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.

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

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!

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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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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Soured Cream Coffee Cake – Clandestine Cake-along

Soured Cream Coffee Cake

This nearly wasn’t the cake pictured. I went shopping for ingredients for our next cake (the Soured Cream Coffee Cake) and checked the Clandestine Cake CookBook before I went. I obviously wasn’t concentrating hard enough and thought it was the Hazlenut Bundt Cake – same shape, different cake. Luckily I noticed before baking commenced!

So it was back to the Soured Cream Coffee Cake. I’d never baked in my bundt tin before so I had to put faith in the buttering and then flouring the tin method. I certainly couldn’t be bothered with lining the blinking thing. I had read that to get an awkward cake out of a tin you need to completely let it cool so that’s what I did and it worked!

I did think the amounts for the nut topping were slightly out – I only ended up using half of it and that was plenty. Dermot really loved this cake – it was just his sort of thing. I liked it but didn’t love it – not a fault of the recipe or the bake, just not really my sort of cake. The cinnamon/nut flavour was interesting but the texture of the cake wasn’t quite cakey enough for me. Dead clever how you get a streak of nut mixture running through it though! I will definitely try this technique again.

For a recap of our Spiced Ale Cake. We had varying degrees of success. Our regular, Victoria sadly had a disaster and didn’t submit a pic – Hope you will be joining us again with this bake, Victoria!

Cassandra’s Ale cake looked really rich (making mine look rather anaemic!) Cassandra Simpson's Spiced Ale Cake

I also really love the look of the texture of Katy’s Spiced Ale Cake … Katy Hough's Spiced Ale Cake

The weather is glorious at the moment so just to tempt fate I’m going to schedule a summery Crispy Lemon Cake for our next bake. Hopefully up on Tuesday 23rd July!

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Clandestine Cake-a-long Spiced Ale Cake & Meet the Author


We’re doing a slightly different cake this fortnight. We’ve not had a loaf cake so far and this is definitely a welcome change from the very sweet cakes (but yummy) cakes that we have been trying.

As I said in the introductory post, I’ve actually eaten a slice of this cake at one of our St Helens Clandestine Cake club nights. And very delicious it is too. I will admit to being a slight bit nervous about doing it justice when I baked it myself.

The cake does not contain any butter or eggs which seemed really unusual. I loved how it came together as a type of dough before putting in the loaf tin. Once again, I mentally thanked the Lakeland for their fabulous loaf tin liners! I didn’t have any light ale but had a tantalising can of Guinness in the fridge – the recipe calls for 350ml out of the 440ml tin. Dermot kindly finished the rest of the tin off as his contribution to the bake.

I’m lucky enough to know Deb. I met her early in 2012 at our WI meetings and have discovered since what a joy she is to know. What you might not know is that Deb recently won our Traybake competition at our WI Show. She is also a friend to the stars, having bullied persuaded Ross Noble to appear at the very same show.

So let’s get to know Deb some more…

1. How did you get into baking?
Helping Mum when I was little. I had my own little rolling pin & pastry cutters!

2. What is your favourite cake?
That’s a difficult one- depends what mood I’m in! Right now… Carrot cake would go down a treat! But I do love a banana cake! Oh & a chocolate cake! & things wouldn’t be the same without fruit cake now would they?

3. What is the last cake that you made?
I made my own recipe lavender & Banana Cake

4. You have friends coming round for the evening, which cake would you bake them?
Depends on the friends! I have a number of Vegan friends so would do a vegan cake if they were coming. For friends that need gluten free I’d do my port, cranberry, orange & olive oil cake. As a climber if they were climbing friends I”d make something big & hearty for the end of a hard day’s climbing- like my chilli chocolate cake. Severed in huge slices of course!

5. What famous person (past or present) would you like to bake a cake for?
I recently made a traybake for comedian Ross Noble and he liked it! I’d like to bake a cake for Tang dynasty ancient Chinese physician Sun Si Miao.

6. How many CCC events have you attended?
Only ever made it to one actual event, but frequently in touch with/ meet up with other CCC members by various means!

7. What recipe out of the CCC book do you fancy baking the most?
The Japanese Green Tea & Orange Cake

8. What would your baking tip be?
Just have a go… Practice makes perfect & experimentation can lead to get results! (We won’t mention the disasters!)

9. Do you have any baking ‘rituals’?
I like to play 80’s music while I bake- & yes there is always some dancing round the kitchen!

10. Do you have a favourite cake related saying?
Coined by my lovely husband Neil Peck when eating a large piece of cake for breakfast… “Cake is the food of athletes”!

