Butterbeer Cupcakes

As promised last week, here is another post dedicated to my jaunt to sunny Florida. But instead of featuring their famous fruit, this time I’m focusing one of their famous attractions — The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Last spring we spent our entire trip at Disney World (as evidenced by my Mickey Cupcakes), but since then Universal has opened Harry Potter land, and so Ryan, my brother Scott, and I had a reason to go back in 2011. I’ve always loved Island of Adventures because of their really great roller coasters, but now with this whimsical addition, the park is even more of a “must see” in Orlando. I had seen these cupcakes on Amy Bites before we left, and knew I’d want to give them a try after I had sampled “real” Butterbeer at the park and as a way to celebrate our trip.

We really enjoyed their rendition of Diagon Alley and Hogwart’s — the buildings were kind of tilted in towards the walkway so you really felt like you were there. And I was impressed with just how HUGE the castle was, not to mention how fun the ride was inside. Of course we got ourselves some butterbeer to try, the frozen variety, and although Ryan LOVED it, I found it a bit too sweet. I know, hard to believe with a name like Erica Sweet Tooth, but this was just a little over the top with sweetness, especially for a drink. That being said, I knew the flavors were perfect for a cupcake, something meant to be overly sweet, and couldn’t wait to give Amy’s recipe a try now that I knew for myself how JK Rowling intended butterbeer to taste.
Universal won’t release their official recipe for butterbeer, but HP fanatics have suggested it is made with a combination of cream soda, butter, and butterscotch. I’m a big fan of butterscotch, and was glad to see that that was the main flavor Amy used in her recipe. The butter flavoring definitely adds to it as well — it’s called butterbeer for a reason! To achieve the overall butterbeer flavor, the cupcakes are made with butter flavoring and some cream soda, filled with butterscotch ganache, and topped with frosting made with more cream soda, butterscotch, and butter flavoring. I’m not sure how significantly the cream soda contributes to the flavor to the cupcakes, since there’s just not much in the batter, but I was glad to buy a bottle of it since Ryan made some delicious cocktails with the leftovers (cream soda, vodka, and Kahlua, mmmmmm). My one issue with the recipe was that the cupcakes were a little dense, any one know how to remedy that? If I get some good suggestions, I’ll make a comment in the recipe below.

If you know a Harry Potter enthusiast, these are the perfect treats for them. Maybe make a batch in anticipation for the movie coming out this summer, or even if you can’t stand wizards, this flavor combination would make anyone’s day!

Butterbeer Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from Amy Bites

For the cupcakes:

2 cups flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
3 large eggs
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp butter flavoring
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup cream soda

For the butterscotch ganache:
1 11-oz package butterscotch chips
3/4 cup heavy cream

For the buttercream frosting:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup butterscotch ganache
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp butter flavoring
1/8 tsp salt
1 lb powdered sugar
Splash of cream (as needed)

– Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake tins with paper liners.
– In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
– In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffly, about 2-3 minutes.
– Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl between each.
– Add in vanilla and butter flavoring.
– Combine buttermilk and cream soda in a small bowl and alternate adding that combination with the flour mixture with the mixer on low, starting and ending with the flour.
– Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 15-17 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely on wire racks.

– For the butterscotch ganache, melt butterscotch chips and heavy cream together using a double boiler until completely smooth. Cool to room temperature to allow the ganache to slightly thicken.
– Fill a plastic squeeze bottle with the ganache, and insert tip into each cupcake, filling until the ganache starts to slightly overflow.

– For the frosting, cream butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add ganache, vanilla, butter flavoring, and salt and mix until well combined. Beat in powdered sugar and allow it to come together for about 2 minutes. Add cream a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
– Pipe frosting onto cupcakes with a large tip and drizzle leftover butterscotch ganache over each.

Recipe yields 18 cupcakes.

The cupcake liners I used can be found here from Fancy Flours.

