Sunday 25 December 2016

Jaffa Torte

A bit of a Christmas day project, to keep me busy in the kitchen while various bad movies went off in the background. The base was a Dobos Torte, which I made way back in March, but using the "christmassy" flavours of chocolate and orange (what could be more Christmas than a chocolate-orange?). There are also influences from the classic jaffa cake (hence the name), with the jelly layer on top.

The core structure is actually quite simple to make, and (much like last time) if I'd been in a hurry, I could have made the meringue buttercream at the same time as I baked the cakes. This is a recipe that ends up using a lot of bowls and saucepans, so has a habit of getting the kitchen messy (I seem to hit a critical point where my ability to keep my work area tidy fails, and suddenly I'm buried in washing up!)

Things I'd change....I should probably have used 70% chocolate in the buttercream rather than 50%, as while the texture is glorious, the flavour is not quite there. Otherwise, I think the cake has a nice decadent look, with the ganache dripping down the sides. There are a couple of partially used ingredients (egg yolks and orange flesh), and if I'd planned it out a bit more I think that could have been converted into an orange curd for inclusion somewhere...

Added - I've been having a few more thoughts about this, and rather than a curd, I think an orange syrup brushed onto each layer would really make this, adding more of a citrus kick.

Jaffa Torte - Recipe

Jelly Ingredients

  • Juice from one orange (~75g) (zest it first, and put the zest aside)
  • 50g tap water
  • 35g caster sugar
  • 4 gelatine sheets
1) Line a 20cm cake tin with tin foil, making the base as flat as possible

2) Put the juice, water and sugar in a small saucepan

3) Put the gelatine sheets in a bowl of cold water, and leave to bloom for 4-5 minutes while you heat the other ingredients

3) Put over a low heat until shimmering (not quite boiling). Stir occasionally to help the sugar dissolve

4) Remove from the heat

5) Take the gelatine sheets out of the water, wring them, and stir into the hot orange juice mixture

6) Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin, and place in the fridge to set

Sponge Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • zest of 2 oranges
1) Pre-heat the oven to 200'C

2) Place the eggs and sugar in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment

3) Whisk hard until pale and thick (when you pull the whisk out, it should leave a ribbon impression on the surface)...this will take 8-10 minutes normally

4) Carefully fold in the flour and orange zest

5) Line a baking tray with baking parchment, and draw 2 circles 19-20cm in diameter on it (I find this is the most you can fit in a typical home oven at a time) (I use a 19cm cereal dish as a template)

6) Spoon 1/6th of the mixture into each circle, and carefully spread it out using a spatula (I do the mixture by weight, and it should be approximately 90g per circle)

7) Bake in the oven for 6-7 minutes

8) Remove to a wire rack to cool, peeling off the paper as soon as you can

9) Repeat 5-8 twice more, so you have 6 thin cake discs ~19-20cm in diameter

10) Trim each disc to a neat circle using a suitable template (I have an 18cm diameter saucepan which is perfect)

Chocolate Buttercream Ingredients

  • 100g dark chocolate (50-70%), chopped up
  • 2 egg whites
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 225g room-temperature butter

1) Melt the chocolate over a bain-marie, then leave to cool

2) Put the butter in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, and beat until very soft (you may need to scrape the sides down a couple of times

3) Place the sugar and egg whites in a large heatproof bowl

4) Whisk the egg whites and sugar over a bain-marie until a firm meringue is formed

5) Leave the meringue to cool (you're going to add it to the butter, so you don't want it to melt it)

6) While beating the butter, add the meringue in, and mix until just combined

7) Continue to mix, and add the cooled chocolate. Mix until smooth

Orange Buttercream Ingredients

  • 100g room-temperature butter
  • 200g icing sugar
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Juice from half an orange
1) Place the butter, zest and sugar in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment

2) Beat until smooth

3) Add the juice sparingly until a smooth, pipe-able buttercream is formed

Chocolate Ganache Ingredients

  • 80g dark (50%) chocolate
  • 55g milk
  • 15g butter
1) Chop the chocolate up, and place in a small heatproof bowl

2) Heat the milk in a small saucepan until shimmering

3) Pour the hot milk onto the chocolate, and leave for 4-5 minutes (I put the bowl on top of the still-warm saucepan to add a bit more heat)

4) Stir the mixture to form a smooth, glossy liquid.

5) Stir in the butter until completely melted

6) Allow to cool and thicken slightly while you assemble the cake


1) Place one of the cake discs of a cake board

2) Place a dollop (about 1/8th) of the chocolate buttercream on top, and using a palette knife spread to the very edges

3) Place another cake disc on top, pressing down gently. Repeat for all the other discs

4) Using the remainder of the buttercream, cover and smoother the top and sides of the cake, using a palette knife. You want the surfaces as smooth as possible

5) Take the set jelly disc, remove it from the foil and place it on top of the cake
note - don't worry too much if you tear it. I did! Try and get the largest bit in the middle, and fill in the rest of the top with sections of jelly as you can.

6) Trim the jelly so that the edge is level with the edge of the cake

7) Put the orange buttercream in a small piping bag with a small nozzle attachment

8) Pipe rosettes of icing over the top of the cake (hiding any splits in the jelly). Pipe 8 vertical lines up the side of the cake, and rosettes at the bottom

9) Take the ganache and spoon dollops of it into gaps on top of the cake. Encourage it to dribble down the sides