Harry Potter sorting hat birthday cake recipe
This can be made up to a month in advance and kept in the freezer.
- 500ml water
- 66og sugar
- 250g butter
- 40g cocoa
- 2 tsp bi-carb of soda
- 450g self-raising flour, sifted
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
This can be made up to two months in advance and kept in the freezer or made fresh and frozen for next time.
- 50g cocoa powder, sifted
- 160g icing sugar, sifted
- 100g butter, softened
- Milk (if the mix is too dry)
- 1kg ready made white icing (also called fondant icing, you can find Orchard White Icing available from major supermarkets)
- Icing sugar, extra to prevent white icing from sticking to the bench when rolling
- Food colouring - black and brown
- 1 pkt large marshmallows
- 1 pkt small marshmallows
- 1 pkt banana lollies
- 50cm round cake board
- Greaseproof paper to line tins and use with rolling out of the icing
- Pallet knife
- Fine paint brush
- Polystyrene cone cut into three, covered with greaseproof paper (secure with pins)
- To make the cake and prepare for buttercream stage: 15 minutes for preparation of sponge, approximately 40-50 minutes cooking time
- Buttercream icing: 5-10 minutes to make, 10 minutes to cover
- Icing the cake and making the hat: This is the biggest job and will need at least 4 hours all up
1. Cover cake with buttercream icing 2. Loosely drape rolled fondant icing over cake and trim away excess at base 3. Roll out fondant, place cone in the centre and stack marshmallows around the cone
4. Wrap the fondant over the marshmallows 5. Remove the cone and fill the space with marshmallows 6. Roll out fondant and loosely cover the second part of the cone
7. Roll out fondant and wrap loosely around the smallest part of the cone 8. Leave hat pieces to dry 9. Use buttercream icing to build an internal wall of lollies to support each section of the hat
7. Use buttercream icing to glue marshmallows to form the point of the hat 8. Gently cover the point with fondant icing 9. Fix the eyes and mouth in place with a little water
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Line tin with greaseproof paper.
Place water and sugar in a saucepan, heat until sugar dissolves.
Add butter and cocoa, bring to the boil and simmer for 1 minute (be careful not to boil too rapidly as the mix will boil over).
Remove from heat and add bi-carb soda. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before adding flour and eggs. Mix well.
Bake in oven until the mix springs back when gently pressed or when a skewer comes out clean – approximately 40 minutes.
Keep the cake in the tin for approx 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack – keep the bottom side up at all times to avoid making lines as this will be the presentation side up. You can freeze your sponge at this point, tightly in cling film.
When the cake is totally cooled (best if you can keep it in the fridge to chill right down before going any further) you will need to flatten the ‘bottom’ (which was the top.) of the round sponge. Place a sheet of greaseproof paper on the presentation side and turn over. Use a serrated knife and cut the top of the cake so it’s as flat as possible. I usually cut a little at a time so that I don’t accidently cut away too much cake!
Position on cake board to begin covering with buttercream icing.
Place the icing, butter and cocoa powder in a kitchen mixer. Start on low speed to combine all ingredients (if it’s on high you may lose a lot of the mix when it flies out of the bowl!)
Once combined, turn up on high and allow to beat for a further 5-10 minutes until fluffy. You may need to scrape the bowl occasionally so it whips all of the mix. If the mix seems dry, add some milk.
Spread the butter cream evenly around the sides and top of the cake, smooth over as much as possible. Chill slightly to firm up before covering with fondant icing.
The remainder of the butter cream will be used to ‘glue’ the fondant icing blocks together to create the hat.Readymade white icing
This is also known as fondant icing and can be found in larger quantities in cake specialty shops – they also sell them already coloured if you don’t wish to do that yourself. It will keep for a long time if stored in a cool place and if it’s wrapped very well (I usually use a few layers of cling film before placing in an airtight container in the freezer)
Prepare the fondant icing in two lots to make it easier to work with.
Usually the icing is quite firm to touch when you open the packet. Break it into small pieces with your fingers and begin to ‘work’ or ‘massage’ it until you notice is becomes smoother and softer. At this point, bring the icing together and knead as you would a dough until it is soft and smooth (the smoothness reminds me of my kids’ baby bottoms!) Once it’s smooth and soft you are ready to add the colour.
Flatten a little, press some ‘creators’ into the dough and add a few drops of brown colour. Going slowly but steady is better than adding too much at once until you have achieved the strength of colour you are after. To work the colour into the icing, continue kneading as you would a dough. If the icing starts to stick to the bench use icing sugar, as you would flour to dough.
Once the fondant icing is smooth and the colour even throughout it is ready to use.Sponge base
Roll out 1/2 of the fondant to approximately 1/2cm thickness. It can be easier to roll it out on greaseproof paper – don’t forget to use icing sugar if it starts to stick. Use your rolling pin gently and turn the icing regularly so that the bottom won’t stick.
Roll up the fondant into your rolling pin and unravel over the cake. Allow some excess fondant to lie around the edges to create a baggy hat look. Trim away any excess fondant which can be used later for the top part of the hat.Top blocks of the sorting hat
This is done in three main parts and allowed to dry before assembly.
Starting with the base of the cone, roll out a circle of fondant to 1cm thickness, on a sheet of greaseproof paper. Place the cone base in the centre ensuring there is a overlap circle of at least 15cm of fondant around the cone.
Arrange two levels of marshmallows around the cone.
Turn the icing fondant over the marshmallows to cover them, continue with the baggy hat look by creating creases.
Remove the cone and fill the centre with large and small marshmallows. Keep to one side to allow the fondant icing to dry and become hard.
Roll out 200g of icing to approximately 35cm in length and 15cm high, roll up into your rolling pin and loosely unravel around the second piece of the cone (so you can remove it from the cone later on!)
Keep the fondant icing on the cone for at least one week before removing (less time if it’s hot weather as the fondant will dry quicker)
Repeat steps 5 and 6 for the next level of the cone but using approximately 150g of fondant icing and rolling it 28cm in length and 10cm in height.
The final top piece will be added once the hat has been assembled.Finishing the cake:
Carefully slide the bottom piece of the hat onto the iced sponge base.
Using the chocolate buttercream icing, build up an internal support wall of lollies for the next layer.
Gently remove the next layer of the hat from the cone and sit on top.
Spread more buttercream gently on the top before sitting the next part of the hat on top.
Using buttercream as glue, create a point with small marshmallows before rolling a small amount of fondant icing to cover the top.
Cut out eyes, string and straps and lay around the hat. Use a little water to stick if needed.
Finish by painting on black stitching.
Add candles around the base sponge.
- The trick here is to make the hat ahead of time and allow the fondant icing to dry and become hard. If it does crack, cover with final strings and straps. And use the butter cream to re-join if necessary.
- The more time you have for drying the fondant icing the better as gravity will have its way and the hat will crumble. You can make the fondant icing ‘blocks’ well in advance and keep them in a dry place. A high shelf in the kitchen pantry is perfect.
- Any type of lolly can be used inside the hat to help keep it upright.
- This recipe was created by Sonia Anthony.
From Chef Sonia
Although I am a qualified chef, I’ve had no formal cake making training. What I have learnt is through trial and many errors. I hope that by sharing my knowledge, you can become as confident and as excited about cake making as I am! (without the mistakes!) I think the most important thing is to ‘give it a go,’ you’ll be producing amazing cakes before you know it!