Sunday, July 17, 2011

Butterbeer Cupcakes

The moment you've all been waiting for (maybe) - butterbeer cupcakes!  I have had these cupcakes bookmarked since the first part of the seventh movie debuted in theaters and knew I had to make them for the final movie (sob).  These cupcakes are made with anything that has the word butter in it - butterscotch chips, buttermilk, butter, butter vanilla bakery emulsion (otherwise known as butter flavoring).  The cupcakes are filled with a butterscotch ganache and topped with a butterscotch frosting.  It may sound intimidating, but the cupcakes are definitely not too sweet, and the burst of butterscotch in the middle is amazing.  The whipped butterscotch icing mimics the frothy topping of the butterbeer that I constantly read about in the stories, and the cream soda in the cake gives it an interesting texture.

I used my white cake and buttercream base to make the cupcakes and the frosting, while the rest of the ingredients I incorporated were inspired by a recipe found by a friend.  Again, I used anything with the word "butter" in it, and I guessed the proportions for the ingredients based on the amounts of dry and wet ingredients I already had.

My double boiler, probably used by
the pioneers back when aluminum
pots were in style
The ganache is made in a double boiler, which is just a small pot on top of a simmering pot of water.  Do not let the name fool you - you want the water to be simmering and not boiling or else it'll be so hot that the butterscotch chips will scorch and you'll get clumps in your ganache.  Also make sure to constantly stir with a spoon, not a whisk.  Let cool and funnel into a squeeze bottle - seriously a great investment (even though it's not much of an investment because they're only about a dollar).  I found one at Chef Central.

The other ingredient I found at Chef Central was the vanilla butter bakery emulsion.  I was looking for butter flavoring and this was the closest thing I found.  It worked well, and because it already had vanilla in it I omitted vanilla extract from the recipe.  If you make this recipe with butter flavoring, add in equal parts of that and vanilla extract.

Fill cupcakes until ganache just
comes out of the top of the cupcake
When filling the cupcake pans, use an ice cream scoop to evenly fill your liners.  Make sure the liners are filled about 2/3 of the way.  Once the cupcakes are cooked and completely cooled, insert the tip of the squeeze bottle into the cupcake and fill with ganache until it just comes out of the top of the cake.  The ganache will spread within the cupcake, so feel free to go back once or twice to fill with a few more drops of butterscotch.  I piped the icing onto the cupcakes using a Wilton 1M tip and drizzled them with butterscotch ganache.  You will have lots of butterscotch ganache left over - store it in the fridge because of the heavy cream.  Or stir it into your leftover cream soda, top with whipped cream, and make butterbeer!!  There are better recipes for butterbeer out there, but I was feeling lazy :P

The cake is incredibly moist and delicious.  Not all of the cupcakes had a gooey ganache center because the cupcake was so moist that it absorbed some of the ganache.  These cupcakes could definitely be left in the oven for 25 minutes or more - make sure the tops are a golden brown when you pull them out.  If all of the butterscotch is a little overwhelming (but believe me, it will be worth it), these cupcakes can also be topped with my classic buttercream icing.  Overall, these are delicious and a must have for any Harry Potter viewing party.  Enjoy!

Butterbeer Cupcakes
Ali B original, inspired by Amy Bites (ganache directly taken from source) 
Makes about 24 cupcakes

For the cake:
- 2 c flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ¾ c (12 tbsp) unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 1/2 c sugar
- 1/2 c dark brown sugar
- 1 lg egg
- 2 tsp butter vanilla bakery emulsion
- 2 tbsp powdered buttermilk + ½ c water*
- ½ c cream soda
For the butterscotch ganache:
- 1 package (11 oz.) butterscotch morsels
- 1 c heavy cream
For the butterscotch icing:
- 1/2 c unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/4 c vegetable shortening
- 1/2 tsp butter vanilla bakery emulsion
- 3 c confectioner's sugar
- 3/4 tbsp merengue powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 c milk
- 1/4 c butterscotch ganache
- ½ tbsp. water (may need more or less depending on desired consistency)

Bring water in a double boiler to a simmer and add the butterscotch morsels and heavy cream to the pot or small bowl.  Stir constantly until the morsels have dissolved and there are no chunks left.  Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature before funneling into a squeeze bottle. 

Preheat oven to 350.  Line a cupcake pan with liners. 

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and powdered buttermilk in a bowl.  Set aside

With a beater, combine butter and sugars and beat until creamy.  Add the egg and butter vanilla bakery emulsion, combine. Add the water called for in the powdered buttermilk (in this case, ½ c ), combine, then add half of the flour mixture and combine. Add in the cream soda, combine, then add the rest of the flour mixture.

Fill liners 2/3 with batter and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick is inserted into the center and comes out clean.  Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.

Once cooled, fill with butterscotch ganache.   Insert tip of squeeze bottle into cupcake and fill just until the ganache comes out of the top of the cake.

To make the icing, combine butter and vegetable shortening in a large mixing bowl until creamy.  Add butter vanilla bakery emulsion and salt.

Add the confectioner's sugar one cup at a time and incorporate completely after each addition.  The icing will appear dry after adding all of the sugar.  Add the merengue powder.

Add milk and beat until life and fluffy, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Fold in the butterscotch ganache.  Scoop into piping bag affixed with desired tip and add water as necessary to make the icing easy to pipe.

Note: because of the milk in the icing, the icing should be refrigerated if not being used that day.   


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