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Mind to menu: Bryn Williams on Odette's Jaffa cake

Mind to menu: Bryn Williams on Odette's Jaffa cake

by Izzy Burton 06 March 2015

Bryn Williams takes us through the development process behind the beloved Odette’s Jaffa cake, a pudding that looks set to stay - at least if the customers have anything to do with it! Once you've heard the story of its creation, try out the recipe yourself, shared below.

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Describing the Jaffa cake that has been delighting diners at Odette's as a "happy accident" does not do justice to the amount of skill that went into its development. Bryn recalls the origins of the tangy dessert are somewhat surprising:

‘It started off because we were trying to do a version of a Bounty - chocolate and coconut. We were getting nowhere very quickly, and we realised that what we were trying to create wouldn’t work in our restaurant... we had all this chocolate around, so we started playing around and thinking about what we could do with it’

Chocolate and orange were suggested - ‘a classic pairing’ - but it was when the classic McVitie’s Jaffa Cake was mentioned that the development of the dessert really began. Bryn and his team are all proud perfectionists, and the Jaffa cake at Odette’s reflects this relentless dedication. It took months just to narrow down the right chocolate, not to mention the best sort of juice for their orange jelly (if you want to know, the answer is fresh, but not too fresh - a day or two old works perfectly), and the biscuit too: ‘A Jaffa Cake [is] quite a dry biscuit, so we cook our pastries two days before we need them to recreate the texture’.

The result of all of this hard work is a dessert that is hugely evocative: ‘My dad even said, when he had the Jaffa cake here, ‘the Jaffa Cake is back on my shopping list!’’. As well as being a delicious dessert in its own right, Odette’s Jaffa cake appeals to a kind of taste memory. Bryn notes: ‘Each child eats a Jaffa Cake in a different way, and I think that child within them comes into the restaurant - some people take the outside off first, or eat the chocolate with the marmalade’.

For Bryn though, it is not just memories of childhood that the Jaffa cake represents; ‘it’s all about the skill of the team’. Clean and impeccably presented, the multiple layers are hidden away behind a chocolate spray - ‘it’s not flashy in any way’ - yet the dessert is an understated masterpiece of textures and flavour.

Odette’s Jaffa cake has been selected as their contribution to the British Masters Dinner in LA this March, apt for a dessert with such a classic British status. While the Jaffa Cake might not be as firmly entrenched in the childhood palate of American diners, that will not stop the Odette’s team delivering an authentic experience. Their cooking process will be followed meticulously, even if the freezing period of the dessert may require them going straight from plane to kitchen. Timing is tight, although they have got a backup plan if things don’t go according to plan: ‘we’ll be taking Jaffa Cake biscuits out of a packet, I reckon!’

Bryn Williams on Odette's Jaffa cake - Great British Chefs
Bryn Williams on Odette's Jaffa cake - Great British Chefs

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Mind to menu: Bryn Williams on Odette's Jaffa cake


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