I do believe, if I were able to conjure a Patronus charm, it is highly likely mine would be turn out to be a big fat cake, rather than the majestic stag Harry and James Potter produce. Perhaps it would be one of these, my Butterbeer Cupcakes…
It’s perhaps no secret that I live in a fantasy world. I’m a hopeless romantic daydreamer through and through. Although I never took to the books themselves, unlikely though that sounds, the Harry Potter movies have taken a special place in my heart and when I need to escape and envelope myself in a magical world full of witchcraft and wizardry, then out the boxset comes.
Until the day Hungry Hubby and me can visit Harry Potter World in Florida and sample an overflowing tankard of butterbeer for real, these Butterbeer Cupcakes with a cloud of fluffy Italian Meringue Buttercream for frosting will have to keep us going. In case you’re wondering what on earth a butterbeer tastes like, it is described as a buttery cream soda, not as sweet as caramel. If you adore caramel and vanillary flavours as much as I do, you can surely imagine how delicious that would be.
These cupcakes deliver all that sweet buttery loveliness in the form of a cake just for you, with a cloud of creamy frilly frosting so delicious, that you will want to eat more of it with a spoon when your cake is finished!
The idea for the recipe came from a photo on Pinterest I came across totally by chance but the problem was, it was from an American blog and it firstly used cup measures which a lot of my readers don’t like plus whilst I could probably get on board with butter essence (probably – it does sound a bit too artificial really!), it’s very unfamiliar to the British baker and I wanted to make this recipe as accessible as possible. I’ve tweaked and fiddled and come up with a version I hope you will all love and will be able to find the ingredients for without difficulty.
To give the right flavour profile, I’ve used Foodie Flavours natural flavourings – the Cream Soda and Creamy Buttery Caramel in both the cake batter and the frosting. They give the beautifully smooth, creamy caramel taste that I imagine a butterbeer sampled on a snowy day in Hogsmeade would have.
I use a lot less sugar in the cake batter but go for light muscovado sugar, to maximise the caramel theme we’ve got going on here. Italian meringue buttercream is just magical and if you’ve never tried it, I promise it is so worth the effort. Yes, you make a syrup which you whisk into egg whites then you beat in plenty of butter but honestly, the texture is completely unique and if you think standard buttercreams (half butter to icing sugar +/- a little milk and vanilla) are sickly and you end up scraping most of it off, then this is the frosting for you!
I also love the crown of cream it gives to the honey-hued cupcake – quite like a tankard of butterbeer in appearance really. To get this rippled finish, I used this nozzle but a large star tipped nozzle will work very well too. I do love how the ripples look like the waves of a Viennetta though! Do give my butterscotch sauce a try to drizzle the cakes with and use some suitably magical sprinkles to finish them off.
You can get the butterscotch chips/morsels off amazon – Guittard Butterscotch Baking Chips – but Ocado sell them too. The Nestlé Toll House ones are lovely too and you can try American candy shops either on the high street or online for those. If you find them better value elsewhere, do stop by and leave a comment here so others can source them too. Chopped up Caramac bars are a decent substitute too.
And finally, I use these baking cups for all my cupcakes these days as I can put as many as I like on a baking tray so can cook the whole batch on one shelf, as they are sturdy and standalone. Plus they are super cute and come in a myriad of colours and decorations for all occasions.
“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean it is not real?”
— Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, JK Rowling
- 300 g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 150 g light muscovado sugar
- 250 ml buttermilk
- 125 ml vegetable oil I use rice bran oil
- 3 medium eggs
- 15 drops* Foodie Flavours Cream Soda flavouring
- 15 drops Foodie Flavours Buttery Caramel flavouring
- 150 g butterscotch chips or morsels
- 3 medium egg whites
- 200 g golden caster sugar
- 75 g water
- 300 g soft butter
- 4 tbsp butterscotch sauce
- 5 drops Foodie Flavours Cream Soda flavouring
- 5 drops Foodie Flavours Buttery Caramel flavouring
- Extra butterscotch to drizzle with
- Sprinkles as liked
- Stand mixer
- Candy thermometer
- Large piping bag and star shaped nozzle
Preheat the oven to 180˚C and place your baking cups on a baking tray, or fill a muffin pan with cupcake cases.
Sift the flour and raising agents together into a large bowl.
Whisk all the remaining ingredients bar the butterscotch chips together then stir in the flour and chips until smooth.
Fill the baking cups to no more than half full (these cupcakes rise very well) and bake for 18-20 minutes. If you are using muffin pans, you'll need to use two shelves and rotate the pans half way through to ensure even baking.
Cool for 5 minutes then remove to a rack to come to room temperature.
Put the egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attached.
Weigh the caster sugar into a deep saucepan and add the water.
Bring to a boil and place a candy thermometer in. The caramel will turn a deep dark brown by the time it is to temperature, which may take a good 10 minutes. You are looking for a temp of 121˚C.
As the temp begins to climb, turn your stand mixer on to whisk the egg whites on high speed. With practice, you'll get them to firm peaks as the caramel comes to temperature.
Once the caramel is ready, pour in a slow, steady thin stream onto the whisked whites, with the stand mixer on medium-high speed still. Aim for the bit between the whisk and the side of the bowl so you don't get shards of set caramel falling into your buttercream.
Turn up to high when all the caramel has been used and leave it to whisk until the outside of the bowl is cool to touch. This may take another 10 minutes.
When cool, turn the speed down to medium-high again and add the butter, a tbsp at a time. Add another as the previous is incorporated. Once it is all mixed in, add the flavourings and butterscotch then turn the speed up to high. Carry on until the buttercream is thick and creamy, not at all soupy. If it is a hot day, you can chill it for 15 minutes before using.
Fill your piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle with the buttercream and top each cupcake with a generous amount of frosting.
Drizzle each with a little extra butterscotch and decorate with sprinkles as liked.
*= 15 drops of Foodie Flavours equates to about a 1/4 tsp worth of the flavouring. I suggest measuring this into a spoon as some bottles pour faster than others and they are very strong flavourings, you don't want to add too much.
These cupcakes are best kept in the fridge if not using straight away as the frosting is soft and will slump if left at room temperature on a warm day.
Adapted from Get my butterscotch sauce recipe here
If you can't get the butterscotch morsels, chopped Caramac bars are a very decent alternative (plus a lot cheaper here in the UK!).
This post contains affiliate links, meaning I will earn a little commission if you chose to buy items I’ve advertised, helping me to bring you all these recipes for free!
I bought all the ingredients and equipment for this recipe myself and am not being sponsored in any way by the companies mentioned – I just want to show you what I used so you can make these wonderful cupcakes yourself exactly like I did at home.
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