Chocolate Orange Torte with Star Anise and Orange Syrup

Chocolate Orange Torte

Without a doubt this is not the prettiest looking cake around, but paired up with the alcoholic orange syrup, which is infused with star anise, and this rather drab looking cake is turned into a taste sensation.

I found this recipe during my last term at cooking school. Our final exam for desserts was based on dietary requirements and the assignment was to make and serve four desserts that would cover four different dietary situations. The only other criteria was that we had to have at least one hot, one cold and one frozen dessert.

After scouring the internet and the library I came across this gluten free recipe in a book written by Pamela Moriarty called “Sharing sweet secrets gluten and wheat free“.

I made a few changes to the original recipe, the most obvious of which is the substitution of almonds with hazelnuts. I have left out the GF components in this recipe so if you want it to be truly GF make sure you buy GF bread crumbs and baking powder.

If you can stand the wait, this cake tastes even better the next day once the flavours have infused.

Chocolate Orange Torte


Chocolate Orange Torte with star Anise Orange syrup (Gluten Free)

Adapted from Sharing sweet secrets gluten and wheat free – Pamela Moriarty.


  • 100gm hazelnuts
  • 70 gm dark chocolate, chopped
  • 70gm bread crumbs
  • 17 gm Dutch cocoa powder
  • 3 gm  baking Powder
  • 4 eggs (separated)
  • 150gm caster Sugar
  • 1 orange finely grated zest
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier (or any other orange flavoured liqueur).


  • 2 oranges – juiced
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tbspn Grand Marnier
  • 3 star anise.


Pre-heat oven to 160°C. Grease and line the bottom and sides of a 9″ cake tin.

Process the hazelnuts in a food processer until roughly chopped.

Add chocolate and process until you have a breadcrumb like texture.

Add breadcrumbs, cocoa and baking powder, blend to combine. Set aside.

Place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk until soft peaks form. Gently pour egg white into a large mixing bowl.

Clean mixer bowl and place egg yolks and sugar into bowl, using the whisk attachment whisk until until thick and creamy.

Add orange zest, juice and alcohol then beat lightly together.

Gently fold egg yolk mixture into the whisked egg whites.

Gently fold in the nut and chocolate mixture then pour into the baking tin you prepared earlier.

Tip: Fold ingredients into egg white gently, try not to knock the air out of the whisked egg whites.

Bake for about 50 mins at 160 degrees Celsius (or until skewer comes out clean).

Remove from oven and place tin on a wire rack and leave for 10 mins to cool.

Turn the cake out onto a wire rack.

Cool completely before removing baking paper from base and sides of cake.

Star Anise Orange Syrup

Place orange juice, sugar, alcohol and star anise into a small saucepan.

Boil for 5-10 mins to reduce to a syrupy consistency.

Pour syrup over torte just before serving.

Tip: Watch syrup carefully when boiling, you need the syrup to be pouring consistency. If you leave it on too long it will become like a soft orange toffee (which I might add from experience tastes yummy).

Hamish/Sourdough Update

I was thinking of ending the sourdough project if this batch didn’t turn out, but the second attempt produced three magnificent dark crusty loaves. The taste was reminiscent of bread we purchased in France. The verdict: Hamish gets to live another day….

Score: Sourdough 1…. Lemon Grove 1.

Sourdough Bread


9 thoughts on “Chocolate Orange Torte with Star Anise and Orange Syrup

  1. janina

    I have to say I can’t imagine licorice and orange going together! Could be very interesting to my palate. But, then, I’ve had some weird-sounding combinations and they turned out absolutely fabulous.

  2. saucygander

    Yay re Hamish loaf #2. But really, you had my attention when you promised star anise syrup – yum!! Can you believe it, I’m sitting here at some ridiculous hour, having pulled an all nighter on some silly work report. This is a pretty good way to get my mind away from work before I call it a night. (Sigh, the things we do for income)

  3. David

    While I am not GF, I am always interested to find good GF recipes for friends. (I have not seen GF breadcrumbs but, to be honest have never looked!) Sometimes the homeliest cakes can taste the best. I do have one question for you, Karen – the 9″ cake tin – was it round or square? Your photo leads me to believe it was square but I want to make sure before I make this. Oh, and Hamish is looking quite handsome. He would look great on a kilt!

    1. lemongrovecakediaries Post author

      Sorry my mistake David, I actually made it in a round tin – don’t ask me why I cut it like that I was having an artistic moment….. Just so you know I did actually change the syrup recipe. The original recipe had orange segments in the syrup, the juice of one lemon and finely chopped peel. I wasn’t a fan of the peel but the syrup was delicious – I only changed it as I didn’t have enough oranges and lemons. You can find the original recipe on the internet under Chocolate and orange torte with boozy star anise oranges.

  4. cheri savory spoon

    I love the look of star anise, I have a package that I bought at world market, but have not used a single one, this certainly looks like a great way to begin it’s first use, love all the other ingredients. Thank goodness for Hamish, he will see another day.

  5. Gather and Graze

    This combination of flavours sounds fantastic Karen – love the idea of the star anise, orange syrup to pour over the top! Delicious… though must be tough seeing and smelling it in the kitchen and waiting til the next day to eat it – that’s will power! 🙂


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