Harry Potter. The chosen one. The boy who lived. The character who shaped my entire childhood and (let’s be honest) adulthood turns 40 today. This Harry Potter birthday cake is inspired by the cake Hagrid gives Harry on his 11th birthday. AKA the day he finds out he’s a wizard! It’s a monumental moment, and any Potterhead will love this cake!
Typically when I want to bake something inspired by Harry Potter, I cook from my favorite cookbook : The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. This time, however, I wanted to create something extra special for Harry’s fortieth birthday. This cake is my favorite, go to chocolate cake. It’s moist and full of intense chocolate flavor. The vanilla buttercream is my all purpose frosting. I make it more than any other recipe! This cake would also pair well with my strawberry buttercream. Chocolate and strawberry are a match made in heaven, and you wouldn’t have to tint it pink!
The beauty of this cake is that Hagrid was not a seasoned cake decorator..meaning you don’t have to be either! I did my best to allow flaws in the frosting (so hard for my type A self), but you could easily get away with many mistakes here. As far as pipping lettering, it’s not my strong suit. We can also thank our favorite giant for his poor handwriting too. You can get away with swervy, messed up writing. Actually, it’s encouraged here!
Ingredient Line Up
- All purpose flour
- Granulated sugar
- Cocoa powder
- Baking soda
- Baking powder
- Vegetable oil
- Large eggs
- Coffee – Make a super strong pot (or single cup) of coffee for this cake. It adds a complexity to the cake and really enhances the chocolate flavor.
- Confectioners sugar
- Heavy cream
- Food coloring – I highly recommend gel food coloring. It’s the only kind I use. You barely have to use any, meaning your icing’s consistency and flavor won’t be sacrificed.
How to decorate Harry Potter Birthday Cake
Like I said, flaws are accepted and encouraged in this cake. However, there are some simple tips you can follow to make the decorating process super simple!
- Level your cake layers – You can do this with a knife or a cake leveler. I use baking strips when I bake cakes so that I can skip this step!
- Use a turntable to apply your crumb coat and pink icing layer.
- Use a thicker icing tip if lettering isn’t your thing! I used a wilton #2, but you could use a #3 or #4 to make it easier.
- Drag a toothpick through the cake to create the iconic crack down the top.
Any Potterhead would love to receive this for their birthday. Channel your inner Hagrid, and bake it for someone you love!
Harry Potter Birthday Cake
- 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup strong coffee
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 6 cups confectioners sugar
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly grease baking pans. You can use three 6" pans or two 8" or 9" pans. Line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper for easy removal.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar. Sift in the cocoa powder, and whisk to combine.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, vanilla, buttermilk, and coffee. Be sure to temper your eggs or add in the coffee very slowly in order to keep the eggs from cooking.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and beat on medium speed until combined.
- Pour the batter into the pans and bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let the cakes cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then remove them and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter on high until light and fluffy – about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add in half of the confectioners sugar and beat until combined.
- Add in the rest of the confectioners sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla extract. Beat until light and fluffy – about 2 minutes.
- If frosting is too thick, add a bit more heavy cream.
- Remove 1/4 cup of the frosting and tint with green gel food coloring. Tint the remaining frosting pink.
- Level the cake layers using a knife or cake leveler.
- Place one layer of cake on a turntable or cake stand. Evenly spread a bit of frosting onto the top.
- Repeat with the next layer(s) of cake.
- Coat the outside of your cake with a light layer of frosting, also known as a crumb coat. Then put the cake in the fridge 15-30 minutes.
- Take the cake out and cover with the remaining pink frosting.
- Place the green icing into a pipping bag fitted with an icing tip (I use wilton #2 for this), and pipe "Happee birthdae harry" onto the top of the cake.
- Drag a toothpick through the top of the cake to create the crack in Hagrid's cake.
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