Well did we all watch the bake off on Wednesday night?? I know I, along with so many others was so excited for its return and it definitely didn’t disappoint! I think S7 Ep1 will go down in history though as ‘The one where the nation is divided by Jaffa cake etiquette and gets a solid history lesson on cakes v biscuits’
So lets discuss; The Technical: Jaffa Cakes!
This took me completely by surprise, I mean Jaffa Cakes!! I have been known to bake in my time😉 and I have never come across a recipe for jaffa cakes, never heard of anyone making them, and have never seen a version of them being sold outside of the usual supermarket box, so needless to say this had my attention straight away.
The contestants got straight to it and fair play to them, I probably wouldn’t have had a clue where to start without a proper recipe. What did shock me though, was that some people had completely forgotten what a Jaffa Cake looked like and once they had made all the components, were then trying to assemble them upside down 🤔 like WTF?
What is it about bakers/chefs that when under pressure they start to present stuff upside down?? I’ve seen it a couple of times on GBBO and on Masterchef as well, like if you’ve seen the way something looks a hundred times, what automatically makes you think you should mess with the mojo… baffling!
Anyway, aside from the baking of the jaffa cakes, along came the twitter debate: ‘is it a cake or a biscuit?’ cos it ain’t biscuit week…
Well here’s on for ya!
McVitie’s have been making jaffa cakes since 1927. But they were challenged by Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise for labelling their chocolate orange treats as ‘cakes’.
The reason it was challenged is because in UK law, biscuits are classed as a luxury item and VAT applies. But cakes, on the other hand, are regarded as a staple food and are zero-rated for the purposes of VAT.
Customs and Excise decided to rule jaffa cakes to be biscuits, partly covered in chocolate, and therefore standard-rate. But the cake manufacturers appealed against the decision and the matter went to court.
So in 1991, a UK court ruled in favour of McVities who argued that the base of a jaffa cake was actually a cake sponge, not a biscuit. The deciding factor was when McVities pointed out that when biscuits go stale, they go soft and when cakes go stale, they harden (jaffa cakes go hard).
So there you have it…
Jaffa cakes are legally a cake, which only justifies everyone’s shock and horror when Paul Hollywood only goes and dunks his in a cup of tea 😳 . Who dunks cake into tea??? I think Mary’s reaction speaks for us all;
Jaffa cake etiquette aside, I was really intrigued by the idea of making my own jaffa cakes so I went and looked up the recipe and guess what, it was super simple! I used Mary Berry’s own recipe and it was great!(shocker)
The recipe I came across was great but it said I would get 12 jaffas and I only got 9, and I only had to bake them for 6 mins cos they were quite thin. Also I had jelly and chocolate left over, so I had a look at the GBBO website and Mary’s recipe has been updated with double the quantities of egg, flour and sugar, which makes sense given the quantities I had didn’t balance. So I’ll post the updated recipe so you don’t have any problems 🙂
These Jaffa Cakes are so simple and quick and really like the McVities ones, you won’t be disappointed!
Mary Berry’s Jaffa Cakes
For the jelly
135g packet orange jelly
finely grated zest of 1 small orange
150ml boiling water
For the sponge
unsalted butter, for greasing
2 large eggs
50g caster sugar
50g self raising flour, sifted
For the topping
180g plain dark chocolate, 46% cocoa solids
- For the jelly, break the jelly into pieces and place in a small bowl. Pour over the boiling water and stir until the jelly is completely dissolved. Add the orange zest, then pour into a shallow 30cm x 20cm tray. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour until set.
- Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 180C/Fan160C/Gas 4 and grease a 12 hole, shallow bun tin with butter. Whisk the eggs and sugar together for 4 – 5 minutes until pale and fluffy, then gently fold in the flour.
- Fill each well in the bun tin with a tablespoon of the cake batter. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until well risen and the top of the sponges spring back when lightly pressed with a finger. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tray for a few minutes then finish cooling on a wire rack.
- To assemble, break the chocolate into pieces then melt in a bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. Remove the bowl from the heat and leave to cool & thicken slightly.(you can also use a microwave and stir at 20 sec intervals)
- Turn the jelly out onto a sheet of non stick baking parchment. Cut 12 discs from the orange jelly using a 5cm round cutter. Sit one jelly disc on top of each sponge.
- Spoon a tsp of the melted chocolate on the centre of the jelly discs just enough to use the back of the spoon to push the chocolate from the centre to the edge (should be a thin layer). Using a fork create a criss cross pattern on top of the chocolate, then leave in the fridge to set completely.