Sainsbury’s Cake Book Giveaway & Review

competition giveaway cake book

Its pretty common knowledge that I cannot resist a cake book – I’ve had to start limiting myself to only ones that are really good as space is rapidly running out. (I’m still hoping that one day I’ll get my haven of peace in the conservatory being converted to a snug/library). When Sainsbury’s contacted me asking me to review their Cake book (There’s no messing, its simply called ‘Cake’), all will power went out of the window. I was slightly sceptical though, wondering what could possibly be new in a supermarket cake decorating and baking book?

I was wrong.

how to make cakes with sweets inside

This has quickly turned into the cake book of the moment for me. There’s so many techniques that I’ve been wanting to try for ages but not got round to. I could possibly have googled the techniques on the internet, but its super handy to have them all in one book.

There’s at least 50 different cake designs to choose from with ratings to show how easy or complicated the design is to achieve. Each cake has a photograph alongside pics of the steps to achieving the finished look.

shapes inside cakes

The colours of the cakes are great. There’s cakes that even beginners can do and some for the more advanced (wedding cake that could be used for a really special party). All the latest trends are in there from the baked shaped in the middle of a cake to the surprise sweets piñata type of cake that are so popular.

I know that I will be using this book asa reference for quite a while to come – its definitely not been relegated to the ‘Nice book but not much in it’ shelf. My copy is covered in butter stains & splashes of vanilla extract already.

making a cupcake bouquet

Sainsbury’s have kindly offered another copy of this book to be used as a giveaway. To enter please follow the Rafflecopter instructions below. The draw will close on Monday 5th May and the winner will be notified as soon as possible. I will send the book out to the winner as soon as the winner has been verified. If any steps have been missed out when entering the competition, another winner will be selected at random.

Thanks for entering – I’m sure the winner will be very happy with their book! Happy Baking and Decorating!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sticky Gingercake – Bake of the Week

ginger cake gingerbread recipe

Well, we’re back from a fantastic time at Center Parcs. Lots more about that to follow but for now I want to share my latest Bake of the Week entry.

I make this Sticky Gingercake a lot when we are going somewhere for a few days – It lasts really well and the stickiness gets even better if you can leave it alone in tin foil for about 3 days. I tend to make double so we have some to eat while the rest is ‘improving’.

Sticky Ginger Cake

Meal type Dessert, Lunch, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold


  • 8oz Butter
  • 8oz Soft Light Brown Sugar
  • 6oz treacle (I tend to just pour it in and guess - these are rough estimates)
  • 8oz Golden Syrup (Again just pour it in over the sugar and butter)
  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 7oz plain flour
  • 2oz porridge oats
  • 2 large eggs (whisked)
  • 1/2 pint Milk (I use Semi Skimmed)


Preheat the oven to 160C and line a 10" square tin (not a loose bottomed one)
Melt the butter, sugar, treacle, syrup and ginger in a pan, slowly - When melted, remove from the heat and allow to cool
In a large bowl, add the flour and oats. Make a well in the middle.
Gradually add the eggs and then the cooled butter/syrup mixture - keep mixing together.
Whilst still mixing, add the milk.
When all combined, pour into the tin (it will be a pourable consistency) and bake for 45-55 minutes
A needle should come out clear and the cake should be fairly crisp on the top. Enjoy!

Lovely to see that there was an entry for the first ever week of Bake of the Week – Kirsty from Hijacked by Twins entered the richest looking St Patrick’s Chocolate & Guinness Cake.


The link is now open for this week’s Bake of the Week – Don’t be shy, get entering. I will tweet and Pin any entries swell as commenting and having a good old root around your blog! any baked items will do – bread, cakes, biscuits, tarts, desserts – in fact, why stop at one? Feel free to pinch the badge below and let other knows that you have entered (not compulsory)


Casa Costello
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Casa Costello" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="Casa Costello" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

I’m also entering this Ginger Cake recipe into Emily’s Recipe of the Week linky.

Link up your recipe of the week

And a new one … I’m getting involved this week with Honest Mum’s Tasty Tuesday. Why not head over to see what other tasty treats have been consumed over the past week?

