Walnut & Orange Chocolate Cake with Coconut Ganache

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Prep 30min (+cooling and standing time)Bake 40-45minMakes 10-12 serves

With an underlying hint of orange and the warm nuttiness of roasted walnuts, this divine cake completely delivers when it comes to a rich, decadent and utterly satisfying chocolate cake.
Gluten-free chocolate cakes have been widely adapted as the Passover dessert of choice, and with the absence of dairy, this one is also appropriate to serve following a meat-based main course.


75g (⅔ cup) Dutch cocoa powder, sifted
165ml (⅔ cup) boiling water
200g walnuts, toasted
1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
4 x 59g eggs, at room temperature
220g (1 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
200ml light olive oil, plus extra to grease
1 teaspoon natural vanilla essence or extract
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest

Coconut Ganache
180g good-quality dairy-free dark chocolate, chopped
150ml tinned full-fat coconut milk


  1. Preheat oven to 170°C (150°C fan-forced). Grease a 20cm springform tin with extra oil and line the base with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Place the cocoa in a medium heat-proof bowl and gradually stir in the boiling water until smooth. Set aside to cool.
  3. Process the walnuts in a food processor until finely ground. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the baking powder until evenly combined.
  4. Use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment to whisk the eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla on high speed for about 5 minutes or until thick and paler in colour. Add the cocoa mixture and whisk until just combined. Add the walnut mixture and orange zest to the chocolate mixture and whisk on low speed until just combined.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes or until wet crumbs cling to a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake. Cool the cake in the tin sitting on a wire rack (this will take about 2 hours).
  6. To make the Coconut Ganache, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat the coconut milk in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it just comes to a simmer (do not boil). Pour over the chocolate and set aside for 1 minute. Stir until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth, well combined and glossy. Set aside at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until the ganache thickens to a thick spreadable consistency.
  7. Remove the cake from the tin and place on serving plate. Spoon the ganache over the cooled cake and use the back of a spoon to spread. Set aside for 30 minutes or until the ganache sets. Serve in wedges.

Baker's Tip

  • This cake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature (in a cool spot) for up to 5 days.