Brown-Eyed Susan Cake

Happy Holidays everyone. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, etc., and I wish you all a Happy New Year from Honeybee’s Patisserie. Let me tell you, it was a busy Christmas for me, but I still managed to crank out a few sweets and capture some photos for the blog. This particular sweet on topic for today is the Brown-Eyed Susan Cake. I particularly like this cake, not only for its wonderful flavor combinations of orange and chocolate, but because of the flower it represents. As a child, I used to go picking the brown centered, yellow petal flowers with my grandfather, although it was illegal in the location we were picking them. I still remember him telling me as I held bunches of brown-eyes susans in my little hands, to watch for any cars with bright, flashy lights coming our way and to notify him immediately if there were. It makes me smile to this day knowing I was doing misdemeanor activity at the age of seven and that the flowers my relatives received were always attained via trespassing on private property.

 Thankfully, achieving this cake doesn’t require illegal activity, therefore I shall share it with all of you. First, start off with your favorite formula for a basic yellow cake batter. Once you prepare the yellow cake batter, you divide it equally between two bowls. One bowl will be your chocolate batter, one will be your orange which you will marble into your cake pans. Once the cake layers are baking, choose your favorite type of frosting formula. I chose a simple buttercream because during the holidays I desired something…well simple. As with the yellow cake batter, be sure to separate your frosting into two separate bowls, one for orange flavor and one for chocolate. All in all the cake is rather effortless to prepare. The layering and decorating is likely the most troublesome for the average home baker. Good news is, the way you decorate it depends on your personal preference so no rules. I started with chocolate rosettes on top, a chocolate chip border for the crown, and a shell border along the bottom. However, you could easily take some candied orange peels to resemble petals and place them around a chocolate chip center to resemble the wildflower itself. Place multiple replica flowers on the top of the cake and it would look superb with less piping fuss!

Brown-Eyed Susan Cake


  • 1 formula Yellow Cake Batter, enough for two 9 in. cake pans
  • 5 oz. Unsweetened Chocolate, melted
  • 1 tsp. Orange Extract
  • 1 tbsp. Orange Juice
  • 4 cups Vanilla Frosting, preferably Buttercream
  • Yellow Food Color
  • Semisweet Chocolate Chips, optional
  • Candied Orange Peel, optional


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Preheat oven to 350°. Divide prepared yellow cake batter into two bowls. Add 2 ounces of melted chocolate into one bowl and orange extract into the other bowl. Drop cake batter by spoonfuls into two prepared 9 in. cake pans. Be sure to alternate between the chocolate and orange batters to create the desired marble look. Bake cake layers for 20-25 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes in cake pans before turning out onto racks to cool completely.
  2. While the cake layers cool, prepare the frosting. Equally divide the prepared frosting, preferably buttercream, into two bowls. Stir in the remaining 3 ounces of melted chocolate into one bowl and the orange juice into the other bowl. Add a few drops of yellow food coloring to the bowl with the orange flavored frosting.
  3. Place one cooled and leveled cake layer on a cake board. Spread a generous amount of chocolate frosting evenly over the top of the cake layer. Place the second cake layer on top. Cover the sides with chocolate frosting and smooth. Spread the top of the cake with a generous amount of orange frosting. If replicating the piping shown here, pipe shells around the base with orange frosting, then pipe rosettes on top of the cake with chocolate frosting. Where the orange and chocolate frosting meet, place semisweet chocolate chips to form a crown border. If piping is not your particular forte, keep it simple by arranging candied orange peels around a chocolate chip to create a brown-eyed susan flower. Place the flowers around the top of the cake to complete the look.




All content © Honeybee’s Patisserie 2011


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