Jaffa Cake Cupcakes

The other week, I introduced my international friend to the concept of Jaffa Cakes. Ironically, they asked the age old question: is a Jaffa Cake a biscuit or a cake? People have debated this a lot and I’m sure that there’s food-y people out there who can tell me, but I can tell you now the true answer: Who cares?! The more you debate about it, the more other people can eat while you talk about it!

Not to sound too British, but I do love a good biscuit (/cake), especially with a cup of tea! However, I have felt for a while that some snacks of this description should be incorporated into a pudding of some sort. This is the thought that created the idea, whilst food shopping, of Jaffa Cake cupcakes. They’re easy to make into cupcakes, because they’re essentially three elements: chocolate, orange curd and sponge. Even if you’re a beginner to baking, you’ll see that this isn’t a conversion that’s hard to create! And what better than a cake and a Jaffa Cake on top (that’s two puddings in one!!)

Jaffa Cake Cupcakes

Preparation time: 30-40 minutes
Baking time: 10-15 minutes
Makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients
For the sponge:
110g (4oz) Butter
110g (4oz) Caster Sugar
2 eggs
110g (4oz) Self-raising Flour
1 tsp Vanilla Essence

Orange Marmalade (or see this recipe for 10-minute orange curd)

For the Icing:
130g Butter
500g Icing Sugar
170g Cocoa Powder
3-4 tbsp Milk
1/2 tsp Vanilla Essence

12 Jaffa Cakes for decoration

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Beat the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl until the mixture is fluffy.
2. Add the eggs one at a time and beat into the mixture until combined.
3. Add the flour and vanilla essence and mix until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
4. Spoon the mixture and divide evenly into the cupcake cases. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the sponge is golden and springs back when pressure is applied to it.
5. When the cupcakes have baked, set them aside to cool.
6. To make the icing, soften the butter in the microwave, then beat together the icing sugar, cocoa powder and butter until combined. Add the vanilla essence. Add the milk a little at a time until the icing is a good texture.
7. Once the cupcakes have cooled, using a teaspoon, hollow out a small section from the top of the cupcake and fill with orange curd/ marmalade. Replace most of the sponge back on the top of the curd/ marmalade (as if you’re putting a lid over the orange). Repeat for all the cupcakes.
8. Cover the cupcakes with the chocolate icing.
9. Cut 12 Jaffa Cakes in half, and using two halves, create a butterfly effect by placing one half on each side of the cupcake.

Handy Hints
Icing texture– this matters more if you choose to pipe your icing onto the cakes. If you do, it needs to be firm enough that the mixture holds on a spoon (i.e. it doesn’t drip off the spoon), but not too stiff that it doesn’t mix easily.
Adding the orange– for more tips on this, see this recipe.
Adding the icing– Piping the icing gives a more neat effect (and possibly adds more icing), but this works just as well with a knife and using the back of a spoon to shape.

Jaffa cake cupcakes

Jaffa cake cupcakes3

Chocolate Orange Cake

Chocolate Orange has always been a bit of a thing in my family. It started with my mum being given a Terry’s chocolate orange every year for Christmas and just expanded into a family favourite. I feel like chocolate orange is also the perfect flavour to experiment with if you’re a new baker, or a student baker, because it’s so cheap and easy to create.

The inspiration for this recipe came from a rainy day on holiday in Scotland. Being Scotland, it had started to rain as soon as we’d arrived at the town we were intending on looking around so we decided, in a very English fashion, to go and hide in a cafe until the rain eased. I ordered a slice of chocolate orange cake, which was very nice (and they weren’t stingy with the slice size either!) and lead to me thinking that maybe I should try and re-create it at home. This is the result!

The recipe for the sponge came from my Grandma’s recipe (aren’t grandmas just the best for baking?!) and I love it because it creates a really good flavoured sponge without being too dry. It’s a great recipe too because it’s a fully hands-on kind of recipe- none of this using an electric mixer nonsense! There’s no orange flavour in the sponge because I didn’t want the orange to be too overpowering, so the orange comes from the curd and icing.

Chocolate Orange Cake

Preparation Time: (sponge) 15 mins, (icing) 5 mins (curd) 15 mins
Cooking Time: 30-35 mins

Ingredients
For the sponge:
175g (7oz) Self-raising Flour
200g (8oz) Caster Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
25g (1oz) Cocoa
100g (4oz) Margarine
2 Eggs
5 tbsp Evaporated Milk
5 tbsp Water
Few drops Vanilla Essence

For the curd:
(this was adapted from a recipe by http://africanbites.com/?p=6021 which is amazing- really clear and easy to understand- even for a beginner like me!)
1/2 cup (4oz) Butter, softened in the microwave
3 Eggs
Juice of 2 Oranges
3 Tablespoons Orange Zest
3/4 -1 Cup of Sugar (depends how much of a sweet tooth you are!)

For the Icing:
2oz Butter
20g Cocoa Powder
A dash of Milk
Icing Sugar (start with 2oz)
Grated zest of 1/2 an Orange (but can change depending how orangey you want it)

Method

For the sponge:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Mix the flour, sugar, salt and cocoa powder together.
2. Rub the margarine into the dry ingredients using the tips of your fingers until you have a consistently crumb-like mixture.
3. Stir in the eggs, vanilla essence, evaporated milk and water then beat well until combined and smooth.
4. Grease and sprinkle some flour on 2 x 8 inch cake tins (NOT loose-bottom ones). Divide the mixture between them.
5. Bake for 30-35 mins until the sponge springs back.

For the curd:
1. Whisk together all the ingredients in a large, microwave-safe bowl until smooth.
2. Place in the microwave for one-minute intervals, stirring after each interval. After around 4-5 minutes the mixture should have thickened up. It’s done when it’s thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon without running off into the bowl.
3. Remove from the microwave, cover and cool.

For the icing:
1. Soften the butter slightly in the microwave.
2. Add the other ingredients, then whisk with a hand-mixer until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add icing sugar until it thins out. Keep adding icing sugar until you reach the desired consistency.

Once the sponges have cooled, sandwich together with the curd, then spread the icing over the top and sides.

Handy Hints
Sponge- Don’t worry that the mixture is really runny before it goes in the oven! This is why you shouldn’t use a loose-bottomed tin, as it will run out the bottom.
Curd- Make sure that the butter is softened before you whisk the ingredients as if it isn’t it will result in a lumpy mixture.
Icing- You can add as much icing sugar and orange as you like to suit your preferences. Everyone likes different consistencies and different amounts of zesty-ness!
Decoration- I’ve decorated mine with mini Terry’s chocolate orange pieces.

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