Siriusly Good Cupcakes


Themed parties are an opportunity to gather all your favorite like-minded friends to your bosom; themed potlucks allow you to sample from the culinary skills and creativity of these charming people. As an added bonus, the latter requires even less effort on the part of the host, who then has time to turn her considerable decorating abilities to crafting, say, a magical feast. These events also provide an excuse to throw a morning’s effort into an extravagant recipe, something with a little bang but scalable for a large crowd.  When we began planning a contribution for April’s Harry Potter Book Club meeting (Prisoner of Azkaban, my personal favorite, for all of you Potter aficionados out there) we decided it was time to pull out all the stops and go sugary.

One of us has been blessed with a sweet tooth and the other would rather have seconds of dinner for dessert, but we managed to come to an agreement over the Butterbeer cupcakes from the blog AmyBites. If you need a dessert for your Harry Potter-themed party, go with these. They are fun to make, sweet as a sugar quill, and can be decorated with any number of cupcake toppers. I suppose the toppers nudge this post into Adventure territory since we had a little too much fun making them. Even if you’re not an artist – heck, especially if you’re not an artist – these are an adorable touch for your baked goods, be they Game of Thrones viewing party lemon tartlets or football tailgate Rice Krispies treats.


Crafting the cupcakes themselves is a delightful project. Stabbing fresh cupcakes with a squeeze bottle full of butterscotch ganache is so deeply satisfying I think it must be illegal in at least four Southern states. We used a pastry bag and star-shaped tip to frost, but a plastic bag with a corner removed or a light spackling with a knife is probably sufficient for those a little less inclined to overload on sugar. Just drizzle a little chilled butterscotch sauce over the tops, and you have 18 charming desserts for your friends.

The recipe itself receives our seal of approval. The crumb on the cupcakes is moist and the flavor is well balanced. The frosting is sweet, but not quite enough to ache and certainly not enough to overwhelm the cake. The butterscotch ganache is, as you might expect, butterscotch-y. All in all, these were an ideal addition to the feast – ten points to Gryffindor!

Harry Potter Butterbeer Cupcakes (Recipe from AmyBites Blog)

For the cupcakes (makes 18):

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon butter flavoring
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup cream soda

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake pans with paper liners. Combine your flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, cream your butter until light and fluffy. Add your sugars and beat until well-combined. Beat in your eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Then beat in your vanilla and butter flavoring.

Alternate adding your buttermilk, cream soda, and dry ingredients in batches until all are well incorporated. Fill each cupcake liner 3/4 full, then bake for 15 to 17 minutes until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean and cake springs back to the touch. Cool completely on wire racks.


For the ganache: 

  • 1 11-oz. package butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup heavy cream

In a double boiler (heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water on the stove), combine butterscotch chips and heavy cream and stir until completely combined and smooth. Cool to room temperature. Fill a squeeze bottle with ganache and insert into the center of each cupcake, squeezing until filling begins to overflow.

For the frosting: 

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup butterscotch ganache
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon butter flavoring
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 16-oz. package powdered sugar
  • Splash of milk or cream (as needed)

Cream butter in a large bowl until fluffy. Add in ganache, vanilla, butter flavoring, and salt and mix until well combined. Beat in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until reaching desired consistency. Add milk or cream by the Tablespoon as needed. Frost cupcakes and top with a drizzle of butterscotch ganache.




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