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How to Make a Portal Cake (So Delicious and Moist...)

Updated on December 18, 2012

This Cake is Not a Lie

If you haven't finished playing through Portal yet, a game created by Valve Corporation, this paragraph contains SPOILERS! If, however, you finished the game, lured by the promise of cake, you may be left feeling a little bit dejected. But there is no need to despair because this article contains no empty promises. Now you can make your own reward cake.

The ingredients for the game cake are found as an Easter egg within the game itself, but the game recipe is incomplete and includes some weird ingredients. This recipe is a bit different from the game recipe, but much more complete. I will walk you through the process to make your own cake that looks like the cake in the game. Anyway, the cake is great. It's so delicious and moist...

Slice the layers so that you have four cake layers.
Slice the layers so that you have four cake layers.

Step One

Bake the Chocolate Cake

This cake is basically a Black Forest Cake with cherry filling, and chocolate icing with chocolate shavings all over the outside. The filling and icing are the spectacular parts of the recipe, and the most time consuming. The actual cake is pretty basic, so I chose to use packaged cake mixes, tweaking the baking instructions slightly.

For step one, you will need to gather the following ingredients and supplies:

Round cake pans

Cake knife

Pastry brush

Cake layer slicer

Plastic wrap

2 chocolate cake mixes (plus eggs and vegetable oil, according to instructions on the box)

Optional: replace half of the vegetable oil with coconut oil for added flavor and moisture

Strong, brewed coffee (enough to replace the water on the box instructions)

2 cups of sugar

1/2 cup of water

1/4 cup of kirschwasser (cherry liqueur) or cherry kool-ade

The day before you are planning to serve the cake, prepare two chocolate cake mixes according to the directions on the box, with one exception: in place of water, use an equal amount of strong brewed coffee. This will give your cake a greater depth of flavor and will balance the sweetness of the cherry filling.

The portal cake contains multiple layers, usually three. But since it is easier to divide the batter into quarters than thirds, I made my cake with four layers. Divide the batter and bake four separate layers in 8-9" round cake pans, or two layers in 10-12" round pans (you can cut these layers in half if you want four layers.) The smaller pans will make a taller cake, and the larger pans will make a wider, shorter cake. You decide how you want the finish product to look. I opted for using 10" pans.

Once the cake is baked and cooled, use a cake leveler to make the layers flat. If you only baked two layers, cut them in half using a sharp knife and a cutting guide. I like to use a Frieling stainless steel cake slicing kit, which ensures even layers every time.

Make a seal on the cakes using sugar water.
Make a seal on the cakes using sugar water.

Seal the Layers

To complete step one, bring 2 cups of sugar, 1/2 cup of water, and 1/4 cup of kirschwasser or cherry kool-ade to a boil, stirring the mixture until all of the sugar is dissolved. Turn off the heat and allow the liquid to cool completely.

When the mixture has cooled, place the cake slices cut-side up. Paint each of these cut sides with the sugar water, and allow them to dry completely to create a seal that will help to prevent the filling from soaking into the cake and making it soggy.

Once the liquid has dried, wrap the layers in plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator overnight.

Supplies for Step One

Amazon carries the supplies for step one, at prices comparable or better than supermarket prices. Amazon also offers FREE Super Saver shipping on qualified orders of $25 or more.

The next day, remove the cake layers from the refrigerator and unwrap them with the cut side facing up. The sugar seal may have become moist in the fridge, so allow the layers a little bit of time to dry out again while you make the cherry filling.

Prep time: 2 hours
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 2 hours 30 min


  • 1 cup kirschwasser (or cherry kool-ade)
  • 1 (15 oz) can of dark
  • pitted cherries in syrup
  • 2 TBSP cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup cherry kool-ade


  1. Open the can of cherries and pour off the liquid, reserving it in a bowl. Pour the kirschwasser into the can, until it covers the cherries. Reserve any excess kirschwasser to use later, and allow the cherries to soak for a couple of hours. If using only kool-ade, you can skip this step.
  2. In a small saucepan, whisk cornstarch into the kool-ade until it is dissolved. Place the saucepan on the stovetop, and add the cherries and kirschwasser to the pan. Bring to a simmer and stir until the mixture thickens.
  3. Remove the filling from the heat, and allow to cool to room temperature.
Cast your vote for Step Two: Fillling and Icing

Chocolate Icing Recipe

  • 16 oz powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • softened
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract (or more vanilla extract)
  • 1 tsp instant coffee
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 1 can of real whipped cream
  • 4 oz grated semi-sweet chocolate
  • 8 maraschino cherries
  • 1 birthday candle


  1. Grate 4 ounces of semisweet chocolate using a food processor or cheese grater. Cover and store in the refrigerator.
  2. Sift together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder into a bowl, using a flour sifter or a sieve. Add the butter and mix it into the powdered sugar using an electric beater that is turned off. Add vanilla and almond extracts, instant coffee and the boiling water. Turn on the beaters and mix until smooth. Small peaks should form. If the mixture is too thin, add more powdered sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, until the icing is thick enough to hold its shape, but still thin enough to spread onto the cake layers.

Step Three: Assemble the Cake

Cherry Filling

Center the bottom layer of the cake, cut side up, on a cake plate or stand. Spread 1/3 of the cherry filling onto the layer, avoiding the center of the cake. Place the second layer on top of the first, again with the cut side up. Cover with filling, avoiding the center of the cake. Add the third layer and cover with filling, following the same procedure. Finally, add the top layer. Do not put filling on the top layer.

Ice the top and sides of the cake with the chocolate icing. Immediately, sprinkle the top and sides with shredded chocolate before the icing begins to harden. You may need to carefully tilt the cake sideways in order to cover the sides adequately with chocolate shreds.

Step Four: Garnish and Serve the Cake

Just prior to serving the cake, use the spray whipped cream to make a white dot in the center of the cake, and 8 dots in a circle around the edges of the cake. Do not make the dots too close to the edge, or they may slide off the sides of the cake (this is the voice of experience talking)

Place a candle in the center dot of cream, and a maraschino cherry in each of the dots circling the cake. Light the candle, and serve!

Are You a "Geeky Chef?"

Have you ever mixed up a glass of Saurian brandy from "Star Trek" or a batch of Elven Lembas bread from "Lord of the Rings?" Recipes from popular games, movies and TV shows are so fun to make, and even better to serve! All kinds of creative recipes are available online for fans to make in their own kitchens. Have you made any of these recipes, or made up any of your own?

Have you ever cooked recipes from your favorite games or shows? If so, what have you made? Tell us about it in the comments after you vote.

A Birthday Wish Fulfilled

This recipe was born out of my daughter's request for a Portal cake for her birthday. Not a gamer myself, I had to do some research first to find out what a portal cake was, and then to come up wit a suitable recipe. I think she was pleased with the result! It doesn't get any better than to see the smile on her face when she saw the fictional cake become reality at her birthday party.

Let me know what you think about our recipe, and any creative ideas that you would like to share with other readers.

Thanks for stopping by!

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      5 years ago

      Your cake recipe sounds very delightful. Thank you for sharing this information and these tips. Very thorough and so well done!


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