Baker’s Recipe: Harry Potter Cauldron Cakes

What she did have were Bettie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, Drooble’s Best Blowing Gum, Chocolate Frogs. Pumpkin Pasties, Cauldron Cakes, Licorice Wands, and a number of other strange things Harry had never seen in his life. “ – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

With this moment, Harry is off on his first trip to Hogwarts. Buying an entire cart’s full of treats, he returns to share them with Ron, further cementing the friendship that will eventually be tested like few others. There among the menagerie of sweets, is the cauldron cake, one of the more notable desserts in the franchise.

Though never explicitly described, the name is evocative enough that Jesse and I didn’t need to use that much imagination to devise the recipe. Usually devils’ food cake as the base, the cakes provide versatility enough for almost any filling. A chocolate mousse is called for here, but any sort of filling could be used. The cake itself is sponge-like and takes well to absorbing flavors from liqours or glazes that are applied.

There’s an additional comment on the bottom of the recipe, but it should be noted that the chocolate mousse used here calls for raw eggs. Jesse, coming from Maine, assures me that the eggs we used were fine, apparently he knows the chickens who laid them personally. I’m told this is not an unusual occurrence in Maine, no matter how strange it might sound.

Cauldron Cakes
Makes about 25 cakes

Ingredients:
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tablespoon espresso or coffee
1 stick of butter
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 tsp salt
2/3 vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup flour
2/3 tsp baking soda
2/3 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons of Irish cream liquor

Equipment:
Mixer (hand or stand)

Directions:

Combine the boiling water espresso and cocoa and whisk together thoroughly. Set aside to cool.

Cream together butter, sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Add in the eggs individually incorporating each one fully before adding the next.

Sift together the flour, baking soda and baking powder. Slowly add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the butter mixture, alternating until both are fully incorporated. Finally, add the liquor.

Scoop the batter into cupcake trays and bake for around 20 minutes at 350. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Chocolate Mousse

Ingredients:

8 ounces of chocolate, melted
7 egg whites
7 egg yolks, beaten
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 cups of heavy cream
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons of coffee liquor

Directions:

Whip the heavy cream until medium peaks develop. To check, lift the whisk of the mixer upside down. The points of the cream should stand up slightly but not be too firm.

Separately, whip the egg whites and salt to soft peaks, then add in the sugar and continue whipping to medium peaks. At this point fold in the egg yolks and coffee liquor. Finally, fold in the chocolate and then 3/4 of the whipped cream. Refrigerate immediately along with the reserved cream, for at least 1 hour. Be prepared to eat mousse for a while, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have extra.

Assembly:

Make a depression in the center of each cake. Pushing down gently and twisting helps to form the well without breaking the cake.

Brush each cake with more of the Irish cream liquor. Then spoon or pipe the mousse into each depression. Top with a tiny drop of the remaining whipped cream. Serve immediately or refrigerate until service.

Note: If you are uncomfortable using uncooked eggs to make mousse, there are a variety of substitutes as well as recipes that involve cooking the eggs prior to the assembly of the mousse. Ensuring you use pasteurized eggs can help lower the risks, though overall they are relatively low. For more information, here is a handy dandy link to the CDC’s webpage on Salmonella and eggs.