Orange, Icewine, Chocolate Layer Cake

My friend who I made the retirement cakes for, the lemon chiffon cake and the double chocolate espresso chocolate cake, asked if I would be interested in making a birthday cake for her friend as it is coming up in a few weeks. We were trying to figure out what flavour as we were limited by party goers allergies.


I came across this one in the new Autumn edition of Food & Drink magazine which is put out seasonally by the LCBO. It’s amazing! I tested it out this past weekend on some friends, and the whole cake was gone wickedly fast! Two and three helpings at a time!


The only thing I’m not a fan of for this recipe is the price of Icewine! If you don’t have any around, I would suggest buying two little bottles ($7 each). I also thought about using another type of “wine”. I have a late maple harvest liqueur that I imagine would be tasty too.


This step is adding some of the orange juice to the milk. Not sure what it does, but I have a funny suspicion it makes something like buttermilk!




After the orange rind has been cooked in the icewine, it’s very pliable. Make sure to cut it fine as it will be going into the cake batter. So depending how much texture you like in your cake, you can leave it bigger or it grind it down. It adds a lovely flavour to the actual cake.



The original recipe called for two 9″ cake pans, I only had 8″ and it worked out just fine. I just had to adjust the cook time by 5 minutes to ensure the middles were done.


The type of chocolate you use for this recipe will make a difference as it is a star ingredient. In this blurry picture it is being melted down to add to the buttercream.


This is the chocolate for the ganache!



I used a metal stand mixer bowl over the water to beat the eggs as it is easy to wipe down to put back on the stand mixer.





There was left over of both the ganache and the buttercream. Feel free to save in the fridge for up to a week or two.


I normally level out my cakes, but the recipe didn’t call for it, so I trusted it. It was level when I was done 🙂


The cake was moist and dense. Tastes of orange and the icewine together was a perfect match. The chocolate just added the most magnificant sweetness without being over bearing!


Orange, Icewine, Chocolate Layer Cake



2 medium oranges
½ cup (125 mL) icewine
1 cup (250 mL) milk, at room temperature
2⅓ cups (580 mL) all-purpose flour
1 tbsp (15 mL) baking powder
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
¼ tsp (1 mL) baking soda
1 cup (250 mL) unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups (375 mL) granulated sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 tbsp (15 mL) vanilla


8 oz (250 g) 70 to 72% dark chocolate, chopped
⅓ cup (80 mL) whipping cream
3 egg whites
¾ cup (175 mL) granulated sugar
Pinch salt
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
1¼ cups (310 mL) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch (1-cm) cubes, softened
2 tbsp (30 mL) icewine


Scrub oranges under warm running water. Using a sharp vegetable peeler, peel long, wide strips of zest from oranges being sure to avoid the white pith. Squeeze juice from oranges and set aside.


Bring icewine to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat in a small saucepan. Add strips of orange zest. Reduce heat to low, cover, leaving lid slightly ajar, and simmer stirring occasionally for about 25 minutes or until zest is soft and translucent. Strain through a fine sieve, reserving poaching syrup. Let zest cool completely.


Finely chop enough of the zest to measure 2 tbsp (30 mL). Wrap remaining zest in plastic wrap and reserve for garnish.


Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).


Grease the sides of two 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper.


Stir ¼ cup (60 mL) orange juice into milk and set aside. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a bowl using a whisk. In a separate bowl, using electric mixer with paddle or beaters (for a hand mixer), beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down sides of the bowl often.


Beat in chopped orange zest and vanilla. Using a rubber spatula, stir in flour mixture alternately with milk mixture, making 3 additions of flour and 2 of milk. Divide batter equally and spread into prepared pans, smoothing tops.


Bake for about 30 minutes or until tester inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let cool in pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around edges, invert onto wire racks and peel off paper. Let cool completely.


For the frosting, place 5 oz (150 g) of the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan of hot (not boiling) water and melt, stirring until smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.


For the ganache filling, heat whipping cream in a small saucepan over medium heat just until bubbles form around the edge of pan. Remove from heat and add remaining 3 oz (90 g) chocolate. Whisk until blended to make ganache. Transfer to a bowl, set aside to cool to room temperature.


Whisk together egg whites, sugar and salt in the metal bowl of a stand mixer or a large heatproof bowl (to use a hand mixer). Set bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let bottom of the bowl touch the water) and heat, whisking constantly, for about 3 minutes or until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch. Attach to mixer with whisk attachment (or beaters for hand mixer) and beat on medium speed for about 15 minutes or until thick and completely cool. Beat in vanilla. Add butter, 3 cubes at a time, beating constantly and making sure butter is incorporated between each addition, until buttercream is fluffy and smooth (as you add butter, the mixture will thin out then thicken up and get creamy again).


Add melted chocolate and beat on medium-low speed until incorporated.


Transfer ¾ cup (175 mL) of the buttercream to the ganache and fold until blended for the filling. Beat icewine into remaining buttercream for the frosting.


To assemble, stir enough of the reserved orange juice into reserved poaching syrup to make 3 tbsp (45 mL). Place 1 cake layer with the smooth, bottom side facing up on serving plate and brush with half of the syrup. Re-invert remaining cake layer (so the smooth side is down) and brush the top with remaining syrup.


Spread ganache buttercream filling over the bottom layer of cake on the serving plate. Invert remaining cake layer so the smooth side is on top and press lightly. Spread sides and top of cake with buttercream frosting. Refrigerate until just set, about 1 hour, or for up to 1 day. If cake is cold, let warm at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving.


Just before serving, twist or very thinly slice remaining orange zest and garnish top of cake. Cut into slices with a large, warmed knife.


Serves 12

{Original recipe is from the Autumn addition of Food & Drink Magazine by the LCBO}

3 thoughts on “Orange, Icewine, Chocolate Layer Cake

  1. Pingback: Your Questions About Wine Making Recipes | Wine Making

    • Thanks! Cakes in our house are usually when company is coming or it’s someone’s birthday 🙂 I try and do interesting cakes when I do though 🙂

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