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59 Responses to “Butterbeer Cupcakes”

  1. #
    1
    Melinda — April 6, 2011 @ 6:03 pm

    Yum!! You can NEVER go wrong with a Harry Potter related dessert. I’ve been trying to get out to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter since it opened – hopefully this summer!! I made butterbeer from one of the recipes at mugglenet.com before the release of the 6th book, and that was extremely sweet too. You can definitely only have a little bit at a time!

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    K'sKronicles — April 6, 2011 @ 6:15 pm

    Those sound so good! I suggest when you add the liquids, do not use a mixer, gently fold the liquid with the solids…this will help to make a less dense cake. Adding this to my must make box!

    K

  3. #
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    L E A H — April 6, 2011 @ 10:23 pm

    I’ve been looking all over for a recipe for butterbeer – I definitely have to try these cupcakes!

  4. #
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    jpite — April 7, 2011 @ 2:39 am

    Jealous, Harry Potter World,Butterbeer I have to go!Just finished Deathly Hollows.

  5. #
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    The Addicted Baker — April 7, 2011 @ 4:47 am

    Can never go wrong with book inspired food :)

  6. #
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    Mara — April 7, 2011 @ 2:43 pm

    mmmmmmmmm that looks awesome

  7. #
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    Elaine — April 20, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

    They look delicious :)

  8. #
    8
    Kristen — May 23, 2011 @ 2:37 pm

    I just returned from Islands of Adventure and can’t wait to try these cupcakes out!

  9. #
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    Amy — June 6, 2011 @ 6:16 pm

    I live in Orlando and love going to Universal to get some butterbeer! I tried these cupcakes using the original recipe, and I completely agreed with you that they were too dense. So I tried them again this weekend and used cake flour instead of regular flour and they came out perfect – light and fluffy!!

  10. #
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    lwoody — June 21, 2011 @ 3:54 pm

    Where did you get your cupcake liners? They are so cool! Great presentation!

  11. #
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    Erica — June 21, 2011 @ 8:45 pm
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    ringr — July 8, 2011 @ 8:11 pm

    I made these in honor of the last Harry Potter movie coming out and just shared them on my blog [http://ringr.wordpress.com/2011/07/08/butterbeer-cupcakes/] Thank you so much for your recipe and wonderful blog!!

  13. #
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    Chase — July 13, 2011 @ 7:27 pm

    First off, as a fellow baker, I adore your site. Secondly, I also adore all things Harry Potter. Thirdly, one thing you might want to try if the cupcakes are dense–instant pudding. I discovered this recently making piña colada cupcakes. If you put a liquid that contains alcohol or carbonation in a cake, as I’m sure you know, it leaves it dense and kind of dry since it cooks out. Putting in the pudding mix helps keep it the right texture (and it can help for a flavor pop too). Usually I make the pudding and sub it in for the wet ingredients minus the eggs, so I’m not 100% sure exactly what to do in this case. Perhaps use butterscotch pudding and when you make it, sub in some cream soda in place of milk? I’m not sure but experimenting is awfully delicious.

  14. #
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    Marjory Stuart-Baxter — July 13, 2011 @ 7:29 pm

    The movie comes out in less than two days and my friends and I are having a marathon and making these! I can’t wait to try them!

  15. #
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    Anonymous — July 14, 2011 @ 4:07 am

    Just wanted to say thanks!

    I saw this recipe months ago and new that I was going to use it. I’m making these butterbeer cupcakes for the premiere tomorrow night, going ALL OUT and the night wouldn’t be complete without Harry Potter themed baked goods :)

  16. #
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    Kate @ Kate from Scratch — July 14, 2011 @ 9:09 pm

    These are gorgeous and so clever! Looks like you had a wonderful time! I’m a little jealous, but mostly happy for you. I’m psyched about HP!

  17. #
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    Anonymous — July 19, 2011 @ 12:35 am

    These are incredible. Moist cake and not too sweet of a buttercream. Made these of course for the end of an epic. I do have a question for you Erica: How did you pipe the frosting and what tip did you use? I attempted to recreate it with the 1M from Wilton, but fail. Thank you!

