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Butterbeer Cupcakes

Butterbeer Cupcakes

This is part IV in a mini-series of Harry Potter snacks from the books brought to life (part I is on Honeydukes treats, part II is all about the cauldron cakes, and part III features every wizard's favorite drink—butterbeer!).

I confess that Butterbeer Cupcakes aren't actually mentioned in the Harry Potter series. In my defense, if JK Rowling had been given one of these while writing the books, she would have found a way to fit them in. They are so exceptional, I wouldn't be surprised if she featured them as a major plot point.

I'm only half joking.

Butterbeer Cupcakes

Humor aside, the release of the final movie is upon us. I'm a mixed bag of emotions right now—thrilled to see the last movie and devastated to see the series finally come to a close. It's not only the end of the series but the end of an era—an era that defined my generation in a small, significant way. Though I knew this day would come, I find I'm not ready to say farewell. I want to hold onto the magic just a little bit longer.

Yet, as I keep reminding myself, this isn't really goodbye.

My collection of Harry Potter books isn't going anywhere. The movies are not suddenly going to vanish from the shelves. I can revisit the characters, these friends I have gotten to know over the last decade, whenever I choose. We can still get together for long weekends and lazy Sunday afternoons. Though the characters will no longer evolve or set out on new adventures, that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Like the familiar comfort of an old friend, you know they'll always be around, waiting patiently on your bookshelf.

I don't know about you, but I can always use the comfort of an old friend.

Butterbeer Cupcakes Butterbeer Cupcakes

These Butterbeer Cupcakes are easily on my list of the top three cupcakes of all time (if you put another one in front of me, I just may declare these the winner). These are unbelievably delicious—in fact, they didn't even last a full 24 hours in my house.

The butterbeer cupcake is essentially a brown sugar cupcake infused with cream soda and butter flavors. If that isn't good enough, the cupcakes are then filled with a butterscotch ganache, topped with a rich butterscotch buttercream, and drizzled with more butterscotch ganache. I'm not typically a fan of butterscotch, but these cupcakes absolutely changed my mind. The cupcake itself leans more on the denser side, but it still manages to feel light. The butterscotch buttercream is sweet, but not teeth-fall-out sweet (I don't typically like sweet frostings, but I ate this one by the spoonful. So good). Don't even get me started on the butterscotch ganache...

You need to make these. I don't want to hear any excuses—no ifs, ands, or buts about it. You can thank me later.

Butterbeer Cupcakes

If you want to see a truly epic Harry Potter cake, my incredible friend Meghan from CosmoCookie has just what you're looking for. Made out of gingerbread, it features stained glass windows and all of your favorite characters from the books. Did I mention it even lights up? The creation of this amazing cake can be found here and the finished product is here. Check it out!

Butterbeer Cupcakes
Adapted from Amy Bites

Yields 18 cupcakes

Butterbeer 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

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.

Butterscotch Ganache
11 ounces (1 package) butterscotch chips
1 cup heavy cream

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.

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
Splash of heavy cream (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 (I only needed 1 tablespoon).

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.

Fill a pastry bag with butterscotch buttercream and pipe onto the top of each cupcake. 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 ice cream topping.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature (that is, if they don't get devoured immediately).

Butterbeer Cupcakes

Reader Comments (87)

These are awesome : )
07.15.2011 | Unregistered CommenterNeha
ohhh myyyyyyy goodnessss, i fell in lust with your butterbeer post, but these are something altogether different and in a league of their own! They look like sugar rush overload, but in a wonderful delicious way of course :) Gorgeous, ive said it before and will certainly say it again, you are a genius!
These look great, where did you get your cupcake wrappers? These would be adorable as golden snitches with little white chocolate wings :)
Not only visually stunning, but the butterscotch sugary flavours must be over the top good! I am sooo saving this recipe to make for the next family party!
07.15.2011 | Unregistered CommenterSusan
Where did you get your cupcake liners? They are really beautiful.
07.15.2011 | Unregistered CommenterLori
Sasha-- Sugar rush, indeed! But then again, what cupcake isn't? You are much too kind. :)

Rebecca & Lori-- Believe it or not, I actually made these cupcake wrappers from scrapbooking paper! I took a normal cupcake wrapper, cut out the bottom, traced around the wrapper, and cut out my own. I often find that I can't find the right cupcake wrapper for the right cupcake--problem solved!

Susan-- Let me know how they turn out! I'd love to hear what you think.
07.15.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
These are just oh so pretty! Great job!!
07.15.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMigdalia
They look amazing! Pictures are stunning !
07.16.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMedeja
Kristin!!! These look absolutely divine!!!! Im addicted to butterscoth lately (my dentist can attest) and I can't wait to give these a shot. Also, my good friend also had a butterbeer at the park, and said it was a bit too sweet for her as well. I think I will make the cupcakes and your version of butterbeer for her birthday surprise. She will adore it. Thanks for another lusciously luscious post-you are such a great resource when I need to find something to make that I know will be delicious. :)
OH MY GOODNESS. Made these this morning and went to the movie this evening. We ate them upon our return. DIVINE! The little one said there HAD to be magic in them they were so good. I told him probably because one magically jumped in my mouth and just disappeared! The old man ate two. (He NEVER does that) Thanks for the recipe :D
07.17.2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrynja
Frances-- Thank you! I'm sure she will love these (especially together!).

