Tangy orange gateau: jaffa cake style!

Jaffa cakes are a favourite sweet treat of mine and while driving home from work the other day I decided to make a large one, gateau-style – I often have sudden whims at seemingly random times!

Home-made versions of jaffa cakes are nothing new; there is an abundance of recipes out there and they are easy to make. Some recipes use a Victoria Sponge base, others use a whisked fatless sponge, some use ganache as an extra filling, others use just a chocolate coating….for me, though, it’s about alternating layers of thin whisked sponge and a tangy orange jelly, with the thinnest coating of crisp dark chocolate.

I look for the lightness of sponge, the zing of the orange hit and rich chocolately hit.

The jelly layers

The jelly – made with freshly squeezed orange juice – has a refreshing tang which is absolutely essential here; a wishy-washy, faint orange flavour does not work anywhere near as well. A very thin brushing of sieved marmalade or apricot jam on the surfaces of the cakes acts as a flavoured “glue” to help everything stick together – not least to prevent the jelly from sliding off when cut and served.

I use 5 sandwich tins of the same size to get 5 layers in total but you can opt for smaller tins sizes for the top two layers (one jelly, one sponge) if you want a slight staggering effect.

You can of course make more traditional, miniature versions of this cake and for this I would use large Swiss roll tins to bake the sponge, and another rectangular tin for the jelly: cut out discs of the desired size and assemble with one layer of sponge, one of jelly and a coating of chocolate.

The chocolate covering

I use a chocolate ganache for the inital coating of the cake: rich, luscious and addictive! This is simply melted chocolate and double cream – although you can add a splash of liqueur of choice!

You can use just melted chocolate for the final covering the cake which works very well, giving a crisp finish. However, it does shatter (not the greatest problem in the world!), so you could add a melted butter to the melted chocolate.

Recipe: Jaffa Gateau – serves about 10


  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • finely grated zest of 2 oranges


  • 400ml freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 6 sheets leaf gelatine

Chocolate ganache:

  • 150g dark chocolate, in small pieces
  • 100g double cream

To finish:

  • a couple of tablespoons good quality marmalade or apricot jam, sieved (if you want to) and warmed so it is runny and easily spreadable.
  • 100g dark chocolate, melted
  • 20g melted unsalted butter, optional (see “The chocolate covering”, above)
  • 50g good quality milk chocolate, melted (optional).

You also need five 8″ sandwich tins (two lined with clingfilm, the other three base-lined with greaseproof) – or make the cakes ahead and freeze them to free up tins.

Make the jelly

(1)  Soak the gelatine in a little cold water and leave to soak for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile gently heat half of the orange juice. Squeeze the excess water out of the gelatine and add to the warm juice. Stir until dissolved and stir in the rest of the juice.

(2) Pour the jelly into the two tins that have been lined with clingfilm. Leave to set overnight in the fridge. This gives a fairly firm set (but not rubbery!)  jelly which is crucial here.

Make the sponge

(3) Preheat the oven to 160C (fan). Whisk the eggs, sugar and orange zest together in a large bowl until pale and thick – a trail should be visible for a few moments when the whisk is lifed out of the mixture.  Gently fold in the flour.

(4) Divide the mixture between the remaining 3 tins and bake for about 10-15 minutes until the sponges are a light golden brown and just pulling away from the sides of the tins. Leave for a few minutes in the tins then turn out to cool fully on wire racks, before removing the greaseproof.

(5) Place one of the cakes on a wire rack and brush a little marmalade over the top. Carefully invert the larger tin of set jelly on top and remove the clingfilm carefully. Brush a little marmalade over the top of the next cake and place, marmalade-side down, over the jelly. Repeat until you end with a layer of sponge and apply a thin spreading of marmalade on top of this. The cake should be still on the wire rack as this makes it easier to finish off.

Make the chocolate ganache

(6) Put the chocolate into a small bowl. Heat the cream until it just comes to a simmer and pour it over the chocolate. Leave for a few minutes and then stir gently until the chocolate has melted, giving a smooth sauce that has a very soft consistency. Leave until it has cooled but not set: it should be like very soft butter: you can leave it longer at room temperature until it firms up enough if needed.

(7) Pour the cooled chocolate ganache over the cake, allowing it to gently run down the sides. Use a palette knife to smooth it all over. Don’t worry if there are rough bits at this stage. A large plate placed underneath the rack to catch the drips is a good idea.

(8) Place the cake in the fridge to firm up a little: you can re-apply more mixture if needed to get a smoother finish.

(9) Stir the butter into the melted chocolate. Leave to cool a little (but do not let it set!). Pour it over the ganache and smooth off with a knife: as the cake is cold, the chocolate will set quickly. Drizzle over the melted milk chocolate, if using.

(10) Carefully remove the cake from the rack and place on a plate to serve.


Author: Philip

Finalist on Britain’s Best Home Cook (BBC Television 2018). Published recipe writer with a love of growing fruit & veg, cooking & eating.

4 thoughts on “Tangy orange gateau: jaffa cake style!”

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