11. Any baking disasters you wish to admit to?
I once made a courgette cake, following a bumper harvest from my veg patch. I obviously didn’t put the squeeze on them quite enough and finished up with a VERY soggy sloppy mess, thanks to the excess water. My husband politely tried some -apparently it was horrible (what? you didn’t think I tried it did you?) I put it out for the birds but even they & a skinny stray cat had more sense than to try it. Adding insult to the injury of this disaster was that 2 days later I slipped over in the soggy mess that was my courgette cake whilst hanging my washing out! 😉

Deb has also kindly supplied us with some tips for getting the most out of our Spiced Ale Cake:

Tips for the Spiced Ale Cake:

  • Using a flavoured Ale- such as a Raisin or Bluberry ale adds a little something to the taste.
  • If you want a vegan cake then use Avgar Nectar rather than honey.
  • I’ve made this cake using corriander & gram masla spices rather than those listed- not for the faint hearted but if you dare give it a go!! (the original name for the cake was Curried Beer Cake- but that did put a few people off trying it!!)
  • The cake tastes best if kept in an airtight container for a couple of days before eating- yummy!
  • Nice with a bit of butter on it (or Vegan spread!)

Thanks very much, Deb.

Just two entries for last time’s Cakealong bake – I had a feeling the Giant Fondant Fancy would only get a small number.

Victoria Murray had the genius idea of including a paper wrapper for her Fondant Fancy – My Kipling would be so proud!


Source: Uploaded by user on Pinterest

Katy Hough gave us this very neat version of the Fondant Fancy. Well done ladies!


Our next bake is on page 32 The Soured Cream Coffee Cake – I have a new bundt tin and I’m desperate to try it. I’m sure the cake would work just as well in other shaped tins. Lets be creative!

For anyone who is slightly tempted to join in … Please Do! Baking our way through the Clandestine Cake Book is so much more fun baking along with friends. Disasters are most welcome – believe me, I’ve had plenty!

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Giant Zesty Lemon Fondant Fancy: Clandestine Cakealong

Giant Lemon Fondant Fancy Cake

I think I’ve found my new favourite cake (I’m also sure I’ve said this before!) No, seriously, I made a discovery yesterday that will change my ‘go-to’ cake whenever I have to take a cake somewhere.

The Lemon Fondant Fancy is one of those cakes that looks impossible to do but is really quite easy. It does help that the base cake is only 6″ square so when it comes to covering it, it isn’t too difficult to get neat.

I made the buttercream (for the bump) with more icing sugar than usual to make it extra hard. I was worried that with it being so hot at the moment, the weight of the covering might squash it down. But that didn’t happen.

I did cover the cake and the bump with marzipan before covering with the yellow fondant icing as I love the taste of marzipan and I wanted a really neat finish. I suppose if you didn’t like the taste of marzipan, a thicker covering of just fondant would do just as well.

Uses for marmalade

The recipe is the brainwave of Jini Mulukutla, who I will try to have interviewed in the next few days. Jini’s recipe says to spread lemon curd in the centre of the cake and to stick the fondant down with the curd also. I was lucky enough to be sent some marmalades and jams from the lovely people at Mackays last month though, and wanted to see what would happen if I used marmalade instead. I thought that maybe it would be too tangy – I think I had convinced myself from being a child that marmalade was too bitter a taste. How wrong I was! It added just the perfect zesty taste. I am definitely going to be using marmalade as a substitute for spreading jam on a cake from now on. I also have another marmalade recipe coming up in a couple of days … watch this space!

We had some very tasty looking bakes from our last Cake-a-long – The Torta Columbina Cake.
Victoria Murray gave us this very neat example.

Source: Uploaded by user on Pinterest



Rhonda Kirby gave hers a bit of bling with some purple sprinkles

Rhonda's sparkly Torta Columbina

Rhonda’s sparkly Torta Columbina

Katy Hough had so much more success with her sugar topping than I did.

Katy's tasty looking Torta Columbina

Katy’s tasty looking Torta Columbina

And last but not least is Cassandra’s delicious looking bake. Cassandra forgot to put on her topping and sugar beads. I love this as that is just the sort of thing I do. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to put a cake in the oven to find I’ve forgotten to add sugar or eggs!

Source: Uploaded by user on Pinterest



Our bake for the next fortnight (and I promise it will be a fortnight) is the Father’s Day Spiced Ale Cake. This is my lovely friend, Deb Connor’s cake and I’ve actually tasted this cake. Hope I can do it justice when I bake it for Dermot for Father’s Day this weekend. I will be back with the roundup and the next bake on Monday 24th June. Happy Baking!

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Clandestine Cake-a-long Returns – Torta Columbina & Homemade Orange Curd Recipe

We’ve had a few weeks break from the Cake-a-long but its back raring to go! It seems that with every cake I’ve made from the Clandestine Cake Collection, I’ve learnt a new skill and developed a new addiction.

This time it is a delicious orange curd – when I came to make the Cake-a-long bake I discovered I didn’t have any orange curd in so undeterred made my own. Delicious! And so easy in the microwave. All the way through, I was convinced I’d mess it up, my eggs would curdle and it would taste awful – but NO – IT WAS A HUGE SUCCESS! We are now eating Homemade Orange Curd with everything – the kids might draw the line at Orange Curd Tuna Pasta however.

