These easy-peasy homemade vegan jaffa cakes are made with ready-made jelly pots for a classic British teatime treat. A blend of vegan dark and white chocolate makes the traditional 'milk' chocolate topping.
If you haven't come across a Jaffa Cake before - where have you been? These traditional British teatime treats are much loved, and with very good reason. A layer of sponge is topped with citrussy orange jelly, then smothered in milk chocolate. Totally delicious - but sadly not usually vegan.
These tasty treats are often listed as the things people miss most when they turn vegan, so I wanted to have a go at making a homemade version. I've included a few shortcuts to make them as quick and easy as possible, and a blend of dark and white chocolates for a delicious vegan 'milk' chocolate topping.
Is it a biscuit or is it a cake? This is a very hot topic of discussion over here in the UK. A tax tribunal in 1991 decided that Jaffa Cakes were to be treated as cakes for tax purposes, (cakes are tax-exempt but biscuits are not). But there was a strong argument that they are the size and shape of biscuits and usually eaten in place of biscuits and their name was just a minor consideration. Fascinating!
Either way - whether you have been missing them since you've been vegan or just fancy baking something a bit different this weekend, do give these beauties a try - you won't be disappointed!
📝 What you need
- Dairy-free block margarine (I use Flora Plant Butter or Naturli Block)
- Dairy-free yoghurt (unsweetened - I use soya)
- Plant milk (unsweetened - I use soya)
- Caster sugar
- Self-raising flour
- Baking powder
- Ready-made orange jelly (check it is vegan - I used Hartleys, and M&S also do ready-made orange jelly. NB Hartleys jelly cubes or crystals are not vegan)
- Dark chocolate (check it is vegan)
- Vegan white chocolate (optional - I used free-from white chocolate chips)
You will need a 12-hole muffin tin, or even better is a loose-based mini sandwich tin like this one from Lakeland. It is so handy for popping the cakes out, and I use it a lot for baking mini victoria sponges and carrot cakes too!
A piping bag or squeezy bottle is a mess- and stress-free way to add the chocolate, but if you don't have either of these you can certainly do it with two teaspoons instead.
This Jaffa Cake recipe is so easy to adapt to all sorts of variations. How about:
- Using different flavours of jelly? You could try ready-made raspberry, blackcurrant or strawberry jelly instead - or make your own Vegan Lemon Jelly with these sachets from Just Wholefoods for a citrus twist.
- Use a teaspoon of marmalade instead of the jelly for a speedy alternative. You can then experiment with all sort of fancy marmalade flavours... pink grapefruit? tangerine? boozy marmalade?!
- Use very dark chocolate instead of the blend of dark and white, for a bitter complement to the jelly. I like Green & Blacks 85% Dark (which is vegan but has a 'may contain' warning).
❄️ Storing and making ahead
These certainly didn't last long in our house so you probably won't need to store them for any length of time, but if you do - an airtight container is a must. They will keep for a day or two but as the jelly is fairly soft they really are at their best on the day they are made.
If you want to make them ahead, I would suggest making the cake layer well in advance and freezing them in an airtight bag or container until they day you are assembling them. You could even make up a double batch of cake bases whilst you're at it and freeze the rest for another day.
Then you can slice and cut out the jelly circles the day before and keep them in the fridge on a plate until needed.
On the day you want to serve them, you just need to add the chocolate. It does take a bit of time to set so I would suggest making them at least 2-3 hours before you plan to serve them to be on the safe side.
It is best to leave the chocolate to set at room temperature rather than putting it in the fridge, so it doesn't lose its shine. But if you're in a hurry or it is a very hot day, by all means do speed up the setting in the fridge if you need to!
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Vegan Jaffa Cakes
For the cake layer:
- 50 g dairy-free block margarine (I use Flora Plant Butter or Naturli Block)
- 75 g caster sugar
- 50 g unsweetened dairy-free yoghurt (I use soya)
- 50 ml unsweetened plant milk (I use soya)
- 75 g self-raising flour
- ¼ tsp baking powder
For the jelly layer:
- 2 pots ready-made orange jelly (2 x 125g pots, check it is vegan)
For the chocolate layer:
- 150 g dark chocolate (check it is vegan)
- 40 g vegan white chocolate (I used free-from white chocolate chips)
To make the cake layer:
- Preheat the oven to 170°C (fan) / 325°F / gas mark 3. Grease a 12-hole muffin tin.
- In a large bowl, beat together the margarine and caster sugar until light and fluffy - use an electric beater if you can.
- Mix in the vegan yoghurt and milk, followed by the flour and baking powder. Stir until smooth.
- Divide the mix between the 12 holes of the muffin tin. Bash the tin firmly on the work surface to level, then bake for 12-14 minutes until the cakes spring back when pushed. Leave to cool.
To add the jelly layer:
- When the cakes have completely cooled, tip the jelly out of the pots onto a chopping board. Use a sharp knife to cut it into slices and lay these slices out.
- Use a round biscuit cutter a little smaller than the cakes to cut out circles from each slice of jelly.
- Carefully place each slice of jelly onto the cakes.
To make the chocolate layer:
- Break the dark chocolate into a microwave-safe bowl, and the vegan white chocolate into a separate bowl.
- Microwave the dark chocolate for 30 seconds, then stir and microwave again for 10 second blasts until it has melted. Melt the white chocolate in 10 second blasts - it will need a much shorter time than the dark.
- Tip the white chocolate into the dark chocolate and mix together to make a vegan milk chocolate.
- Use a piping bag or squeezy bottle to cover each jaffa cake with melted chocolate, tipping it until it spreads right to the edges.
- After about 5 minutes, when the chocolate is beginning to set, use a fork to make small indentations on the top of each jaffa cake.