In my Jaffa cupcake recipe – the cupcake version of Jaffa cakes – I start with mini vanilla cupcakes (based on my normal vanilla cupcake recipe), top them with an orange jam frosting, dip the whole thing in semi-sweet chocolate, and dust with a little orange zest. There’s nothing crazy about the flavor combination; it’s simple and it works!
What Are Jaffa Cupcakes?
To understand Jaffa cupcakes, you first have to know what a Jaffa cake is. If you are not from the United Kingdom, you may not have encountered Jaffa Cakes before.
Jaffa cakes are more like a cookie than what Americans would consider a cake. They feature a vanilla cookie base topped with a layer of orange jelly. The whole cookie is then covered in chocolate.
Jaffa cakes are very similar in taste to Orange Milano cookies. Both take advantage of the irresistible combination of chocolate and orange.
To make this Jaffa cupcake recipe, I pull all of the flavors that make Jaffa cakes work and change up the textures. Cookies become cupcakes while jam becomes an orange jam buttercream frosting.
What Do You Need to Make This Cupcake Recipe?
- You will have to make a batch of 24 mini cupcakes. To do this, you will need some standard baking tools and all of the necessary ingredients for those cupcakes (see below).
- Buy your favorite high-quality orange jam. It will go into the buttercream frosting.
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips – I recommend dark chocolate – and an orange are musts for making the chocolate topping.
How to Make Jaffa Cupcakes
Start by making 24 mini vanilla cupcakes. The recipe is below, and I leave off the vanilla bean from and halve the original mini vanilla cupcake recipe.
Allow them to cool and do not frost them.
Make Orange Jam Buttercream Frosting
Beat butter on high speed using a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer until it is aerated.
Mix in powdered sugar a little at a time.
Mix in your favorite orange jam until it is fully incorporated.
Use a large round tip and a piping bag to frost the cupcakes with a swirl.
Put cupcakes into the freezer for 20 minutes or until the frosting is completely frozen.
Make Chocolate Topping
Put chocolate chips and oil into a microwave-safe measuring cup.
Microwave for 20 seconds at a time until the chocolate chips are completely melted.
Remove cupcakes from the freezer.
For each cupcake:
- Grab by the wrapper.
- Invert into the chocolate topping, hovering for a moment above the chocolate to let excess drip back down.
- Sprinkle with orange zest.
Refrigerate all of the cupcakes until you are ready to serve them.
More About Jaffa Cupcakes
I first discovered Jaffa cakes when reading through Mummy Made.It. Lisa (the author of Mommy Made.It) made a Jaffa cake by baking up an orange cake with chocolate frosting. Her version looks simple, wonderful, and far healthier than mine (her chocolate frosting contains avocado).
I became fascinated with Jaffa Cakes when I discovered their unique marketing campaign on Twitter:
The creature you see there is a tarsier monkey – an incredibly adorable monkey that, when portrayed peeking down from the corner of a page with arms extended, comes off as very creepy. I don’t even know what to make of their TV spot – nor do I want to admit how many times Jonathan and I have watched it.
Regardless, I purchased Jaffa cakes, loved the flavor combination, and the rest is history.
Jaffa Cupcake Recipe
- 14 tablespoons cake flour, not self-rising
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 8 teaspoons full-fat sour cream
- 1/8 cup canola oil you can also use vegetable oil
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract use pure, not imitation
- 1/3 cup whole milk
Orange Jam Buttercream Frosting Ingredients
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons orange jam
Chocolate Topping Ingredients
- 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- very fine zest of one orange
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, mix together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.
- Add butter and mix on medium-low speed for three minutes. Because there is so little butter, you'll end up with a very fine crumb texture.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together egg, sour cream, oil, and vanilla extract until smooth.
- Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.
- Slowly add milk and mix on low speed until just combined. The batter will be liquid. (Don't worry, you didn't do anything wrong. It's supposed to be that way.)
- Fill mini cupcake liners 3/4 full.
- Bake for 10 minutes and then test to see if they are done. They are done when a toothpick comes out without wet batter stuck to it. If they are not done, test again in two minutes. If they are still not done, test again in another two minutes.
- When the cupcakes are done, remove them immediately from the tins and leave them on a cooling rack (or just on your counter if you don't own a cooling rack) to cool.
Orange Jam Buttercream Frosting Instructions
- Beat butter on high speed in a medium-sized mixing bowl for three minutes.
- Add powdered sugar a little bit at a time.
- Add jam and mix until fully incorporated.
- Pipe a swirl onto cooled cupcakes using a large round tip. I used Wilton tip number 1A, but if you don’t have a tip, you can just cut the end off of a sandwich bag.
- Place the cupcakes in the freezer for 20 minutes or until the frosting is frozen solid.
Chocolate Topping Instructions
- Place chocolate chips and oil into a tall microwave-safe cup (I used a two cup Pyrex measuring cup).
- Microwave for twenty seconds at a time (stirring in between) until all of the chocolate is melted.
- Take the frosted cupcakes out of the freezer. One by one, grab the cupcakes by their wrappers, turn them upside-down, and dunk them into the cup of melted chocolate - making sure that all of the frosting gets covered. (If you listen carefully, you may be able to hear them squealing, “Wheeee!”) Let the cupcakes hover over the cup of chocolate until all of the excess chocolate drips off.
- Sprinkle with orange zest while the chocolate is still wet.
- Refrigerate until ready to eat.