I've had the pleasure of working closely with a really fun couple on a few previous sweet treat orders who ended up trying to surprise each other at the same time. In the midst of making Frog cupcake toppers for his wife, I was receiving e-mails from her about his secret birthday cake. She wanted to surprise her Harry-Potter-fan-hubby with a cake and some cupcakes.
I had made some Harry Potter cupcakes before so I added a few new characters to this bunch.
I still can't tell you the names of these characters... I had to look up inspiration online and am taking other people's word that these relate to HP.
In addition to the cupcakes, my customer wanted an 8" round cake. The cake design was tricky... I wanted it to look weathered like an old spell book without actually making it in book form so I sponged on a mixture of food coloring and gold luster dust until I achieved a cool antique look. [Pardon all the cell phone pics - I left my camera at my parents' house]
My goal was to make the cake look more "grown-up" since the cupcake decorations were mostly cartoon-like. I started with Harry's spectacles. I made them from black fondant and they were pretty delicate, yet very effective.
I wanted to write spells on the cake and make a page that looked like it fell out of a wizard dictionary so I looked up some common spells on Wikipedia and transferred them onto the fondant with food coloring markers. I was finally able to put my calligraphy knowledge from high school to good use. [BTW- don't look up the spells because I spelled quite a few of them incorrectly]
In addition to the spell book page and glasses, I needed to add Harry's recognizable striped scarf and wand. I draped the fondant scarf over the top and used a co-worker's wand replica as a guide to create an edible piece.
Lots of spells around the cake... I have no recollection of the meanings.
Once I got the cake finished, I iced the cupcakes with some vanilla buttercream and they were ready to go.
The final result was the best of both worlds - Fun, child-like Harry Potter cupcakes and a sophisticated birthday cake.
I guess that's the appeal of Harry Potter, he's a great source of enjoyment for all ages.