Welcome to the first installment of HP Saturday! Each week I’ll try a recipe inspired by a Harry Potter novel, my first true loves. I’ll do my best to go chronologically, starting with an early scene in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling, of course.
Recap Time – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
So, as you may remember, one of the earliest and most famous scenes in the series is when Hagrid tracks down Harry in a random shack on top of a rock in the middle of the sea. The literal address on the Hogwarts acceptance letter he finally gets to read is “Mr. H. Potter, The Floor, Hut-on-the-Rock, The Sea.” Harry is there with his terrible Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia, and cousin, Dudley, because Uncle Vernon lost his mind trying to keep Harry from the thousands of Hogwarts letters that flooded in wherever he went. This saga of Uncle Vernon vs. Many Pieces of Paper really sets the iconic whimsical tone with which we all fell in love right from the jump.
Enter this guy:
When Hagrid finds Harry, it is coincidentally Harry’s birthday, which his horrible family has neglected to properly celebrate basically his whole life. Shockingly, it’s not many kids’ dream to spend their 11th birthday sleeping on the floor of a freaking SHACK on a ROCK in the middle of the SEA. Famously, he brings Harry a lovely though slightly squished birthday cake. If you recall from the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone movie, said cake is depicted as:
It’s adorable, and honestly, really does depict Hagrid’s character well. Because it’s so iconic, this is the HP treat I endeavored to recreate today! However, I will be baking the cake as depicted in the novel, which describes it as:
Inside was a large, sticky chocolate cake with Happy Birthday Harry written on it in green icing.Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, pg. 48.
As you can tell, Hagrid, though often bumbling, knew how to spell the words “happy” and “birthday.” Also, there’s no indication that the cake was frosted pink. Therefore, I spent this morning creating exactly what the book described–a sticky chocolate cake with chocolate icing.
To make the chocolate cake, I used the Chocolate Fudge Cake recipe from The Cake Bible, by Rose Levy Beranbaum. If you like to bake, like cake, or just want to learn a bit more about why different cakes do the things they do, I highly recommend giving it a read!
Chocolate Fudge Cake
- 2 9-inch by 1 1/2 inch round cake pans
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 3 cups sifted cake flour
- 2 cups light brown sugar firmly packed
- 2 1/4 tsps baking powder
- 3/4 tsps baking soda
- 3/4 tsps salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Mix cocoa and boiling water until smooth and let cool to room temperature.
- In a different bowl, mix eggs, 1/4 of the room temp cocoa mixture, and vanilla until combined.
- Separately, mix flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl on low speed. Add butter and the rest of the cocoa mixture.
- Once the dry ingredients are moistened, increase the speed to medium and mix for 1-2 minutes. Remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically to insure the ingredients are properly combined.
- Slowly add in egg mixture a bit at a time.
- Pour batter into the greased cake pans, dividing the batter evenly. It's also helpful to put a sheet of parchment paper in the pans to prevent sticking.
- Bake for 25-30 mins or until a toothpick inserted into the center is smooth when removed.
- Allow to cool to room temperature on cooling racks before frosting.
Milk Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- 1 pound milk chocolate
- 8 ounces dark chocolate extra bittersweet or bittersweet
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter softened
- Melt all of the chocolate using a stainless steel mixing bowl over a pot of simmering (not boiling) water or using a double boiler.
- Allow chocolate to cool to room temperature.
- Beat chocolate and butter until completely combined and uniform in color.
The cake came out DELICIOUS and with just the right amount of nostalgia. I felt like a kid again putting myself in Hagrid’s giant shoes and baking a birthday cake for our favorite (?) wizard kid. This cake is also perfect for a birthday celebration for your favorite nonfictional person too! If you give this recipe a try, let me know in the comments below!
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