Harry Potter Cauldron Cakes

Fair warning.

This is gonna be awesome. Nerdy awesome. Which is the best kind.

Just in case you live, um, on a planet with no movies or internet or books or newspapers, the final installment of the Harry Potter films is coming out on Friday. This is cause for a party.

A new friend of mine threw one such celebration last Friday (costumes required, duh), and I couldn’t resist cooking something from the books to take to share. But what!? So many options!

I settled on cauldron cakes. I wasn’t sure exactly what these are supposed to look like, but after a bit of perusing ideas on the interwebs, I came up with a plan. I’m pleased to say that I think it turned out well.

My, what fun it might be to employ magic to make these. Just a swish and a flick and voila! cupcakes! Unfortunately, a magic wand is not in my kitchen arsenal, so I had to rely on muffin tins, my KitchenAid (possibly worthy of magic wand status),  and a handful of decorating tips.

Confession: I did not make this chocolate cake from scratch. I am for cooking from scratch when I can, but I’ll be honest: I’m not really sharing this because I found some stellar recipe that I’m adding to my weekly dinner plans. This was totally, absolutely, completely for kicks.

And kicks we had!

The cauldron cakes fit right into a house filled with clever decorations, tasty snacks from Honeydukes and the Hogs Head, and a crowd of fun-loving people dressed as wizards. There was butterbeer and fire whiskey, ton tongue toffee and cockroach clusters, and music and laughter.

And the cupcakes were exactly what they should always be: completely and totally eaten.

Harry Potter Cauldron Cakes
Inspired by The Boy Who Lived (and, er, the Snack Witch)

Makes 24 cauldron cakes

A note on piping icing: For this project, I used Wilton tips #4 to pipe the cauldron handles and tips #10, #21, and #352 for the potions. Feel free to mix these up and use whatever tips you want to create different textures in the cauldrons.

For the Handles
Add 1/4 c chocolate chips to a small dish. Microwave on 50% power for 30 seconds and stir. If necessary, repeat until chocolate is completely melted.

Pipe melted chocolate into handles about 1/2″ long onto cookie sheet lined with waxed paper. Make more than you need, as some may break in the construction process. Place sheet into refrigerator or freezer to harden the handles.

For the Cauldrons
Prepare 1 chocolate cake mix (or your favorite chocolate cake recipe). Thoroughly grease cupcake tins, enough for 24 cupcakes. Bake as directed and remove to a cooling rack. Let cupcakes cool to room temperature.

With a small paring knife, carve out the top of the cupcake with the knife at a slight angle, creating a concave depression in the cupcake. Be careful to leave a rim on the “cauldron”. Set tops aside for snacking.

On opposite sides of the rim, make small incisions with a knife wide enough to insert the cauldron handles. If handles have firmed up, quickly insert two handles into each cauldron at the incision points. You may need to return the tray to the freezer as the chocolate will begin to heat up almost as soon as it hits your finger tips.

For the Potion Icing
Recipe adapted from i am baker

Tip: Sift the powdered sugar before adding it to the mixer. Sifting will help to smooth the sugar and prevent clumps in your icing.

1/2 c unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
4 c powdered sugar, sifted
2 T milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
2-3 T flour

Sift powdered sugar into a medium bowl and set aside. In a large mixing bowl or a standing mixer, combine butter, 2 c of the powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and almond extract. Mix thoroughly. Then, with the mixer running, gradually add remaining sugar. Beat on high for 3-4 minutes until smooth and creamy. Test the stiffness of the icing by attempting to form a stiff peak (meaning the point does not collapse). Add flour 1 T at a time until this texture is reached.

Divide icing into 3-4 small bowls and add desired colors to each. Remember, a little color goes a long way. Using whatever tips you like, fill cauldrons with icing to give the illusion of a full pot of potion.

Now dress up like a wizard and serve!