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Orange + Chocolate Chip Cake

The wheels have fallen off of the world, it seems. The past two weeks have left me feeling helpless and sad and altogether out of sorts. Part of me is relieved that I’m no longer the hardcore, always on call journalist I’ve been for most of my life. Another part wants to be part of the fight, to be the watchdog I was trained to be when I was in journalism school so many years ago. I go from wanting to read every single thing I can and Googling the minutiae of the drama of the day to burying myself in seventeenth-century French history books to escape from it all. I’ve also been making a lot of cake.


This one happens to be French — a jazzed up version of the most basic of French gateaux, the yogurt cake, an easy bake that kids can make by using yogurt cups for measuring the ingredients (instead of using a scale, which is how it’s done in France). It’s also a great cake for big people to make and eat. And it’s speedy. It doesn’t require butter to be put out hours in advance, because there is no butter; I pulled the eggs straight from the fridge and the cake turned out just fine. It always does. This cake isn’t fussy, it’s not fancy, and it doesn’t have any hidden agenda. It’s as appropriate for breakfast as for afternoon tea or dinner — I eat it nonstop throughout the day, like some people drink water.


It’s reliable. It won’t let you down, this cake. It’s honest.


If you take away the orange zest and the chocolate, you have the basic French yogurt cake. But with the orange zest and chocolate, you have a cakey version of one of my favorite French candies, the orangette.


I can’t remember why I was talking about orangettes the other day with a pastry chef friend of mine  — maybe it was what we liked to do with leftover peels? — I was telling her about how I loved the store-bought ones in Paris but couldn’t get them to turn out when I made them at home. Candied orange peels and chocolate. You wouldn’t think it would be that difficult.


This cake is my answer. It strikes the perfect balance between orange and chocolate, and because some of the chocolate pieces are larger than others, sometimes you’ll get a bite where the chocolate will be more intense than the orange, and other times, it’ll favor the orange. It’s simple, but it’s quite something. Like all cakes, it’s good for sharing — but you already knew that.


Orange + Chocolate Chip Cake

Makes 1 (10-inch) cake



  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 10-inch round pan with parchment.


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and sea salt.


  1. In another bowl, rub the orange zest into the sugar.


  1. Put the eggs in your mixer bowl and beat until light, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar, yogurt, vanilla and oil and mix.


  1. Add the flour mixture and chopped chocolate and mix only until it comes together. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until the cake is set and a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a rack, then turn it out onto a plate. Dust with powdered sugar. Serve.