  18. #
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    Erica — July 20, 2011 @ 1:32 am

    I actually ordered a larger cupcake decorating tip from Bake it Pretty (http://www.bakeitpretty.com/products/Giant-Closed-Star-Pastry-Tip.html) because the 1M just wasn’t cutting it for me either. I highly recommend it!

  19. #
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    Anonymous — July 21, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

    Where do you get your cupcake liners?

  20. #
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    Anonymous — July 22, 2011 @ 1:29 pm

    If you add a lager (like Yuengling) to a butterbeer recipe it helps cut the sweetness and tastes way better!

  21. #
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    Erica — July 25, 2011 @ 12:20 pm

    You can get the liners here from Fancy Flours: http://www.fancyflours.com/muffin-cup-fluted-brioche.html

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    Audrey — August 21, 2011 @ 12:51 pm

    I made these last night (I’ve been out of the country since I saw the post) and they are delicious! One of the best cupcakes ever! Thank you what a fun post!

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    Rhiannon — September 19, 2011 @ 1:11 am

    Hey! I made these and posted them on my baking blog too – I linked back to you! (: Thanks so much for the recipe, and your photos are so awesome, I’m jealous!

    http://bakerhi.com/post/10385545428/recipe-time-butterbeer-cupcakes-originally-by

  24. #
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    Anonymous — September 26, 2011 @ 4:00 pm

    Your cupcakes are beautiful! Are you actually baking the cupcakes in these great looking fluted liners or plopping the cupcakes in after cooking with or without a regular paper liner? Thank you

  25. #
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    Erica — September 26, 2011 @ 8:47 pm

    Yup – the cupcakes are baked in the liners. You can find them here: http://www.fancyflours.com/muffin-cup-fluted-brioche.html

  26. #
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    AnickH — October 18, 2011 @ 9:42 am

    My little boy loves harry potter so im sure he’ll love these but i actually think ill love them more. the ingredients sound awesome. ive browsed at a lot of butterbeer cupcakes online and yours look the best

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    BrittyM — January 30, 2012 @ 7:44 pm

    Im So excited to make these!!! I will be practicing first, to get them like the perfect one’s pictured that you did, AMAZING!!! I am going to make them for my soon to be sis-n-laws bridal shower coming up!!! They are going to kick ass! Thanks girl!!

  28. #
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    redscupcakes — February 6, 2012 @ 7:18 pm

    can you tell me where you get the cupcake liners that you used for these cupcakes …or what they are called? Plz? Help? :-)

  29. #
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    Heidi — February 20, 2012 @ 5:27 pm

    Made these last night for a Mardi Gras event at my husband’s work. They came out great! They were for a competition so we didn’t want them to end up too sweet. I paired the cupcake and ganache with a cream cheese frosting which we colored in batches of green, purple and gold. I’ll let you know how they do in the competition. Thanks for a great recipe!!

  30. #
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    Anonymous — March 9, 2012 @ 3:18 am

    is it a swirl or 2 stars one on top of each other. i have those big tips. which tip did u use, closed star ?

    • Erica — March 13th, 2012 @ 12:26 pm

      I used an open star I think, and just applied pressure and kind of lifted and twisted as I went – not a true swirl.

  31. #
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    Ntxuam — June 19, 2012 @ 10:24 am

    Hey…just found your blog for all these wonderful treats. I thought I’d give you a few suggestions on making this a lighter, less dense cupcake. First of all try using some cake flour. You will probably need to use a bit more cake flour since the gluten content is lower than AP flour but it’s because of that reason why people use it to make cakes lighter. You can also try experimenting with adding either sour cream or whipped cream cheese to the batter to help lighten it a little. Also, sugar does make things a little more dense so you could try cutting out some of the sugar but not too much. The last thing you can try, which I’m not sure if it’ll work for this recipe, is separating the eggs and making a french meringue with the whites and then folding it into the rest of the batter. When making the meringue, don’t use more sugar, just use some from the 1/2 cup of sugar that the recipe already calls for so that you don’t change the amount of sugar in the recipe.

