When it came time for cake for my son's Harry Potter birthday party, after much exhaustive research, I came upon this recipe. Cauldron Cakes. I loved the idea and that it was relatively easy for such special type results. I of course, had to modify my recipe.
Really, it is just flipping your basic cupcake concept on its head... almost literally. It's just an upside down hollowed out cupcake with some embellishments, but it fits the theme and looks special.
Make devil's food cupcakes.
I just used a regular Duncan Hines cupcake mix, but I modified it with a food hack to make box mix taste like bakery cakes which I found, here. Again I modified it. Since this was a devil's food cake mix, I added one extra egg that the directions called for, switched out the oil for melted butter (rather than double the amount, I doubled it by half) then I switched out the water for half milk and half strong coffee.
So bake the cupcakes according to the directions and when they are cool, take off the cupcake liners and, using a sharp knife, core the cupcake. You do this by cutting out a cone. Hold the knife at an angle pointing towards the center of the cupcake and then cutting into it in a circle. Make sure you go deep enough to leave a nice hole for your cream, but not deep enough to cut through the cake. About half way into the cake is fine.
Make your glaze.
1 cup chocolate chips
4 TBS butter.
Melt your butter and chocolate chips over a double boiler, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Take the glaze off the heat.
I had a problem, because my glaze did not turn out smooth. In fact it was thick and lumpy. I think I cooked it at too high a temperature. But since I have been known to make myself a chocolate glaze at night after the kids go to bed, so I could dip apples for a treat, I know how to fix it. I added a splash or two of milk and mixed the glaze smooth and it turned out just fine... if a little thick. You can also use the liqueur of your choice, cointreau or kahlua is lovely, but since this was for kids, I used just milk.
You need to let the glaze sit and cool for about five minutes and then, although the recipe says dip the cupcake tops, mine was too thick for that, so I ended up smoothing it on with a spatula in a thin layer. Although it did not look as pretty as the original recipe, it tasted great.
Add the chocolate chips for feet.
about 1/2 cup of chocolate chips, or enough choc chips to give each cupcake 3 feet.
Make sure you let the glaze cool a bit (I didn't, and when I tried to put my chocolate feet on it, the glaze melted my chocolate chips. oops.)
Place three chocolate chips about an inch apart on waxed paper or a silicone mat. Press the chocolate cupcakes, glaze side down, into the chips so the chips can serve as tripod feet. Press gently so the chips stick.
Make the cream.
I did not use the marshmallow cream found in the original recipe because I am not a fan of marshmallows. I considered using just plain whipped cream (from a can) as a short cut, but at the last minute, I found this recipe for a whipped cream-cream cheese frosting that really made me happy... so that's what I did.
1 small package of cream cheese, room temperature
1.5 cups of powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pint of whipping cream.
In one bowl, mix your room temperature cream cheese with a mixer on low speed, adding the powdered sugar gradually, until it is light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated.
In another bowl, mix your whipping cream at high speed, until the whipped cream is stiff and firm. It works best if your cream is very cold.
Fold the whipped cream gently into the cream cheese frosting until it is blended smooth.
Fill the cupcakes
Put the cream cheese filling into a pastry bag, or a sandwich bag with the corner clipped off (which is what I did) and squeeze the filling into the hollows of the cupcakes, allowing it to rise out of the top like boiling potion.
Sprinkle the top with yellow sanding sugar.
Add the handle.
Take a handful of licorice sticks. I used black Twizzlers. These turned out to be far too big for my cauldron, so I sliced the twizzlers in half and then again, in half the long way, making them both shorter and thinner.
For each cupcake, I took the quarter Twizzler and bent it into an upside down U shape. I pressed one end into one side of the opening of the cupcake cauldron, and the other end into the other side of the opening, pressing them in until they stuck.
I tried to find chocolate Twizzlers, as I don't like black licorice, but couldn't. If like me, you don't like licorice, the handles should be discarded before eating, as we don't think licorice is edible. For those strange ones who DO like licorice... well, go ahead and eat it, it's ok if I think you're strange.
I actually loved the way these cupcakes tasted. The chocolate glaze was fudgy and the cream cheese filling was light and sweet and tangy. I don't know how often I'd make the upside down cauldron, but I would definitely make this combination in regular cupcakes.
They were great at my Harry Potter party, but I somehow feel that older kids or young adults would enjoy them even more. For links to all the other crafts and tutorials and recipes involved in the Harry Potter party, check out the main post.