About Me

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My name is Lucy and I have never blogged before. Well that's a lie. I have, but it was this one, and I neglected it for a little while... I live in a commuter town outside London having moved here about a year and a half ago after making some pretty big changes in my life. I share a beautiful little cottage on the Grand Union Canal with 1 crazy beautiful little girl and an equally crazy cat called Bandit (appropriately named as he now lives in all the houses on the street and steals...). Lawyer/working mum and it would appear, terminally single (I've reserved my spinster plaque already) I was fortunate to escape the evil commute about a year ago but seem to have less time than ever.... If I entertain you, make you laugh or fume (or make you have an emotion of ANY description) then my job is done. Enjoy x

Monday, 6 February 2012

Pride goeth before a fall

A staple in our household is the humble Jaffa Cake.  Unfortunately they are both a firm favourite of mine and the hubby's so they rarely last long and in fact usually lead to a War of the Roses stand off followed by a couples counselling session.

I love Jaffa Cakes. I still practise the "Full Moon, Half Moon, Total Eclipse" mantra but that's just how I roll.

Anyway, so a while ago on Saturday Morning Kitchen I saw Simon Rimmer make homemade Jaffa Cakes.  "Amazeballs!" I thought and vowed to try them.  So this weekend with expectations running high given my recent successes (do you recall the Michel Roux Jr references....?) I set out to making them.

As usual, the recipe has my commentary...

The recipe - Homemade Jaffa Cakes (with thanks (through gritted teeth) to Simon Rimmer)

For the cakes:
2 free-range eggs (I'm going to throw this out there, I know it sounds like I have an obsession with fresh eggs but I think these should be as fresh as possible given the cooking method)
50g / 2oz caster sugar
50g / 2oz plain flour

For the filling:
1 135g packet of orange jelly, chopped
1 tbs orange marmalade
125ml boiling water

For the chocolate:
200g / 7oz good quality dark chocolate (min 70% cocoa solids), chopped into pieces (seriously its a chocolate covered cakey biscuit, what did you expect!?!?)

1. Start by making the filling.  In a bowl, mix together the jelly, marmalade and boiling water until the jelly has dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Pour the filling mixture into a shallow-sided baking tray or large dish to form a thin layer of jelly (the recipe actually says a 1cm/½in layer but that seems far too thick to me). Set aside until completely cooled, then chill in the fridge until set.  (The recipe also called for this to be made at a later stage but I figured I'd give it more time to set).

2. Next, make the cakes.  Start by preheating the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.  Bring a little water to the boil in a pan, then reduce the heat until the water is simmering. Suspend a heatproof bowl over the water (do not allow the base of the bowl to touch the water). Add the eggs and sugar to the bowl and beat continuously for 4-5 minutes, or until the mixture is pale, fluffy and well combined.

3. Add the flour, beating continuously, until a thick, smooth batter forms.

4. Half-fill each well in a 12-hole muffin tin with the cake batter. Transfer the tin to the oven and bake the cakes for 8-10 minutes, or until pale golden-brown and cooked through (the cakes are cooked through when a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean.) Remove from the oven and set the cakes aside, still in their tray, until cool.

5. When the jelly has set and the cakes have cooled, cut small discs from the layer of jelly, equal in diameter to the cakes (now my intimate knowledge of Jaffa Cakes means I know that the jelly bit does NOT cover the whole cake (the travesty!) so I cut the discs about 1cm smaller in diameter using a little medicine cup)
6. This is where it all went tits up. Once the cakes were cooled they were meant to be removed from the tin.  I borrowed one of my mum's bigger non-stick tins for this as I didn't want to be faffing about with mine.  I went to turn the cakes out of the tin and they wouldn't budge.  I went to prise them out a little with a knife, and was successful.  At first.  Then they refused to come out without tearing. 
"Fine, be that way" I thought "You're getting covered in chocolate anyway so I can cover the cracks" (yes, I sound like I know what I'm doing).  Then I had a little epiphany and figured that I should probably taste the cakes before making the chocolate.  Best.  Decision.  Ever.  They were vile - overly sweet, eggy, anaemic, rubbery hockey pucks.  They were like the little white sponges you can get to clean walls.  Unimpressed doesn't even begin to cover it.

At this point, it was coming up to 9pm on a Sunday night, The Time Traveller's Wife was on and the bottle of Port on the window sill had somehow found its way into my hand so I thought "sod it" and buggered off to the lounge.

The rest of the recipe, just to finish it off, is meant to go like this:

7. Sit one jelly disc on top of each cake.

8. For the chocolate, bring a little water to the boil in a pan, then reduce the heat until the water is simmering. Suspend a heatproof bowl over the water (do not allow the base of the bowl to touch the water).  Add the chocolate and stir until melted, smooth and glossy, then pour over the cakes. Set aside until the melted chocolate has cooled and set.

I have to say, I was pretty unimpressed by the recipe (yes, that may be influenced by my inability to complete it and yes, it was the recipe's fault not my mad-skillz).  I can't help thinking that the muffin tray should have been greased and I'm not sure what mixing the cake batter over the hot water does that mixing them cool wouldn't.  Perhaps I'll try doing it like that next time and see what those results are like. 

I guess I've been riding high for all of the posts so far that it was only a matter of time that I would have a tumble.  Problem is I now have a fridge full of orange jelly discs and nothing to do with them and I'm not going to attempt this again this week as I have a much bigger project to tackle.

Anyway there's a box in the cupboard so altogether now "full moon, half moon, total eclipse"....


  1. Good effort, I was hoping for a cakey ending

  2. Hey me too, alas, it was not meant to be :(

  3. This made me LOL (yep, I just went there) at my desk at work. Can't believe your brute honesty in not closing the deal - well done :-). Also slightly outraged by your stickler-ness in opting for LESS orangey jam - surely that's the best part and you always want more?? Just me?? Hmmmm... I demand a remake anyhow! x