Tasty Tuesdays on

The lovely Romanian Mum has resurrected her Friday Foodie linky so I’m supporting her by linking up this recipe once again.

Romanian Mum
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Stollen Recipe


Stollen is a German fruitcake said to sometimes contain marzipan – Sometimes??? Every time in our house. I wasn’t sure whether it was classed as a bread or a cake but my research has declared that it is most definitely CAKE.

All other Stollen recipes I have ever seen have contained mixed peel. I have tried my best to learn to like mixed (or candied) peel but I just can’t. There is nothing like the disappointment of tucking into a delicious treat/slice of cake to get a mouthful of bitter peel. Eew! I’ve learn to adapt quite a few recipes over the years – My fruit cake recipe doesn’t contain peel either. Stollen is one of my hidden gems – I always think it doesn’t look that impressive but the taste makes up for it.

I love the red flecks of the glace cherries and the icing sugar on top is just a delightful treat. I’ve just given this recipe a test at our WI’s Cake and Bake night when the theme was ‘Christmas Bakes’ – I’m pleased to say that it went down really well.

We are having visitors tonight for the annual Christmas present swap – I’d love to think I’d be able to knock one of these Stollens up by then but its not likely with the 3 Amigos off school!

Stollen Recipe - with no Mixed/Candied Peel

Stollen Recipe - with no Mixed/Candied Peel


  • 100ml lukewarm milk
  • 1 sachet dried yeast
  • 200g Bread/Extra Strong flour - I see Tesco's Own
  • Pinch of salt
  • 25g Ground Almonds
  • 2tsp Mixed Spice - I used Steenberg's
  • 70g sultanas
  • 70g raisins
  • 50g glace cherries (I cut into halves)
  • 30g Flaked almonds
  • 50g melted butter
  • 2 medium eggs (whisked)
  • 350g - 400g Natural Marzipan (I have been known to use a full 500g packet so go for your life if you like more)
  • 3 Tbsp Icing Sugar


  1. Mix the yeast and the warm milk together in a jog and leave to rest for approx 10 minutes - It should be foamy when you return.
  2. In the meantime, mix together the flour, 1 tsp of the mixed spice, sugar, dried fruit, salt, nuts & butter in a large bowl.
  3. Make a well in the bottom and add the eggs & yeast/milk mixture and fold in.
  4. Knead well for at least 10 mins if doing by hand, making sure that all the fruit is evenly spread throughout the dough.
  5. Leave for at least 30-45 minutes to prove - I was in a rush in this picture and didn't leave it nearly long enough. Your dough should have doubled in size.
  6. When your dough has doubled, knead again for approx 3 minutes.
  7. Roll out your marzipan into a rectangle - The length should be around 8 inches.
  8. Flatten out on a lightly floured surface until it measure at least 8 inches in length.
  9. Lay the marzipan over the top, covering 2 thirds of the dough and fold over the side that does not have the marzipan on it towards the middle. Fold the other third with the marzipan on top of this third so you have a zig zag of marzipan inside the stollen loaf.
  10. Flip the dough over so the seal is on the bottom - Don't worry if some of the marzipan tries to escape during cooking.
  11. Leave to prove again for between 45 mins to 1 hour in a warm place.
  12. Bake at 170C for 50 mins - This recipe takes slightly longer than other stollen recipes due to the extra marzipan. It should lovely and golden when it comes out of the oven.
  13. Mix the remaining tsp of mixed spice and the icing sugar together and when the stollen has cooled for around 10-15mins, sprinkle over the top.
  14. Leave to cool completely, slice and enjoy with a cup of tea!
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Chocolate Orange Disaster Cake – Clandestine Cakealong

baileys orange truffle buttercream

This cake was no disaster, I’m telling you! The story behind this being a disaster cake is that Rachel dropped it on her way to her Clandestine Cake Club. I cannot tell you how many times over the years, I have been struggling under the weight of an enormous wedding cake and someone has joked about not dropping it. Happy to say, I’ve never dropped one …yet!

