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Rich Chocolate Orange Cake

Way, way back in the distant past I was a student with a part-time waitressing job in an Italian called Beppe Vittorios - some of you may remember it? I have often said that if only we could all have paid oursleves proper professional salaries, none of us would ever have left. It was one of the best jobs of my life. 

Part of the fun was the people I worked with and twenty years later they all remain my friends. One of these talented, gorgeous individuals is the wonderful Kirsty Kit Pyle of Vivacious Cakes (I know, I have the best friends!) and so when Gill and I realised that #SmallCityRecipes was celebrating its first birthday this week we were straight on the phone inviting her down to play!

Any excuse for cake right!?

Kirsty has been baking and decorating cakes for friends and family for years. As people saw her cakes, word of mouth spread and in no time at all Vivacious Cakes was born.

Coming up with a name for the business was one of the biggest dilemmas for Kirsty. She loves using colour and bold designs in her creations so Vivacious Cakes - in all its bubbly, full of life, effervescent and animated glory - seemed perfect!

Kirsty offers a very personal service – nothing is ‘off the shelf’. So whether you want a personalised cake with a name and age, your kid's favourite characters, your granny's favourite flowers, your husband's favourite team, your wife's favourite shoes, a special memory or simple message, Kirsty can help. There's also the added bonus of being able to choose a cake in your favourite flavour! Which is why Gill and I ended up with Chocolate Orange!

All of Kirsty's cakes are made from fresh ingredients, free range eggs and come with no additives or preservatives.

Vivacious Cakes have lots of repeat customers. A baby shower cake is often followed by a christening cake and then a 1st birthday cake! With cakes tasting as good as this, these children will still be ordering Vivacious Cakes when they reach 100! 

Please do try this out at home and leave your comments here to let us know how you decorated yours! You can also share your photographs and ideas with us. We'd love to see them. As always, tag them #PerthLoveFest and we'll scatter them around our own social media.  

One year on, I would like to take this chance to say a HUGE HUGE THANK-YOU to Gill for getting on board with my crazy idea and turning #SmallCityRecipes into a beautiful, foodie reality. Her stunning food images have turned 'weekly recipes' into a food lovers' idea of heaven...  and to make things even better, she has become another gorgeous person on my wonderful list of friends.  

Happy Birthday to Us! 

Nicki X


  • 1 Seville orange
  • 100g plain chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 3 eggs
  • 280g caster sugar
  • 240ml sunflower oil
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 250g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 200g plain chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 300ml double cream


    Pierce the orange with a skewer and boil in pan of water for 30 minutes until soft. Roughly chop and remove any pips then blitz the whole orange (including peel) in a food processor until smooth, leave to cool.

    Preheat the oven to 180c (fan oven 160c). Grease and line an 8in round cake tin. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl either set over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave for approx 2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute, leave to cool.

    In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs, sugar and oil. Gradually beat in the puréed orange, then stir in the cooled melted chocolate. Sift in the cocoa, flour and baking powder. Mix well and pour into the tin. Bake for approx 45 mins, or until a skewer comes out clean (cover with foil if it is browning too much on the top). Allow to cool for a few minutes in the tin, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.

    To make the chocolate ganache, place the broken chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to the boil in a pan and pour over the chocolate. Leave for 2 minutes, then stir vigorously until smooth. Set aside or place in fridge until firm enough to spread over the cake, this can take an hour or so.

    Transfer the cake to a serving plate. Using a palette knife, swirl the ganache over the top. Decorate as you wish and enjoy!