For those of you who enjoy cakes (whether it’s eating them, making them, or both) you may have noticed a recent trend in the cake world: naked cakes. I, for one, love naked cakes; I’m a sucker for things that are stunning in their simplicity, and naked cakes definitely fit that bill! If the term “naked cake” is new to you, it refers to a style of cake that does not have an outer layer of frosting, that allows you to see the layers of cake and frosting between them. Personally, I think they make decorating a whole lot easier without loosing any elegance in the process. I call that a win-win! This cake, specifically, is inspired by Jaffa Cakes, an English biscuit made up of a sponge base, orange jelly, and a coating of chocolate. My father-in-law discovered this amazing flavor combination from the Hummingbird Bakery in London, and it seemed like the perfect inspiration for a Father’s Day cake (for those of you that don’t know, today is Father’s Day here in Norway)!
Naked Jaffa Cake
Makes one 6″ four layer cake
For the vanilla bean cake:
1 stick (113 grams) butter
1/3 cup milk
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. baking powder
1 vanilla bean
1 cup all purpose flour
For the chocolate ganache frosting:
3 1/2 bars (12 oz or 350 grams) semisweet chocolate
1 cup heavy whipping cream
For the filling:
1 jar chunky orange marmalade
Starting with the cake, preheat your oven to 350*F (175*C), and line (and grease the sides of) two 6″ cake pans. In a large bowl, melt the butter. Whisk in the milk, sugar, and eggs. Split your vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds into your batter. Whisk the seeds in, along with the vanilla extract and baking powder. Add the flour, and stir until everything is just combined. Divide the batter evenly between your two cake pans, and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
While the cakes cool, you can whip up the chocolate ganache frosting. Using your microwave or stovetop, heat your cream until hot but not boiling. In a large bowl, pour your hot cream over your chocolate. Whisk until the ganache is smooth and lump-free. Chill the ganache in the refrigerator until it is cool, then whip with an electric mixer until light and fluffy (you’ll notice the color lightens considerably).
Once your cakes have cooled, cut off any excess on the tops to that they’re level, and divide your cakes in half. You can skip this step and simply have a two layered cake if you’d like. To assemble the cake, spread a layer of marmalade on the bottom layer (you don’t need to go all the way out to the edges) and cover with frosting. I created dollops of frosting using a large, round tip and then smoothed out the center to create the effect you see in the picture. Repeat the process until you reach the top layer. For the top layer, spread your marmalade on the cake and pipe your dollops of frosting and leave them how they are.
If you really want to make it fancy, you can add some chocolate embellishments, like the designs I pipped onto parchment with chocolate, and then later peeled off and applied to the cake.
Happy baking and happy Father’s Day!