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Marbled Chocolate & Orange Celebration Cake // 1950s

Updated: May 5, 2020

We made this 1950s 'Chocolate & Orange Layer Cake' cake for a little boy's 5th birthday - and what a success it was! The marbled chocolate and orange sponge was full of flavour and icing just right without being too sickly sweet. We topped ours with a tiger!
In order to make a celebration sized cake achieving between of 8-10 servings, we doubled the amounts for all of the ingredients for the cake and tripled the amounts for the buttercream icings which is reflected in our ingredient list.
Original Recipe: 'Chocolate and Orange Layer Cake' (Book 7, 1959)
Speed: Around 4 hours* | Makes: About 8 servings

* As for all fancy celebration foods, set aside as much time as possible to make this cake. It is best to make the cake the day before the party/event and leave it in the fridge until an hour before the celebration.



For the Sponge Cake

  • 226g butter or margarine

  • 284g caster sugar

  • 6 eggs

  • 454g plain flour

  • 7 tsp. baking powder

  • Pinch of salt

  • ½ pint of milk

  • 1 tsp. vanilla essence

  • 85g dark chocolate, melted

  • Finely grated rind of 2 oranges

  • Orange food colouring

For the Orange and Chocolate Buttercream

  • 340g butter or margarine

  • 510g icing sugar

  • 1 tsp. of the juice of 1 orange

  • 1 tbsp. finely grated orange rind

  • 80g dark chocolate, melted



1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C fan (350°F/Gas Mark 4).

2. To begin making the sponge layers, cream together the fat and sugar.

3. Add in the eggs, vanilla essence and milk. Mix together until fully combined.

4. Divide the mixture into two parts; to one, mix in 85g melted chocolate and to the other, add the orange rind and colouring.

5. Put alternate spoonfuls into three prepared 7 inch tins and bake until completely cooked through (about 30 minutes). Leave to cool on a wire rack.

6. As the cake cools, make the chocolate and orange buttercream. Start by creaming the butter/margarine so that it is soft, and then mix in the sifted icing sugar a few tablespoonfuls at a time. If the mixture becomes too thick and therefore difficult to pipe, mix in a little milk until you achieve a perfect coating and piping consistency.

7. Divide the buttercream into two parts. To make the chocolate buttercream, mix 40g melted dark chocolate into one half.

8. To make the orange buttercream, mix 1 tbsp. of the finely grated rind of an orange, and no more than 1 tsp. of its' juice to the other half.

Note: We also added a little orange food colouring to achieve the desired look, although this wasn't part of the original recipe.

9. Set the buttercream aside while you wait for the cakes to cool completely.

10. Once the cakes are cool, cut each layer evenly in half and sandwich them together using the chocolate buttercream.

11. Coat the sides of the cake with orange buttercream, using the flat edge of a palette knife to make vertical stripe indentations from the base up to the top of the cake, smoothing these down over the top of the cake.

Note: We added this step in as we ended up with more than enough icing to decorate the cake as required by the recipe and we preferred a full coating of icing, we added it in.

12. Decorate the top with stripes of chocolate and orange buttercream, using a small piping nozzle.

13. Using a closed star piping nozzle and the rest of the chocolate buttercream, pipe small 'stars' around the top and base of the cake.

Note: We added this step in as we wanted a little more decoration. If this is to be a birthday cake, top with candles or even a figurine as we did. We made our cake the evening before the birthday party, keeping it in the fridge overnight to maintain the icing.


Original Recipes for: 'Chocolate and Orange Layer Cake', 'Chocolate Buttercream' and 'Orange Buttercream'

'BOOK 7': Good Housekeeping’s Cookery Compendium (1959)

Authors: The Good Housekeeping Institute

Publisher: The National Magazine Co. Ltd. And printed by Letterpress by Sun Printers Ltd. (Watford, England, U.K.)

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