Isn’t it well-known that homemade confectionery tastes better than store-bought? But it’s more hassle to make them than buy them, right? I figured making Jaffa Cakes at home would be far too much effort to make it worth it, but to my surprise, I found that they’re far easier, tastier, and healthier than I had expected. And because they’re bigger and more packed with flavour than the store-bought jaffa cakes, I found that they lasted longer (I can eat a pack of jaffa cakes in one sitting, whereas I could maybe only eat two of these a day). They’ll last just under a week in the fridge.
If you watched the Great British Bake Off a few years ago, you would have seen some of them make 24 identical jaffa cakes that were freakishly complicated and unnecessarily volatile. This put me off ever attempting to make some myself, but then this recipe came to me in a dream, and suddenly it seemed so simple…
You cannot make these in less than a day… The jelly needs time to set, so you’ll need to make it at least 8 hours before you make the rest. The sponge cake part takes 25 – 30 minutes in total, but will need to cool completely before you add the jelly and melted chocolate. So take your time (I made these over 3 days) but I will give you the most efficient way in the instructions.
(By the way, I apologise for the awful phone-camera photographs. I was busy making a few hundred different things for our Good Friday party and had no time to do even slightly professional food photography.)
So here’s the recipe for 24 jaffa cakes:
For the jelly: (you’ll need a dense jelly, so I halved the packet-instructions)
1 packet of orange jelly
200ml boiling water
100ml very cold water
24 silicone cupcake moulds
2 x 12-cup muffin trays
clingfilm – cut into 24 squares
If you’re using the muffin trays, carefully place the cling film pieces into each of the muffin cups so that they touch the bottom and come up the edges at least half-way.
Mix your jelly with the boiling water until completely dissolved. Stir in the cold water.
Pour a little jelly into each of your 24 moulds so that the jelly is about 4mm deep.
Place in the fridge until completely set. Because they’re just small amounts of jelly, they should set pretty quickly, so if you’re in a hurry you can check after about 3 hours and start on the sponge cake if they seem about set. Bear in mind that you will need your muffin trays if you didn’t use silicone moulds.
For the sponge cake: (I used a recipe that works for me, but if you have a favourite, feel free to use that instead.)
125g (150ml) caster sugar
1 cup (250ml) plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup (125ml) milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
Zest of 1/2 orange (optional, you could add a few drops of orange essence to the chocolate instead)
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Grease 2 muffin trays (to make 24 little sponges).
Beat your eggs and caster sugar until they’re creamy.
In another bowl, sift the flour and baking powder together. Fold this into the egg and sugar mixture.
Heat the milk and butter in a jug until the butter is melted, but not hot. Stir in the vanilla and orange zest (if using).
Fold this milk mixture into the batter.
Pour into muffin trays. Make each about 1.5cm deep (this is really up to you: you can make them thicker or thinner depending on preference and how much batter you have).
Bake in preheated oven for about 10 minutes or until lightly golden and a skewer comes out clean.
While still a little warm, use a sharp knife to level the tops (and you can eat the left-over bits!)
Allow to cool completely (if you put them in the fridge, remember to take them out to get to room temperature before you add your chocolate).
For the chocolate topping:
You have some choices here: add cream to make a softer, ganache-like topping, or just chocolate to make a crunchable topping; use dark chocolate for a rich jaffa cake, or milk chocolate for a sweeter option; add orange essence for a strong citrus taste, or leave it out for a subtler flavour.
250g chocolate (I went for 70% dark chocolate, but it’s your choice.)
15ml heavy cream (optional)
2 drops of orange essence (optional) (I wouldn’t recommend using the orange essence here if you’ve already used zest in your sponge cakes.)
Allow your sponge cakes and jelly to get to room temperature. Prepare your jaffa cakes for the chocolate: take your sponge cakes out of the muffin trays and place cling film squares into each cup – this time the cling film needs to come up all the way up and over the top of each cup. Place your sponge cakes back into the muffin trays, this time with clingfilm under them, and place a jelly circle on top of each sponge cake. The jelly should be a little smaller than the sponge to allow the chocolate to stick to the cake around the edges. Make sure the clingfilm is neat because you don’t want the chocolate to get tangled up in it.
Put a pot of boiling water on the stove on a medium to low heat. Break your chocolate into Pyrex jug. Place the jug into the slightly simmering water. Melt the chocolate slowly in the jug with the optional heavy cream and orange essence.
Carefully pour a little chocolate neatly over each jaffa cake so that it covers the whole top of the jelly and overflows onto the cake (if it’s only on the jelly, the chocolate will just come right off when it cools).
Allow to cool completely before carefully removing clingfilm, admiring your homemade jaffa cakes, and devouring.
To keep: place in an airtight container in the fridge. Best eaten by day 5.