Monday, July 18, 2011

So what do Butterbeer Cupcakes & Harry Potter have in common?

So what's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear Butterbeer?  Well, the first thing that came to my mind was, "great just another beer batter in cupcake form."  Then I decided to do some research.  Ok true confession.. I am NOT a Harry Potter fan nor will I ever be-- but I know many who are.  So If you’ve read the books or seen the movies, you know that butterbeer is a beverage in the Harry Potter Universe. There’s been a lot of speculation in the fan community over the years as to what it tastes like, and there’s been lots of recipe experimenting. The way I can best describe it is like butterscotch cream soda—but better.
Essentially, the flavor profile is that of a buttery cream soda cake, filled with butterscotch ganache, topped with a butterscotch buttercream and drizzled with more butterscotch ganache. It sounds kind of intense, but trust me on this don't knock 'em until you try 'em!  Supposably the flavor is like the real stuff at Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The only thing missing is the fizz! The frosting and butterscotch ganache are sweet and rich—but it’s balanced out by the cake, which is light, fluffy, and has a lovely, buttery, savory-sweet balance.  You should definitely try these, whether you’re a Harry Potter fan or not. I on the other hand are a HUGE fan of the cupcakes!

For the cupcakes:.
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
For the ganache:.
1 11-oz. package butterscotch chips
1 cup heavy cream
For the buttercream 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)

For the cupcakes: 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 butterscotch filling: 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 buttercream frosting: 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.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Brownie S'mores Cupcakes

Sometimes, the best cupcake recipe combines the little cake with another classic dessert. The easiest way to whip up s'mores cupcakes is to bake a standard chocolate cupcake, frost it with marshmallow creme and finish it off with a dusting of chocolate shavings and graham cracker crumbs. However, if you've got a little more time on your hands, you can try this recipe.

  • 1 box brownie mix, prepared according to directions (You can make brownie batter from scratch, if you prefer.)
  • 1 2/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 1/4 cup chocolate shavings
  • Marshmallow creme to taste
(makes 12 cupcakes)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter in a bowl and mix well. If it feels a little dry, add in a couple more tablespoons of butter -- the goal is for the graham cracker mixture to pack nicely without too many crumbs. Press the mixture into the bottom of a greased cupcake tin. Bake the crusts for about 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, and fill the crusts 2/3 full with prepared brownie mix, then bake according to package directions. When the cupcakes have cooled, frost with marshmallow creme and top with chocolate shavings.