There’s plenty to capture the reader’s attention in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Spells and potions. Dragons and owls. Moving staircases. Quidditch matches. And, of course, the fancy treats one can only enjoy if they’re part of this magical world.
We’re introduced to a handful of conceivably delicious treats early in the series, when our hero boards the Hogwarts Express in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
Around half past twelve there was a great clattering outside in the corridor and a smiling, dimpled woman slid back their door and said, “Anything off the cart, dears?”
Harry, who hadn’t had any breakfast, leapt to his feet, but Ron’s ears went pink again and he muttered that he’d brought sandwiches. Harry went out into the corridor.
He had never had any money for candy with the Dursleys, and now that he had pockets rattling with gold and silver he was ready to buy as many Mars Bars as he could carry–but the woman didn’t have Mars Bars. What she did have were Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor 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. Not wanting to miss anything, he got some of everything and paid the woman eleven silver Sickles and seven bronze Knuts.
Since I first read the book as a kid, the Cauldron Cakes in particular have always grabbed my attention. I imagined a few different scenarios of what they would be like and tried my hand at making them through the years. Here’s my latest version: a spiced cupcake with a pumpkin cream cheese filling. I even used black cupcake liners to add to the cauldron feel.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon, salt
1/2 cup or 1 stick of room temperature butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
4 ounces plain cream cheese
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two muffin tins (1 dozen each).
In a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients for cupcakes. Set aside. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add in milk, vanilla, and eggs one ingredient at a time. Pour the dry ingredients into the bowl and mix until well blended. Pour batter into pans. (Tip: You may want to consider saving about 1/3 of the batter back for later.)
In a bowl, blend ingredients for filling together to create a thick mixture. Add a dollop to center of each cupcake, making sure it sinks into the batter. If you saved back some batter, drizzle around the edges of the cream cheese mixture.
Place muffin pans in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes each. Remove from oven and allow to cool about 10 minutes before enjoying. Serve warm or cold.