I’ve never heard of a Torta Columbina before – I have googled and found Tarta Columbiana which sounds very similar. This cake was the brainwave of Euan Greig who blogs over at Signor Biscotti, a lovely blog that will have your mouth watering. Euan’s version of the cake looks so much better than mine and you can find the recipe here. I’m going to try to interview Euan in time for the next round up in 2 weeks to find out more.

The cake itself was not too complicated – I did seem to end up with far too much egg white mixture for the topping though and had to crack it to make sure it was cooking. I personally would have liked a stronger orange flavour but I’m sure this is just me. I loved the addition of the almond flavouring too – it really added an interesting aftertaste. I’ve spotted Millie dipping into the cake over and over again which is a sure thumbs up!

Homemade Orange Curd Recipe

Homemade Orange Curd Recipe


  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 eggs
  • Finely grated rind of 2 oranges
  • 175g caster sugar
  • Freshly squeezed juice of 2 oranges
  • 125g butter, chopped into small pieces


  1. Whisk the eggs in a large microwave bowl
  2. Add the orange rind, sugar, orange juice and butter
  3. Microwave on high at 30 second intervals for at least 8 minutes
  4. I whisked after every 30 second period so the butter was properly mixed in.
  5. The curd will thicken and form a thick coating on the back of a metal spoon.
  6. Taste and be transported to a delicious place!
  7. Transfer to either one big sterilized kilner jar or small sterilized jars and allow to cool fully.
  8. Keep in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.

So there is the Cake-a-long for this fortnight. I will do a round up on Monday 20th May (the linky will be open until approx 8PM on Mon 20th May) and the new Cake-a-long will start on Tuesday 21st May. It is never too late to start joining in with the Cake-a-long. If you would like to suggest a cake for us to make, please feel free.

Our next bake will be the Giant Lemon Fondant Fancy on page 231 – Eek! Be brave with that fondant!

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Featherlight Cake: Clandestine Cake-a-long 3

Helen Jones, you are a genius! This cake is a revelation. A fat-free sponge that comes together ultra quickly and feels somehow luxurious but not guilt ridden to eat. (even with a shed load of fresh cream in the middle). Our cake for the Cake-a-long this fortnight is the magnificent Featherlight Cake on page 15 of the Clandestine Cake Cookbook.

We actually made and ate this cake early last week for a late Mother’s Day treat but it has taken me forever to get to the laptop to post about it. Never fear, the Cake-a-long is back on track – I actually was away with Millie’s synchro this weekend and I didn’t want to advertise to the whole world that the house was empty. Back now – burglars, you snooze, you lose and all that!

I’m sure that this recipe will be one that I will go back to over and over again. I can’t stress enough how refreshing this cake was to an ordinary sponge. I was tempted to add a splash of vanilla extract but decided not to mess with Helen’s design. It was fine without the vanilla in the end but I may try experimenting with other flavours in future. I’m thinking lemon rind and lemon curd would be amazing.

I know a couple of people have already baked this cake in preparation for this week -if you haven’t made it yet, it would be a fantastic alternative to all the stodge of Easter chocolate. I will hopefully post more information about the recipe creator, Helen Jones in the round up post.

So, go ahead! Let’s see your creations – Is anyone planning on filling with anything different to the suggested jam and fresh cream? If anyone is struggling with putting their photo on pinterest, please feel free to email me and I will do my best to help.

Our next cake will be the Torta Colombina by Euan Greig on page 116 – a Italian Easter inspired cake with an orangey taste – Can’t wait!

The linky for the Feather light cake will remain open until next Monday (1st April).

Toffee Shock Cake RoundUp: Cake-a-long 2

I need to apologise – I’m a week late with the round up and the next bake for the Cake-a-long. Life once again just got in the way.

We had a good turnout once more for the second in our Cake-a-long marathon – Hands up who enjoyed the Toffee Shock Cake? Me Me ME!!! There was certainly plenty of this cake to go round so if you happened to visit the Costello residence you would have received a generous slab of it.

Lovely to see our bakers stuck with the 4 tiers – Rhonda even gave us a peek at the inside of her cake!

Cor! Now there’s an inside to a cake!

For the fudge and toffee lover



Katy certainly didn’t hold back with her toffee toppings on her cake – No shortage of calories in this cake but isn’t it so neat?


The tallest Toffee Cake ever?


Cassandra’s cake is super tall – she had the opposite problem to me with the topping and had to warm hers up as it had set too hard!


Seeing Stars!



And last but not least, we have Victoria who had the genius idea of adding some chocolate stars to her cake.

Thanks for joining in everyone. If you would like to join us in baking our way through the Clandestine Cake Cookbook, we would love it. There’s no pressure to join in every week and no competition (Good job, I would have well lost by now!)