I did amend this recipe as Rachel’s original had an alcoholic buttercream with it – Much as I love my orange flavoured liquors, they are not that suitable with 3 kids in the house. I reverted to my trusty choc orange buttercream recipe and it went perfectly – Recipe below. Just to wind Dermot up, I also included some slices of Popping Candy Terry’s chocolate orange too. (I completely forgot it was popping candy and gave Tara a slice this morning – you should have seen her face!)

chocolate orange sponge cake

Chocolate Orange Disaster Cake – Clandestine Cakealong

Chocolate Orange Disaster Cake – Clandestine Cakealong


  • 125g Milk chocolate
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 100g Butter/Dairy Spread
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 250-300g Icing Sugar - Amounts depends on how stiff you like your buttercream
  • 2 tbsp Balieys Orange Truffle or 2 tsp Orange Extract if you want non-alcoholic


  1. Melt the chocolate and the water in the microwave until just melted and allow to cool
  2. When still quite warm, thoroughly mix the butter into the chocolate - I did this by hand with a knife
  3. Alternate adding a splash of the milk and the icing sugar and mix together until thoroughly combined
  4. Add the Baileys or the Orange Extract
  5. There should be enough mixture to spread in-between 2x8" cakes and all over the top and sides.
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Thank you very much to Stork for the free sample. I used it to make this recipe and it worked just great!

I’m back on track now with the Clandestine Cakealong – I think we’ll go with Lynn Hill’s Light Stem Ginger Cake for our next bake. Linky for your Chocolate Orange Disasters will remain open until Wed 20th November. Ginger Cake will be up Thurs 21st Nov.

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I’m joining in this week with Emily from A Mummy Too and her fabulous Recipe of the Week link – Its the place to go to for brand new recipes – Let’s face it, at this time of the year, we need a little inspiration!

Link up your recipe of the week

Caramel and Cream Religieuse – Great Bloggers Bake Off

The week I’ve been waiting for – Choux Pastry week! I will never get over the wonder of watching choux pastry cook in the pan. The last time I attempted it though, I had got a little bit cocky and had a complete disaster. You can imagine the stick I have got ever since over my flat eclairs!

No such disaster today – shows that it pays to follow the rules! I completely let my pastry cool before I beat in the eggs in the kitchen aid.

My recipe that I’ve adapted over the years is:

Caramel and Cream Religieuse - Choux Pastry Recipe

Caramel and Cream Religieuse - Choux Pastry Recipe


  • 80g butter (Mine was slightly out of date but it didn't seem to spoil it!)
  • 200g luke warm water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 140g plain flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • Caramel Sauce - either shop bought or homemade


  1. Add the butter, water and salt to pan and heat until it just starts to boil.
  2. Immediately remove from the heat and add the flour all in one go.
  3. Mix like mad with a wooden spatula or spoon until it comes together in one ball.
  4. Add back to the heat for 1 more minute.
  5. Take out of the pan and leave to cool completely.
  6. Mix in an electric mixer and add the eggs gradually. You should end up with not too sloppy a mixture.
  7. Put in a piping bag and pipe onto a lined baking tray. Pipe an equal amount of large balls and small balls at least 2 inches apart.
  8. Bake at 200C for 15 mins. Open the door then immediately shut it and then carrying on baking for 5-10mins at a reduced temp of 180C.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Fill each ball with fresh whipped cream and stack a small ball on top of a large ball.
  10. Pipe little stars on cream around the join of the 2 balls and spread caramel sauce on top.
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I’m joining in with Helen Jessop and Jenny Paulin as part of the Great Blogger’s Bake Off – Can’t wait for next week – Maybe I might even stretch to 2 bakes!

mummy mishaps

Apricot Cake:Clandestine Cake-a-long 10

Apricot Cake

I thought I didn’t like apricots until today. I also didn’t realise how quickly a cake can disappear in our house – and that’s with all the kids in bed! Pretty safe to say this cake is a success with Dermot.

