Portal - The Cake is a Lie Recipe
For my first attempt at Gourmet Gaming I thought I’d start with possibly the most famous case of food in a video game - so it’s obviously the cake from Portal. I’m well aware of the in-game recipe which includes fish shaped garnishes and industrial by-products (and perhaps I will attempt this more faithful, if insane, recipe at some point) but I wanted to create something from scratch , something that didn’t involve getting your cake from a box; this is Gourmet Gaming after all.
My Portal Cake is a devils food cake with a vanilla cream cheese filling, smothered in a chocolate ganache. It’s incredibly rich and moist and perfect for anyone who loves chocolate. It’s also (thankfully) surprisingly easy to make!
What you will need:
Two 8 inch cake pans, Baking paper, Icing bag/pipe
For the Cake:
100g High Quality (70-85%) Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
180g Plain White Flour
½ Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
¼ Teaspoon Baking Powder
330g Caster Sugar
2 Large Eggs (at room temperature)
For the Filling:
100g Cream Cheese
100g of Icing Sugar (You may want to add more or less depending on how sweet you like it)
½ Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
For the Ganache:
200g High Quality (70-85%) Dark Chocolate
125ml Double Cream
For the Garnish:
50g of High Quality (70-85%) Chocolate Grated
8 Maraschino Cherries
1 Birthday Candle
Baking the Cake:
- Preheat the oven to 175C (350F) and adjust the racks to create a baking space in the middle.
- Butter and line the base of your cake pans with baking paper.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl.
- In a separate large bowl (or a food mixer) beat together the sugar and butter until it is smooth, creamy and pale. Add the eggs one and a time until everything is mixed together evenly. Add a few drops of vanilla extract.
- Mix the coffee and milk together (make sure it is cool). Add half of the dry ingredients along with the milky coffee to the butter mixture, mix then add the rest of the dry ingredients and stir gently.
- Separate the mixture in half between your two preprepared cake pans. Bake them in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes. Until when a skewer inserted into the middle it comes out almost clean. (If it is entirely clean it will have baked for too long and may end up slightly dry!)
- Once cooked remove from the oven and allow to cool before removing from the pans. They should be cooled completely before you attempt to frost them.
Making the Filling:
- Mix together the cream cheese and butter until creamy.
- Add a few drops of vanilla to taste and gradually add the icing sugar whlie mixing. Add more or less sugar depending on how sweet you like your frosting.
- Separate enough of the mixture to pipe the 8 white “drop flowers” on top of the cake.
Making the Ganache:
- Chop the chocolate into very small pieces into a medium bowl.
- Slowly heat the cream and butter in a separate bowl set over a pan with water in it, making sure the bowl isn’t touching the water. Be careful not to boil the mixture.
- Once thoroughly heated, remove from the heat and pour the cream and butter over the chocolate and stir gently until it is smooth.
- Leave the Ganache to cool gradually at room temperature, this may take up to an hour. Do not let it cool completely as it will become impossible to spread.
Preparing the Cake:
- Once your cake layers have cooled you may want to carefully even them out with a knife if there are any lumps and bumps.
- Turn one of them upside down so that the flat side is facing upward. This will be the top layer of the cake.
- On top of the bottom layer spread some of vanilla frosting liberally, being careful not to go to over the edges (Don’t forget to leave some for the top garnish!).
- Place the second cake layer, the one you turned upside down, on top of the iced one and cover the top and sides of your cake with the chocolate ganache.
- Apply the 50g of grated chocolate evenly to the top and sides of the cake.
- Fill your icing bag or funnel with the vanilla frosting you set aside earlier and use a medium sized nozzle. Imagining the top of your cake as a clock, squeeze out small amounts of icing at the 12 and 6 positions, then the 3 and 9 and once more between each of the 4 points so that you end up with 8 “drop flower” decorations.
- Place a maraschino cherry on top of each white frosting detail.
- Place the birthday candle in the middle of the cake and light.
I’ll be completely honest about my experience baking this cake and sadly my frosting and ganache failed to come together on three attempts due to the soya based products I had to use. I’m lactose intolerant and part of the challenge in my baking/cooking is creating recipes so I can eat them too. I’ve been doing this for 4 years since I discovered I could no longer eat dairy. My recipes will always be available in dairy free (and often vegan friendly) form unless otherwise stated. Thankfully I had some back-up canned frosting so I could finish my cake and there is no shame is using these; they are often dairy and egg free for extended shelf life purposes. However the frosting and ganache recipes I’ve provided will work perfectly with proper dairy based ingredients.