Recipe – Sorting Hat Cupcakes

I kind of love being the designated cake person for the family.  I made the cake for my Grandma’s birthday party last year.  I made cake pops for H’s birthday last year, and did a cake for E’s birthday last year as well.  It’s nice to have a thing that I’m known for being good at.  So when H’s birthday was coming up again, I was excited.  I found this super awesome recipe for a rainbow surprise cake that was all different colors and filled with a candy surprise in the middle.  It didn’t look that hard, and it seemed like the kind of thing that H would want.  So when we started discussing birthday party plans on a walk home from the farmers market, I eagerly pulled out my phone and said, “What about this one?”

I have never in my life been more disappointed to hear someone go, “Eh.”  I mean, seriously – go back and click on that link.  That cake is RIDICULOUS.  If someone had made that for me as a preteen, I would have wet my pants.  Heck, if someone wanted to make that for me now, I would be pretty darn stoked.  But one of the things about being an adult is concealing your disappointment.  So I said, “Ok, what kind of cake do you want?”  And the answer was, “Something Harry Potter”.

Cue us getting home from our walk, and googling frantically.  What we came across is a sort of compromise between “surprise cake” and ease – these sorting hat cupcakes.  They’re the kind of treat that looks really impressive.  I mean, that hat alone is pretty fancy, but it turns out it’s just a couple caramels that are badly sculpted.  The cake doesn’t need to be anything special.  The surprise candy for the “sorting” is just m&ms, and while the recipe seems to indicate you should have two colors for each house, I don’t think it’s necessary to buy a bag of specialty m&ms just to get white.  Do one color per house.  Easy-peasy.

But yeah – super impressive looking.  And while the sculpting of the hats did take a little while to do, the rest of the steps are fairly quick and straightforward.  It’s the kind of cupcake that looks like it took way more effort to make than it actually did.  And the good news is that they went over like gangbusters.  Everyone ate theirs and was excited to find out which house they were in.  Food that’s also a talking point is never a bad idea.

Sorting Hat Cupcakes

Yield: about 2 dozen cupcakes


-1 box cake mix
-1 can frosting
-sprinkles (optional)
-bag of regular m&m’s
-bag of caramel candies


Make cupcakes according to box directions – or use your own favorite recipe.  Let cupcakes cool once baked.

Use a knife to cut a circle on an angle around the top of the cupcake. A small cone of cupcake should come out. Put in a few m&m’s in equal numbers of cupcakes for each Hogwarts house – Red for Gryffindor, Yellow for Hufflepuff, Blue for Ravenclaw, and Green for Slytherin. Take the cone and cut off the bottom so you’re just left with the circle top. Tuck it back onto the cupcake.

Frost the cupcakes, and add sprinkles as desired.

Each sorting hat is made of two caramels. To make the top part pull one end and squish it into a point then twist the end down (I failed to twist the top.  Oh well) . To make the eyes use a toothpick and press the end in and roll it down to make an indented triangle. Use the toothpick to make a slightly frowning face.

For the bottom of the hat, roll the caramel flat. Pull/twist the caramel to make it more circular and look distressed. Place the top part in the bottom, smushing them together a bit so they stick together.

Add hats to frosted cupcakes.  Mix them up so the houses are randomly distributed.  Stand back and enjoy!

Details: Sorting Hat Cupcakes from Instructables

1 Comment

  1. […] few months back we were planning the birthday pool party for H, making cupcakes and generally enjoying the start to summer.  Poor E (whose birthday is in the winter) began to […]

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