Butterbeer Cupcakes

If you’ve read the books or seen the movies, you know that every time Harry, Hermione, and Ron go to Hogsmeade, usually at The Three Broomsticks, they always order butterbeer.  What is butterbeer you ask?  Well, I’m glad you asked.  Butterbeer is a very popular drink among wizards.  It can be served cold or hot and has a warming effect.  J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, describes it as tasting “a little bit like less-sickly butterscotch” (whatever that means).  According to Wikipedia, it is an actual drink dating back to the Tudor-era (circa 1580s).  You can find this drink at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando, FL.  But if you can’t make it there, you can make it at home.  The first one is from the Huffington Post and the second is from the Food Network.  I haven’t tried either of these recipes, so make them and taste them at your own risk! ;)

So I didn’t make the drink version but I did come across butterbeer cupcakes which I just had to try.  I really didn’t make too many changes to the original recipe.  The only thing I adjusted was the amount of sugar the recipe called for.  Instead of using the 3 to 3 1/2 cups of powdered sugar, I only used 2 cups of it.  I added 1/2 cup of sugar at a time, making sure it was fully incorporated into the buttercream before tasting it.  I would definitely recommend doing that as well so that your frosting doesn’t come out too sweet.  The cupcake itself has so many sugary components that you need it to balance out.  I don’t think it would’ve worked with the frosting being too sweet.  Also, if you can’t find the butterscotch chips, you can use butterscotch syrup (you can find it with other ice cream toppings in your grocery store).  You can also make butterscotch from scratch according to Google.

I have to say that my house smelled soooooo unbelievably amazing while these cakes were baking and while I was melting the butterscotch chips for the ganache.  You have not idea!  I wish I could’ve bottled up that scent.  Everyone in my house came to the kitchen to see what I was working on.  They couldn’t wait to try these cupcakes out :)  So the cupcakes are essentially a brown sugar cake infused with cream soda (in the batter).  They were super moist and yummy.  I don’t have anything to compare them too, so until I make my way to Harry Potter World in Florida, these are what I’m going to envision butterbeer to taste like ;)

That’s all for now!  Happy Baking!!

Here’s the recipe:

Harry Potter Cupcakes a.k.a. Butterbeer Cupcakes (adapted from Pastry Affair and Amy’s Bites)
Yield:  18 cupcakes

Ingredients for the cupcakes:
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon butter flavoring
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup cream soda

Ingredients for the butterscotch ganache:
11 ounces (1 package) butterscotch chips
1 cup heavy cream

Ingredients for the butterscotch buttercream:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup butterscotch ganache (recipe above)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon butter flavoring
pinch of salt
3-3 1/2 cups powdered sugar (I used 2 cups of the sugar–>add and incorporate 1/2 cup at a time and taste with each addition to make sure its not too sweet)
splash of heavy cream (as needed)–>you’ll probably need 1 to 2 tablespoons (remember to use a tablespoon at a time)

Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a cupcake tin with baking cups.
2.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
3.  In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and butter flavoring.
4.  Fold in 1/3 of the flour mixture, then the buttermilk, 1/3 of the flour mixture, cream soda, and then the remaining flour. Folding in these ingredients will prevent over-mixing and will result in a fluffier, less dense cupcake. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the cupcakes are golden and spring back when touched. Cool completely before frosting.
5.  To make the ganache, in a small saucepan on medium heat, melt the butterscotch chips into the heavy cream, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature before using.
6.  To make the buttercream, in a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy.
7.  Mix in the butterscotch ganache, vanilla, butter flavoring, and salt.
8.  Beat in the powdered sugar for 2-3 minutes, starting with 1/2 cup and adding more only if necessary.
9.  Add the cream a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is achieved (I only needed 1 tablespoon).
10.  To assemble, pour butterscotch ganache into a plastic squeeze bottle. Stab the tip of the bottle into cupcake and fill each cupcake with butterscotch ganache until it starts to overflow.
11.  Fill a pastry bag with butterscotch buttercream and pipe onto the top of each cupcake.
12.  Drizzle on the butterscotch ganache. Lick your fingers clean if you just so happen to get extra butterscotch on them. If you have any leftover butterscotch ganache, it can be used as an ice cream topping.
13.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature (that is, if they don’t get devoured immediately).

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