, but giving the kids a dose of chocolate and caffeine right before bed seemed like a dubious choice. Adam suggested lemon, which I vetoed, but then led me to settle on orange. Orange marmalade to be exact. Except we didn’t have enough in the house.

Have I mentioned recently how much I love my husband? He went out, in a torrential rain storm, to two different stores to get me marmalade. That, in my opinion, was the best birthday present; the willingness. Anyway, he came home with some fantastic marmalade and this glorious cake was born. It’s not as pretty as it could be because I was in a rush and didn’t have time to do a crumb coat or allow the frosting and marmalade to set before adding the next layer on top. But it worked. And, if you follow proper cake making technique yours will be as pretty as can be.


Chocolate Cake

Follow Deb’s instructions for the cake

Orange Frosting


  • 12 oz orange marmalade (no sugar added)
  • 1 lb powdered sugar (or evaporated cane juice)
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup orange juice


  • Make the cake according to Smitten Kitchen’s instructions. Allow it to cool to room temperature.
  • In a bowl beat together the butter, sugar, and orange juice until smooth.
  • Frost each layer of the cake with a crumb coat of this frosting.
  • Once the crumb coat is set top the bottom and middle layers of the cake each with 1/2 the marmalade. Spread until smooth.
  • Allow the marmalade to set in the fridge until firm.
  • Put the layers together and fill in the gaps between the layers with frosting. Add some more to the top just for yummy fun.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)