Hello iggles with a sweet tooth! Even though the book and movie series have been finished for a while, some exciting things have been happening lately- Harry Potter and the Lost Child (a stage play!) and new trilogy of movies, while good old J.K. seems to be on a roll releasing juicy new bits on Pottermore. Hearing all this exciting news we had to whip something up to celebrate. Plus, it is also #PotterWeek!
It was hard to choose, so many recipes from and inspired by Harry Potter exist. We even bought a themed cookbook for a friend once and we are full of regret that we didn’t hoard it for ourselves. Seriously iggles, google and be happy. Eventually our decision was made easy when one of us won a contest right here on the +5 Charisma: The Geeky Hostess sprinkles giveaway! Naturally we had to go with cupcakes after that.
We found many good Harry Potter themed cupcakes to choose but settled on this recipe from Pastry Affair, mostly because it had a ganache and we’ve never made ganache. We did make a couple small changes to the recipe. See, it’s totally canon that butterbeer is a tinsy bit alcoholic. Not a lot, but enough to get a house elf drunk. To us, that translated to some substitutions in the ganache and buttercream: we did about half heavy cream half whiskey for the ganache and same for the buttercream.
You can also do more, less, or substitute any other liquid in recipe technically, though we recommend leaving the cream soda and extracts alone. Experiment with alcohol, too! We chose whiskey because it’s what we had in the cupboard but Fireball would have been a nice cinnamon touch, or butterscotch vodka would have really gone well! These are just suggestions, feel free to stick to the original or come up with anything else cool.
Butterbeer Cupcakes (from Kristen Rosenau with slight adjustments)
- 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
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a cupcake tin with baking cups.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
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.
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.
We actually totally forgot about cupcake liners. Luckily we had some shoved in a drawer, but don’t re-live our mistakes! Check before you start mixing. Below is what everything dry should look like mixed together. This recipe calls for baking powder AND soda, in different amounts- we’ll admit it, a few recipes have been fudged because we mixed them up so once again, triple check!
Next is the sugar, eggs, extracts and butter. Butter extract is totally a thing and it is amazing. Don’t eat any even if it does smell like popcorn, it certainly doesn’t have the same taste! We thought it would be hard to find, but Walmart had it. Don’t worry if te batter’s texture is grainy, ours was and after the next step (right pic, flour, buttermilk & soda) everything was fine. This is also the step where you would substitute some of the soda or buttermilk if you’d like. A note on buttermilk- it is also not for drinking. We checked and ours was 110% not expired but to us it smelled and tasted sour. Is that just buttermilk? Or are we weird? Hm.
Anyways, below is the cupcake batter and the finished product! Don’t fill the cups all the way, the little darlings need room to rise. Now that you’ve got cupcakes, it’s time for the ganache! It’s important that this is next because some is required for the frosting. If you don’t want ganache, skip to the frosting and just make a little.
- 11 ounces (1 package) butterscotch chips
- 1 cup heavy cream (with/or booze!)
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.
This is as easy as it sounds, folks. You can use a fancy double broiler if you’d like, but it isn’t necessary if you keep it on low heat and remember to stir occasionally. We made our liquid/alcohol substitution here, with half of the cream turned into Jim Bean.
- 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
- Splash of heavy cream (with/or booze!) (as needed)
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Mix in the butterscotch ganache, vanilla, butter flavoring, and salt. Beat in the powdered sugar for 2-3 minutes, starting with 3 cups and adding more only if necessary. Add the cream a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is achieved (very little is needed, add half a tablespoon at a time).
The only trick here is consistency. Soupy or powdery buttercream isn’t fun. It is easy to correct at least- if too thick add some liquid of your choice (in our case whiskey but the recipe calls for heavy cream) and we think more soda wouldn’t hurt. If it’s to thin just add more powdered sugar. We didn’t need to correct much, the recipe was good to us and we ended up adding roughly 2 tablespoons of liquid I think. Next we put it into a pastry bag bought specifically for this special occasion. We also put the ganache in a squeezy bottle, also specially purchased. Our ganache sat for a little to long so we had to pop it in the microwave for 20 seconds to get it liquid again.
Before you frost, add the ganache to the cupcakes. Not too hard, just ram it into the cake without piercing it completely, and squeeze. We had a ton left over. Some was used in the final step but the rest we’re planning on saving as the most delicious ice cream topping. Maybe we’ll make another cake. Or we could just squeeze it directly into our face-holes. Anything is an option!
Last, the most fun step! Decorating. Disclaimer: neither one of us are bakers or good at drawing. Mysteriously the rest of the Jim Bean bottle disappeared around this time, too. We did our best using the pastry bag and trying to draw patterns with left over ganache. Lauren encourages you to guess which is supposed to be the Hogwarts Crest and the Snitch.
We declared this one the pageant winner. It basically looks like HP right? The sprinkles really saved the whole concept. Thanks Geeky Hostess!