Orange-Chocolate Velvet Cake

This past weekend was my boyfriend's 30th birthday (what an old man! hehe) and I baked him a special Orange-Chocolate Velvet Cake to celebrate. 

His absolute favorite flavor combination is orange and chocolate. To illustrate...for Valentine's day, I found a recipe for orange-flavored Milano cookies (his fave) and baked them for him in the shape of hearts. I also made a huge breakfast, which included heart-shaped (of course!), orange-chocolate chip muffins, which are absolutely delectable, if I do say so myself ;)

Even more so, Billy's obsessed with just chocolate, in general, especially dark chocolate (a man after my own heart!). So, how could I not keep with the trend and make an orange-chocolate cake :) 

Anyway, for a while now, I've been trying to come up with, what I consider, the perfect texture of cake. I prefer butter-based cakes over oil (which is generally what's used with a box mix) because I find oil-based cakes too light; I feel like I'm not really eating anything because there's just no physical satisfaction from a mouthful of airy, substance-lacking cake. With a butter-based cake, however, you get a nice thick, dense bite of cake. The problem, though, is they tend to feel more dry, so I always end up soaking my layers with some kind of liquid to add moisture. Now, sometimes I like to add liquid anyway, for flavor, but I prefer not to need extra liquid to make up for a drier cake. 

So...I decided to take a chance on Billy's birthday cake and experiment. Thank goodness...it was a success! All I had to do was take a butter-based recipe and cut the butter, replacing half of it with vegetable oil. The result was a dense but super moist cake. Now, that seems like an obvious, easy fix, but baking takes chemistry; remove a certain ingredient and the entire thing may fail. For instance, replacing half the butter with oil caused the cake to rise less. It turned out to be the perfect size for this particular party, but if I'd needed twice as much cake, it would have been a major problem. I'm glad to finally have my perfect base cake recipe, though :) 

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