Jaffa cake bars - this delicious vegan chocolate, orange and vanilla cake tray bake is easy to make and tastes so good!
A soft vanilla cake is topped with a layer of creamy orange curd and a rich chocolate icing for an irresistible treat.
I have already published a recipe for classic vegan jaffa cakes, but it is such a fantastic flavour combination that I just had to re-visit it.
These vegan jaffa cake bars are a twist on the original, consisting of a melt-in-the-mouth tender vegan vanilla sponge cake which I topped with a creamy, zesty orange curd and a rich, ganache-style chocolate icing.
They have all the flavours of a jaffa cake, but are a little bit different and less fiddly to make.
This would be a great cake for parties as it would be such a crowd pleaser!
What Do I Need To Make Jaffa Cake Bars?:
Orange zest, juice and extract: Freshly squeezed orange juice is better than from a carton, and adding some finely grated zest and a bit of orange extract as well helps to amp up the orange flavour.
Lemon juice: Orange alone isn't acidic enough to give the curd a nice, tangy flavour, so adding a bit of lemon juice helps to add a bit of tang and bring out the orange flavour more.
Cornflour (cornstarch): This is what is used to set the curd in place of the usual eggs. I don't recommend swapping it for another type of starch as that will change the texture of the curd.
I also add some to the cake which helps to give it a nice soft texture.
Milk: This helps to give the curd a creamier texture. I use unsweetened soy but oat, cashew or almond will work too. Or you can just use more orange juice.
You will also need unsweetened non-dairy milk for both the cake and the icing.
Sugar: Either caster or granulated is fine.
Butter: Make sure that you use a block vegan butter rather than the spreadable kind, it helps the curd and icing to set as well as providing flavour and a creamy texture.
Non-dairy yogurt: I love using plant yogurt in vegan cakes, it is a great egg replacer and keeps the cake moist as well as adding flavour.
Either soy or coconut yogurt will work, ideally unsweetened. I haven't tested a substitute for the yogurt; unsweetened applesauce would be the first replacement I would try.
Oil: Using a mixture of oil and butter in the cake gives you the best of both worlds - both flavour and moisture. Any neutral oil will work, I use sunflower.
Vinegar: This reacts with the bicarbonate of soda to help the cake rise and give it a light texture. I use either apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar. You can also use lemon juice instead.
Plain flour: Just regular plain (all-purpose) flour. I don't recommend swapping it for wholemeal, it will make the cake too dense.
I haven't tried making this cake gluten-free, but I suspect that it would work ok with a gluten-free flour blend plus ¼ tsp xanthan gum if the flour doesn’t already contain it.
Baking powder and bicarb: Using both baking powder and bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) will give you the best rise and texture. Don't swap one for the other, you will not get the same result.
Vanilla extract: Extract is better than essence and you can also use vanilla bean paste.
Dark Chocolate: I use 70% dark chocolate. Don't use anything with a higher cocoa percentage than that or it can make the ganache more likely to split.
Golden syrup: Adds a bit of sweetness to the chocolate icing. Agave or maple syrup will work instead.
How To Make Jaffa Cake Bars:
(Full measurements and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the page)
Start by making the cake. Sift together the dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together the wet in a jug.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir with a balloon whisk until no dry lumps remain.
Pour the batter into a greased and lined 23 cm/9 in square tin and bake for about 25 minutes.
To make the orange curd, place the cornflour in a non-reactive saucepan and gradually whisk in the orange and lemon juice.
Add the sugar and orange extract and place the pan over a medium-low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Continue to cook the curd whilst stirring until it becomes very thick.
Remove from the heat and whisk in the milk, butter and orange zest. Allow to cool until it is barely warm then pour over the cooled cake and refrigerate until set.
To make the chocolate icing, place the chopped chocolate, butter, milk and golden syrup in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water and stir until melted and smooth.
Allow to cool until barely warm then pour over the set curd and pop in the fridge until set.
All of my recipes are developed using grams, and as with all of my baking recipes I really do recommend using the metric measurements with a digital scale rather than the cup coversions. Cups are a wildly inaccurate measuring system and you will get far better, more consistent results using a scale, not to mention that it is also easier and less messy than cups!
