How to Make Harry Potter’s 11th Birthday Cake

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Learn how to make a copycat version of Hagrid's birthday cake for Harry from the iconic films and books.

“Got something for you. Afraid I might have sat on it at some point, but I imagine it’ll taste fine just the same. I baked it myself, words and all!”

More thoughtful than a pair of Uncle Vernon’s old socks (and far more appetizing than a Cockroach Cluster), a moist, fudgy chocolate Harry Potter birthday cake with vibrant pink coconut cream frosting and green lettering is the perfect way to tell the Harry Potter fan in your life happy birthday. It would be the perfect centerpiece to any Harry Potter-themed party.

The Official Harry Potter Baking Book shares the recipe for this iconic cake from the wizarding world along with 40+ other official recipes. Flipping through the pages, there were countless tantalizing recipes that had us hungrier than a hippogriff to try. From Hagrid’s Rock Cakes to a homemade Treacle Tart from Hogwarts’ Great Hall. It seemed fitting, however, to put the recipe that started it all for Harry to the test.

Keep reading to learn how you can bring some magic into your kitchen with a homemade version of Hagrid’s birthday cake for Harry. Then buy yourself some butterbeer to wash it all down!

How to Make Hagrid’s Harry Potter Birthday Cake

This recipe makes one 8-inch layer cake.

Ingredients

Harry Potter Birthday Cake IngredientsLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dairy-free milk
  • 3.5 ounces vegan chocolate, melted

Frosting:

Editor’s Tip: Are you as surprised as we are to see that this cake is vegan? We followed the recipe, as written; however, we imagine you could use milk, chocolate and food coloring that include dairy without any issues.

Tools You’ll Need

Directions

Step 1: Prep cake pans

Preheat the oven to 375°F and grease two 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper and set them aside.

Step 2: Whisk together dry ingredients

Harry Potter Birthday Cake dry ingredientsLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Next, in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and cocoa powder.

Editor’s Tip: You can also mix this cake the Muggle way with a bowl and spoon. (Bonus points if it’s with one of these Harry Potter kitchen items.)

Step 3: Add wet ingredients

Harry Potter Birthday CakeLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Add in the vinegar, vanilla, dairy-free milk and beat until smooth, creamy and slightly paler in color; about 3-4 minutes.

Step 4: Stir in chocolate

Harry Potter Birthday Cake BatterLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Stir in the melted chocolate and mix until fully incorporated.

Step 5: Bake

Harry Potter Birthday Cake Lauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Divide the batter equally between the two prepared cake pans, spreading it into a smooth, even layer. Then bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cakes are firm to the touch (here are more tips for testing cake doneness). Remove promptly, loosen the cakes from their pans, and transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Step 6: Prepare the icing

Harry Potter Birthday Cake FrostingLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

While the cakes cool, whip up the icing. In a saucepan, warm the dairy-free milk and creamed coconut until melted and homogenous. Transfer to a bowl and combine with the vanilla and confectioners’ sugar. Whisk until a thick, smooth, spreadable frosting forms.

Editor’s Tip: If the frosting is too thick, you can add a bit more dairy-free milk. If it’s too thin, add a bit more confectioners’ sugar until the desired consistency is achieved.

Step 7: Divide the icing

Harry Potter Birthday Cake icingLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Transfer a third of the icing into a mixing bowl with 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder. Mix until combined then set aside. Scoop 2-3 tablespoons of the white icing base into another small bowl. Add the green food coloring, a few drops at a time, stirring after each addition until the desired green color is achieved. Set aside.

Grate the beets into a clean bowl lined with paper towels or cheesecloth. Wrap the beets in the cloth to make a bundle and squeeze over the bowl to collect as much juice as possible. Discard the beets and then gradually begin to add the beet juice to the remaining icing base, stirring after each addition, until a bold, vibrant pink color is achieved.

Editor’s Tip: While we appreciate the use of beets as a natural food coloring, feel free to use a few drops of pink gel food coloring if you don’t want to hassle with the beets (we are sadly Muggles, after all).

Step 8: Assemble the cake

Harry Potter Birthday Cake Lauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

To assemble the cake, spread the chocolate icing generously over the top of one of the cooled cake rounds.

Step 9: Decorate

Harry Potter Birthday Cake Lauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Place the second cake on top and then, using an offset spatula, spread the pink icing evenly over the entire cake until smooth and uniform. (Here’s how the pros decorate a cake.)

Next, add your “Happee Birthdae” message (remember, Hagrid is not the greatest speller), personalizing the cake with the name of your choice. Use a piping bag fitted with a small round tip to pipe the letters onto the cake.

Step 10: Sit on the cake

Well, maybe don’t actually sit on the cake as Hagrid did. Instead, take a sharp knife and use it to cut a jagged vein through the center of the icing layer and between the letters, as desired.

Cut into slices and serve with a glass of homemade butterbeer.

Here’s What I Thought

We were skeptical as we mixed up this cake. The batter was very thick and pretty dry making it difficult to mix. Additionally, the absence of any oil or fat (not even applesauce) had us concerned that the cake would be dense and dry.

But we were wrong. In the words of Gilderoy Lockhart, “This is just like magic!” The cake turned out incredibly moist and ultra-decadent with rich chocolate flavor.

As for the icing, we’ll admit it was a bit tricky to work with. In fact, we suspect conjuring a Patronus for the first time may be easier than spreading this icing. In testing, we found the icing set very quickly, making it challenging to spread evenly and smoothly.

However, perhaps it’s not meant to be perfectly smooth, so the cake retains a bit of rustic Hagrid charm.

We’re not quite why the authors decided to make this Harry Potter birthday cake vegan. Perhaps they wanted to make sure the recipe in this book was as inclusive as possible for different diets.

Another theory is that perhaps they figured that Hagrid, being a friend of all magical creatures, would have preferred to bake vegan to ensure none would be harmed in the making of this cake.

Whatever the logic may have been, there’s no doubt that this Harry Potter birthday cake is delicious!

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Lauren Habermehl
Lauren Habermehl is a recipe developer, food photographer and creator of the blog, Frydae. She is a prolific quoter of FRIENDS, lover of weekend DIY projects and procrastinating fitness enthusiast who enjoys exploring the Milwaukee-area with her husband, daughter and ugly mutt named Tyson Doodles.