January 22, 2012

Cauldron Cakes

Here is a recipe for some truly delicious Cauldron Cakes from the Harry Potter universe. No one really knows what Cauldron Cakes are, but most people have gone with a sort of dark chocolate cupcake with a filling inside. (Here's a printer-friendly version of the recipe in PDF format on MediaFire.com) Here's the recipe that I came up with, used from an old cookbook:

(The original recipe was titled 'Deep Dark Chocolate Cake' and was submitted to the recipe book by Ruth Schnurr)

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup boiling water

  1. Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients except for the boiling water, beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.
  2. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin) (Note from FlightlessPhoenix: And Merlin was the batter thin, I thought I had done something wrong, but they turned out absolutely gorgeous and yummy)
  3. Fill greased muffin tins about 1/2 to 2/3 full. Don't use paper muffin cups. The Cauldron Cakes get their shape from the round tin.
  4. Bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes or until you can insert a toothpick into the centre of a cupcake and it comes out clean.
  5. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack (Note from FlightlessPhoenix: if you're unfamiliar with this term like I was (I once ruined a cake trying to do this), 'cooling on a wire rack' or 'remove and put onto a wire rack' in cooking instructions usually does NOT mean take it out of the pan and put it onto a wire rack. Most times it just means to put the entire pan with the cake/cupcakes/brownies etc. in it onto the wire rack. This is to get the air flowing underneath the pan to cool the food in the pan down faster and prevent the bottom from burning. If you don't have any wire racks you can skip putting them on that, but I would recommend it if you do since it's rather painless)
  6. After about 10 minutes of cooling carefully remove the cupcakes from the pans and cool completely.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you would like to use this recipe to make a cake (and who knows, it'd be a pretty cool idea to make a ginormous Cauldron Cake!), follow Steps 1 and 2, and then follow these steps instead:

     3. Pour into greased and floured 9" or three 8" layer pans or 1 - 9" x 13" pan.
     4. Bake at 350°F for 30 to 35 minutes for layers, 35 to 40 minutes for 9" x 13" pan, or until cake tester comes out clean (Note from FlightlessPhoenix: 'cake tester' is just a toothpick inserted into the centre doesn't come out with cake crumbs or gooey batter).
     5. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack (Note from FlightlessPhoenix: read the long note in italics if you're confused as to the meaning of that sentence.)
     6. After 10 minutes of cooling, remove from pan(s) and cool completely. Top with your favourite frosting or try to mimic the technique used for the Cauldron Cakes if you like.

Now we're going to make the cupcakes look like actual 'Cauldrons'. You can make the icing first or follow the next steps to hollow out the insides.


Depending on how much batter you put into each muffin tin, you may or may not have rounded tops. It doesn't matter if you do or don't; if you do, however, you have the choice of slicing them off so that the tops are flat or keeping them the way they are. I'll let you read the next few steps so that you know if you want to cut the tops off or not.

  1. Using a small spoon, turn the cupcakes upside-down and hollow out a small hole in the centre. This is the 'cauldron', where the 'potion' will go. Tip: If the bottom of your cupcake turned out ugly, it's fine to use the top, however, using the bottom gives it a nicer 'cauldron' shape
  2. You can put the hollowed out cupcake bits to the side to be used later (perhaps in a pudding or something, or you might just eat it ;). Now we'll make the icing to put inside of the cupcakes:

(The original recipe was titled 'Butter Frosting' and was submitted to the recipe book by Norma Gingerich)

1/4 cup butter (I had it at room temperature)
2 cups icing sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon half and half cream (although a richer cream, such as whipping cream, would likely work. This would just make your icing creamier. However, this is just a speculation. If you tried this, please comment with your results.)

Beat with an electric mixer until smooth (it really is that easy)

For your Cauldron Cakes:
Take some of the icing -- I think we used about a quarter of it -- and put it into a bowl, then use some green food colouring to make it green (feel free to experiment with different colours, however, if you wish). Next, if you have any clear plastic milk bags (clean ones) they would be perfect for this, but if not simply take some parchment paper and roll it into a cone, securing it by stapling it. Snip off the end of the parchment paper or the milk bag, whichever one you're using, and spoon the icing into it. This is so that we can use it like an icing tip and fill up the Cauldrons with the icing.

Squirt out as much or as little of the icing as you like into your Cauldron Cakes. We found that it looked neat if you made swirling designs on the top for 'bubbles'.

You also have the choice here of adding other things to the centre of your Cauldron Cakes, such as cotton candy, crushed candy, sprinkles, dry cereal, or any other sort of sweet you have lying around. I had some Almond Nut squares lying around, so we took one of those and crushed it up, then filled the bottom of the Cauldron Cake with those and topped it with the icing. This is so that the Cauldron Cake does not get too sweet with all that icing.

Finally, take some liquorice, black or red, it doesn't matter (I just had some red liquorice, and I know that most people don't like black liquorice even though the colour would suit it better). Depending on the type of liquorice that you have, you can either use a string of liquorice or you can cut the liquorice into the desired length. It is going to be the handle of the Cauldron, so it's up to you how long you'd like it to be.
One of the unfortunate broken-handled Cauldron Cakes.

We cut our liquorice in half lengthwise, and then again in half the other way. You can either choose to put the handles on your Cauldron Cakes now or later; however, even though we had made our Cauldron Cakes the night before the party, most of the handles had snapped in half at the top, so I recommend putting the handles on just before serving them.

And ta daa! You're done! Now you have a lovely batch of Cauldron Cakes to serve up to your guests or to save just for home eating.


  1. These sound awesome. I am totally trying these next time I get the chance.

  2. Thank you for posting this, I have been searching for a website like this for quite some time