Brynja-- These are magical cupcakes. Mine definitely had a tendency to just disappear out of the blue! I am so happy these were such a hit with your family!
07.17.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
I share your mixed emotions about the magic being over. These books and characters have been dear friends of mine since I was probably twelve.

On a lighter note... the cupcakes are just gorgeous! How did you do that technique with the frosting??
Carissa-- Instead of swirling the frosting on top (like most cupcakes are done), I held the pastry bag vertically and squeezed to make a large base for the frosting. Then, lightly squeezing, I wiggled the pastry bag back and forth until I got the frosting to the desired height. It seems strange to explain, but if you have a pastry bag in front of you, it will make more sense. I hope this helps!
07.17.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
I've really enjoyed your little Harry Potter series. Your recipes look really yummy and a lot of fun to make and eat! I'm a big Harry Potter fan myself. When this last movie comes out on DVD, I think I may host a Harry Potter movie marathon and serve some of your wizarding treats!
I took this recipe and used it to make Golden Snitch Cake Pops. Not only were they delicious, but so cute! All my friends loved them! Here's a picture:
I used yellow and white candy melts to dip the pops in and to make the wings. I put the extra yellow candy into squirt bottles to make the designs on each snitch. Then for the little bit of extra I painted each with edible gold pearl dust.
07.19.2011 | Unregistered CommenterNicole
These are so cute! The HP themed stuff has been so fun to read!
I made these last night! They took a little time to make but OMG EASILY THE BEST CUPCAKE I have ever made!
07.19.2011 | Unregistered CommenterIliza
i made these today and they were DELICIOUS! theyre not too sweet, but nice and rich. i ended up with eighteen normal sized cupcakes, plus eight minis, so i needed to make a little additional frosting for them. thank you so much for this recipe! ill definitely make them again.
07.21.2011 | Unregistered Commentercami
I took these to a Harry Potter party yesterday and they were a HIT (yours look slightly more impressive, but they tasted VERY good so I hope it was true to form). Thank you for sharing the recipe!
07.23.2011 | Unregistered CommenterLwbookeater
I saw your cupcakes on !!!! And then again on stumbleupon... maybe I spend too much time on the internet! :P They look wonderful though, I am a HUGE harry potter fan. This warms my heart! :D
07.24.2011 | Unregistered Commenterkatelin
Lwbookeater-- You're welcome! I'm glad you could share the HP love with these cupcakes.

Katelin-- Thank you!
07.24.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
These. are. DIVINE!!!!! As a self-proclaimed Potter nerd and competitve baker, I HAD to make these. The cupcakes are great, but the real star of this show is the frosting. It has the PERFECT consistency - dense, but not too tough. I used milk instead of heavy cream to get the consistency to where I wanted and it worked just fine. The small portion of butterscotch ganache in the frosting adds a great flavor and texture to it. Also, I have to say thank goodness for butter flavoring, I love that this tastes like 1,000 calories worth of butter without the guilt :) I was also surprised by how relatively easy they were to make. I didn't have a squeeze bottle so I just cut out a bit of the middle of each and piped the ganache in with a plastic bag, and it worked fine (although I'd like to try it with the squeeze bottle next time to see if I can get a little more in each one). These are FANTASTIC!!! Thank you SO much for your creativity and delicious recipe!
07.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterHoopsGirl
Thank you so much for this recipe! I, traditionally am/was not a big fan of butterscotch, like yourself.....but these made me a convert!!!!! Also, I did adapt the recipe to make it Gluten Free! This made the cakes a bit more dense and not as light & fluffy....but my taste-testers said they couldn't tell they were GF! I did take photos of them and received positive feedback as well! They are both Pretty AND Delicious!!!!!
08.2.2011 | Unregistered CommenterKnit Yeah!
I made these cupcakes last night and let me just say they are amazing!!! They only problem I had was by the time the ganache cooled off it was too stiff but otherwise amazing! I didn't have a squeeze bottle so I used my infants medicine dropper and it worked great! Def won't be making them too much though because I would just sit there and eat them!
08.2.2011 | Unregistered CommenterJamie S.
HoopsGirl-- So happy these turned out so well for you! They really do taste like 1,000 calories worth of delicious. This is exactly why I love butter extract. :)

Knit Yeah!-- I honestly believe these cupcakes could convert into a butterscotch lover. Love that you made a gluten-free version! Ps: I saw the photos and the cupcakes look great!

