Hi! Happy New Year! Can you believe its 2015? Well it is. I know, I've been very quiet. I've been very busy. Life is craaaaaaaaaaazy. But there is always cake. I thought I should share this recipe with you before I forget how I made it. Because it's a pretty good one. Last month was my brother's 40th birthday. A big occasion like that called for a big cake, or at least a very pretty one.
My sister-in-law planned a lovely surprise party for my brother and of course I was tasked with the birthday cake. One of my brother's favourite flavours is chocolate and orange and he LOVES jaffa cakes. So I thought I would make a layer cake based on the flavours and textures of the good old jaffa cake. I made four layers of my favourite orange tea cake from Stephanie Alexander, it's always light and fragrant. I sandwiched the cake layers with orange jelly, which I set with half the usual amount of liquid so it wouldn't fall apart inside the cake (dodgy instagram innards shot at the bottom of the post). The cake was covered in a thick layer of rich but not too sweet dark chocolate and orange icing and lots of gold leaf to add something special.
I topped the cake with bits of jaffa cakes, jaffa chocolate balls and jaffa flavoured macarons. As always I agonised over getting the icing neat and smooth enough, and I'm never satisfied with it. I used my fancy icing comb to create the texture on the side, and I kinda love it. Though the gold leaf is actually hiding my very untidy edges because I got too fed up with trying to smooth the corners.
The cake went down very well with everyone at the party and looked very pretty sitting next to the delicious canapes from Simmone Logue catering (highly recommended for anyone looking for fancy party catering). My brother was not at all surprised by his surprise party since he noticed it marked on his friend's calender a few weeks earlier, and saw me loading food into our car right before the party. Doh. But it was still fun and I think he loved the cake. The jelly layers worked surprisingly well with the cake, and the slightly bitter chocolate icing was good for balancing out the sweetness of the jelly. This cake is sure to win over anyone who loves the classic combination of chocolate and orange.
Jaffa Layer Cake with Macarons
(makes a 4-layer 15cm (6", this is what I used) or 18cm (7", will result in slightly thinner layers) cake, cake recipe adapted from Stephanie Alexander's The Cook's Companion)
For the orange jelly layers:
Using two orange jelly/jello (2x85g) packets, (I used Aeroplane Jelly), prepare 3 of the same sized baking tins that you are going to use for the cake, greased and line with baking paper. Make up jelly as per instructions, but only use HALF the specified amount of water. This will ensure that the jelly will set firmly. Pour equal amounts of jelly mixture into prepared tins and chill in fridge until set (I prepared mine the night before assembling cake).
For the cake:
2 large oranges
3 large eggs, at room temperature
220g (about 2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup (200g) caster (granulated) sugar
400g (approx 3 cups) self-raising flour
- Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F) (if fan-forced use 180°C (350°F)) and grease and line the base with baking paper of four 15cm (6", this is what I used) or 18cm (7", will result in slightly thinner layers round baking tins (I used two and baked two layers at a time).
- Zest and juice oranges. Combine all cake ingredients in a food processor and blend for 2 minutes. If you have extra time and are worried about over-mixing the flour like me, blend the orange juice and zest, butter, sugar and eggs together first for one minute, then add the flour and blend for another minute. If you don't have a food processor, cream butter and sugar together using an electric beater until light and smooth. Add eggs at a time and beat in well. Add the juice, zest and flour and quickly mix until combined, avoid overbeating the flour.
- Split the batter into four equal portions (I used a scale to measure it exactly), and pour into prepared tin(s) and smooth with a spatula.
- Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in tin for 5 minutes and then carefully remove and cool cake on wire rack completely. (Cakes can be made a day ahead and wrapped in cling film in the fridge overnight before icing)
For the macarons:
Follow these instructions to make shells, using red/orange food colouring. (Or you can use my old French method)
Prepare the orange chocolate ganache, using 100g dark chocolate with 1/4 tsp orange essence/extract, finely chopped and placed in a heatproof bowl. Heat 90ml (about 1/3 cup) thickened/heavy cream just to the boil then pour over chopped chocolate and leave to melt for a few minutes before whisking. Chill ganache until it thickens but is still pipable, then fill macaron shells and leave in the fridge overnight to allow the flavour to mature.
For the chocolate-orange icing:
340g (3 sticks) butter, softened
400g Lindt orange intense chocolate (or about 350g dark chocolate with 1/2 tsp orange essence/extract)
1/4 cup good quality cocoa powder
1/4 cup milk
600-700g (about 5-6 cups) icing sugar, sifted (I blitzed in a food processor to save time)
- In a heatproof bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water, melt chocolate (if using Lindt orange intense, strain mixture to remove almonds)
- Place butter in a large mixing bowl and beat on high with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
- Add melted chocolate, cocoa powder and milk and beat on low for a minute to start to combine ingredients.
- Continue beating while gradually adding icing sugar until mixture is smooth and well combined. Adjust the amount of icing sugar until the desired texture is achieved. You want the mixture to be stiff enough to hold its shape but soft enough to be spreadable. If it is too stiff, add more milk.
To assemble cake:
Jaffa chocolate balls
Jaffa Cake biscuits (I got mine from Aldi)
Optional: gold leaf to decorate
- Trim the tops of the cake layers to remove any doming. Place one layer of cake on your cake stand or plate and carefully place a layer of jelly on top. Trim the jelly layer to the same circumference as the cake if there is any overhang. Try not to crack the jelly layer, but it is okay if it does break apart as the icing and cake will hold it together.
- Repeat with the remaining cake layers and jelly.
- Crumb coat cake with a layer of icing, then chill cake for about 30 mins-an hour to allow coat to set.
- Cover cake with a thick layer of remaining icing using an offset spatula, to achieve the texture I created on the side of the cake, you can use an icing comb like this one.
- If you are using gold leaf, use a paintbrush to carefully decorate the edge of the cake with it.
- Top with macarons, jaffa balls and jaffa cakes. Chill cake to allow icing to set, and remove the cake from the fridge about 30 mins before serving.