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Devil’s food cake with chocolate fudge frosting

August 15, 2011

The second Harry Potter themed birthday cake would actually have been a breeze to make, and satisfying in that a simple recipe could lead to a snazzy-looking cake with minimal effort, particularly on the buttercream front. I say would, because by the time I was onto this second cake (the first being the Gryffindor birthday cake blogged here) I had suffered or nearly-suffered so many disasters it was a miracle there was even a cake at all* (actually, only 50% of this is the original cake, see below). To give you an idea, madam breakescape managed to:

  • Throw the cake mix spatula across the kitchen
  • Spill the dissolved cocoa mixture over the worksurfaces
  • Drop the buttercream beaters
  • Bang her shin
  • And finally…*break the top-tier of the cake whilst trying to assemble. (It ended up as a chocolate mess, see here).

I was so peeved I didn’t even entertain the notion to fashion the broken cake into another edible dessert, it went straight to cake heaven (the bin), I am ashamed to say. Luckily I had just enough time to rush to Tesco’s, buy more cocoa, whip back and make a new 1/2 a cake, cool in the freezer (a super fast way to get your cakes ready for icing, by the way. We do the same thing with cooling bottles of liquids at work, only we get a -80 oC at our disposal also! Talk about laziness), then ice n pipe. Phew.

So that may all have put you off this cake, but I will say it is a GOOD chocolate cake recipe to use. It is lighter and simpler (fewer ingredients) than the amazingly rich celebration cake recipe I used for some of my other cakes (see here, here and here), so is good for when you want something special, but a bit less full-on. On the other hand it does crumble slightly more (yes, I do have a small excuse for the cake-droppage-incident), but as long as you don’t throw your cake layers around like you are trying to make a good pizza base (I was sort of doing this a bit, I admit, holding the upper layer ready to up-end onto the bottom layer of cake…) you’ll be fine. I promise. Finally, I come back AGAIN (I will make everyone use this icing, I will!) to the instant-fudge-frosting to finish. The original recipe, from Sky High, uses a brown sugar buttercream instead. I think this latter icing sounds divine, but for a chocolate cake, you really need a chocolate frosting. All in good time, brown sugar…


Makes a two layer, 8″ cake

  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 280 mL hot water
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 2 cups cake flour (7/8 plain flour, 1/8 corn flour)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 oz butter, at room temp
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup cold water

Preheat the oven to 325 o F / gas mark 4. Grease and line two 8″ round cake tins. First boil the kettle and mix the cocoa with the hot water into a paste, then leave to cool. In a separate bowl, mix the sugar, flour baking powder and salt. Then add the cocoa and butter and beat until evenly incorporated and light. In a separate bowl, mix together in a jug the eggs, vanilla and cold water. Add to the flour/sugar mixture in two additions, and make sure all is evenly blended. Don’t overmix. When all is evenly distributed, divide the batter amongst the tins and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes. When a skewer inserted comes out clean, remove and leave to cool on wire racks until completely cold.

To finish, prepare one amount of chocolate fudge frosting, click here for ingredients and instructions. Assemble the cake by placing one layer upside down on a serving plate or cake board, spread evenly with some frosting, before adding the second layer. Then ice the sides and top of the cake with the rest of the buttercream. Reserve some to fill a piping bag and pipe a boarder around the top and bottom edges of the cake. If you like, make a little white buttercream and use to pipe initials, names, or messages etc.

It’s a lightening bolt, by the way. For you know, the Harry Potter theme. But that’s obvious, right? Good, I thought so.

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