Mon très cher Hithertododos,

Happy Birthday! I truly hope that you have an awesome one with loads of fun, presents, wishes, Facebook wall posts and of course, a fabulous birthday cake! Well, I baked you a classic butter cake, with chocolate chips, almonds and cherries, all swirled in as one. I could not make up my mind as to which flavour I’d pick so it was simpler to merge them in a single cake so that you’d have a taste of everything with each bite.

I must say that I’m very lucky to have been your friend for so many years. Thanks for your never-ending support and your words of encouragement every time I needed them, for the optimism and confidence you helped me find in myself and for being my strength whenever I felt defeated and depressed. With our small dedicated team, we built the famous Facebook group Moricienneries – The Mauritius Stories and it’s still alive, making hundreds of Mauritians across the word smile, thanks to your talent and imagination.

You’ve been my inspiration so many times and I just want you to know that you’ll always be my friend, beyond words, beyond time.

MARBLE POUND CAKE

Ingredients:

200g butter, softened

1 cup caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

3 eggs, room temperature

2¼ cups self-raising flour, sifted

¾ cup milk

2 tbs cocoa powder

3 drops red food colouring

50 g dark chocolate chips

50 g almonds, chopped

50 g glace cherries, chopped

For the Vanilla Butter Icing

50g butter, softened

1 cup icing sugar, sifted

1 tsp vanilla essence

2 tbsp boiling water

Method:

  • Heat oven to 160°C fan bake. Grease a 22cm springform cake tin and line the base with nonstick baking paper.

  • Place butter and sugar in a bowl and beat until pale and creamy. Beat in vanilla essence and eggs, one at a time.

  • Stir in sifted flour in two batches, alternating with the milk. Divide the mixture between three separate bowls.

  • Beat cocoa powder with 1 tbs hot water to make a paste. Add it to one portion of batter and stir in chocolate chips.

  • Stir red food colouring into another portion and leave one plain. Add almonds to the plain portion and cherries to the red one.

  • Drop large spoonfuls of the different mixtures into the prepared cake tin, alternating the colours.

  • Drag and swirl a blunt knife through the mixtures to create a beautiful marble pattern. Tap to remove air bubbles.

  • Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer comes out cleanfrom centre. Cool in tin, remove and cool completely. Makes 12 pieces.

Hope that your birthday’s full of surprises!

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