Chocolate orange swirl loaf

Chocolate orange swirl cake // The Dinner Bell

Back home, in that small village with the fields of crops I’m incredibly allergic to, most of my neighbours have known me since birth. They’ve watched as learned to walk, ride a bike, and eventually as my brothers and I left home.

My favourite neighbour is an 80-year-old man called Bill. Sometimes when I’m back for a weekend, I’ll nip over one evening, and we’ll end up drinking wine and chatting for hours in his front room, while my parents sit at home and wonder what on earth we could be discussing. Often, when he leans back in his chair, he’ll lace his fingers together and rest them on his tummy while he talks, his Scottish accent still very much there despite his decades in England. He’s not an ordinary old man – he’s fiercely independent and physically active – and we have the same conversations you would with anyone half his age or younger.

But my upstairs neighbour here in London…for a month we weren’t even totally sure of his name, let alone what he looks like or if he’s, you know, an amateur taxidermist or model train collector.

It’s a strange thing, this silence between neighbours that you only really seem to get in big cities. The couple on the third floor keep themselves to themselves too, but we’ve bumped into each other while I’m wearing tracksuit bottoms enough that I’ve felt the need to reassure them that I do usually dress like a respectable adult.

This weekend, I made this cake and went upstairs to introduce myself and make small talk about things like fire alarms. Of course, it wasn’t until I got back to my flat that I realised I had a big flick of chocolate on my chin. So while I was thinking, “He is quite the dishy doctor”, he was probably thinking, “Why is this girl brandishing a foil package at me and why is her lower face covered in…oh, I hope that’s chocolate”. Forever classy. Forever terrible at first impressions.

Chocolate orange swirl cake // The Dinner Bell

Luckily, the cake is good enough to make a great first impression when I’m too busy living a sitcom-worthy life to do so myself, even though I burnt it a little. And it’s super easy! Let’s go.

Chocolate orange swirl cake | The Littlest Bakehouse

Chocolate orange swirl loaf

Yields 11 big slices.


225g margarine
150g caster sugar
50g light brown sugar
225g plain flour
3tsp baking powder
4 large (or 5 medium) eggs
1/2tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp cocoa
3tbsp orange curd, heaped
50g dark chocolate


  1. Preheat oven to 160C and grease/line a 2lb loaf tin. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the margarine, sugars, flour, baking powder, eggs, and vanilla extract until smooth.
  2. Divide the mixture between two bowls. Add the cocoa to one, and the curd to the other, and mix until evenly distributed.
  3. Dollop spoonfuls of each mixture into the tin more or less at random, then swirl together a little to create the swirl pattern. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. If the top browns quickly, cover with foil for the remaining baking time to prevent it burning. Allow the cake to cool before removing it from the tin.
  4. Melt the chocolate – however you like! – and drizzle over the cake. Take some to your neighbours, but…keep plenty for yourself too, yeah?

4 thoughts on “Chocolate orange swirl loaf

  1. Kathryn says:

    Gosh, we’ve been living in our flat for nearly a year and I’ve never even thought to introduce myself to our neighbours. I should probably be a proper grown up and do that shouldn’t I? This is one gorgeous introduction – I’m pretty sure that if you turned up on my doorstep bearing this I wouldn’t be able to look at anything else!

  2. Emine Hassan says:

    Can I just say, our neighbours have never ever liked me and my family until me and mum just recently moved to a flat. The last housey neighbours complained to the council about us twice! Seriously, that deffo has nothing to do with being loud, but everything to do with the majority of people in London. Definitely.

    So this cake really reminds me of the loafey and chocolate variation of Lee Drummond’s 7-up bundt cake she just posted. Basically, I’ve seen to my moist crumbs for a Monday morning, can you stop it with your seductive pictures now?

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