Today, my friends, marks both Harry Potter and JK Rowling’s birthdays. Since there are no new books or movies being released, this was the perfect excuse for me to make a cake in celebration, HP-style.
I made the cake in 1-quart Pyrex bowls – chocolate and gluten free – so that I wouldn’t have to buy fancy ball pans. As long as you grease the bowls really well, it works out fine. If any chunks come off, it can easily be fixed/masked with frosting. You can choose whatever kind of cake you like for the inside; you just need about 4 cups of batter for the size cake that I made (which serves about 10).
I made a swiss meringue buttercream (my all-time favorite frosting) for the filling and frosting, using coconut sugar to add a bit of brownish golden color, along with yellow food coloring. I flavored it with butterscotch schnapps to make a flavor reminiscent of butterbeer. I sprinkled some gold pearl dust for some sparkle and shine.
The wings are just made of scrapbook paper hot glued to lollipop sticks; I chose some swirly silver paper, which I fell in love with. You can choose gold or silver; in the movies, the wings are gold, and in the books, the wings are silver. I opted to go with being true to the books, but it’s totally up to you! I used a template from MuggleNet for the shape – I enlarged the template to be 5 inches wide.
This cake, while it takes some time, was a lot easier than it appears. Once you’ve got the cakes baked and removed from the pans, I find it easiest to wrap them and put them in the freezer overnight. It makes frosting and stacking a lot easier. A crumb coat (thin layer of frosting to seal in crumbs) is definitely key here. Putting it in the fridge between coats is also really helpful. I outlined the designs (comparing to my little snitch model) with a toothpick before piping them using a Wilton #3 tip. It doesn’t have to be perfect, so don’t worry if your hands are shaky!
The only complaint I have about my cake is that I made it on a rainy day, which always causes the swiss meringue buttercream to sort of “sweat.” I had little beads of yellow moisture as I was decorating, so I kept just dabbing them away with a paper towel, since the frosting was set from being in the fridge. I wasn’t even sure if I’d be able to make this cake work, so I have to say, I’m glad that was my only issue!
This cake is definitely a showstopper, perfect for any Harry Potter fan’s birthday (or a viewing party, or any occasion, really)! A very happy birthday to Jo and Harry!
Have you ever made a themed dessert for your favorite book, TV show, or movie?
Golden Snitch Cake (Gluten Free)
makes 1 snitch cake, serving about 10
For the GF chocolate cake*:
- 2/3 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 t baking soda
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt (I love Chobani)
- 3/4 cup honey
- 6 eggs
- 1/2 cup water (or coffee)
- 1 T vanilla extract
Generously grease two 1-quart Pyrex (oven safe glass) bowls (or ball pans). Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
In a small bowl, stir together the coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the yogurt and honey together, until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, until well mixed. Add the water (or coffee) and vanilla extract, mixing until smooth. Slowly add the flour mixture, beating until well incorporated.
Divide the batter between the two bowls (about 2 cups batter in each). Bake at 350ºF for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Allow to cool in the bowls for at least 10 minutes before sliding an offset spatula (or knife) around edges to release, turning out onto a plate. Allow to cool completely before wrapping tightly in plastic wrap/foil and placing in the freezer for 2 hours (or overnight) to set.
*Note: If you don’t need a gluten free cake, you can use your favorite cake recipe (or box mix), any flavor, using about 4 cups of the batter. Follow the same instructions for the use of the bowls.
For the butterscotch frosting:
Bring a saucepan filled with 2 inches of water to a simmer. Place the egg whites and sugar into a heat proof mixer bowl, and place above the water. Whisk the sugar and egg whites until warm to the touch and the sugar is dissolved.
Place the bowl back on the mixer stand, and whisk on medium-high speed until you have stiff, glossy peaks, and the mixture is cool, about 10 minutes.
Reduce speed to medium-low, and add the butter, one piece at a time, mixing until fully incorporated between each piece. If it appears curdled at this point, keep mixing until it becomes smooth again. Add the vanilla, butterscotch schnapps, and salt, and mix until well combined. Add the yellow food coloring, mixing until you reach your desired golden color.
Switch to the paddle attachment and beat for about 2 minutes to remove air bubbles.
If you’re a visual person, there’s a great step-by-step swiss meringue buttercream post at Sweetapolita.