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Gluten-Free Primal Jaffa Cakes

March 19, 2013 by Tali

The other day I had a major hankering for some Jaffa cakes. The magical combination of light sponge, zesty orange jelly topped with a coating of dark chocolate.

Biting into one is a true sensory experience – as you bite down, your teeth crack through the delicate snap of tempered dark chocolate into the squidgy Jaffa orange jelly, finishing off with a comforting bounce of delicate sponge cake.

And the flavours…. well who can argue with the truly exquisite combination of orange and dark chocolate?

No one I know!

This snack item is quite deceptive. They are so light and moreish – before you know it – you’ve gobbled up half the pack. And so the only option is to destroy the evidence!

There is another problem with the humble Jaffa Cake. It contains wheat flour (gluten – nasty stuff), refined sugars, and preservatives. We don’t need or want these things in our food. So I took it upon myself to re-invent the Jaffa Cake, making it gluten-free, refined sugar-free and preservative free!

I bet you’re thinking ‘yeah, alright, but I bet it’s also taste-free too!’

Well, you would be wrong!

These babies are truly epic. You get the same flavour burst and texture combination that makes for a totally immense sensory experience – without any of that yucky business.

How did you manage that? – you ask!?

Well just take a wee look!

Gluten-Free Primal Jaffa Cakes

Makes: 12   Takes: 40mins

2 large free range eggs
50g(1.76oz) raw coconut palm sugar
50g(1.76oz) ground almonds

2 large oranges (preferably Jaffa)
1 Tbsp orange marmalade (optional)
1 (11g/0.38oz) sachet gelatine OR 4 leaves of gelatine sheets (soaked)

150g (5.5oz) dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)

Make the sponge

  • Pre-heat oven to 180 C/350 F. Grease a 12 hole cupcake/muffin tin
  • Place the eggs and coconut palm sugar in a heat resistant bowl. Place on top of a pan of simmering water making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water
  • Whisk the eggs and sugar (by hand or using an electric hand beater) until it reaches the ribbon stage. This should take 4-5 minutes with an electric beater, and 5-10 minutes by hand
  • Add the ground almonds and mix to combine
  • Divide the mixture evenly between the 12 muffin holes. I found it useful to use my medium sized scoop to portion these out evenly
  • Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 8-10mins. They should spring back when gently pressed
  • Gently remove out of the baking pan, and leave to cool on a wire rack

While the sponge is baking, make the jelly

  • Line a square brownie tin with plastic wrap – allow excess over-hang
  • Zest 1 orange, and place the zest in a saucepan. Juice the 2 oranges (you should hopefully get around 150-200ml of juice – that’s just over 1/2 cup-3/4 cup) place this into the saucepan along with the (optional) tablespoon of marmalade
  • Heat the mixture up until the marmalade has dissolved. Make sure the mixture doesn’t boil
  • Once the mixture has heated up, sprinkle the gelatine onto the surface and whisk briskly until the gelatin is thoroughly dissolved and incorporated into the mix
  • Gently pour the liquid into the tin and fold over the excess plastic wrap to touch the surface
  • Allow this to cool to room temperature before placing in the fridge to set properly.

Putting the Jaffa cakes together and chocolate coating them

  • Take your jelly out the fridge, making sure it has set fully. Then cut 12 rounds slightly smaller than the tops of the sponge cakes
  • Place the jelly on top of the sponge
  • Chop your dark chocolate and put it into a microwavable bowl
  • Warm up your chocolate at half power in 30 second bursts mixing gently between each 30-second burst
  • Be patient and make sure not to over-heat your chocolate. You want to keep that chocolate tempered to ensure a nice crisp shell (for that full sensory experience!)
  • Once the chocolate is ready, using a silicone pastry brush – any of these will do – brush the chocolate over the top of the jelly allowing it to coat the sides and just onto the surface of the sponge
  • Leave them to set on a wire rack
  • Arrange them on a pretty plate and serve to guests – OR – devour and repeat recipe, then serve!

The recipe does look long and a little overwhelming but it’s really not so difficult and it’s worth the effort! It may be wordy but I just wanted to make sure you get all the steps right!

If you are just after the gluten-free (and aren’t so worried about the refined sugar) feel free to use the jelly recipe from here to fill your Jaffa cakes. I tested this recipe but actually found that the flavour of the orange jelly using the fresh orange juice produced a more authentic Jaffa cake taste.

True story!


  1. Ellie says:

    Where can you buy ground almonds and coconut palm sugar from? Do they sell them in most health food shops. recipe sounds delicious 😀

    • Tali says:

      Hey Ellie! You can buy ground almonds from most supermarkets – check the baking aisle! As for coconut palm sugar your best bet is a health food store. If all else fails use amazon – But you could probably get just as good a result from muscovado sugar which can also be found in your supermarket. The aim really is to use an unrefined sweetener 🙂 let me know how yours turn out!

  2. Cellina says:

    These remind me of a local treat her in Baltimore called Burgers cookies. The cookie base is less spongy, but the frosting is pure dark fudge. They are incredible. These look so wonderful. I can’t wait to make them for Easter! Thank you!

  3. Linda says:

    Sounds good, but can you give me the US measurements please?

    • Tali says:

      Hi Linda!
      I have amended the recipe above and have included measurements in oz and cups where applicable. Hope that helps 🙂

  4. Hi Ellie,

    if you have a high speed blender, you can easily make almond flour yourself, just blend the almonds. If you want white almond flour you need to peel them before. For that, either soak them overnight if you want to keep them raw, or briefly dip them in hot water, this method is also known as blanching. Then they need to dry before you grind them, either in a dehydrator or your oven, on super low temperature so they won’t taste roasted (unless you would like that of course) 🙂

    Cheers, Lisa

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