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Musical Happy Birthday Cake

For my opera-singing, music -teaching friend I wanted to make a cake with the score of “happy birthday” as the main decoration. As this was going to be black on white, I decided on a chocolate mud cake frosted with white chocolate ganache. Some of you might remember the chocolate mud cake recipe from the cake decorated with little chocolate filled fondant pigs, lying about in chocolate ganache mud. If y0u don’t remember it here’s the link. The musical birthday cake tasted amazing and here how it looked:

To decorate, the first thing I had to do for the music birthday cake was to find the score for happy birthday, made easy by a google image search. I decided to pipe the notes flat onto a long piece of rolled fondant cut to size. WARNING: on a cake this size, one strip of fondant to place around the cake is not a good idea. If I do this cake again, or something similar I will do two strips and join them. Anyway, after a lot of nerves here’s a picture of the finished decoration – the score of “happy birthday” :

Not being particularly musical, I was pleased that the professional musicians who were at the party recognised it straight away.  Here’s the recipe for the lovely fudge-y chocolate, moistest ever chocolate mud cake.

Chocolate Mud Cake

It’s moist. So, so moist. And choclatey. The recipe makes two 10-11 inch cakes.

Serves: 16-20 Preparation time: 15 mins Cooking time: 30-35


230g butter (room temperature)
230g caster sugar
230g light brown sugar
8 medium eggs (room temperature)
340g self-raising flour
100g cocoa powder
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
generous pinch of salt
10 tablespoons creme fraiche (or sour cream)
2 teaspoons good vanilla extract


1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C or 350F and prepare two 10 or 11 inch cake tins with baking parchment.
2. Sift dry ingredients together.
3. Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
4. Gradually beat in the eggs. If it looks like curdling add two tablespoons from the flour mixture.
5. Fold in the flour mixture, and creme fraiche, alternating between the two -starting and ending with the flour.
6. Divide evenly between tins and gently encourage the mix to the sides.
7. Bake for 30-35 mins, until they smell ready and a skewer comes out clean.
8. Let cool 5 mins in tins, then turn on to a wire rack to cool.

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