With Bake Off tonight, I’m trying to recreate the Bake Off Technical Challenges at home. Each week, I will be discussing how I got on with the bake, posting pictures of some stages, providing my own commentary as well as the recipe, a Bake Off style judging and where I think I would finish and my reflections. Some of the bakes I’m doing before the episode comes out so I’m making a rough guess of how long the bake will take. The bakes which happen after the episode is aired will follow the time given in the episode.
With an advanced knowledge of what the cake Technical is and a brief 5 minute look at the method (and hence doing it from memory – yes I know!) as well as a list of the ingredient quantities, here are my Jaffa Cakes.
For this Technical challenge, I had to make 12 Jaffa Cakes comprising of a fatless sponge, an orange jelly and a dark chocolate coating in 90 minutes. *After the episode has been broadcast, I know that they had 2 hours. This won’t affect any scores but is annoying knowing I definitely could have used packet jelly and done this properly!*
I toyed with using a orange packet jelly from Aldi which does take a while to set up I have found or Greens Orange Quick Gel which set in 20 minutes, which I had in my cupboard when I bought it in a sale. Worried about time I decided to use the Greens Orange Quick Gel.
Let’s start with the recipe that I used:
50g granulated sugar
50g self-raising flour
Zest of 1/2 an orange
2 sachets of Greens Orange Quick Gel, plus the ingredients following the method of the packet
100g dark chocolate
Time: 6:00pm, 90 minutes remaining. On your marks, get set, bake
I read the instructions on the packet of Greens Orange Gel, and boiled the kettle. I preheated the oven to 180ºC and greased the 12 holes of a cupcake tin. I lined two 20cm sandwich tins with a layer of clingfilm.
With the kettle boiled, I poured 400ml over the 2 sachets of powder with 50g sugar and stirred it until it dissolved. I stirred it once every 2 minutes, following packet instructions.
Time: 6:15pm, 75 minutes remaining. Jelly into the fridge
I put 2 eggs into a bowl with the sugar and the orange zest. I set it aside briefly whilst I poured the ‘jelly’ into the tins evenly and placed it into the fridge.
Time: 6:20pm, 70 minutes remaining. Start of the whisked sponge
I whisked the eggs, sugar and orange zest until it reached ribbon stage; this took about 4 minutes.
Time: 6:26pm, 64 minutes remaining
I sifted in the flour and used a spatula to fold it through. I divided the cake batter between the 12 holes and then placed it in the oven to bake for 10 minutes.
Time: 6:33pm, 57 minutes remaining. Sponges went into the oven to bake
Time: 6:43pm, 47 minutes remaining
I took the sponges out of the oven, I’m leaving them to cool in the tins until there are 40 minutes left. Then I took a palette knife and went around the edge of the tins to lift out the sponges onto a cooling rack.
Time: 7:00pm, 30 minutes remaining. Assembling the Jaffa Cakes
Take a round cutter which is smaller than the top of your cake and is the same size as the base. Cut out 12 rounds of the jelly and place 1 round on top of each sponge. Set aside.
Time: 7:12pm, 18 minutes remaining
Currently it’s 26ºC in the kitchen so tempering is out of the window. I melt the chocolate in the microwave in 20 second blasts. I left the chocolate to cool down for 5 minutes.
Time, 7:20pm, 10 minutes remaining
I spoon just over a teaspoon of the melted chocolate on top of the jelly and used the back of the spoon to spread it out, leaving it to flow over the round of jelly itself. I avoid putting too much on so it doesn’t spill over the sides of the sponge.
Time: 7:30pm, 0 minutes remaining. Bakers, your time is up! Please bring your Jaffa Cakes up to the gingham altar.
Here are my 12 Jaffa Cakes. My opinion is that 90 minutes was the right amount of time for this bake, if I worked quicker, then I certainly could have had enough time to put them into the fridge to set the chocolate up.
I also really hated using the Greens Orange Quick Gel. The flavour (more on that later) was not up to scratch but did work with the chocolate. It set up really quickly which made me feel good until I tried to lift one of the rounds and it collapsed on the palette knife. It was incredibly soft and I immediately knew that this was going to make covering it in chocolate immensely difficult.
What made it even harder is that I left the chocolate to sit for too long before coating the Jaffa Cakes. All of this meant the final stage of the bake took me so long and so I didn’t get a chance to cool my Jaffa Cakes down and during my judging, the chocolate was still not set and so it didn’t have the crack. It was after chilling for 30 minutes that the chocolate set and crack.
With my bakes ready for the judging, I now decide on the criteria that I will judge my Jaffa Cakes on: appearance, flavour, chocolate work, sponge and jelly.
- Appearance: The batch does not look consistent, there are some Jaffa Cakes which have the jelly revealed, some which have the sponge covered and overall aren’t a good batch. However the redeeming quality is that the sponges are fairly consistent looking. Score: 3/10
- Flavour: The jelly is weak and not sweet enough yet despite this, it’s melt in the mouth texture works well with the slightly bitter dark chocolate and the sweet sponge. Score: 8.5/10
- Chocolate work: Poor, quite frankly. There are clear struggles with evenly spreading the chocolate over the sponges, which has left the jelly exposed. Score: 2.5/10
- Sponge: The sponge is light and soft, flecked with orange zest. The crumb texture is perfect. Only concern would be that it slightly stuck to the tin so don’t look perfect. Score: 9.5/10
- Jelly: Managed to hold its shape enough that I managed to cut out rounds but it was very soft and melted away when pressure applied to it – hence making chocolate work on top even harder. Score: 3.5/10
Total score: 27/50
Difficulty ranking: 3.5/10
Finishing position: 10th-12th
If I were to make these again, which I certainly will, I would definitely make my own jelly. As soon as I started cutting out the rounds of jelly, I knew it was a mistake using Greens Orange Quick Gel. Either a jelly block or a homemade jelly simply adding gelatine to orange juice would have been better and would have held its shape more. Furthermore, I wouldn’t have let the chocolate cool down as much before working with it, it became very hard to work with and separated from the jelly as I continued to spread it. I would also work a lot quicker so I had time to cool the chocolate in the fridge.