Like many people, I got caught up in the excitement of the holiday season. Things are just starting to settle back to normal (although some airlines are doing their best to keep me guessing for as long as possible!) and as I got settled, I realized just how long it has been since I have posted a recipe. As I have been so remiss in posting, here is a very special post. I have been holding onto this recipe for a while, simultaneously excited and nervous about it. But I feel like it is time…
I have been dropping hints about this recipe for quite a while. Remember that butterscotch sauce from the end of the summer? It plays a prominent role in this recipe.
So without further ado, let’s start 2013 off right with some………..
If you have been paying very close attention to the blog, you may have picked up on the fact that I am a (huge) Harry Potter fan. Having come across these butterbeer cupcakes in a few places, I decided that I simply had to make them!
What makes them butterbeer, you ask? The secret is a combination of butterscotch and cream soda. Cream soda goes into the cupcake batter, and then as they cool, you drizzle butterscotch into the cupcakes. A little butterscotch in your icing, and there you go!
As the cupcakes cool, fill them with butterscotch. I’d suggest going back after you go through them all once and add a bit more butterscotch after the first round of butterscotch has soaked in. You can’t really have too much butterscotch in these! Then whip up some butterscotch buttercream icing while they finish cooling, and you’ve got butterbeer cupcakes.
Now that would make you some pretty great, Harry-Potter-fan cupcakes. But you’re not just a fan, are you? For a Harry-Potter-super-fan cupcake, you need a little something extra. Which is why I came up with some tasty golden snitches to top them!
Making the snitch wings is best done a little ahead of time. (Do this before you start to whip up the cupcakes or a day ahead of time, stored in the fridge.) Place some good-sized mint leaves on a plate, bottom-side up. Melt a little chocolate, and gently paint the melted chocolate onto the back of the mint leaves, taking care to make the chocolate layer thick. *Use a new paintbrush or one that has only been used for food!*
Allow them to cool and harden completely, putting them in the fridge to speed up the cooling process, if you want. Then geeeeeently peel the leaf off of the chocolate. Take care not to handle the chocolate for too long. It will melt very quickly. Replace the chocolate snitch wings in the fridge if they become too soft.
I used Lindt truffles for the body of the snitch. There are multiple ways to use it to make your snitches gold. I mixed some edible gold dust (usually found in the baking aisle of the grocery store. If not, you can easily find it online.) with a little bit of water and painted it onto the Lindt truffles and the chocolate wings. Painting the dust on the truffles was a bit of a challenge. An even better method that I discovered later is to sprinkle a little gold dust onto the truffle and then gently brush it with either a small paintbrush or a bit of paper towel until they are coated evenly.
Then just stick the gold snitches onto the top of your iced cupcakes. I found it worked best if you put the wings on first and then pressed the body down to secure the wings.
Make sure to admire them for a while before digging in. What fun desserts to make for any Harry Potter fans in your life!
Makes 1 dozen cupcakes
For the cupcakes
- 2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup reduced* cream soda
- 1/4 cup butterscotch sauce
For the buttercream frosting
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/3 cup butterscotch sauce
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 16 oz powdered sugar
For the decorations
- 12 Lindt truffles (white chocolate worked best with the gold paint I used)
- 24 mint leaves
- 1 chocolate bar (again white chocolate is easiest to paint, but I accidentally burnt mine…oops…so milk chocolate worked fine for me!)
- Make your chocolate snitch wings by painting a thick layer of melted chocolate on the back (textured side) of the mint leaves, and refrigerate them while you make the cupcakes.
- Make butterscotch sauce, if you don’t have any on hand.
- Preheat the oven to 350F and line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners.
- Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Then cream in the regular and brown sugars.
- Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
- Once well combined, add in the dry ingredients and the cream soda, a bit at a time, and mix until well combined.
- Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full, and bake the cupcakes for 17-20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and cool.
- While cupcakes are cooling, poke a hole in each cupcake and drizzle butterscotch sauce into them.
- Make up the buttercream icing by beating the butter until light and fluffy, about 6-8 minutes. Add in the butterscotch sauce and vanilla, and gently stir in the powdered sugar. Beat again until very light, another 2-3 minutes.
- Ice the cooled cupcakes by spreading or piping the icing, and then drizzle with extra butterscotch sauce, if desired.
- Gently peel the mint leaves away from your chocolate snitch wings.
- Brush or paint your snitch bodies and wings with edible gold paint or dust (described in detail above) and then press the wings and body into the icing on top of the cupcake.
- Revel in the magic you just made! And share with all the Harry Potter fans you know. They will be blown away!
*You can use regular cream soda to save yourself some hassle. However, the first time I made them, I decided that the cream soda part of the flavor was a little too faint. The second time I made them, I reduced the cream soda by half. Start with 1 cup of cream soda and gently boil it down by half.
(Hint: when you need to reduce a liquid, fill a pot with the same amount of water that you want your liquid to end up with - in this case you would use 1/2 cup of water – and mark a skewer at the level of the water. Then dump out the water and use the same pot to reduce your liquid – for us the 1 cup of cream soda – when the level of the cream soda gets down to the mark on the skewer, you have reduced it by half!)
These cupcakes can be as time intensive as you decide to make them. Of course I decided it was a great idea to do everything from scratch, so it was a many-hour process for me. But there are some easy substitutes that you can use to speed the process along. No one will even know!
-The easiest substitution is to use pre-made butterscotch sauce. It is easily found in most US grocery stores. If you can’t find any, just make a batch of butterscotch sauce a couple of days ahead of time. That will break up the cooking. And the butterscotch sauce is so easy and tasty, you will definitely want to use the leftovers as an ice cream topping…or as an anything topping!
-To simplify the process further, you could also buy a pre-made buttercream icing and just stir in some butterscotch sauce, instead of making the icing from scratch.
-The recipe that I use for the cupcake batter is from scratch. It should be pretty easy to substitute cream soda for some of the liquid in a store-bought cake mix to get the same results for even less work. I haven’t tried it, so it might take a little tweaking of the amounts, but if anyone tries it out, please let me know how it goes!
Are you a Harry Potter nerd like me? If not, what is your book or movie series of choice?