Thrifty Recipe of the Week: £1.44 Chocolate Orange Cake

Miss Thrifty16 July 1, 2016

nigella chocolate cake


Yes, you read that right: this humungous and very delicious chocolate cake costs just £1.44 to make.

It is one of my thrifty adaptations of a Nigella recipe: in this case, the Store-Cupboard  Chocolate-Orange Cake from How To Be A Domestic Goddess. The first time I made this chocolate cake, I was sold on Nigella’s pitch:

A different sort of chocolate cake: the sort you can make in a few minutes once you get home from work. Hardly any trouble, and you’ve got a gorgeously aromatic cake either for pudding or just to eat, as supper in its entirety, in front of the television.

CHOCOLATE CAKE FOR DINNER? If I must… Everything Nigella says here is true. However there are three other things I love about this particular cake:

  1. You will probably have the ingredients in the kitchen already.
  2. Hardly any washing up: a bowl, a saucepan, a couple of utensils and the cake tin.
  3. Did I mention that my own, tasty version of this chocolate cake costs only £1.44?

The secret to this cake? A jar of value marmalade. At the time of writing, a jar of this costs just 27p from all the major supermarkets (a value marmalade cartel?) – and you’ll only use 18p‘s-worth. The other key ingredient you’ll need is a big 100g bar of value dark chocolate. This costs just 30p from all the major supermarkets (yep, definitely some price-fixing going on here).

In all honesty, I wouldn’t usually recommend value dark chocolate for a chocolate cake. I’m a choc snob. For this cake, however, it works perfectly well – I suspect that because this is a chocolate orange cake rather than a plain chocolate cake, you can get away with it.

The most expensive ingredient is half a packet of unsalted butter, which comes to 40p if you shop at Aldi (and 45p at the other supermarkets). The recipe also calls for two eggs (27p if you buy a carton of 15 mixed weight eggs), 150g self-raising flour (5p if you buy value self-raising flour), 150g caster sugar (22p), a pinch of salt and a couple of teaspoons of icing sugar (2p). All prices correct at the time of writing.

TOTAL: £1.44.

Here is the recipe:

Chocolate Orange Cake


Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 8

Serving size: 8

A deliciously thrifty version of an old Nigella Lawson recipe.
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 300g value marmalade
  • 150g caster sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp icing sugar
  • 20cm cake tin, buttered
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade / 350 degrees fahrenheit / gas mark 4.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium or large saucepan.
  3. While the butter is melting, break the chocolate into pieces and beat the eggs.
  4. When the butter has almost finished melting, add the pieces of chocolate. Remove from the heat and stir until the butter and the chocolate are a smooth melty goo.
  5. Add the marmalade, caster sugar, salt and beaten eggs to the saucepan. Stir to mix.
  6. Stir in the flour.
  7. Add the cake mixture to your buttered tin and bake for 50 minutes. Test with a skewer - it will come out clean when the cake is cooked.
  8. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before turning out.
  9. Dust with icing sugar.
If you don't have a 20cm cake tin, use what you have and you will be fine. Bear in mind that if you use a smaller tin, the cake will take longer to cook in the middle and the top may crack. However a good dusting of icing sugar hides all manner of cakey blemishes 😉




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16 Responses to “Thrifty Recipe of the Week: £1.44 Chocolate Orange Cake

Cass Bailey says:

That looks gorgeous – amazing value too x

July 1, 2016 at 1:49 pm

This looks lovely and as you say, the ingredients could be in the cupboard already. It would fit beautifully into a meal plan, at 8 slices, that’s a slice every other day for two people. I might use it!

Have you tried any other versions? I’m thinking white chocolate and raspberry jam, or lemon curd. Milk chocolate, peanut and raisins, with apricot jam etc etc

July 1, 2016 at 2:31 pm

Nice and simple to make but delicious…chocolate and orange is such a great combination and it is quick and easy to make.
Thank you for this wonderful recipe.

July 14, 2016 at 3:12 am

Its look delicious!!! Wonderful recipe, I’ll have to try this one out. Thank You

August 3, 2016 at 7:42 am

Amazing Recipe. Its so nice of you to share the recipe. Thank You.

August 30, 2016 at 6:00 am

cooo_ss_mo says:

Mmmm…. It’s delicious! 🙂 I try it!

August 31, 2016 at 8:17 am

This sounds delicious, been looking for a decent cake recipe to make, thanks for sharing.


September 11, 2016 at 1:29 pm

kelly says:

Ohhhhh, my kinda cake, that is my weekend bit of baking taken care of !!
Thank you xx

September 13, 2016 at 9:11 am

Siobhan says:

Can I clarify what kind of flour you used? I used plain so it didn’t rise at all – but I don’t mind as it made a very moist, chewy brownie instead! Yum 🙂

September 13, 2016 at 12:29 pm

Mathews says:


Like to try this!!!!

November 2, 2016 at 11:40 am

Miss Thrifty says:

Ooops – my apologies Siobhan. I’m updating the recipe now, to make clear that it’s self-raising flour (blushes).

November 2, 2016 at 2:01 pm

Excellent cake! Didn’t have the right cake tin, I used a cooking dish 24cm x 24cm. and it was OK. Taste really good. I’m looking for a recipe for an orange cake, covered with chocolate, with a kind of orange curd inside. Had some of this last week while on holiday. it was fantastic,

November 6, 2016 at 1:49 pm

Anthony says:

Looks good to me and only uses 2 eggs, awesome !

November 6, 2016 at 10:35 pm

Mary says:

A lovely cake and so simple but has anyone else had problems with the edges burning before the inside of the cake is ready?

December 17, 2016 at 6:03 pm

Suzanne says:

Been meaning to make this for a while. Has anyone tried it in a loaf tin?

February 7, 2018 at 7:54 pm

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