Orange Buttermilk Picnic Cake with Chocolate Chips
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 12 servings
For the Buttermilk Cake
  • 1 orange
  • ½ cup (120 ml) well-shaken buttermilk
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (70 g), plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (85 g) cake flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ cup (165 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 ounces (¾ stick/85 g) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ¾ teaspoon pure orange extract
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces (115 g) semisweet mini chocolate chips or coarsely chopped regular size chocolate chips (about ¾ cup)
  • 1 tablespoon orange liqueur or canola oil
For the Orange Syrup
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (optional)
For the Assembly
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
Make the Buttermilk Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C).
  2. Butter one 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, and butter the
  3. parchment. Dust the parchment with flour and knock out the excess.
  4. Zest and juice the orange. Set aside the zest. Place ¼ cup (60 ml) of the juice into a glass measuring cup and reserve the rest for the orange syrup (below). Add the buttermilk to the orange juice in the measuring cup and whisk until combined. Set aside.
  5. Sift ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (70 g) all-purpose flour, the cake flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder into a small bowl.
  6. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the brown sugar and
  7. butter on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and egg yolk and beat well, then add the orange extract, vanilla, and orange zest until incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, and mix again for 15 seconds. Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
  8. Toss the chocolate chips in the liqueur and sprinkle them with 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour. Toss to coat the chips in the flour. Fold the chocolate chips into the batter and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, plus another minute or two, 32 to 37 minutes. (Since this is a picnic cake, you should bake it a tiny bit more than you are normally comfortable with. This cake will still be moist—you just don’t want it “falling-apart moist.”)
  9. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes.
Make the Orange Syrup
  1. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over very low heat, whisk together the orange juice, sugar, and Grand Marnier, a tablespoon at a time (to taste), until combined. Once the sugar is melted, increase the heat to medium-low and simmer until the syrup is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove it from the heat.
  2. Turn the still-warm cake out of the pan onto the rack, remove the parchment paper, and flip the
  3. cake right side up. Place the wire rack over a baking sheet. Using a toothpick or wooden skewer, poke holes evenly all over the cake. Brush the cake with the orange syrup and allow it to sink in and set, about 15 minutes. Dust it with the confectioners’ sugar immediately before serving (or before packing up for your picnic).
How to store: The cake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Recipe by Baked Sunday Mornings at