These are based on the Orange-chocolate cake recipe in the ‘La Mere De La Famille’ recipe book by Julien Merceron. The original recipe is for two large-ish loaf tin cakes. I have tweaked the recipe a little so that it can be baked perfectly as smaller individual cakes.

There are two absolutely essential changes: the cooking time and the oven temperature. Both length of time in the oven and the level of heat must be reduced to bake individual small cakes.


Makes about 10 friands/cupcakes

The changes made to produce small cakes are:

  • double cream replaces single cream
  • the recipe was halved except for the orange zest and juice – this remains the same, so effectively doubling the strength of the orange flavour in the small cakes
  • slightly more baking powder to ensure the rise
  • dropping the temperature from 200C to 185C
  • reducing the cooking time from 35 mins to 18 – 20 mins
  • I also tweaked the syrup to a preferred own version
  • The original recipe says to warm the cream, but after doing this the first time I made the cakes I found no difference to using it cold, so there’s no need to bother

I have noted the changes and the original amounts (halved) have been put in brackets in the ingredients list.


Friand moulds or other small cake moulds (making these into cupcake/muffin cases will be fine too)
Mixers – stand or hand electric or hand whisk
Cooling rack and baking tray (to catch the drips from the orange syrup)
Pastry brush
Measuring jug
Small saucepan

Ingredients – cakes

Oranges – zest of 2 (reserve the juice for the syrup – see below)
Caster sugar – 140g
Eggs, medium, whole – 2
Double cream – 50ml (the original recipe would equate to 50g of single cream)
Plain flour – 110g
Baking powder – 1 tspn/5g (the original recipe would equate to 3g)
Butter, unsalted, melted – 35g
Chocolate chips – 35g  for the cake mix and about 10g extra to sprinkle on top
Optional – pearl sugar – 10g

Extra butter for coating the moulds

Method – cakes

  1. Put the orange zest into the sugar and mix – let this infuse for a few minutes
  2. Whisk the eggs and zest-sugar mix together until it lightens in colour, looks creamy and has thickened a little
  3. Add in everything else bar the chocolate chips and stir in (not whisk)
  4. Once all the ingredients are blended thoroughly tip the 35g of chocolate chips in and mix.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 185C (190C if you don’t have a fan)
  6. Prepare the moulds (you can skip this step if using cupcake cases) by painting a little melted butter all round the insides of the moulds then dusting with flour
  7. Fill the moulds about 2/3 full
  8. Pop in the middle of the oven for 20 mins, although you can check them after about 18 mins – just press the top of one lightly with your finger and it will spring back if done. You’re aiming for a rich golden colour
  9. Fetch out of the oven and allow to cool in the moulds

Ingredients – orange syrup

Juice from the two oranges used above
A little water
Caster sugar – 50g

Method – orange syrup

  1. Squeeze out the juice of the two oranges into a measuring jug and top up with water to 100ml (the orange juice will be around 70ml from two oranges)
  2. Tip this into a small saucepan and add 50g of caster sugar
  3. Bring to a light boil and reduce to about half the original amount
  4. Leave to cool – it can be used at room temperature


  1. Tip out the cakes onto a wire rack stood over a baking tray (if you’re making cupcakes just stand the cakes in their cases inside a tray)
  2. Douse the cakes in almost all of the orange syrup, reserving a couple of tablespoons of it
  3. Sprinkle on the remaining chocolate chips and the pearl sugar, if using
  4. Pour over the rest of the syrup – this little extra bit of syrup will help ‘stick’ the chocolate chips and sugar pearls to the top of the cakes
  5. They are ready to eat once completely cool
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