Okay, so, I’m probably stealing the idea from Anne @ Mud Splattered Boots, but I have to say that it was her March In My Kitchen post that laid down the gauntlet. Quite unintentionally, of course. You see, she mentioned her giant homemade Jaffa cakes….
Maybe I should backtrack a bit here and explain to those of you unlucky not to have Jaffa cakes available in your local supermarket. Jaffa cake is a brand name for a wonderful cookie-like cake topped with a layer of jellied orange covered in dark chocolate. They are produced here in the UK by the McVitie company in Stockport, an industrial suburb of Manchester. They were first introduced by the company in the late 1920s and have been immensely popular since. Their name comes from the Jaffa orange, a sweet seedless orange developed by Palestinian farmers in the mid-19th century and named after the city where it was originally exported.
For me, they are addictive sweets that I try desperately to resist. Normally I avoid store-bought sweets and cakes like the plague – avoiding all those chemical additives, unhealthy fats and sugars, and the consequent poundage on my hips. If I want something sweet, I will make it at home, thus keeping a check on the ingredients and ensuring a moderate intake. But, every once in a while, the devil on my shoulder whispers “go ahead, buy them” and I discover a packet of Jaffa cakes in my supermarket trolley.
So, when Anne mentioned making Jaffa cakes, I wondered if I could also make my own – a self-induced challange. My recipe is a simple Genoese cake base made in my shallow tart/bun tins topped with a dollop of thickened homemade orange marmalade with a coat of chocolate granache. Simple. Don’t worry, although the devil on my shoulder was whispering “go ahead, eat as many as you like”, the angel on my other shoulder won. More than half were packaged and sent out to friends. It is always satisfying to spead the joy – and to keep tempation at bay.
Homemade Jaffa Cakes
- 95g caster sugar
- 20g unsalted butter
- 3 large eggs (see note below)
- 95g plain (all-purpose) flour
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 litre jar of orange marmalade (homemade preferable)
- 60g (or millititre) double (heavy) cream
- 120g dark chocolate
Makes approximately 20 to 22
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. (non-fan assisted). Prepare the shallow bun trays by buttering and dusting with flour.
In an electric mixer, blend the butter and sugar. Add an egg at a time, mixing each at a high speed before adding the next. When all 3 eggs have been added, continue mixing at a high speed until the mixture is pale and slightly frothy. Gradually add the flour and the pinch of salt at a lower speed until it is mixed into a smooth batter.
Spoon the batter (approximately 1 Tablespoon at a time) into the cups – half way to the top. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Let the cakes cool for about 1 minute in their tins. Lightly run a knife around the edge and lift out the cakes. Place them on a rack and let them cool completely.
Meanwhile, tip your jar of marmalade into a heavy bottom pot and bring it up to heat, boiling until it becomes quite thick and the orange strips are caramalised. Allow it to cool completely. Of course, if you make your own homemade marmalade, this might have already happened. One of my batches from last year overcooked and this recipe seemed a perfect use for it.
Take about a teaspoon of the cool marmalade on top of each of the little cakes.
Make the chocolate topping by first finely chopping the chocolate. It is best to use a good quality chocolate. I used a 70% chocolate, but many might find this a bit to bitter. My littlest taste-tester (age 6) registered this crtique on the chocolate. So, it is best to use what you like! Set this aside while you heat (or microwave) the cream until just before boiling. Put the hot cream in a heat resistent bowl and add the chocolate pieces. Stir until the chocolate has completely melted. In order to keep the topping warm, place the bowl in a another larger bowl of hot water. Using a brush – and silicone works well here – dab and paint on a layer of chocolate over the marmalade and cake. Apply a second coat once all the cakes have been covered to use up the chocolate. Or, simply spoon a little chocolate over each marmalade topped cake.
Note (and a little rant) on units of measurement:
Baking is more precise than other forms of cooking. I think that for cakes this is particularly true. A Genoise cake, a standard type cake that is a bit firmer and drier than sponge cake, has regular weight ratio of ingredients: 1 unit flour, 1 unit sugar, 1.5 to 2 units of eggs (without shell) and 0.2 to 0.4 units of butter. It occured to me to make a note of this because eggs are labeled in different sizes and (to confuse matters more) those sizes differ by country. For example, a large British egg (63-73g with shell) is actually an extra-large Australian or US egg. Note, also, that the weight of the shell – to be excluded in the measuements – is generally 13% of the total egg weight. Everything is done by the universal standard metric weight! And, there is a good reason for this. For example, take the case of the tablespoon, a non-metric unit of (volume) measurement. In the US it is 15ml (well, actually 14.7867648438ml), but a British imperial tablespoon is 18ml (17.7581714ml) and even larger in Ausralia at 20ml (exactly – no decimal points to confuse matters). Of course, we are talking about level tablespoons here – none of those imprecise “heaped” or “rounded” spoons that sometimes feature in recipes. Of course, there are always those “pinches” which defy conversion.