Weekend Cook: Make our Jaffa cake sponge

PUBLISHED: 10:00 22 February 2020

Chocolate Jaffa cake  Picture: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis

Chocolate Jaffa cake Picture: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis


Follow this week’s recipe for a sweet, orange-filled teatime treat.

There's something very satisfying about a full biscuit tin. Tea and biscuits, to me, are the epitome of comfort, warmth and homeliness. A sweet, simple welcome for guests when they nip in for a chat (which at my house ends up being hours and inevitably turns into lunch or dinner). Solace after a tough day - you can't beat a cuppa and something to dunk into the milky brew. Fodder for the ever-increasing hoard of pre-teen boys who turn up with my kids after school.

But, of course, there are biscuits....and then there are biscuits. They have their own order of worthiness. At the top, and the rest of the UK agrees (according to surveys) is the chocolate digestive. Wholesome, soothing and subtly sweet, every bite is a hug. In our house the running favourites are bourbons (you have to remove the top, eat it, then nibble around the cream), custard creams, pink wafers, Danish butter cookies and shortbread.

But the ultimate. The absolute pinnacle of our biscuit tin, and a treat that causes the most fights in the kitchen is the Jaffa Cake - which isn't a biscuit at all, but we'll skim past that fact. The strange, almost stale, but addictive sponge with its heart of orange jelly and dark chocolate coat, is probably my kids' favourite snack in the entire world. The box rarely makes it into the biscuit tin, and when it does, they insist on counting and divvying them out between themselves. Woe betide one of them sneaks an extra cake, cutting into the other's consignment!

Obviously, they leave my hubby and I out of their negotiations - very unfair. This week I've paid homage to the teatime classic in cake form. And it's big enough that everyone can get a slice.

The bouncy sponge is enhanced with orange oil (find it at your local supermarket - it gives a much better flavour than zest) and is made with spread rather than butter which makes for a lighter finish.

It's sandwiched with Thursday Cottage's zingy Blood Orange Curd and layered on top with a fresh juice and marmalade jelly. Every bite is the essence of Jaffa.

Orange 'Jaffa' cake

(serves 8 to 10)


225g golden caster sugar

225g spread (I use Pure Sunflower Spread)

4 eggs

225g self-raising flour

2tsps baking powder

2 capfuls orange extract

2tbsps milk

1 capful white wine or cider vinegar

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For the jelly:

200ml fresh orange juice

2tbsps thin cut marmalade

2 leaves platinum gelatine soaked in cold water for 10 minutes

For the topping:

150g dark chocolate

150ml double cream

To fill:

Orange curd (I used Thursday Cottage Blood Orange Curd)


Make the jelly first. Warm the marmalade and juice in a small pan on a low heat until the marmalade has melted. Squeeze out and add the gelatine leaves and stir to combine. Leave to cool to room temperature. Line a 20cm round tin with clingfilm and pour in the jelly. Leave to set in the fridge (it will take about an hour).

For the sponge pre-heat the oven to 190C and grease and line to 20cm round tins. Beat the spread with the sugar until creamy. Beat in the eggs, and add the flour and baking powder, bit by bit, to combine. Finally add the orange extract, milk and vinegar and beat until smooth.

Leave for 10 minutes - this allows the raising agents to react with the acid for a lighter sponge - then spoon equally into your tins.

Bake for 20-22 minutes until risen and lightly golden. Allow to cool a little, then remove from the tins and let cool fully.

For the topping bring the cream to a boil in a pan, then remove from the heat. Break in the chocolate, stir to melt, and set aside.

Once the cake is cool, cut any bumps off the top of each for an even finish. Spread one cake thickly with curd and place the other cake on top. Thinly spread the top with curd and peel the jelly from the clingfilm, placing this on top of that. Spread the cooled chocolate mix over this, allowing it to drip and ooze down the sides. Allow to set and serve in wedges with a nice cup of Earl Grey.

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