The traditional Jaffa Cake is something of a British icon. The small biscuits (yes, this is a biscuit despite being called a cake) have a layer of sponge, topped with a sweet orange jelly and finished off with plain chocolate (in the US this is known as semi-sweet chocolate). In Britain, they are so easy to find and relatively cheap to buy they are so loved. So, why when they are so available would you make them? Simply because these homemade versions taste so, so good; better than anything you can buy.
Making the cakes is so easy and a lot of fun. The trickiest part is putting on the chocolate which, if you want to make them look like the packet versions (why would you), will be practically impossible to replicate. So stop worrying about that bit, and pile on the chocolate as combined with the orange is a superb combination.
- 1 tablet orange
- jelly tablet
- 1/2 cup/100ml water (boiling)
- 3 tablespoons shredless Seville Orange marmalade
- 1 large egg (free-range)
- 1 oz./25g sugar (fine or caster)
- 1 oz./25g flour (self-rising)
- 7 oz./200g chocolate (semi-sweet, broken into pieces)
- Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
- Grease a shallow bun tin with a little of the butter and put to one side.
Break the tablet of jelly cubes and place into a heatproof bowl or jug. Cover with boiling water and stir well until the jelly dissolves. Stir in the marmalade and put to one side to cool slightly. While the jelly is cooling, line out a 25 x 25 cm (10" x 10") tray or Pyrex square bowl with cling film. Pour in the jelly and pop into the refrigerator to set. About 45 mins.
Place the egg and sugar into a baking bowl and using an electric hand whisk, whisk until light and creamy and pale in colour. Sift the self-raising flour into the bowl and then using a metal tablespoon, fold into the egg mixture.
Put a good tablespoon into each cup of the bun tin. Tap the tin gently on the work top before popping it into the centre of the preheated oven. Cook until golden and slightly firm (the sponge should spring back when pressed lightly) 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for ten minutes before removing and placing on a cooling rack.
While the sponge is cooking melt the chocolate; put a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Add the chocolate and leave to melt. If you must stir, use a wooden spoon, never a metal one. Take from the heat as soon as melted and leave to cool. As the chocolate cools it will thicken and eventually harden so may need heating slightly again when covering the cakes.
Take the tray of jelly from the fridge. Lift out the clingfilm with the jelly, place onto a worktop and using a pastry cutter, cut discs of orange ever so slightly smaller than the cakes. Keep in the fridge until you need them.
Once the cakes are completely cool, lay a disc of jelly onto the domed uppermost surface. Check the chocolate is cool, then spoon over the surface. The chocolate will run off a little but do not worry, that is the homemade look we want. Place each biscuit on the cooling rack as you complete them.
Store the Jaffa cakes in an airtight tin, not in the fridge. If you put them in the fridge the chocolate will lose its shine. Eat within 5 days (if you can resist them that long).
Notes on Making Jaffa Cakes:
** Use plain chocolate, not dark chocolate. The difference is that plain (known as semi-sweet in the States) has lower cocoa solids than dark. You should be looking for a chocolate around 30 - 40% - dark can be as high as 70. One brand which works well is Bournville by Cadburys.
Using marmalade int his recipes gives a distinctly sharp orange flavor to the jelly, a tang which you will not find in the shop-bought ones.