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Chocolate Orange Loaf (Dairy-Free)

As a kid growing up, what was one of your most favourite guilty pleasures? One of mine was Terry's Chocolate Oranges. I remember my dad occasionally bringing one home for the store and I marvelled out how they could design chocolate in a delicious and fun way. I am still fascinated to this day of how the two flavours (orange and chocolate) taste perfect together and how breaking open Terry's chocolate orange results in perfect orange slices with all of the pulp shapes designed into it. How do they do it?

chocolate bread chocolate chips parchment paper

With that happy memory in mind, I decided to replicate it into a chocolate orange dessert loaf. This chocolate orange loaf is moist, decadent, light and airy. How do you make, what appears to be a dense, sweet chocolate loaf into something that texturally feels like you're chewing on clouds and the flavour keeps people coming back for more? I'll give you some valuable tips on how to serve up a delicious loaf that everyone is going to be talking about.

I love my fair share of sweets, but I just hate that I can never eat the entire serving when it's purchased from a shop. It's always an adventure discovering new bakeries that I've never visited before. Looking through the glass counter and eyeing the rainbow-coloured desserts as I choose which one of the several mouth-watering options I will choose to devour.

But often times, with my heart full of expectations and imaginations of flavours and textures, the dessert is just too sweet and too dense. Store-bought desserts allow me to take one or two bites before I'm looking for milk or water to cut the nauseating sugary taste or to bring moisture back into my mouth.

Store-bought desserts are also often dairy-based which is not an option for me because I am lactose-intolerant. If you take a look at my other recipes, they are lactose-free desserts just like this one.

For all of my lactose-intolerant-suffering friends, you can still indulge in an amazing dessert with this recipe that is not overly sweet and that does not result in you having tummy troubles or tooting around the house afterwards. I mean, unless you've eaten the whole loaf on your own. Then, I can't help you.

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chocolate orange loaf pin

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There are a few things to note about this chocolate orange loaf recipe before we get started.

Egg Whites

Ideally, the egg whites should be cold when beaten for the best result of a light, spongy cake texture. The eggs can be chilled in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. An hour before beginning to bake, separate the egg yolk from the egg whites, and allow the egg yolks to come to room temperature while leaving the egg whites to chill in the refrigerator.

Orange Juice

The orange juice is an essential part to not only the flavour of the loaf but to also the light, airy texture. Orange juice is an acidic substance and acid is what reacts with the baking powder in this recipe to produce carbon dioxide bubbles that result in the light airy texture of this loaf. Ideally, use the juice of about 3-4 freshly squeezed oranges for the best flavour and a natural sweetness.

Cocoa Powder

Using quality cocoa powder makes a difference in the result of the chocolate orange loaf. I use Green & Black's Cocoa Powder for all of my baking necessities and it provides a delicately bitter and rich taste and blends into the cake batter easily.

Step by Step Instructions For The Chocolate Orange Loaf

Step 1

Preheat the oven at 180°C (350°F).

Step 2

In a bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients including the cocoa powder, plain flour, baking powder, caster sugar, and fine sea salt.

Step 3

Using a hand mixer at a low speed, beat the cold egg whites and slowly increase the hand mixer to a medium speed. Beat the eggs until stiff peaks are formed. Set aside.

whisked beaten egg white peaks yolks

Step 4

Add the egg yolks, orange juice, vanilla, and oil to the dry ingredients. Using the hand mixer, mix the ingredients together on a slow speed until the batter is smooth.

Step 5

Gently fold in the egg whites into the batter until uniform. Be careful not to over mix so that the egg whites do not deflate.

chocolate cake batter baking ingredients flat lay

Step 6

Line the 29 x 15 cm loaf tin with parchment paper. This is not an essential step but it makes for removing the loaf after baking much easier and does not require greasing the tin before use.

Step 7

Bake the loaf for approximately 50-60. Make sure the toothpick, fork, or skewer inserted into the centre of the loaf comes out clean of any wet batter.

chocolate bread in baking tin

Step 8

Carefully remove the chocolate orange loaf from the tin. Separate it from the parchment paper and let it cool completely on a cooling rack.

Step 9

In a bowl, sift the powdered sugar. Then, vigorously whisk together the ingredients of the icing (powdered sugar, orange juice, coconut oil, vanilla, turmeric, and salt). Ensure that the coconut oil is in its solid form when mixing, not in its liquid form. Only in its solid form will this mixture result in a thick icing. Whisk the mixture together until the powdered sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is smooth.

Step 10

If serving the chocolate orange loaf immediately after it has cooled, then pour the icing over the loaf and serve immediately. If the loaf is not being served right away, keep the icing in a cool place so that it does not liquify as the coconut oil can become runny at higher than room temperature.

white cake icing orange flavour

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Finishing Touches

Here are a few ideas for garnish:

  1. Orange Zest - sprinkle a teaspoon of zest over the top of the loaf for a bright taste.

  2. Candied Ginger - chop up some candied ginger and sprinkle about one tablespoon all over the top. Or you could even bake the candied ginger inside the loaf for an extra zing of flavour.

  3. Candied Orange Slices - Not only do these candied orange slices amplify the orange taste of your chocolate orange loaf, but it also makes for a picture-perfect dessert. [Find a video on how to make this by TastyMemories]

What started off with trying to use up the many many oranges I had filling up my refrigerator due to a surplus from Oddbox (the produce delivery program to decrease waste), turned into the hit of the party. I served this Chocolate Orange Loaf with the coconut orange icing drizzled on top after a group dinner and, to my surprise, friends were going back for seconds and thirds.

It's a simple dairy-free dessert recipe that balances the sweetness of the oranges with the bitterness of the cocoa powder, creating a perfect harmony of textures and flavours that become addictive. Pair it with some tea, coffee, or red wine and your dessert will be memorable for some time. Try out the variations of toppings and let me know how your loaf turned out by leaving a comment below. Can't wait to hear from you.


The Palette Cleanser

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