Jamie S.-- The ganache can get pretty stiff if cools completely to room temp. A few seconds in the microwave should fix that easy enough. I am with you on that! I would eat all of them and not even share...
08.2.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
Made these last night and they are absolutely delicious! That frosting could bring about world peace, I tell you.
08.7.2011 | Unregistered CommenterLeanna
Harry Potter is not over. I hope you got into Pottermore. It would make me feel alot better sharing early acess with others like me who have literally grown up with the books. Like you, I was 11 when the first movie came out and don't quite know what to do with myself now that it's done.
08.8.2011 | Unregistered CommenterSara
These were a hit at a party I went to. I made them for my friend's birthday, and everyone loved them, including my sister who did a taste test before I took them to the party. She wanted to keep them for ourselves. There was none left to take home, I didn't even get to try one of my creations! I had to make the butterscotch ganache from scratch (we don't have butterscotch chips in Australia), The ganache was soooo nice and the buttercream was beautiful! Will make again one day, so that I can actually have one!
09.1.2011 | Unregistered CommenterSienna
Not sure what I did wrong, but my cake came out tasting completely like flour. blegh!
09.16.2011 | Unregistered Commentermo
Just wondering if there are any modifications that need to be made for high altitudes. These look amazing and I'm looking forward to trying them out!
10.6.2011 | Unregistered CommenterBeth
Beth-- I'm not sure of adaptations for high altitudes (I live nearly at sea level), but GoodLife Eats has a few tips for high altitude cupcake baking that might come in handy for you ( Unfortunately, I think you may have to do a little trial and error to see if this recipe will work as written at high altitudes. I'm sorry I can't be of more help!
10.6.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
LOVE this post! I plan on making almost your entire "series" for a 25th Harry Potter themed birthday party. i am SO excited! Please tell me where you got these cupcake wrappers?? They add such charm to the cupcakes! Thanks for the post!!
10.13.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMorgan
Morgan-- That's a great idea! Harry Potter food will make the Harry Potter party. I actually made those wrappers myself, out of scrapbooking paper. I took a normal cupcake wrapper, cut out the bottom, traced around the wrapper, and cut out my own. It's the perfect way to get the look you want for any cupcake.
10.13.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
I found your recipe on Pinterest and I am def making them tomorrow night! Only 1 question tho can I find the butter flavoring at walmart or any grocery store? I have never heard of that before and I want to make sure I have exactly everything I need to make these amazing looking cupcakes! Thanks in advance for the help!
11.1.2011 | Unregistered CommenterShea Poole
Shea-- You can find the butter flavoring at Walmart (in the cake section), cake decorating stores, or hobby shops (you might be able to find it at the grocery store, but call ahead and find out. I haven't been able to find it there where I live). I hope this helps you out! Can't wait to hear how they turn out!
11.1.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
Making these today for the release!!! My husband is going to die!!
11.11.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarisa
These look delicous! I am looking forward to making them, but could you give me more detailed instructions on the cupcake holders? I love them so much and would like to recreate them myself, but I can't seem to get it!(:
11.13.2011 | Unregistered CommenterJessica
On my way to the store now to buy what I need to make these. I can't wait. I'm on a bit of a Harry Potter high since the final DVD has come out *frown/smile*
11.14.2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlly
how much is a cup?
11.26.2011 | Unregistered CommenterKt
Kt-- A cup is 8 ounces.
11.26.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
Awesome recipe, just made these and they were a huge hit with my roommates :). Thanks for posting it!
12.3.2011 | Unregistered CommenterKirby
WOW! As a fellow lover of all things Harry Potter (and having tried a different butterbeer drink and cookie recipe) I absolutely cannot WAIT to try this recipe the next time I do a Harry Potter night, which i have to admit is quite frequently. Thank you for sharing all these awesome recipes!
02.1.2012 | Unregistered CommenterRachael S
These were very good! I replaced the cream soda with actual beer and they were just the right sweetness. Divine!!
02.15.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanet
My husband and my parents and I are obsessed with Harry Potter, so anything that has to do with it strikes our interest immediately. When I found this recipe, I knew I had to make them right away and what perfect timing, I was going to visit my parents. We made them Saturday night (and although they werent as pretty as yours) they were the most amazing things I have ever tasted! That is saying a lot as I have a big sweet tooth. My mother, who never expresses emotions about anything including food, she was like these litterally are the best cupcakes. They didnt even last 12 hours in my house, I will admit I had 4....I couldnt help it. THEY WERE DELICIOUS. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING.
03.5.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKellie Jamieson
How far ahead can I make these? It looks like they should definitely be made and assembled all at once, but if I make them on a Tuesday and stick them in my fridge, would they be ok for Wednesday night? Thanks!!
03.9.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDana
Dana-- You can make them a day ahead of time and they will still taste great. Just remove them from the refrigerator and hour or two before serving to bring them to room temperature.
03.9.2012 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
03.9.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDana
Totally nerded out over these! They were amazing. My little brother had a great birthday!
03.12.2012 | Unregistered CommentereWest
Jamie S., Thank you for the wonderful tip to use the medicine dropper! It worked great!
06.17.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa
I made these last night as a birthday treat for myself and they have gotten rave reviews from all that tried them! I did make the mistake of adding the first 1/3 of flour and buttermilk before the eggs but they taste AMAZING! Thanks for the recipe!
06.18.2012 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

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