This blog is about decorating a Metre of Musical Cake. In January Erik and I joined Brighton’s Gay Mens Chorus, over the years we have been to their performances in and around Brighton, they are superb and we thought… could we? Should we?
Although we are not professionals, Marc the Musical Director does not hold back – cracking the baton whenever required. His incredibly high standards permeate the whole group and from day 1 it was clear that he is held in high regard!
When it was mentioned that Marc’s birthday and our rehearsal coincided I volunteered to make a cake, what else could I do but make a Musical Metre of Cake (1M long). As detailed previously in my Chocolate Fudge Cake blog I bake the sponge and freeze it, if you need to know how then see my previous blog. Then to decorate this enormous monster I thought it would be nice to have musical notation marking out the tune to Happy Birthday. (this is part 2 of a long blog – to see part 1 (follow this link).
Assemble and ice the cake
Pipe icing on the cake, just a thin layer to trap the loose crumbs close to the cake so that the finished surface is crumb-free. Once set ice the cake again with a finishing thicker layer, smoothing it out. Getting a mirror smooth finish is not easy, so deliberately adding a little rough texture to the final finish with your palette knife will enhance the finished look. If you a re not feeling up to making your own cakes you can buy ready iced cakes from the supermarket and decorate them.
Working with molten chocolate
The first thing you need to do is temper your chocolate, this is where you melt it, cool it down and then warm it back up. This sounds like pointless faff – but it is essential, without tempering your finished product will be cloudy and soft, not shiny and with the snap you expect. See my simple guide to tempering chocolate.
Start with complicated items like the treble clef and the time signature, if working on your own design then this is how you should make your chocolate writing. First thing to do is print out a mirror image of you lettering or in my case the treble clef. I am working on sheets of plastic; I pipe the design onto the plastic with the printed version underneath as a guide. Then when you peel the chocolate off the plastic you have a wonderfully glossy piece.
To those of you not in the know – the staff or staves are the 5 lines on which music is written. This is a useful technique for making straight lines or matchsticks of chocolate.
You may think I’m using an expensive piece of chocolate making equipment here, but it is a tile adhesive spreader from Homebase and cost £1.20. Spread a thin layer of chocolate onto plastic sheets, and drag the spreader across it. You will end up with long lines of chocolate, whilst they are still soft trim them at the ends to the required length.
Pop the sheet in the fridge to firm up and when set peel the chocolate off the sheet and it will break up into hundreds of match-like lengths.
Make The Notes
As you can see from the finished picture the notes are in dark chocolate, you may not be making musical notation but this shows how, if you break things down into their constituent parts then the job is simple. I used the same technique as above to make the stem the notes. Then stamped out teardrop shaped pieces for the dot at the bottom of the note.
Mark Out Your Design With Cotton
This was a 2-man job, so the lovely Erik helped here. We pulled a piece of cotton thread tight and used that to cut into the surface of the frosting to mark out a straight line. All we had to do then was push the individual pieces of chocolate into the frosting.
Whilst I realise that not many of you will be making 1M of cake, the point of this blog is to show you that your task in hand may look impossible, but if you break it down into manageable parts then it is simplicity itself.