This Harry Potter cake recipe is an easy and show stopping dessert that takes minutes to prepare! No eggs, no milk, and all made in one bowl, it makes the perfect birthday cake!
Harry Potter Cake
With the Harry Potter 20th Anniversary special ‘Return to Hogwarts’ about to hit our screens, there was no better time to showcase love for this fantasy book series. While I could dress up as my favorite character (Ron Weasley), I’ll stick to what I do best and that is make desserts.
Harry Potter themed desserts have been incredibly popular since they released the last movie. Fans of the book often have themed parties, birthdays and events, which are complimented by said desserts. While some choose cupcakes or cookies, the most common dessert has to be a cake.
Cake can come in many forms, but as it is a 20th birthday celebration, we have to do a Harry Potter birthday cake. Using the popular Gryffindor colors of red and yellow, we can make this cake for any occasion.
Why you’ll love this Harry Potter cake recipe-
- Deceptively easy and one bowl. Don’t let pictures of this cake fool you- it is so easy to make and takes minimal prep. The batter is made in just one bowl!
- Affordable to make. Fancy cakes can cost between $100-$600 a single cake! This homemade version costs less than $10 to make.
- No eggs, milk, or margarine. Further proving just how simple it is, there is no need for any of those three ingredients.
What I love about this cake is that it actually tastes good! Many fancy cakes are made to look incredible, but lack taste. Not this one- It’s moist, fluffy, and has a gorgeous tender crumb. It has a subtle vanilla flavor, and the frosting is creamy and smooth. Its a mix between my red velvet cake and birthday cake.
20 years since Harry Potter hit our screens, whip up this easy cake to celebrate. Serve it with some butterbeer energy bites and you’ll fool people thinking that you are an actual wizard or witch when you serve it!
What you’ll need for this recipe
For the cake.
- All purpose flour– Also known as plain flour or white flour. Be sure to sift it very well to ensure there are no clumps throughout.
- Sugar– White or brown sugar.
- Salt– Just a pinch to balance out the sweet ingredients.
- Baking soda– Reacts with the vinegar to give the cake structure and stability.
- Vinegar– White or apple cider vinegar.
- Vanilla extract– What is a cake without vanilla extract!
- Oil– I used vegetable oil, but any neutral flavored oil will work.
- Water– To mix everything together to form a smooth batter.
- Yellow and red food coloring– Half will be mixed for one cake and the other half for the second cake.
For the buttercream frosting.
- Butter– Softened to room temperature.
- Powdered sugar– Like the flour, you want to sift this sugar very well to avoid any clumps or a lumpy frosting.
- Vanilla extract
- Heavy whipping cream– Thins out the frosting to make it
- Red food coloring– Optional, you can simply use one food coloring or none.
How do you make a Harry Potter cake?
Start by making the cakes. In a mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the vinegar, vanilla extract, oil, and water and whisk until smooth. Pour half the batter into a separate bowl and add yellow food coloring to one of them and red food coloring to the other.
Next, transfer the two cake batters into two 8-inch cake pans and bake for 27-30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out mostly clean. Let the cakes cool completely, before assembling and frosting.
To prepare the buttercream frosting, beat the butter and powdered sugar until creamy. Add the vanilla extract and slowly add the heavy cream until thick and creamy. Divide the frosting into two bowls and add the red food coloring into one and mix until combined.
Finally, assemble the cake. Carefully cut both cakes length ways to leave you with four thin layers- two yellow ones and two red ones. Place a single red layer on a flat surface. Spread with a thin layer of the white frosting. Add the yellow cake layer and add another thin layer of frosting. Add the next red layer, frost it, then place the final yellow layer on top. Cover the top and exterior with the red frosting. Sprinkle with star decorations before slicing and serving it.
Tips to make the best recipe
- If you’d prefer a larger cake, you can double the recipe and distribute the cake batter amongst four 8-inch cake pans. You will also need to double the frosting.
- Your cake must be completely cooled before adding any frosting.
- When making your frosting, if it is too thick, add extra whipping cream.
- For a gluten free cake, use gluten free all purpose baking flour with added xanthan gum.
Harry Potter cake ideas
- Golden snitch– Use a cream cheese frosting and decorate with edible gold sprinkles.
- Butterbeer– Add 1/2 teaspoon butterscotch extract and make a butterscotch frosting.
- Hagrid– Replicate the exact cake Hagrid gave Harry! Make a chocolate cake and frost it with a strawberry frosting.
- Voldemort– Add green food coloring to the cake batter and also the frosting.
- Nimbus 2000- Make a caramel cake and decorate with gold colored frosting.
Storing and freezing instructions
- To store: Leftovers are best to be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to one week. Let the cake sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
- To freeze: Place the frosted cake in an airtight container and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months.
More easy cake recipes to try
Frequently Asked Questions
According to the book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the cake given to Harry by Hagrid was sticky chocolate cake with pink frosting. The ‘Happy Birthday Harry’ written on top used green frosting.
Various bakers and specialty cake shops do Harry Potter inspired cakes. However, you can skip those expensive orders and follow this recipe to make your own- It is so much easier and much more affordable.
Once the cakes have cooled, crumble them up into two bowls. Add in 16 ounces of your favorite frosting into each one (or homemade frosting) and mix until combined. Refrigerate the two bowls for 30 minutes.
Once chilled, scoop out 2-tablespoon portions of the cake pop dough and roll them into balls. Stick a lollypop stick through each one then dip them in melted chocolate or white chocolate and let them firm up on a baking sheet.
Harry Potter Cake
For the cake
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease two 8-inch cake pans and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and mix until smooth. Divide the batter into two bowls. Add yellow food coloring to one and red food coloring to the other.
- Transfer the two cake batters into the cake pans and bake for 25-27 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Remove the cakes from the oven and let them cool completely. Once cool, carefully slice the cakes lengthways to leave four thin cake layers.
- To make the frosting, add the powdered sugar and butter into a bowl of a stand mixer. On low speed, beat together until smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla extract and gently add the heavy whipping cream until combined.
- Divide the frosting into two bowls. In one of them, stir through the red food coloring.
- Assemble the cake. Add a single red layer to a flat surface. Spread with some of the plain frosting. Add a yellow layer on top and add more frosting. Repeat the process until the final layer of cake is placed on top. Once layered, use the red frosting to frost the top of the cake and the exterior.
- Let the cake sit for several minutes, before slicing and serving.