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