Monday, 19 September 2011

Happy 1st Birthday, We Should Cocoa!

This month's 'We Should Cocoa' challenge was to produce something suitable for a virtual 1st birthday party, as the challenge itself is now a year old. In the past, my novelty birthday cake making has been almost legendary (within the family!) - dinosaurs, volcanos, a TARDIS and daleks, ladybirds etc have all been produced at party times, but I think my family would have been a little shocked to find something like that in the cake tin, for no real reason! Happily, Dom at Belleau Kitchen has made a wonderful cake, which has taken the virtual pressure off the rest of us.

I still racked my brain for ages trying to think of something suitable for both adults and small children - my best idea was biscotti with just chocolate chips for the children and added nuts and dry fruit for the adults - but the thought of making them didn't really enthuse me. I don't know what flash of inspiration put Jaffa Cakes into my mind, but once it was there, it was stuck! As well as being loved by children and adults alike, these cakes (or biscuits, if you want an argument! LOL!) would also challenge my baking skills as I'm not very confident about adding chocolate coatings to things. Never mind how messy a small child would get eating one - it would be the same with anything covered in chocolate.

I can't imagine anyone not knowing what a Jaffa Cake is, but for the uninitiated, it's a small fat-free, fairly dry, sponge cake disc topped with a circle of orange flavoured jelly. The top is then coated with chocolate to enclose the jelly.

The best recipe I found, one on the BBC from Simon Rimmer, used jelly for the topping - many just put a blob of marmalade on top of the cake discs. Commercial jelly blocks are not suitable for vegetarians, so that might be one reason it's not used in recipes, but it does give the cakes a more authentic look and taste experience.

The recipe was fairly easy to follow, although I had a heart-stopping moment when it looked as if all the sponge discs were going to stick to the muffin pan. Each individual stage was quite quick too, with just the assembly taking time, as it was quite fiddly and needed a great amount of care.

I'm quite pleased with the results, although I think the chocolate coating was too thick, which unbalanced the flavour a little. The sponge cake part was quite bland and not as sweet as I remember the real thing. (The photo of the cut cake isn't very good, as the chocolate hadn't quite set, but it does show how thick the chocolate was in relation to the sponge and jelly layers!)

The cakes had a mixed reception from the others - Hubs didn't really like them, but CT did, and was quite disappointed when I said it was a one-off experiment not likely to be repeated. The main reason for saying that is that it took 4 passes through the washing-up bowl to clean off the stuck-on layer of cake crumbs from the muffin pan, which was supposed to be non-stick! If I make them again, I need a silicone baking mould, I think - a good excuse for buying one anyway.

If you'd like to join in with future We Should Cocoa challenges, the rules can be found on Choclette's Chocolate Log Blog. Choclette shares host duties for the challenge with Chele at Chocolate Teapot, and it is Chele who has set this month's challenge, which means she will be giving us the round-up of entries towards the end of the month - I guess she will have to clear up after the party too!

10 comments:

Foodycat said...

Maybe make a sheet cake and cut out circles if CT insists on a repeat match?

Kavey said...

These look really great!!! Must try one day!

Suelle said...

That's a possibility, Foodycat, although the edges wouldn't look as tidy. It wouldn't matter just for family, though! LOL!

Chele said...

Wow! What a fantastic addition to our party table. Full credit to you for pushing the boat out like that and thank you for participating in WSC, we couldn't do it without you ;0)

MissCakeBaker said...

V impressive and such a great idea!

Choclette said...

Lovely Suelle, they look heaps better than the bought variety I reckon and a real treat for us party goers. He he hadn't thought of poor Chele having to do the clearing up. As you know I'm a great believer in silicone, so I'm backing you on a new acquisition! Having said that, I'm not at all impressed with the silicone mat I bought myself recently. I'm not letting my CT near this post or he will be clamouring for me to make him some as he's a real jaffa cake fan.

Phil in the Kitchen said...

Good choice - there's a lot of joy in a jaffa cake. They look really inviting to me. I did bake a giant jaffa cake many years ago but it wasn't easy to slice as I recall.

Dom at Belleau Kitchen said...

oh my god they are so impressive!... I love the way you've built them... seriously cool stuff man!... these would make a great addition to any party table... thanks for the mention too... that cake went down really well as you can imagine!

C said...

They look fab indeed! I especially love the ratio of chocolate to cake and jelly that you've achieved!

I made jaffa cakes ages ago and remember being worried that they were all going to stick but they didn't. I filled mine with marmalade or blackcurrant jam, and the marmalade was miles better!

I can imagine CT being diappointed that there isn't likely to be a re-run, I would be too!

Baking Addict said...

I've never even thought of making my own Jaffa cakes. These look great - I love the chocolate coating and dont think its too thick at all, in fact I'd want more :)