The Harry Potter books and movies are an iconic part of pop culture and they are well-beloved by millions.
It’s been over 20 years since the publication of the first book and it’s nearing a decade since the release of the final movie, and the Harry Potter fan base is just as strong as ever. With the release of the new Fantastic Beasts films, JK Rowling’s wizarding world is reaching an entirely new generation.
Harry Potter holds a special place in the hearts of many millennials, and they are spreading this love to their children. So, it shouldn’t be any surprise that Harry Potter-themed parties are popular among all ages.
While Harry Potter-themed birthday parties should be expected, it may surprise some that Harry Potter weddings are also very popular.
Of course, what’s a party without a spectacular cake to top it off? The sheer diversity of the wizarding world lends itself to cakes of all sorts, fit for fun children’s parties and celebrations or even an elegant wedding affair.
No matter what the occasion, there’s a Harry Potter cake that will bring out the magic of it.
Choosing a Theme Within the Theme
The world of Harry Potter is incredibly vast and rich, each book and movie bringing a unique realization of magic in a way that had never been seen before. With so much material to go off of, how should you go about deciding what your cake should actually look like?
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Below, we’ve provided multiple ideas and categories of inspiration to help spark an idea of the perfect Harry Potter cake for your event.
Character and Creature-Based Cakes
All the characters and creatures in the Harry Potter Universe are distinct in description and design, which makes the perfect source of inspiration for design. Whether you want to stay true to the core trio of Harry, Ron, and Hermione or expand to secondary characters such as Dumbledore or Snape, each has a distinct look that will translate well into decorative form.
Using distinct accents from a character’s look rather than the characters themselves is another great way to design a cake. Glasses, scarf, and scar, and suddenly you have a Harry Potter cake. Likewise, the outline long hair and a beard paired with a wizard’s hat and blue accents are perfect to convey Dumbledore.
Of course, you need not be bound to just the human characters. There are many distinct creatures and characters in the Harry Potter universe, sentient or otherwise. So, have a cutesy Hedwig or Dobby-inspired cake, or turn a little dark and incorporate the basilisk or a dementor for a sinister Halloween dessert.
The Sorting Hat is another popular form of inspiration for Harry Potter cakes.
School Taught Us a Few Things, Afterall…
Aside from the characters, you can find inspiration in the very thing that brought them all together: Hogwarts.
Cakes that use various textbooks as the different layers in cakes are particularly popular, utilizing other objects as edible decorations, such as wands and rolls of parchment. The Monster Book of Monsters is a particular favorite for cake creation because of its unique look.
Some are especially ambitious and set out to create the iconic school itself in cake form. These Hogwarts cakes are typically very detailed and large, sporting the same layout of the school as that shown in the movie with its towering spires and rocky slopes. This is the perfect cake for any aspiring Hogwarts student.
Quidditch-Inspired Cakes are Definitely Keepers
Sports of all kinds often serve as inspiration for cake designs, so why not draw from a sport in the wizarding world as well?
These types of quidditch-themed cakes can go several ways. You can have a cake designed after a quidditch pitch, with all the hoops and balls and even some small players flying around. This kind of design can work well both on a flat landscape cake as well as a round tiered cake, the scene unfolding around the cake.
The snitch, quidditch’s most iconic ball, can also serve as a form of inspiration in and of itself. Formed with spherical cake pans and gilded with edible gold paint, a giant snitch makes an excellent and gorgeous cake. Smaller snitches can also make an excellent decoration for any cake.
The delicate golden and winged design of the snitch also make it the perfect accent for more elegant cakes. In fact, they make the perfect accent for a wedding cake.
Hogwarts Houses Offer Great Color Schemes
The colors of the Hogwarts houses are also a great place to find inspiration for a cake, and can even match the colors of your party or wedding. These classic color pairings are distinct enough to be recognizable as tied to Harry Potter, so if you’re aiming for a subtle tie to the theme color scheme is a good way to go.
As most Harry Potter fans should know, Gryffindor is associated with red and gold, Slytherin is silver and green, and Hufflepuff is black and yellow.
There’s a little bit of discrepancy and wiggle-room when it comes to Ravenclaw. While the house colors stated in the books are blue and bronze, the movies’ design of blue and silver has become so widespread it’s essentially canonical. So, while diehard book fans will likely only stick to the classic color combination, you can get away with a little flexibility with this house.
The Hogwarts crest is also an attractive design to appear on a cake, and really represents the importance of all the houses in the Harry Potter world.
Easy Harry Potter Cake Ideas You Can Make at Home
While many of the Harry Potter cake ideas out there are extraordinarily complex and will likely require the skilled hand of a professional, there are still plenty of ways that you can make your Harry Potter-themed cake right in your own kitchen.
One great idea is to create a basic rectangle or circular cake and then decorate with memorable items from the franchise that aren’t too difficult to craft out of fondant, that moldable icing perfect for decorating.
For this type of cake, we recommend covering the cake in a base layer of fondant with a color more akin to magic, such as dusky blues or purples. Next, using the fondant create whatever objects you’d like to cover the cake, such as Harry’s glasses or Tom Riddle’s diary. Another easy decoration that doesn’t require any fondant-working are snitches made from Ferrero Roche.
It also shouldn’t be too difficult to create the general outlines of some of the characters in a 2-D fondant representation—another benefit to having such distinct character looks. If simple puppets can pass for these characters, there’s no reason your fondant creations can’t.
Cupcakes—Succeeding in the Small Form
Speaking of character fondant designs, these can be applied to create individual cupcakes that look just plain magical.
Using skin-toned fondant as a base, simply cut out a series of circles slightly smaller than the circumference of your cupcakes. Then use other colors to create hair and minimal facial features, and presto! You have a series of characters ready to liven up your cupcake batch.
You’ll want to attach these little faces on top of the cupcakes with a thick layer of frosting in between so it can stick firmly on.
As far as supplies and method goes, it might be easier to focus on recreating just one character in particular—most commonly, Harry. This will require you to have fewer colors of fondant on hand and allow you to develop the most efficient process for constructing each of these tiny faces.
Don’t let convenience or efficiency constrain you! Individualized cupcakes with different characters on each one is a great way to show off your decorating skills and perfect for an event meant to impress.
Ideas to Take to Your Local Professional
If you’re looking for a cake that is truly complex and detailed, it’s time to seek out the professionals.
Professional bakers can turn any simple concept into a detailed masterpiece, such as with the incorporation of characters and objects, turning them into three-dimensional masterpieces. Imagine Hedwig come to life, in full life-size and detail.
The Hogwarts castle itself is another spectacular feat of cake design that only the best bakers can pull off.
Detailed multi-tier cakes that incorporate numerous aspects of the wizarding world are another great way to go, and really allow the bakers to explore the sheer vastness of their creativity.
A Magical Harry Potter Celebration
There are many different ways to stay in-theme with your Harry Potter-themed party.
You can decorate with fake floating candles, or “flying” keys with wings. If it’s the Halloween season, pick up a package of fake spiders and align them in a trail to follow.
But what really makes any party stand out is, of course, the food. Offer homemade butterbeer, and pretzel log “wands” dipped in chocolate.
And top it all off with your brilliant Harry Potter cake.