The last recipe I posted was this phenomenal Harry Potter Butterbeer. When I posted that recipe, I wrote all about our annual Harry Potter party. Another treat I always whip up for our H.P. festivities are Cauldron Cakes. The first year we held our party, I searched high and low online for any spectacular ideas on how to create Cauldron Cakes. I found several, but none of them were quite what I was hoping for. So, I came up with my own version and naturally they became a combination of chocolate and peanut butter.
I’m not a huge cake fan. I make it for birthdays and that’s about it. Even then, it has to be a good homemade recipe. Brownies and their texture are more my style. Usually when I do any sort of cupcake, I make them out of brownie batter and decided that would be the way to go for these Cauldron Cakes. I usually use a boxed brownie mix and like to vamp it up with butter, buttermilk, and vanilla, but you could use your favorite homemade brownie recipe too. They are topped heavily with peanut butter buttercream, and the “cauldron” is filled with chocolate. Oh and don’t forget the Reese’s baked inside. That detail really has nothing to do with the theme of Cauldron Cakes, but the way I see it, why not put a Reese’s in the middle? 😀
Let’s talk Harry Potter. I love H.P. It was really a huge part of my childhood that helped make my formative years magical. Anytime a new H.P. book hit the shelves, had to be a good year. Almost just as exciting to me was the highly anticipated release of the next movie installment in the series. The final film was released the summer after I graduated high school. I went to see it in the theater with a group of my fellow H.P. loving friends a month or so before I left for college. That experience really made it seem like Harry Potter graduated with me as I said goodbye to childhood, adolescence, and headed towards adulthood. I cried as the movie ended and it wasn’t just because it was an emotional show with talented actors/actresses.
I have maintained a deep love of reading that developed at an early age. Books have the power to take us to places we never could have imagined going on our own. They introduce us to people we never would have met and can develop within us desires to understand and experience what lies beyond our own sphere. Harry Potter was one of the very first book series that created these opportunities for me. The first real exposure I had to Harry Potter came from my third grade teacher. She read many good books to my class throughout that school year, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone being one of them. Over the next couple of years I read the remaining books in the series and continued reading until they had all been released.
Of the many things I hope to be able to instill in our future children, one of them is a love and appreciation for reading good books.
Like I said about the Butterbeer, you don’t have to be a H.P. fan to love these Cauldron Cakes and any H.P. inspired treats you may come across. I will mention however that they can definitely help you find your way into the truly magical world of Harry Potter!
- 1 box brownie mix, or homemade brownie recipe (made for a 9x13 size pan)
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup buttermilk, or 1/4 cup milk (I prefer buttermilk, but either will work)
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 8 snack-size Reese's, cut in half
- muffin cups, at least 15
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3-3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- Milk or cream (as needed, for consistency)
- 1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
- 1/3-1/2 cup cream
- 1. Preheat oven at 350 degrees F. Prepare the brownie batter by mixing the box brownie mix, eggs, buttermilk, melted butter, and vanilla. If using your own brownie recipe, prepare the batter. Place each muffin cup in a muffin tin. Fill the muffin cups 2/3 full with the brownie batter. Place a Reese's half in each cupcake and press down below the batter. Bake 18-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from muffin pan and let cool.
- 2. To prepare the frosting, beat the butter and peanut butter on medium-high speed until well combined. Add the vanilla and mix well. Next, add the powdered sugar, about 1 cup at a time, mixing until well combined between each addition. As you add the powdered sugar, gradually add the milk or cream, as needed for consistency. I probably add at least 1/4-1/3 cup of cream.
- 3. Fill a cup with a few inches of water to lightly dip the utensil you spread the frosting with. This will help to spread the frosting smoothly.To make the cauldron, spread a generous amount of the buttercream on top of each cupcake. We like a lot of frosting, but I know not everybody does. Use what you will be happy with as far as the frosting ratio goes, but it is easier to make the cauldron if you use a decent amount. As you spread the frosting, make a well in the middle of the cupcake, it will be about an inch wide and the depth depends how much frosting you use. I use enough the depth is probably close to 1/2 of an inch.
- 4. To prepare the ganache, place chocolate chips in a medium sized, microwavable bowl. Place the cream in a mug and microwave until almost boiling. Pour over the chocolate chips and whisk until there are no lumps. You may need to place the bowl in the microwave for 30-60 seconds. Let the ganache cool to room temperature. Place in the fridge or freezer to quicken cooling. Fill each well on top of each cupcake with the ganache. It is okay if it drips a little, it will be a little messier, but also makes the cauldron part even better 🙂
- *For this batch of Cauldron Cakes I just made a chocolate ganache, but in the past I have also used my hot fudge recipe. You could use either. Some of my family members like the ganache better and some like the hot fudge filling better. Personally, I can't quite decide! The ganache is a little stronger on the chocolate flavor, while the hot fudge is a little more on the sweet side.