I just love making new cake recipes, so when I saw the contestants make jaffa cakes on the Great British Bake Off, I couldn’t resist having a go at making them myself.
It is surprising that it reignited the debate about whether jaffa cakes are cakes or biscuits, though. Even if you have only ever seen a jaffa cake, let alone eaten one, it is clear that the base is a light, airy (if you have baked it right!) cake and not a biscuit. This was proved in 1991 when McVitie’s won a VAT tribunal case that jaffa cakes are cakes and should therefore not be taxed, because when stale, a cake goes hard, while a biscuit goes soft.
Now quite why cakes are not considered a luxury item and therefore not taxed and biscuits are a luxury item seems not to have been a point of debate. To me each seems to be equally decadent and luxurious, but then I am not a VAT inspector.
Making jaffa cakes really isn’t hard, although perhaps a bit fiddly. I more or less followed the recipe given by Mary Berry, although I was rather shocked to discover that the jelly was made from a packet! Now previously on GBBO contestants have been criticised for using bought biscuit cutters and ready made icing, surely this falls into the same category? I ignored this and made my own with gelatine (you could easily substitute a vegetarian alternative) and fresh oranges. To my mind this made an enormous difference to the taste, providing a fresh zingy quality, lacking in a packet jelly. I would almost go as far as to say that it would not be worth the effort making jaffa cakes if you are going to use a packet jelly. Anyway, this is how I made jaffa cakes:
Method for making Jaffa Cakes
4 oranges zest and juice
60g caster sugar
3 gelatine leaves
2 large eggs
50g caster sugar
50g self raising flour
180g plain chocolate, 70% cocoa solids
- For the jelly, put the juice, zest and sugar in saucepan and heat until sugar dissolves. Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for 5 mins and put in with the juice mix. Pour into tin lined with cling film. My tin is about 23cm square. It’s quite important to use the right size tin, so that you get the right depth of jelly for your jaffa cake. Chill in the fridge for a few hours until cold and totally set.
- Pre-heat the oven to 160C fan and grease your bun tin or tins with butter. It will completely depend on the size of the indentations in your tin, but mine made about 24 cakes.
- Whisk the eggs and sugar together for 4 – 5 minutes until pale and fluffy, then gently fold in the flour.
- Carefully spoon the cake batter into the bun tin, so they are about half full. Bake for 9 minutes, until done. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tray for a few minutes then place on a wire rack.
- Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Remove the bowl from the heat and leave to cool and thicken slightly.
- Cut 12 discs from the orange jelly using a round cutter about 1cm smaller than the cakes. Place one jelly disc on top of each sponge.
- Spoon or pour the melted chocolate over the jelly discs and leave to set slightly. Using a fork create a criss cross pattern on top of the chocolate, then leave to set completely.
Would I make this again?
Yes I really thought I was going to say no, that they are too much pfaff, when you can buy jaffa cakes easily and cheaply, but honestly they are so irresistible and the orange jelly tastes so fresh that I really want to make them again, as soon as possible!