Make mandrake cakes for the most epic Harry Potter party ever! Plus, it’s the best chocolate cake recipe.Jump to Recipe
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Hope everyone had a fun Halloween last night!
A friend of mine hosted a Harry Potter Halloween party, and it was probably the best Halloween party I’ve ever been to. Actually, it was the best house party I’ve ever been to. My friend Katie threw it, and she has officially won the title “queen of theme parties!” The invitations were amazing, there was decor throughout the whole house, a potions class, and we even competed for house points!
It was, of course, a costume party. I went as Fawkes the phoenix. It was a really fun costume to dream up, and I spent wayyy too much looking at bird makeup on the Internet.
As part of the party, Katie asked some of us to bring some Harry Potter themed food from the books. I chose Hagrid’s Rock Cakes and Mandrake Cakes. So today I’ll share the recipe I used for mandrake cakes!
A note beforehand: I’ve made this cake several times before and knew it would be delicious. Best chocolate cake recipe I’ve come across. However, I’d never tried it as cupcakes before and it came out crumbly and messy. Best as a cake that you cut. My saving grace was that I put them in mini pots, so it didn’t matter how crumbly they were.
First: the recipes. Make these in standard cupcake tins and then wait until they’re completely cooled before construction.
Classic Chocolate Cake
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cups cocoa powder unsweetened
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 ½ tsp baking soda
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup milk whole
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup boiling water
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake tin with liners.
- In a large bowl, sift together cocoa powder and flour. Mix in baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.
- Add milk, vanilla, eggs, and oil. Mix until just combined.
- Add boiling water slowly, mixing on low as you add.
- Ladle the batter into the tin. Bake for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let the cupcakes sit in the tins for 10 minutes, then transfer to cooling racks. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
8-inch cake variation (makes two)
- Grease and flour two 8-inch cake tins. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool before removing from the tins.
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- 12 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
- 5 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup cocoa
- ⅔ cup milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- Cream the butter for 3 minutes, then add 2 cups powdered sugar and beat until mixed.
- Add half the milk and beat again.
- Repeat with 2 more cups powdered sugar, rest of the milk, and then 1 more cup sugar. Add the vanilla and salt and beat until combined.
- Taste – if the frosting is too loose, add the remaining sugar.
- Only frost when things are completely cool.
Start with your dry ingredients and mix well.
Then add milk.
Eggs, oil, and vanilla.
Mix this step well before going forward. But don’t overbeat!
Finally, add the boiling water.
Mix carefully, don’t want to slosh around too much!
The final batter is very liquid, warm and bubbly.
If making cupcakes, ladle into a muffin tin. For regular cupcakes, best to use cupcake liners. For mandrake cakes in pots, skip that.
It gets a little messy. Wipe it up with a paper towel before you put it in the oven for easier cleanup.
While those bake, let’s do the mandrake plants themselves! Definitely weird-looking out of context, but this is what we’re going for here. These are actually plastic babies sold for king cakes or baby shower props. I super glued chives to their heads for plants. (I figured no one’s eating the babies, so the plants didn’t need to be tasty and the glue is not for eating anyway. No one at the party ate any babies.)
When the cupcakes finished, I let them cool and transferred them to pots.
Finally, it’s time for frosting! It’s rich and super chocolate-y, plus has a good dirt color to finish off the mandrake plant look.
Then pop the babies into small pots, and you’re good to go!
What’s the best theme party you’ve ever been to?
Want more theme party ideas? Follow me on Pinterest for inspiration!