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Chocolate finger Strawberry CakeI can't believe you made this cakeI can't believe you made this cake

Last Monday was the second Cladenstine Cake Club of the year and as February was the month of Valentine’s day, the theme of the night was Pure Romance. I was super excited as with pure romance being the theme, surely there must be  must be some chocolate cake and also it gave me a chance to try out a cake I had never made before. 

A few took my fancy, from a  passion cake recipe by Sarah Cook to a chocolate and coconut layer cake but as soon as I saw the ‘I can’t believe you made that cake’ by Lorraine Pascale, I knew I had to give it a go. A two layered chocolate buttercream cake with raspberries or strawberries on top and lots of chocolate cigarillios round the outside, it looked beautiful.

There was more appeal in making it in that the recipe didn’t look too difficult. Here is the recipe:


  • vegetable oil or oil spray
  • 200g/7oz butter, softened
  • 200g/7oz caster sugar
  • 4 free-range eggs
  • 140g/5oz plain flour
  • 60g/2½oz cocoa powder
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 400g/14oz plain, milk, or white chocolate cigarillos (about 75–80 in total) This are usually bought online so if you can’t get them in time you can use chocolate fingers or matchsticks instead
For the buttercream
  • 250g/9oz butter, softened
  • 500g/1lb 2oz icing sugar
  • 100g/3½oz good dark chocolate (at least 70 per cent cocoa solids), melted and slightly cooled
For the decoration
  • strawberries or raspberries

002 (1024x683)Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180/C/350F/Gas 4 and line a 20cm/8in round deep cake tin with baking paper and brush or spray with oil.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until they begin to go pale. Add half of the eggs and half of the flour and mix well.

005 (1024x683)006 (1024x683)3. Add the rest of the eggs, flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder and beat for a minute or two until the mixture is all one colour. 008 (1024x683) 009 (1024x683)4.Dollop into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for about 30–40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin.017 (1024x683) 019 (1024x683)5. Meanwhile, make the buttercream: put the butter and icing sugar in a bowl and whisk together until the mixture goes fluffy. Add the cooled, melted chocolate and whisk for a further two minutes.

021 (1024x683)027 (1024x683)6. Once the cake is completely cool, remove it from the tin. Carefully cut the top flat with a large serrated knife. (I found I didn’t need to do this as the cake was flat enough but if it doesn’t sit well on the plate, this will be needed.) 

024 (1024x683)7. Turn the cake upside down on a 20cm/8in cake board so that the bottom now becomes a nice flat top. Split the cake horizontally and sandwich the top and bottom together with a 1cm/½in layer of buttercream.

032 (1024x683)8. Spread half of the remaining buttercream all over the top and sides of the cake, making it as smooth as possible. Put it in the fridge to set before doing another layer – this makes it much easier to get neat squared-off edges.

034 (1024x683)9. Gently push the cigarillos/chocolate fingers vertically onto the sides of the cake, positioning them as straight as possible and making sure they touch the bottom. I had a near disaster as I had bought 3 packets of chocolate fingers but somehow managed to eat a whole box whilst making the cake so actually ended up a finger short. Don’t look too closely at the pictures because you’ll see the gap!

10. Finish by scattering strawberries and raspberries on top and voila!058 (1024x683)

045 (1024x683)Chocolate finger cakeDespite the drama with the fingers I was really pleased with how the cake turned out and just hoped it would make it in one piece to the event. Last Monday it was held at the lovely Abbey Tavern pub and when I arrived there was already a lovely selection of cakes laid out on the table. From heart shaped cakes to cakes with hearts hidden inside, red velvet and a raspberry baked cheescake I could not wait to dig in. It really is such a lovely evening, a chance to meet new people and talk about all sorts, not only food (although baking and amazing places to eat cropped up several times).

Clandestine Cake Club- Pure RomanceJess made an incredible raspberry and chocolate cake with swiss meringue buttercream as a test for her friends wedding. It looked beautiful inside and everyone couldn’t help but have a second piece. Deb’s raspberry cream cake was light and fruity and Lynn made a ‘passion cake’ which was actually a twist on the traditional carrot cake. There was also  purple velvet cake, red velvet cake, banana and chocolate cake and Jelena’s ‘heart desire’ cake which had some delicious glittery heart shaped biscuits on it.031

Raspberry Cream Cake

We all ate lots of cake pretty fast and then sat back and felt full to the brim. I still managed to take a slice of each cake home with me to share at work but also to save some for Tuesday!