Great British Bake Off: Technical Challenge 1 -Jaffa Cakes

I have been challenged by my Dad to follow this years Bake Off’s technical challenges week by week, starting with this weeks Jaffa Cake challenge.

Let’s begin.

After googling Mary Berry’s Jaffa Cake recipe, I started by making the orange jelly. For this you need 135g of orange jelly (the stuff you get out of a packet) and 150ml of boiling water. After the jelly dissolves, you add the finely grated zest of a small orange and mix it well with a wooden spoon. Next you need to pour this into a baking tray that’s about 20x30cm (it has to be about this size or the disks will be too thick) and put it into the fridge to set. My family actually all agreed that the jelly I made wasn’t strong enough for Jaffa Cakes, even though I followed the recipe, and my mum said that if I made them again she’d make the jelly herself, by hand. You could do that, or you could not use Hartley’s jelly cubes for it. If you make these, could you please let me know of a different jelly that works better?

Whisking the egg and sugar.

Next I greased a shallow bun tray with unsalted butter and turned the oven on to 180 degrees Celsius. Then I started to make the fatless sponge by beating 1 ounce of castor sugar with 1 large (free range) egg using an electric whisk.

I continued to beat the mixture until it was “pale and fluffy”, which took about 5–7 minutes on the higher settings of the whisk. I actually had to do this bit twice as the first time I didn’t beat it enough before moving on. You have to beat it enough so that it is creamy, and if you turn the whisk off and lift it up, the drips that come off take a moment or two to fade back into the rest of the mixture.

After that bit, I sifted in 1 ounce of self raising flour. That was a lie, I actually used 1 ounce of plain flour with about a third of a teaspoon of baking powder, because I don’t have any self raising flour, which worked just as well. I folded this in carefully so that I didn’t crush all the air out of the egg/sugar mixture, and the the cake mixture was finished!

The finished cake mixture.

After that I divided the mixture evenly among the twelve bun holes on the tray and smoothed the tops with the back of one of the spoons I used for filling the bun holes, then I put the tray in the oven for about 7–10 minutes, or until they sprung back when I poked them, which was conveniently the same amount of time it took me to do the washing up!

Trying to get the cakes out! (I apologise for the mess in the kitchen)

The recipe then said to leave the cakes to cool in the tray for a couple of minutes, which I did, but I wouldn’t recommend doing that, as it made the cakes stick to the tray, which was a real pain for my mum to wash up and did not make for perfect cakes. I left the cakes to cool on the rack for a few more minutes so that they wouldn’t melt the jelly.

Next I got the jelly tray out of the fridge, as it had now set. The recipe called for a 5cm cutter, but I used a 4.8cm cutter, as it was the closest thing I had.

I then cut out 13 disks ( in case I messed up one)and picked them out of the tray. the recipe actually said to take the jelly out of the tray and then cut it, but it was stuck and it didn’t matter anyway. Then I put 12 of them onto the cakes and gave the last one to my brother to eat. He said it was disgusting, that he hated orange jelly and demanded to know why on earth I had made it worse by putting zest in it? I think he was just a little grumpy because it started to melt in his fingers and he hadn’t realised that jelly could do that.

It was at this point I realised that I was supposed to have melted the 180g of chocolate (35% cocoa)before doing that so that it would have more time to thicken before being put on that cakes but I couldn’t do anything about that so I decided not to worry.

I put the chocolate in the microwave for 1 minute (I should have done 30 seconds, this definitely did not help with my chocolate-being-too-hot-for-putting-on-the-cakes problem), stirred it, then waited for it to cool down a bit.

Next I started to spoon the chocolate onto the cakes. I was not very good at it and I made a huge (but delicious) mess. After coating the tops (and quite a bit of the sides) with chocolate, the recipe said to use a fork or skewer to create the criss-cross pattern on top, but that wasn’t working very well for me,so I just drizzled some of the leftover chocolate on top instead. There was quite a bit of chocolate left over in the bowl after I had finished decorating, so I ate it.

I was tying to let the chocolate cool down and harden on its own so that it would have a nice, shiny finish, but it was too hot for that today, so my mum put it in the fridge. It didn’t look quite as nice as it could have done, but that doesn’t really matter.

Unfortunately I do not have a picture of the finished product as by the time they went in the fridge it was dinnertime, and we ate all 12 of them for dessert before I had the chance to take a picture, but I can guarantee that they were tasty.

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