    The last thing I suggest is to not make all these changes all at once but rather to make a batch and only change one thing at a time so that you can see the end result. Baking is definitely a science and recipes in baking are more like formulas similar to a math equation. I hope these suggestions help the next time you make this recipe. Hopefully, I’ll find some time to make it myself soon.

    Happy baking!!

  32. #
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    Anonymous — July 14, 2012 @ 11:05 pm

    My daughter and I made these today to take to a Harry Potter party–they were a huge hit! My daughter is 16 and is showing a great interest in baking. This was her first try at using a pastry bag-she had fun and did a great job. Thanks

  33. #
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    Anonymous — July 18, 2012 @ 7:07 pm

    jpite spelled Deathly HALLOWS WRONG!!!!!!!!!

  34. #
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    Anonymous — July 23, 2012 @ 6:21 pm

    I made these cupcakes for the end of the school year and they were realy good they were so good that I had none left over

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    Aloha from Hawaii — August 9, 2012 @ 10:38 am

    Yum! I just made these today and they are absolutely amazing! :) I’m a huge Harry Potter fan too and after seeing this cupcake I knew I HAD to make it.

  36. #
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    Joan@chocolateandmore — August 17, 2012 @ 6:17 pm

    I love those cupcake holders, thanks for supplying the link. Universal outdid themselves with the whole Harry Potter park. We loved it when we went and spent 3 days there, luckily we hadn’t bought our Disney tickets yet. It was perfect for all the ages, 13, 11 and 8 at the time, plus hubby and myself. We fell in love with butterbeer except my youngest who preferred the carrot juice. Will give these a try, always looking for a way to relive good times. And we’re Harry Potter fanatics!

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    natalie.amgott — August 30, 2012 @ 3:54 am

    I was wondering about the butter flavoring. Can you just buy that at a regular grocery store near all the extracts? I don’t know that I’ve ever seen it, but I’ve never looked. Gotta make these for my Harry Potter loving boyfriend!

  38. #
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    Geni — September 6, 2012 @ 7:10 pm

    Oh! This is PERFECT. My bestest friend is going through some really hard times, loves Harry Potter, and has a birthday next week. I’m going to make a big batch of these to go with her present. Love it!!

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    Anonymous — September 7, 2012 @ 8:45 pm

    I made these cupcakes with dad and the were awesome. I totally want to be a baker.

  40. #
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    Anonymous — September 9, 2012 @ 2:34 am

    I have Gingerbeer. Wonder if it would make a good cupcake?

    • Erica — September 10th, 2012 @ 1:30 pm

      I think that would make a great cupcake. Good luck!

  41. #
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    Hannah Harper — October 7, 2012 @ 9:14 am

    Gosh, this sounds AMAZING! I love Harry Potter, and I love cupcakes!

  42. #
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    Alice Mall — November 29, 2012 @ 5:44 pm

    @ Amy- did you use cake flour 1:1? I know if you switch to AP flour where a recipe calls for cake flour you use 2 tbspns less for every cup called for, but I do not know how to do the switch the other way. Do you use 2 more tablespoons per cup used?

    @ K’sKronicles – Thanks for the tip on adding the liquids by hand. I always add mine to my mixer at the end on stir. I wonder if this will help with other recipes I have tried that have also come out on the dense side.

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    Riana — December 21, 2012 @ 10:52 pm

    I look forward to making these, but I have to correct you with what they built a duplicate of. They did not make a replica of Diagon Alley, it was Hogsmeade, the small village near Hogwarts.

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    Brittany — April 13, 2013 @ 1:37 am

    Definetly use cake flour in your recipe instead of regular all purpose. Mis all of your dry ingredients together first and amply add them to the liquids until just blended. If you over mix it tends to make your cupcakes dense. Good luck and I can’t wait to try these !

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