I’ve got something a little bit special today – definitely not a cake you can throw together in an hour or so. But, if you are after a bake which is guaranteed to make people smile, then you are going to want to check out my Jaffa Cake Layer Cake!
This cake is a whole bunch of firsts for me. First time I’ve ever made a genoise sponge. First time I’ve ever covered a layer cake in ganache. And definitely the first time I’ve filled a cake with jelly. But, sometimes you’ve just got to take a bit of a gamble and hope it pays off, right?
Let’s start with the genoise sponge. I’m sure, like me, you’ve seen plenty of these being created in the Bake Off tent, but weren’t actually ever 100% sure how you would go about actually making one. Well, it turns out they aren’t anywhere near as hard as you’d think. The main thing to remember is that this cake lives and dies on the air you are going to whisk into it. And there is a LOT of whisking here. We’re talking ten minutes. So, if you’ve got a stand mixer, just put it on high and leave it alone.
Once the eggs and sugar are whipped up, they will be pale yellow, and will have increased in volume by at least a third. The mixture should leave a visible trail when drizzled back on itself, which should stay around for at least two seconds. And make sure when you add the flour and butter to be as gentle as possible. You really don’t want to beat all the air out and end up with a pancake.
It wasn’t the genoise that scared me the most about this project. Although I’ve made tonnes of batches of ganache in my time, I’ve never actually covered a cake in it before. And I almost chickened out and just went for my trusty chocolate buttercream. I’m so glad I didn’t. No self respecting Jaffa Cake would be seen without a shiny layer of dark chocolate, so why should this cake be any different.
Make sure you leave the ganache to cool for half an hour, so it is a spreadable consistency, and you will be FINE. It’s actually much easier to work with than buttercream.
And yeah, then there’s the orange jelly.
This jelly is way more hardcore than the usual stuff. I wanted something that wouldn’t fall apart when you are trying to position it on top of the cake, so it uses much less liquid than the packet suggests. Plus, some extra gelatine for good measure. You could probably get away without this, but I didn’t want the jelly splitting apart in my hands and ruining all my hard work.
Plus, instead of using water, this recipe calls for orange juice when making the jelly. Because, the more orange the better when it comes to a Jaffa Cake, yes?
Full disclosure – as expected, the jelly layer doesn’t stick all that well to the cake. There’s some marmalade in there to try and keep things secure (and add some bitterness) but it still comes apart a little when you’ve got a slice of it on your plate. If you can think of any way to get the jelly to stick better, then please let me know. I’m all ears! But then again, who doesn’t peel the jelly bit off a Jaffa Cake and eat it separately anyway?
Do Jaffa Cakes even exist in other countries? If not, then you need to find a way to get hold of a packet, pronto. The best biscuits* of all time, surely!
*Okay, so they are technically cakes. But whatever.
- 50g (¼ cup) unsalted butter
- 7 large eggs
- 250g (1¼ cups) caster sugar (US granulated sugar)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 250g (2 cups) plain or all-purpose flour
- 3 gelatine leaves
- 300ml (1¼ cups) fresh orange juice (no bits)
- 270g (2 UK standard packets or 9.5oz) orange jelly cubes (Jello)
- 3-4 tablespoons of smooth marmalade (for assembling the cake)
- 400g (14.1oz) dark or bittersweet chocolate (I used Lindt 70%)
- 300ml (1¼ cups) double or heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 180°C / 355°F (160°C fan) and grease and line three 8 inch cake tins with baking parchment or greaseproof paper. Melt the butter in a small bowl in the microwave, and set aside to cool slightly. You can use a little of the melted butter to grease your cake tins with if you like.
- Place the eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract in a large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer, and whisk for 7-10 minutes on high, until the mixture has tripled in volume and is a pale yellow colour. The mixture should leave a ribbon-like trail on the surface of the mixture when drizzled, which should stay visible for a few seconds. If you aren't sure if it is ready, then give it another minute. It can't hurt.
- Sift half the flour onto the egg mixture, and gently fold it in using a spatula or wooden spoon, using a figure of 8 motion. Be careful not to beat too much of the air out of the mixture, and make sure to scrape right to the bottom of the bowl to make sure there are no hidden pockets of flour left. Once incorporated, sift the other half of the flour into the bowl and fold in as before.
- Pour the melted butter into the bowl. I find it best to pour the butter in around the edges of the bowl, so as to avoid melting away lots of that fluffy air. Gently fold in the butter as you did with the flour, being careful not to knock too much of the air out.
- Carefully pour a third of the mixture into each of the cake tins, gently spreading the tops flat if necessary - this cake will not self-level in the oven like a normal sponge. Bake the sponges for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and springy to the touch. Do not open the oven door to check the readiness until at least 15 minutes in. Once baked, leave to cool in the tins on a wire rack. Once cool enough to handle, remove from the tins and leave to cool completely on the wire rack. Run a knife around the edges of the tins to loosen the cake if necessary.
- Once the cake has been removed from the tins, wash up two of the tins, as you will need them for the jelly disks. Lightly oil two of the cake tins and line with clingfilm or plastic wrap. Make sure there are no holes in the clingfilm, or the jelly will run out.
- Place the three gelatine leaves into a bowl of cold water, and set aside to soften for 5 minutes. Pour the orange juice into a microwave-proof jug, and microwave for two minutes until hot. Place the jelly cubes into the orange juice and stir gently to dissolve. If necessary, place back into the microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring gently between each, until the jelly cubes have completely melted. Add the softened gelatine leaves into the orange jelly, and mix well. Pour half the jelly mixture into each lined cake tin, and pop in the fridge for an hour to set.
- Whilst the jelly is setting, it is time to make the chocolate ganache. Break the chocolate up into very small pieces (chop with a knife if necessary), and place in a heatproof bowl. Gently heat the cream in a small saucepan, and as soon as it begins to bubble, pour on top of the chocolate pieces. Leave for five minutes, and then gently stir together to avoid splitting. If there are still unmelted bits of chocolate in the ganache, then place in the microwave for 10 second intervals and stir gently in between. If the ganache appears oily, then gently stir in a couple of tablespoons of warm milk until it becomes smooth and shiny. Cover the surface of the ganache with clingfilm or plastic wrap to avoid a skin forming, and then leave to cool at room temperature for half an hour.
- Once the ganache has cooled enough to spread, the jelly discs should also have set, and it is time to assemble the cake. Place one of the cake layers on a cake board or plate, and stick down to a turntable with a little of the ganache. Spread the top of the cake with some marmalade, and then gently remove one of the jelly disks from the cake tin. Gently transfer the jelly disk on to the top of the cake - the extra gelatine in the mixture should make it easier to handle than you would expect, but do be careful not to break it. The jelly will stretch slightly if necessary, and you can always trim the edges with a pair of scissors if you have any overhang. Spread marmalade on to one side of another cake, and place it marmalade side down on top of the jelly layer. Press down gently. Repeat the process above with the next jelly disk and final cake layer.
- Spoon a large amount of the ganache onto the top of the cake, and spread over the top and down the sides with a small palette knife. Add extra ganache to the sides if necessary, and smooth. Leave to set for 10 minutes, and then draw lines on top of the cake with a knife, similar to the top of a jaffa cake. Leave to set completely.
- The cake will stay fresh for 3-4 days if stored in an airtight container in a cool place. The un-filled genoise sponges can be frozen for 2-3 months - just wrap in clingfilm. The cakes can be prepared one day, and then filled and frosted the next, if easier.
- For a little bit more of an orange hit, feel free to add a teaspoon or two of orange extract to the chocolate ganache once made.