I adore jaffa cakes they are fun and quite easy to make either traditionally shaped or with a quirky slant. Not to mention varying the jelly flavour.
For me, the two most crucial elements are zingy jelly (whatever the flavour) and thin, crisp dark chocolate.
I also like to drizzle over some melted milk chocolate and top these with some very simple candied orange peel but this is gilding the lily somewhat!
The main components (the jelly and the sponge) can be made several days ahead and left in the fridge.
I like to make the jelly using fresh orange juice, leaf gelatine and a little sugar. However, you can use a packet orange jelly, but for real flavour make it up with orange juice instead of water. If made with water, it is far too bland.
I use some excellent quality smooth marmalade that I brush over the sponges – it gives an extra orange kick. However, you can omit this is you prefer.
Any shape will do!
I sometimes make round jaffa cakes so they are like the commercial ones in appearance (with or without their customary step) but I find it less wasteful to cut them into squares or rectangles as shown in the recipe.
Alternatively, you can bake the sponge in greased shallow mince pie/muffin tins: in the recipe below I have given the approach for each.
I love making the jelly with some passion fruit juice: sometimes using just passion fruit juice, at other times a mixture of orange juice and passion fruit juice.
Or for a really sharp take on jaffa cakes, use lemon juice: the cakes can take it!
As a rule of thumb, use 3 sheets of Platinum grade gelatine per 250ml juice for a good set here, but you can increase this for a firmer set.
Recipe: home-made jaffa cakes – makes about 24 small jaffa cakes
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 50g golden caster sugar
- 50g self-raising flour
- finely grated zest of 1 large orange
- juice of 4 large oranges
- cold water – see stage 1 below
- finely grated zest of 1 orange
- 3 sheets platinum grade leaf gelatine, soaked in cold water for about 5 minutes
- 4 teaspoons caster sugar
Candied orange peel (optional):
- thinly pared peel of one large orange
- about 200ml water
- 40g caster sugar
- a couple of tablespoons of good quality smooth marmalade or apricot jam
- 250g dark chocolate, melted (or use a mixture of milk and dark)*
- about 50g melted milk chocolate, optional
- candied orange peel, optional (see bottom of the page)
*it might seem a lot of chocolate but it makes it much easier to coat the cakes. Pour any remaining chocolate, plus the drips, onto greaseproof to set and then break it off into shards, pop in a clean jar and use in other bakes.
You also need either:
- two small rectangular swiss roll tins (about 30cm by 20cm): one for the sponge, base-lined with greaseproof and one for the jelly, lined with clingfilm OR
- two 12-hole shallow mince pie tins, well buttered, plus a rectangular swiss roll tin (about 30cm by 20cm) lined with clingfilm
Make the jelly
(1) Measure the amount of the orange juice and add enough water to come to 250ml in total. Heat a little of this liquid until hot but not boiling and stir in the gelatine until dissolved. Pour this gelatine mixture into the rest of the liquid and stir well. Stir in the orange zest.
(2) Pour the jelly into the tin that has been lined with clingfilm. Leave to set in the fridge for a few hours or overnight to give a fairly firm set jelly.
Make the candied orange peel (optional)
(3) Put the orange in a small pan with some water and sugar. Bring to a gentle simmer and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove the orange, separate them and place on baking parchment to cool.
Make the sponge
(4) Preheat the oven to 160C (fan). Whisk the eggs, sugar and orange zest together in a large bowl until pale and thick – the mixture should very slowly drop off the whisk when ready and a trail should be visible for a few moments when the whisk is lifed out of the mixture. Gently fold in the flour.
(5) Pour the mixture into the tin lined with greaseproof and bake for about 12-15 minutes until the sponge is a light golden brown and is just pulling away from the sides of the tins. Leave to cool in the tin.
Alternatively, if using mince pie/muffin tins, drop about half tablespoon of the mixture into the holes and bake for about 8 minutes, leaving the sponge to cool in the tins.
(6) Invert the cooled sponge and carefully peel off the greaseproof. Brush the marmalade thinly all over the cake; if the marmalade is too firm, heat it a little in the microwave until runnier but once spread over the cake, let it cool. Invert the set jelly on top and carefully remove the clingfilm: the jelly will stick to the marmalade. Trim the edges (and you absolutely must eat them!!!).
If using the mince pie/muffin tins, you invert the larger tin of set jelly onto a flat surface and peel off the clingfilm. Cut out circles of jelly a little smaller than the circles cut from the sponge or the ones from the mince pie/muffin tins, and place the jelly on the centre of the sponges:
(7) Cut the jelly-topped sponge into squares, rectangles or circles of jelly and chill them until you want to coat them in chocolate.
(8) Taking one of the jelly-topped cakes at a time, spoon over the cooled, but still runny chocolate, either going for full top and side coverage or just the top. The easiest (and cleanest!) way is to place a cake on a fork, hover the fork and cake over the bowl of chocolate and generously spoon over the chocolate, letting the excess chocolate drip back into the chocolate.
(9) Place onto a sheet of greaseproof paper to set. You could instead place them directly onto a wire rack, but put a sheet of greaseproof underneath to catch the drips. They will remove easily but if some have stuck to the rack, slide a palette knife underneath.
Alternatively, dunk them, jelly-side first, into the chocolate and immediately lift them out and invert them onto the rack.
(10) To finish, you can drizzle over some melted milk chocolate and place candied orange on top or just leave with the dark chocolate coating……..