Monday, September 1, 2008

Enjoying Chant with St Gregory the Great

The 3rd of September is the feast day of one of the greatest Popes in history. So great in fact, the worthy title is added to his name - St Gregory the Great. He was a pope that had an important and permanent influence on the Church and world for greater good. The music of the Church bears his name – the Gregorian Chant. St Gregory reformed the liturgy and developed the chant as we know it today.

Many symbols are connected to St Gregory and I have featured a couple in this cake in honour of him. The cake represents the chant notation in a schola book. St Gregory is often depicted with a scroll with the words, “Ora pro nobis Deum” which translates, “Pray for us to God”, so I have incorporated those words to the chant notation. Why the connection to those words? The belief is St Gregory was walking in procession, barefoot on Easter morning in Rome when he heard the first three lines of the Regina Caeli chanted by angels, he was so deeply moved he added the fourth line, “Ora pro nobis Deum. Alleluia”

Jessica I would like to thank you for inviting me to participate here at Catholic Cuisine, I think the most encouraging thing I could add is I am not the best cook. I struggle and stress internally doing it, often feeling I am all thumbs. So if I can offer something here it means it is definitely attemptable!

I have used a white mud cake recipe, something I felt would hold together well when I went to ‘chisel it’ I cut the cake in a slight 'v' in the centre and sliced a bit off each end, to give the appearance of the book resting open.

I’ve made a simple icing mixture for the whole cake and I then bought an inexpensive packet of liquorice straps (2 metres or 6.5 feet per packet) and I used clean scissors to cut the liquorice in order to make the book cover, chant notation and words. The book ribbons were made from some strawberry flavoured confectionery straps. So very simple!


250 grams (8.8 oz) of butter
150grams (5.3 oz) of white chocolate chopped coarsely
2 cups of caster sugar
1 cup of milk
1 ½ cups of plain flour
1 tsp of vanilla essence
2 eggs lightly beaten

Grease a rectangular tin 16.5 x 26cm ( 6 1/2 x 10 2/5 inches.) I lined the base only and greased the sides. Set the oven heat at this point. Combine butter, chocolate, sugar and milk in medium saucepan, stir over low heat, without boiling, until smooth. Transfer mixture to large bowl allowing the mixture to cool for 15 minutes. Whisk sifted flour into mixture then stir in essence and eggs. Pour mixture into prepared tin. Bake in oven 180 degrees Celsius (356 Fahrenheit) for 50 -60 mins.


2 Cups of confectioner's sugar (icing sugar) sift before measuring
1 ½ tablespoons butter, soft
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 to 4 tablespoons of milk (or add only enough to create desired thickness)

Mix and beat on the ingredients together until smooth and soft.

I made a double recipe of icing for this cake.
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  1. Anne, I LOVE it!!! It is such a WONDEFUL idea!!! I am going to have to try and make this cake! Thank you for sharing it! Thank you also for joining us here at Catholic Cuisine. We are so excited to have you. I look forward to seeing what else you have in store for us! God bless!

  2. I love it Annie! What a great idea to use the licorice. Beautiful!

  3. The licorice is such a great idea! This is so fabulous, Anne! I'm so happy you're contributing here!

  4. I bet your kids loved this!

  5. It looks amazing, Anne! I just might have to exchange my cherry plans for something along these lines...

  6. WOW! That IS awesome. Great blog. I'll be back.