"Inside was a large, sticky chocolate cake with Happy Birthday Harry written on it in green icing"
(Sorcerer's Stone 48).
It is the perfect time for Harry's birthday cake to appear on our list, as Daniel Radcliff's birthday just passed us by on July 23rd, and Harry Potter will turn 31 on July 31st! His golden birthday! Very exciting, even if he is a fictional character.
Since I'm not really a cake afficionado, I decided to use the recipe in The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook for "Harry's First Birthday Cake."And I have to say, for the first time, I'm disappointed in the results. The cake itself is excellent, but the frosting and glaze are not great. I'll go into further detail when we get there.
For the Cake, You Will Need:
3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp instant coffee
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 350, and grease and flour two 8" round cake pans. If you like, line the pans with parchment paper.
2. Whisk together the boiling water, cocoa powder, and instant coffee in a small bowl until smooth and set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside.
4. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, scraping the sides down as needed (this will take at least 5 min).
5. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each until incorporated.
6. Add the vanilla and beat until combined.
7. Add the hot cocoa mixture and beat until combined, scraping down sides as needed.
8. Add the flour mixture and mix on the lowest speed until combined.
9. Divide the mixture between the two prepared cake pans and bake for 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached. Be careful, because this cake burns easily.
10. Cool the in the pans for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.
For the Glaze, You Will Need:
8oz chopped bittersweet chocolate
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 stick (2Tbs) butter
1/4 cup corn syrup
1. Place the ingredients in a bowl and microwave for 1-2 minutes
2. Whisk until smooth, and cool until thick but still pourable.
Notes about the "Glaze:" This recipe yields not so much a glaze as a glob. I did use it at its original consistency when adding it to the frosting recipe, but before "pouring" it onto the cake at the end, I added another generous squeeze of corn syrup and probably almost another 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream. And a taste test confirmed that it was SUPER bitter (which is not surprising, since there's definitely not enough corn syrup to counteract 8oz of bitter chocolate), so I added a bit of powdered sugar too. If the consistency was actually that of a glaze, I would've had no problem with the bitterness, but pouring an almost 1 inch thick layer of bittersweet chocolate on top of this cake was a major downfall for me.
For the Frosting, You Will Need:
1 stick butter
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 Tbs heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 of the chocolate glaze recipe
1. Place butter, confectioner's sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy, scraping down sides as needed (it'll take 5+ minutes).
2. Add half the cooled glaze and beat until combined.
3. If frosting is too soft to spread (mine sure was!), chill in the fridge at 10 minute intervals, beating in between until you like the consistency. Note: Even after chilling, this is a very soft frosting. It won't ever reach the consistency of frosting out of a can.
For the Green Icing, You Will Need:
1 Cup Confectioner's Sugar
Green Food Coloring
Water to make a paste
1. Place the sugar in a small bowl, and add VERY SMALL amounts of water at a time, stirring in between, until you make a paste. Don't add too much water, or you'll have to add more sugar. Add your desired amount of food color and stir to combine.
2. Pour/scrape icing into a pastry bag (or ziplock bag, then cut off a tiny corner).
To Assemble the Cake:
1. Place one cake layer top-side down on a plate or cardboard round, and spread 3/4 cup (estimate) of frosting over the cake to the edges.
2. Place the second layer top-side up over the first, and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake.
3. "Pour" remaining glaze over the top of the cake and allow it to drip unevenly over the sides. This part definitely didn't work for me, even after all my additions. But since it's a cake based on Hagrid's, the messy craziness of the finished product was okay with me.
4. Write your message on top of the cake with your green icing-filled pastry bag.
Enjoy this Ultra-Chocolatey Layer Cake! Hopefully you have better luck than I did!