As you may have read in earlier posts, a couple of weeks ago my husband and I hosted a Wizard-themed Halloween party with a wide variety of wizards and fantastic beasts in attendance. I also created recipes inspired by the Hogwarts Founders using teas from Tea & Absinthe. So far I’ve shared recipes on the blog for Rowena Ravenclaw’s Cranachan and Salazar Slytherin’s Pork Pies. This week I’ll be heading west for a Welsh take on the Cauldron Cake, inspired by the Mother of Honey Badgers, Helga Hufflepuff!
Click here to jump to the recipe for Helga Hufflepuff’s Bara Brith Cauldron Cakes.
Note: The links to certain products on this post are affiliate links from Amazon, and I receive a small commission if you choose to purchase them.
Tea & Absinthe’s Hufflepuff tea blend contains a cornucopia of fruit and spices including apple, beet, papaya, pineapple, raisins, cinnamon sticks, almonds, coconut, and even popcorn. When brewed, you’ll find the aroma of butterbeer and fruitcake gently wafting from the cup like the scents of Hogsmeade during Christmas. Taking a sip of this tea, though, is like biting into a piece of warm cinnamon-apple strudel fresh from Hogwarts’ ovens.
Helga Hufflepuff was known for her cooking charms, and this tea emulates that magic. The coconut and almond give the blend a certain creamy note that lends a buttery flavor to the popcorn. Furthermore, you would think a blend of such rich flavors would fill you up. Conversely, I found it settled my stomach after a cold medicine-fueled bout of indigestion. It all seems rather fitting that the Queen of Magical Yule Feasts would develop a delicious tea that allows you to gorge on more delightful treats.
From Valley Broad…
Helga Hufflepuff hails from the valleys of Wales and is known for her honesty, hard work, and egalitarian nature. She runs a house of diversity and hospitality with the understanding that the soundest minds and truest hearts are the ones molded by the widest variety of experiences. What I find even more interesting is through all the songs of Hufflepuffs espousing honesty and kindness, the Sorting Hat does mention Helga saying “I’ll teach the lot and treat them just the same.” Through all of her fellow founders’ emphasis on selecting singular personalities, she seems to understand that you ultimately cannot sort people into labels and boxes as it gives them no room to grow.
And what better way to welcome the new members of your family than with a heaping plate of baked goods? As I said earlier, Helga is known for her food-charms, and Hogwarts’ kitchens still cook some of her recipes. With Helga’s character in mind, I wanted to make a traditional Welsh recipe that works well with the tea to highlight its complex flavor. I decided to make a Bara Brith version of the Cauldron Cake.
True, and Unafraid of Toil
Bara Brith, meaning “speckled bread” is a Welsh recipe that involves soaking dried fruit in tea before baking it into bread. The books don’t say much about Cauldron Cakes other than when they started being mass-produced, but I imagine they are the Wizarding World’s equivalent of cupcakes. Bara Brith initially was a yeasted bread, but I decided to adapt the modern, cake-like version to better suit this recipe.
For the dried fruit I went with blueberries and apricots because they are what I had at the time, and they are close enough to Hufflepuff’s house colors. You could also use dried apples instead of the apricots if you are unable to find them.
The Hufflepuff blend of tea acts as the spice blend in this recipe, and you can taste it fully in both the cakes and the cream cheese icing. I recommend that you buy Tea & Absinthe’s blend to fully experience it, but the closest alternative I can really think of is if you blend Celestial Seasonings’ Cinnamon Apple Spice with their Almond Sunset.
While the instructions below may appear a little intimidating just think of this: to make Hufflepuff’s Cauldron Cakes you must act like a Hufflepuff. You must be patient and hardworking. And even if you might be afraid of ghosts (or sheets with holes in them…or regular sheets), you must be unafraid of toil. This recipe takes time, and while there are a lot of steps, they are simple and not beyond the skill level of a beginning baker. This recipe will reward you with complex flavor and kindness for your taste buds.
BY THE WAY, I have also included a downloadable printable PDF for the flag toothpicks you see pictured.
Download the Hufflepuff Flags here: Click me.
Fantastic Feasts and How to Bake Them
Helga Hufflepuff's Bara Brith Cauldron Cakes
Makes 24 cauldron cakes
Equipment: Oven, microwave, teakettle, tea infuser, tupperware container, refrigerator, wire whisk, mini-muffin baking pan with 24 2″ cups.
- 1/2 cup dried blueberries
- 1/2 cup dried apricots, small diced
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/4 cup hot, strong brewed Hufflepuff tea
- baking spray
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup brewed Hufflepuff tea
Make the cakes:
- Start making the cakes by dissolving the brown sugar into the tea. Pour the fruit and tea into a tupperware container. Seal the container and let soak at least 6 hours, or overnight in the fridge.
- The following day, preheat the oven to 350° F and spray each muffin cup with baking spray.
- Drain the liquid from the fruit cup into another container. Scoop 1/2 cup of flour onto the fruit and toss to coat. Sift the remaining flour with the baking powder into a mixing bowl.
- Crack an egg into the liquid and beat until smooth. Pour the mixture into the bowl of flour and stir into a batter. Fold and mix in the fruit and remaining flour until well incorporated.
- Scoop a tablespoon of batter into each muffin cup. Bake the cakes for 15 minutes. Rotate the trays between the racks halfway through if you are using more than one muffin tin.
- Allow cakes to cool completely before icing.
Make the icing:
- While the cakes are cooling, remove the cream cheese from its packaging and scrape it into a microwave-safe bowl. Melt the cheese by heating it in 12 second-increments.
- When the cheese has melted, pour in the tea and the powdered sugar (about 1/4 cup at a time). Stir until all the sugar is incorporated and the mixture is smooth.
- Chill the icing for 30 minutes before assembling.
Assemble the cakes
- Cut a well into each cake using a small, serrated knife like a steak knife. Scoop a teaspoon of icing into each well and cover it with the muffin top.
- Serve immediately.