For a quicker, easier option you can use a jar of orange marmalade instead of making the orange curd. Pop the cake in the freezer for 15 minutes after adding the marmalade before you pour over the chocolate icing.
Make sure that you buy unwaxed oranges as the wax used is not usually vegan and probably isn't good to eat anyway!
Don't over-beat the batter as that can make the cake tough.
The cake is ready when it is firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs but no wet batter.
For extra orange flavour you can add the finely grated zest of 1-2 oranges to the cake batter.
The cake bars will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for around five days. If it is very warm out they may need to be stored in the fridge.
I personally wouldn't freeze them as it may affect the texture of the curd.
Can I Use Jelly Instead?:
Instead of the orange curd you can make orange jelly. Leave it to cool until it is just on the point of setting (it should be just starting to set around the sides) before pouring it over the cake in the tin.
You can either use a shop bought one or make a double batch of the jelly from my vegan jaffa cakes recipe.
If you tried this recipe let me know how it went! Rate it, leave a comment or tag @domestic_gothess on Instagram and hashtag it #domesticgothess
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Jaffa Cake Bars (Vegan)
- 260 g (2 cups + 2 Tablespoons) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 15 g (1 ½ Tablespoons) cornflour (cornstarch)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- pinch salt
- 200 ml (½ + ⅓ cup) unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 70 g (¼ cup + 2 teaspoons) plain non-dairy yogurt (I use soy)
- 110 g (⅓ cup + 2 Tablespoons) vegan block butter melted
- 60 ml (¼ cup) neutral oil (I use sunflower)
- 200 g (1 cup) caster or granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ½ teaspoons vinegar
- 35 g (3 ½ packed Tablespoons) cornflour (cornstarch)
- 250 ml (2 cups) orange juice
- 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 100 g (½ cup) caster or granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon orange extract
- finely grated zest of 1 large orange
- 50 g (scant ¼ cup) vegan block butter
- 60 ml (¼ cup) soy, oat, cashew or almond milk (or just use more orange juice)
- 150 g (5 ½ oz) dark chocolate finely chopped
- 50 g (scant ¼ cup) vegan block butter
- 100 ml (⅓ cup + 4 teaspoons) unsweetened non-dairy milk (I use soy)
- 20 g (1 Tablespoon) golden syrup
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/gas mark 4. Grease a 23cm/9in square cake tin and line it with baking parchment.
- Sift together the plain flour, cornflour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a large bowl.
- In a large jug, whisk together the non-dairy milk, non-dairy yogurt, melted vegan butter, oil, sugar, vinegar and vanilla extract until they are very well combined.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir with a balloon whisk until no dry lumps remain but do not over-beat the batter.
- Pour the batter into the prepared tin and spread it level.
- Bake for about 25 minutes until the cake is firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Leave to cool in the tin for 20 minutes then carefully turn it out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
- Once the cake is cold, line the tin with fresh baking parchment, leaving some overhanging so that you can easily lift it out later, and return the cake to the tin.
- To make the orange curd, place the cornflour in a non-reactive saucepan (such as stainless steel) and gradually whisk in the orange and lemon juice.
- Add the sugar and orange extract and place the pan over a medium-low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Continue to cook the curd whilst stirring until it comes up to a simmer and becomes very thick.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the milk, butter and orange zest. Allow to cool until it is barely warm then pour over the cooled cake and refrigerate until set.
- To make the chocolate icing, place the chopped chocolate, butter, milk and golden syrup in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water and stir until melted and smooth.
- Allow to cool until barely warm then pour over the set curd and pop in the fridge until set.
- Once the icing is set, use the overhanging parchment to carefully lift the cake out of the tin. Use a very sharp knife to slice it into bars or squares. Store in an airtight container at cool room temperature.
- See post above for tips, details, substitutions and step-by-step photos.
- For a quicker, easier option you can use a jar of orange marmalade instead of making the orange curd. Pop the cake in the freezer for 15 minutes after adding the marmalade before you pour over the chocolate icing.