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Mandrake Cakes with the Best Chocolate Cake

Make mandrake cakes for the most epic Harry Potter party ever! Plus, it’s the best chocolate cake recipe.

Chocolate Mandrake Cakes for a halloween Harry Potter party!
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Fawkes the Pheonix at the best Halloween Harry Potter party ever!

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.

Fawkes the Pheonix at the best Halloween Harry Potter party ever!

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.

Making Mandrake cakes for a halloween Harry Potter party!

First: the recipes. Make these in standard cupcake tins and then wait until they’re completely cooled before construction.

Tools you’ll need: cupcake tins, mixer, miniature pots, hot glue gun, king cake babies, and chives

Classic Chocolate Cake

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baked goods, baking, Cake, chocolate, cupcakes
Servings: 26 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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

Total Time15 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cake, chocolate, cupcakes, frosting

Ingredients

  • 12 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
  • 5 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa
  • cup milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch salt

Instructions

  • 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.
Making Mandrake cakes for a halloween Harry Potter party!

Start with your dry ingredients and mix well.

Making Mandrake cakes for a halloween Harry Potter party!

Then add milk.

Making Mandrake cakes for a halloween Harry Potter party!

Eggs, oil, and vanilla.

Making Mandrake cakes for a halloween Harry Potter party!

Mix this step well before going forward. But don’t overbeat!

Making Mandrake cakes for a halloween Harry Potter party!

Finally, add the boiling water.

Making Mandrake cakes for a halloween Harry Potter party!

Mix carefully, don’t want to slosh around too much!

Making Mandrake cakes for a halloween Harry Potter party!

The final batter is very liquid, warm and bubbly.

Making Mandrake cakes for a halloween Harry Potter party!

If making cupcakes, ladle into a muffin tin. For regular cupcakes, best to use cupcake liners. For mandrake cakes in pots, skip that.

Making Mandrake cakes for a halloween Harry Potter party!

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.)

Making Mandrake cakes for a halloween Harry Potter party!

When the cupcakes finished, I let them cool and transferred them to pots.

Making Mandrake cakes for a halloween Harry Potter party!

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.

Making Mandrake cakes for a halloween Harry Potter party!

Then pop the babies into small pots, and you’re good to go!

Making Mandrake cakes for a halloween Harry Potter party!

What’s the best theme party you’ve ever been to?

Want more theme party ideas? Follow me on Pinterest for inspiration!

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7 thoughts on “Mandrake Cakes with the Best Chocolate Cake

    1. I used actual garden mini-pots! I baked them in a muffin tin, then transferred the baked cupcakes into small herb pots before frosting. I used a mix of plastic and terra cotta ones, but I probably preferred the look of the terra cotta. Try a garden store! Best of luck!

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