Happy Birthday Harry Potter!
Excuse me while my nerd flag flies high, but I love any excuse to stress bake a cake, and when I realized a certain fictional wizard's birthday was coming up, I decided to get a little whimsical. July 31st, aka, today, is the Chosen One's birthday, and why not recreate the cake Hagrid gave him for his 11th birthday? Mushed appearance and sausage links included too!
It feels extra fun to celebrate this year, with more than just a Snapchat filter, because this September is also the 20-year anniversary of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone being released in the US. So in honor of that, enjoy this version of the "sticky chocolate cake" from the book!
(I know the movie version was way more aesthetically attractive with its pink frosting and wacky spelling, but I'm going with the book description today. Maybe I'll make that other version in 2021.)
Devils Food Cake
Adapted from Bravetart. Makes one, two-layer, 6-inch cake. This is the easiest chocolate cake ever. It all comes together in one pot, no special equipment necessary.
For the cake:
- 1 1/2 sticks butter
- 3/4 cup strong black tea, such as Assam (see note)
- 1/2 cup dutch process cocoa
- 3 oz good quality dark chocolate
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 tbs vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 3 eggs + 3/4 oz egg yolks (about 1 1/2 tbs)
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 tbs baking soda
For the Chocolate Ganache frosting:
- 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 10 oz milk chocolate
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt
For any written decoration (optional)
- 2 tbs softened butter
- 3/8 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- splash of vanilla extract
- food color of choice
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 6-inch cake pans with parchment and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a large pot, combine the butter and black tea over low heat. When the butter is melted, remove from heat and whisk in the chocolate and the cocoa powder, then the brown sugar, vanilla, and kosher salt. Stir in the eggs and the yolks, then sift in the the flour and baking soda. Combine thoroughly, then divide between the two cake pans.
- Bake for 25-28 minutes, until cakes pull away from the edges of the pans a bit and a toothpick or skewer inserted into the cakes come out with only a few crumbs. Cool the cakes in the pans completely, then turn out and level tops as needed.
- When cakes are completely cool, make the frosting. Heat the heavy cream in another pot over medium heat until steaming and starting to bubble. Place the chopped milk chocolate in the bowl of a stand mixer and pour the cream over top. Whisk until smooth and chocolate is melted, then whisk in the salt. Set aside until cooled a bit, then cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours, or until mixture reaches 45 degrees. You can also set the bowl in an ice bath for an hour, stirring occasionally. When frosting is cooled to desired temperature, whip with the whisk attachment on medium-high, about 75-120 seconds, until thick and fluffy like frosting. Use immediately.
- Frost cake as desired. If writing any messages on cake, beat together butter and powdered sugar, add vanilla and stir to combine. Color as desired, and transfer to a piping bag or ziploc bag. Cut off the tip and pipe away! Serve cake immediately, or keep at room temperature, covered, for up to one day, and sliced, wrapped in plastic, at room temperature for up to four days.
- You can use strong coffee in the place of the tea. The original recipe called for either, and I went with the tea because unlike coffee, I always have some in my house, and also, tea felt more British, in honor of Harry.