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An orange-scented chocolate and almond cake covered with a lacquer chocolate glaze. It is called L’Orange and I’m totally in love with it.

Here is how it looked like right out of the oven. I couldn’t decide for a while whether I should continue with the recipe or cut my losses and start over, but then the kitchen started smelling like an orange grove and I couldn’t resist. So I glazed it with the most delicious and shiniest glaze ever, and now I’m totally in love with it.

Yes, I said it twice, and I’ll say it thrice*: I am in love with this cake.

Here’s the ugly duckling. Watch what happens when you pour the lacquer chocolate glaze on top.

But, before that, here’s how it looks like when you serve, just to give you an idea:

To be able to understand why I really called it The Ugly Duckling, I have to take you back. Back to when it really did come out of the oven:

And it is no surprise. This is exactly what the cake should look like – puffed and domed in the center (sinks back after cooling it down) with a slight fracture 1 inch from the rim.

At this point, you really should resist tasting a piece of that fracture (it is really tasty) and place a cardboard on it instead. Just press slightly to even out the surface.

And then it looks like this:

Now, about that lacquer chocolate glaze…

The original recipe calls for a butter chocolate glaze, but I had been looking forward to trying a different chocolate glaze recipe. It is from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s newest book, “Rose’s Heavenly Cakes”, which received “Cookbook of The Year” award and was also the winner in the “Baking: Savory or Sweet” category at this year’s IACP Cookbook Awards.  Very well deserved.

You might remember this Passion Fruit, Mango and Chocolate Cake from the New Year’s Eve Dinner Party. I’ve made the passion fruit curd from that book and it was sensational.

An instant-read thermometer will be very helpful with the lacquer glaze as you have to cool it down to a certain temperature for the correct consistency to glaze the cake perfectly. Don’t worry if you don’t have one; I also mentioned how long you should wait to achieve the desired temperature in the recipe section.

Also, have ready a small spatula to help coat the sides. Shall we start?

We start from the sides…

And slowly move to the center…

And as the glaze starts going down the sides, pour the glaze about an inch from the edge to help cover the sides evenly.

You can also watch Rose Levy Beranbaum herself apply the glaze over a cake here.

Hope you give it a try. I know you’ll like it very very much.

* You already know my obsession with “The Golden Girls”… The word “thrice” is from one of my favorite episodes, called “Big Daddy’s Little Lady”. Dorothy and Rose (by the way, Betty White totally rocked SNL last week) enters a songwriting contest and this is what happens:

Dorothy: [singing] Miami is nice, so I’ll say it twice. Miami is nice! Miami is nice! Miami is nice! Wait a minute, you put in an extra “Miami is nice”. The lyrics don’t make any sense. It goes “Miami is nice, so I’ll say it *twice*.”
Rose: Well what about this: “Miami is nice, so I’ll say it thrice!”
Dorothy: Who the hell says “thrice“?
Rose: It’s a word!
Dorothy: So is intrauterine, it doesn’t belong in a song!
Rose: [singing] Miami, you’re cuter than an intrauterine!
Dorothy: [storms off]

L’ORANGE – Orange, Chocolate and Almond Cake Recipe

Recipe for L’Orange adapted from Fran Bigelow’s “Pure Chocolate”.


  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used Valrhona Guanaja)
  • 2 oranges, preferably organic
  • 1+1/2 sticks (12 tbsp) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1+2/3 cups (6+2/3 ounces) almond flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa, sifted
  • 1+1/3 cups lacquer chocolate glaze (recipe below)


  1. Prepare the lacquer chocolate glaze (recipe below) and set aside (it takes an hour to cool down) while you prepare the cake.
  2. Preheat your oven to 300F.
  3. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan, line bottom with parchment paper and set aside.
  4. In a double boiler melt chocolate over low heat, remove from heat and stir with a spatula until smooth.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat sugar and butter on high speed for a minute.
  6. Finely grate the zest of two oranges directly into the bowl (so that all the fragrant oils are captured) and beat on high speed until light in color, for 5 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  7. Add the eggs, one by one, beating until well mixed after each addition.
  8. Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium speed for a minute until you have a smooth batter.
  9. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in the almond flour and cocoa with a spatula.
  10. Evenly spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes, until puffed and domed in the center with a slight fracture 1 inch from the rim. A toothpick inserted in the center will come out with few moist crumbs. Allow to cool to room temperature for 20 minutes.
  11. Place a cardboard circle or tart bottom on top of the cake and lightly press to even out the surface. Invert the cake and place on a cooling rack set over a large, rimmed baking sheet (you can also use a long double layer of wide heavy-duty aluminum foil) to catch the glaze.
  12. Remove parchment paper and have ready the lacquer chocolate glaze.
  13. Pour the glaze in an even circular motion on top, starting with the sides, allowing it to cascade over and coat them completely. Start pouring in the middle and as the glaze starts going down the sides, pour the glaze about an inch from the edge to help cover the sides evenly. Reapply glaze as needed. 1+1/3 cups of glaze is enough to cover the cake in a single shot, but you can use the glaze accumulated in the baking sheet if needed.
  14. Allow the cake to sit for about half an hour until the glaze stops dripping, then move the cake to a serving plate.
  15. Allow the glaze to set for 4 hours. It can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature and will keep fresh for two days. If you plan on refrigerating the cake, it will keep fresh for 5 days in an airtight container, but make sure to bring it to room temperature before serving for fullest flavor by taking it out of the refrigerator 2 hours beforehand (and a brief wave of a hair dryer set on low heat will bring the shine back).


Recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s “Rose’s Heavenly Cakes”.


Makes 1+1/3 cups

  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 2 tsp powdered gelatin
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp cocoa powder (I used Valrhona)
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream


  1. Pour 1/4 cup cold water in a small mixing bowl, sprinkle gelatin over the top, give it a stir, cover with plastic and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, whisk together sugar and 1/3 cup water over medium heat. When the sugar completely melts, take off heat and with the help of a wire whisk, stir in corn syrup, followed by the cocoa. You’ll have a smooth and glossy mixture.
  3. Stir in heavy cream with a spatula and return pan to medium heat. Bring the mixture to the boiling point, remove from heat and strain into a metal bowl. Cool until an instant-read thermometer reads 122 – 140 F, for about 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in softened gelatin until completely dissolved.
  5. Strain the glaze into a bowl and let cool until an instant-read thermometer registers 80F (best temperature to glaze the cake; if you’re making this ahead, make sure to reheat to 85 F as it will be thicker). The recipe says this will happen in a few minutes, but it took an hour for the glaze to cool down to 80F (and I’ve made it twice so far).