There’s just something about staying up past midnight baking when your husband is out of town that makes it sound like you are up to no good, right?
When talking about working in the kitchen I usually say “I cook. I don’t bake.” I guess that’s because I don’t really have a sweet tooth. But this week I’ve broken my mantra. This week…I baked!
To fully appreciate this post you should know that the Beer Guy and I are HUGE Harry Potter fans. Just so you know exactly how serious we are about this, the last book was 700+ pages long, we only got one copy, and we both finished it within 48 hrs…and we did not read it simultaneously! Now that’s dedication, don’t you think? We always went to the midnight book releases and Thursday night (Friday morning) we went to the midnight release of the movie Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I accompanied by our friends Matt, Jen, and Carrie. Yeah, that’s right. We’re hard core! In celebration of this event, I simply could not pass up this recipe for Butterbeer Cupcakes!
(If you don’t know what butterbeer is, stop reading this right now and go start the Harry Potter series. You’ll thank me later.)
There are three parts to this recipe – cupcakes, ganache, and buttercream icing.
The ingredients for the cupcake batter are pretty standard for baking, except for two key ingredients that are essential to the buttery goodness of this recipe – creme soda and butter flavoring.
To get started on the batter you have to cream your butter then add in your sugars and eggs. Just to illustrate how little baking I do, I had to borrow this mixer from a friend because I only have a handheld mixer myself.
(I used this task to finish part of my photography class homework assignment – shooting motion with a purpose. Using a 1/5 sec shutter speed and a tripod allowed me to capture the motion of the mixer without making the rest of the shot blurry.)
Next you add in the vanilla and all important butter flavoring.
Until I decided to make this I did not know that stuff existed. The recipe then calls for alternating into the butter mixture the dry ingredients, buttermilk, and 1/2 cup of creme soda. You may wonder, though, what are you supposed to do with the rest of the creme soda since you’ve got a whole bottle and only need 1/2 cup?
Polish it off yourself, of course.
That pretty much completes the batter. So from here you fill the cupcake tin, get them to baking….
and get to working on the ganache! That’s right. I said ganache. Butterscotch ganache to be exact. The ingredients for this are simply heavy cream and butterscotch chips.
You basically put the ingredients in a double boiler and melt them down into creamy, butterscotchy goodness like so…
And, yes, I was so serious about this recipe that, even though I do not bake regularly, I went out and bought a double boiler just so I could make this ganache. Surely a double boiler has other uses besides ganache making…
After the ganache has cooled you must poor it into some sort of squirting mechanism. I used this one from Crate & Barrel.
Is it just me, or does this remind anyone else of puff paint from the 80′s? I’m sure there is some sort of technical baker’s name for it, but I have decided to call it my Ganache Squirter, since it is unlikely that I will use it for any other task.
With the cupcakes cooled and the Ganache Squirter filled, now comes the REALLY fun part. You inject the ganache into the cupcakes by inserting the Ganache Squirter about half-way into the cupcake and squeezing until you notice a little ganache oozing out the top of the cupcake.
I also noticed that the cupcake would sort of swell in my hand when it was full. This is the first of the three uses for the ganache in this recipe. The second is for the Butterscotch/Buttercream Frosting to top off the cupcakes.
I was so engrossed with what I was doing at this point that I forgot to take pictures until I had finished the frosting and iced half my cupcakes with it. But basically, you mix 1/3 cup of the butterscotch ganache with butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, butter flavoring, and salt together until it looks like this
Next you slather that buttery goodness all over the tops of your cupcakes and enlist the services of your ganache for the third time by drizzling it across the tops of the now iced cupcakes. Amy, the author of this recipe from Amy Bites, suggests that you pipe the frosting on the tops. But, I assure you, if you don’t have a pipette/cake decorating bag and your squirter is otherwise occupied with ganache, slathering works and tastes just as well.
Voila! Butterbeer Cupcakes!
Please feel free to drool over the finished product.
The process took me just under 3 hours to complete. I’m sure it would have gone much faster had I not been stopping for photo ops along the way. It was worth every minute! (I took some to my colleague, Sam, for her birthday since she is also a big Harry Potter fan and I’m cool like that. The rest I packed up and took to the theater so my wizarding friends and I could munch on them while waiting to be let into the movie just before midnight. They were a huge hit all around.)
Whew! That’s the hardest I’ve worked in a LONG time. Momma needs a glass of wine…
For now, though…Mischief managed!