A universal truth: everybody loves cake.  Men, women, children, people of all ages go ga-ga for it.  No matter the time of day, whether or not there’s a special occasion, cake is just one of those sweet pick-me-ups that no one can say no to, calorie counting be darned.

As delicious as it is to enjoy, baking a cake can often be a time-consuming process.  That’s why I absolutely love this Orange Crème Fraiche Cake with Bittersweet Chocolate Glaze.  My friend and fellow Lazy Gourmet Juliana Gallin helped me develop this recipe, which lets you toss all the ingredients in one bowl, mix them with a spoon, and whip up a scrumptious cake in a short amount of time.  It’s basically a bajillion times easier than even your simplest frosted layer cake.  Plus, it’s moist (because of the crème fraiche), citrusy (because of the orange), and, well, covered in melty chocolate.  What’s not to love?I recommend a Bundt pan for maximum visual appeal, but a springform pan or a simple round cake pan will do as well.

Orange Crème Fraiche Cake with Bittersweet Chocolate Glaze

  • 1 cup crème fraîche
    ⅔ cup vegetable oil
    1 cup sugar
    Grated zest of 2 large oranges
    ¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice (from about 1 orange)
    2 tablespoons lemon juice (from about ½ lemon)
    1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
    3 large eggs
    1½ cups all-purpose flour
    1½ teaspoons baking powder
    ½ teaspoon baking soda
    ½ teaspoon table salt
    Bittersweet Chocolate Drizzle (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Oil or butter a 10-inch Bundt pan or 9-inch round cake or springform pan.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together crème fraîche, oil, sugar, orange zest, orange juice, lemon juice, and vanilla. Add eggs and whisk until incorporated. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and whisk until just combined. (Don’t worry if there are small lumps; you don’t want to overmix this cake or it will become dry.)

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove cake from oven, place the pan on a wire rack, and let cool for 15 minutes.

Remove the cake from the pan by running a knife around the side of the pan and inverting it directly onto the wire rack. (If you’ve baked the cake in a flat-bottomed round cake pan rather than a Bundt pan, invert the cake onto the rack and flip it over so that the bottom of the cake, not the top, is resting on the wire rack—otherwise you’ll end up with unattractive indentations from the cooling rack on the top.) Let cool completely. Transfer to a large plate or cake platter before glazing.

When cake is completely cooled, drizzle the chocolate glaze over it until covered to your liking (you may have extra glaze left over) and let sit at room temperature at least 1 hour before serving. Serve at room temperature.

Serves 12.

Bittersweet Chocolate Drizzle

  • 1/3–½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces bittersweet (or semisweet) chocolate, chopped
  • Pinch of salt

Place 1/3 cup of the cream along with the butter, chocolate, and salt in a microwave-safe dish and heat on high for 1 minute, or until ream begins to boil. Stir to melt butter and chocolate. If a thinner consistency is desired, add a touch more of the cream and stir to combine.

Makes about 3/4 cup.

From www.twolazygourmets.com and The Lazy Gourmet: Magnificent Meals Made Easy by Robin Donovan and Juliana Gallin (Viva Editions, 2011)

Photo by Andres Ramirez

Robin Donovan is the coauthor with Juliana Gallin of The Lazy Gourmet: Magnificent Meals Made Easy, and is also the author if Campfire Cuisine: Gourmet Recipes for the Great Outdoors. She is a San Francisco-based freelance journalist, book author, blogger, and editor specializing in food, cooking, travel, and other lifestyle topics. Her food writing has appeared in Fitness, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, and many other publications. For more receipts from Robin and Julianna visit twolazygourmets.com and follow Robin on Twitter.