I was slightly worried as I was making the cake when I realised the only raising agents is the whisked egg white and the success of the cake relies on how gently I folded the egg whites in. I was very tempted to add a smidgen of baking powder but stayed true to the original recipe. I did leave the cake in the oven for the whole 45 minutes – I really didn’t want the cake to be soggy and it wasn’t. It isn’t the lightest cake but it works brilliantly with the moist fruit.

how to make an apricot cake

I’ve had an entry already for the cake-a-long but will wait until the round-up to post them all together. If anyone else would like to join in, please feel free. You don’t need a blog, a facebook page or a pinterest account does just fine. If you need any information on how to link up and enter the URL of your photo, please shout!

Our next bake is a chocolate one – it’s been yonks since we did chocolate so we’re going with Rachel Baxter’s Chocolate Orange Disaster Cake on Page 173. The linky will close on Wednesday 2nd October with the next bake being posted on Thurs 3rd October. Happy Baking!

Ombre Ruffle Cake Tutorial

[col3][/col3] ombre ruffle cake

This is the best Ombre Ruffle Cake I’ve ever made – Ok, I’ll be honest – Its the first Ombre Ruffle Cake I’ve ever made. (I need to do a tutorial so I remember it too!)

I’ve had my eye on Ombre cakes for a while. I love that buttercream ruffle cakes are so ‘in’ – much as I love sugarcraft, fondant isn’t always the most appropriate.

My lovely niece, Becky was 18 yesterday and was having a small gathering. I was tempted to do a novelty scene taking into account all her skills and hobbies but thought a slightly trendier, simple-looking cake was maybe more appropriate. What do you think? Should significant birthday cakes always be fondant/sugarpaste?

I say ‘simple-looking’ when I describe making this cake as I think it is quite deceiving. I thought it would be quicker than it was. I have followed various You Tube videos of how to make an Ombre cake and all of them have said have your different colours of buttercream all ready made up.

I didn’t want to be left with loads of buttercream leftover in various shades of pink or even worse, run out of a certain colour half way through and have to try and match some up. I did each colour one at a time then, starting with the darkest colour (bottom).

how to smooth buttercream professionally

My first job, though, was to decide which tool to spread the ball of icing with. I tried my small pallet knife (too pointy & thin), then my spatula’s handle (too wide & clumsy) then came across my 2yo’s princess knife (just right). See? Specialist, expensive tools are not always necessary.

how to make a buttercream ombre cake

To pipe, I cut the disposable piping bag in a straight line – about a 8mm wide hole should be plenty. (I had first covered the cake in a thin layer of buttercream to straighten up the edges and allowed it to harden slightly) I piped one blob side on, so you get a vertical blob, and then flattened and spread one side to the right using the princess knife. It is very important to scrape the knife clean AFTER EVERY BLOB!

The whole Cake!

You soon get in the swing of judging how far apart to pipe each blob. The tricky bit is the last blob of each colour. I always made sure I finished at the same place at the back of the cake of if it wasn’t so neat it didn’t matter so much. I also angled the last blob in to the centre slightly for lack of anywhere else to go really.

Top View

Top View

I have seen some Ombre cakes where 2 or 3 layers/lines are in the same colour. I know this probably makes life a lot simpler and the cake quicker to make but I thought if I’m going to do an ombre cake, I might aswell do it properly and make the colour different every time – why make things easy for myself??

Raspberry & Passion Fruit Yoghurt Birthday Bundt Cake- Clandestine Cake-a-long 9

raspberry passion fruit bundt cake


I love that I’m getting so much use out of my Bundt tin – next step is to experiment with wild and wacky ways of decorating my bundt cakes. For the time being, though, this is a bright, interesting cake that is super speedy to decorate and still has oomph!

I sent Dermot to the supermarket with instructions to buy ‘good quality raspberry yoghurt’ as told in the recipe. He arrived back with Yeo Valley Raspberry and Passion Fruit Yoghurt which was just perfect. I loved the addition of passion fruit to the cake although the yoghurt taste was very subtle.

The pink buttercream is delicious – I did meddle slightly by adding 1 tsp vanilla extract to it as I normally do.

