The Bake Off is back, and my goal for the series is to bake the technical challenges. First off then, Jaffa cakes. Their appearance on cake week must have put an end to any discussion of whether they’re cakes or biscuits. Here’s what I ended up with.
I found two Bake Off related Jaffa cake recipes online. The first from BBC Food, and the second from The Great British Bake Off site itself. They were slightly different. The BBC recipe made half the amount of sponge as the Bake Off recipe, and it used dark chocolate with 36% cocoa solids, whereas the Bake Off recipe used chocolate with 46%. I decided to make the quantity of sponge from the Bake Off recipe, but, otherwise, go with the BBC.
Now, I’ve had trouble finding dark chocolate with only 36% cocoa solids before. When I made Mary Berry’s chocolate marbled ring cake I ended up using Tesco’s cooking chocolate, and even then the percentage was too high. I decided to see what Google had to say about plain chocolate, and guess what. It’s Bournville. 36% plain chocolate is Cadbury’s Bournville. I know there’s no advertising on the BBC but couldn’t they have given us just the smallest hint?
Off I went to Tesco to get the Bournville. They didn’t have it. I went to Marks, and the two proper sweet shops in Leamington. No luck. There was single estate chocolate with 75+% cocoa solids, chocolate with chilli, with salted caramel, with lime. No Bournville anywhere. I headed back to Tesco for another bar of its cooking chocolate and, on the way, passed Poundland. Would Poundland have any? I decided to give it a try. There it was. Piles and piles of it. My 36% chocolate problem has been solved forever.
The first step in the Jaffa cake recipe was to make the jelly. You make up a pack of orange jelly with a lot less water than usual, add some orange zest and pour it onto a baking tray to set. My baking tray was a bit bigger than the size specified in the recipe, so I was a bit worried that my jelly would be a too thin. I didn’t worry about getting the jelly off the tray until I tried it. Jon pointed out that the Bake Off contestants had all lined their baking trays with baking paper or clingfilm. I had thought about it, but didn’t. If I’d needed a lining the recipe would have said so wouldn’t it?
Once set, my jelly was completely stuck inside the tray. I ended up cutting my circle shapes out in the tin, peeling the left over jelly away and, very carefully, lifting the circles out with the help of a palette knife. Some of them split, but most were OK. They were going to be hidden under chocolate anyway.
After making the jelly, I moved onto the sponge. I whisked up egg and sugar with an electric whisk. The recipe says that the amount it so small that a whisk is better than a mixer. I gave the mixture 5 minutes at top speed and ended up with a really light batter. I spooned it carefully into my greased shallow bun tin and then noticed that my flour was still sitting in a bowl on the kitchen table. I scraped the mixture back into my mixing bowl and folded in the flour, hoping that the butter from the bun tins wouldn’t ruin the mixture. I spooned it back into the tin again and popped it into the oven at 160° fan.
The sponges were done in the 7 minutes stipulated by the recipe. I let them cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turned them out onto a wire rack. I had enough sponge mix left over to make six more.
I put my beautiful Bournville chocolate over a pan of simmering water to melt and played a bit of air guitar (I’d got as far Experience Hendrix on my ipod marathon, by far the coolest thing on there so far). Once it had melted, I started to assemble the Jaffa cakes. I’d already cut out my jelly circles, and I lifted them onto the top of the sponges. An extremely fiddly task. I managed it in the end, but with lots of ripped and concertinaed jelly circles that wouldn’t impress Mary Berry one bit (neither would the swearing that accompanied my attempts to slide them off the knife).
Now back to the chocolate. It wasn’t cool enough and started to melt the jelly as I spooned it on. I stopped, played a bit more air guitar, unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher and came back to it. I spread the chocolate over the top of the cakes and make the required crisscross pattern.
Here they are.
The chocolate wasn’t very shiny, and the sponges were paler than the McVities version which I obviously had to buy as a taste comparison. They were very nice though. More cake-like than McVities and they had a more orangey orange flavour, if that makes sense. McVities Jaffa cakes are good, Mary Berry’s are better, but, honestly, they were so fiddly to make that I don’t think I’ll be trying again. One thing though. Cadbury’s Bournville. What a revelation. You can keep your single estate rich dark chocolate from now on. I’m off to Poundland.