Chocolate, orange and cardamom cake

Chocolate, orange and cardamom cake

Danielle Wood

Apart from being delicious on its own and fun to make, honeycomb can be crumbled up or broken into shards and used as a dramatic cake decoration.

For the chocolate cake:


Quantity Ingredient
75g cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
175g unsalted butter
150g caster sugar
150g soft dark brown sugar
4 medium eggs, lightly beaten
275g plain flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 green cardamom pods, seeds finely ground
180ml whole milk

For the orange buttercream:

Quantity Ingredient
250g unsalted butter
1 orange, grated zest
400g icing sugar
100ml double cream

For the cardamom honeycomb shards:

Quantity Ingredient
vegetable oil, for greasing
250g caster sugar
4 tablespoons clear honey
6 green cardamom pods, seeds finely ground
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda


Quantity Ingredient
2 x 15cm round, deep cake tins
sugar thermometer
cake board or stand
piping bag, fitted with an 18 mm large star tip
How to level & split a cake
How to fill and cover a cake with buttercream or chocolate ganache


  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease the cake tins and line the bases with baking parchment. Place the cocoa powder, vanilla extract and 120 ml boiling water in a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside to cool. In a clean bowl, using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, beat the butter and sugars for 3–4 minutes, or until the mixture is pale and creamy. Add the eggs to the butter mixture, a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the cooled cocoa mixture and beat well.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and ground cardamom seeds into a clean bowl. Add a third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat, followed by half of the milk, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go. Add another third of the flour, the remaining milk then the remaining flour and beat until just combined.
  3. Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared tins and bake in the oven for 40–50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into centre of each cake comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes in their tins, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. While the cakes are baking and cooling, make the orange buttercream and the honeycomb. For the buttercream, using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, beat the butter for 3–4 minutes until pale and creamy. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to beat for another 2–3 minutes until smooth. Cover the buttercream with cling film (plastic wrap) and store at room temperature until you’re ready to use it.
  5. For the honeycomb, lightly oil a 20 x 30 cm baking tin. Place the sugar, honey and 2 tablespoons of water in a large saucepan with a sugar thermometer attached. Gently stir over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the cardamom, stop stirring and increase the heat to 150°C. Remove from the heat and whisk in the bicarbonate of soda until just combined (be careful, it will bubble up). Immediately tip the mixture on to the prepared baking tin and leave to cool before breaking into shards.
  6. Level the cakes by cutting off the domed tops and split each cake in half so that you have 4 layers in total. Fix your first cake layer to a cake board or cake stand with a small amount of buttercream. Spread the first layer with a generous amount of the orange buttercream. Place the second layer on top of this and repeat, and repeat again with the third layer, finishing with the final cake layer. Cover the cake with a thin layer of the buttercream and chill for 30 minutes or until firm. Once firm cover the cake with the remaining buttercream. To finish, pipe peaks using an 18 mm large star tip and decorate with shards of the honeycomb.
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