I had wafer flowers left over and sugar dots from my Dr Oetker baking day and was really pleased with the finished article. We still have over half of the cake left and it is keeping well.

I was slightly later than expected with this bake as a really unusual phenomenon occured – I was caked out! Yep, I know, I never thought it would happen either. I think it was the combination of 3 weeks in France where plenty of cake goodness was consumed and 4 birthday cakes on arrival at home that rendered me useless. Never fear, normal service has been restored and the Costello kitchen is in full flow once more.


There was a problem with last month’s link up for the cake-a-long but happily it didn’t deter our cake-a-long bakers.

Victoria’s bundt has a lovely soft pink buttercream covering and great use of multi coloured stars.

raspberry yoghurt bundt cake I’m going to try to ‘interview’ Rachel McGrath who came up with the raspberry yoghurt cake in the next few days and will publish as soon as poss.

In the meantime, lets get going on another cake – I’ve had a conversation about how gorgeous apricots are at the moment, earlier this week so it seems the right time for us to look at Mike Wallis’ Apricot Cake on page 80. I’ll keep the linky open until Wednesday 18th September 2013. Happy Baking!

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Family Ginger Traybake

We find this recipe, the most perfect cake to take away with us. Easy to make the week before when everything is hectic, lasts well and easy to transport – all it needs is a tupperware box.

I try to always make 2 cakes and freeze one but this week I have taken one to Leeds where it came in really handy on a family picnic.

All 3 of my girls love this cake – I don’t mind them eating as much as they like as I know exactly what has gone into it.

Family Ginger Traybake

Family Ginger Traybake


  • 18oz (500g) Golden Syrup - You can use half and half syrup/treacle if you like a darker richer cake
  • 8oz (225g) light brown sugar - I used muscovado but demerara or even a mix of dark brown soft/caster will still work. This cake is all about ease and using what is in your cupboards.
  • 8oz butter
  • 14oz (400g) Self Raising Flour
  • 2oz (50g) Porridge Oats
  • 3 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 4 beaten eggs
  • 5 tbsp milk (I prefer whole milk but again use what you have)


  1. Preheat the oven to 160C and grease and line a 20cm (8") square tin
  2. Heat the syrup, butter and sugar through in a pan until the sugar is melted.
  3. Remove the sugar mixture from the heat and allow to cool for approx 5 mins.
  4. Measure the flour, porridge and spices together in a large bowl,
  5. When the sugar mixture has cooled enough to be just luke warm add a tbsp at a time until just combined.
  6. Beat the eggs and the milk together and add to the flour/sugar mix
  7. Add the mixture to the tin (it will be quite a runny mixture) and bake for approx 50 mins -1 hour (makes sure a tester/sterilised knitting needle comes out clean when inserted into the cake before removing from the oven)
  8. The cake will keep in foil for 3-5 days (but I bet you eat it earlier!)
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Crispy Lemon Cake – Clandestine Cakealong

clandestine cake club lemon cake recipe

Oh my! I love this cake – I’ve made 3 times in the past week (I haven’t eaten them all – One made the perfect moving house present for a friend)

Really, really simple to make and such a refreshing taste and great texture. The picture was from the remnants of the last of the 3 cakes when it was slightly past its freshest so it looks a little heavy. The cake still tasted amazing though and got demolished very soon after.

I did think the we didn’t need quite so much of the lemon and sugar topping. It was a little too thick for me but it was gorgeous nevertheless.

Soured Cream Coffee Cake Roundup

Good to see the entries for the Soured Cream Coffee Cake were as successful as usual. What I forgot to mention in my post was, the cake actually has no coffee in it. It is considered to be the perfect accompaniment with a cup of coffee.

clandestine cake club soured cream coffee cake

Great job, ladies! We are doing really well with the cake-a-long. We will be taking a short break for the summer holidays but will return on Tuesday 26th August with Rachel McGrath’s Raspberry Yoghurt Birthday Bundt on page 198. Quite appropriate as I will be celebrating my 40th birthday the week before! EEK! SO OLD!

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