Ode to Harry Potter

Last Sunday the Dutchman and I had a BBQ for my Bible study group, and after finding a recipe for Butterbeer Cupcakes, I decided it was necessary to dedicate my baking that weekend to the legacy of Harry Potter.  Part 2 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out July 15th, and after seven books and eight movies, I know I’m not the only one wondering, “What now?”  Now to be really cheesy, I’d like to thank J.K. Rowling for creating such a masterpiece of a book series.  I consider the characters of Harry Potter to be my “book” friends, and I love knowing that I have an imaginary world to visit whenever I need a break from reality.  These books have provided many opportunities for laughs and tears over the years, and even though I’m sad to see the series come to an end, I’m happy to know the books will always be there so I can relive the adventures in my imagination.

I was in the middle of a cleanse, so I didn’t even get to try these cupcakes.  However, I did stalk those who tried the cupcakes to get real-time feedback on taste, texture, etc.  Real-time?  Good grief.  Someone needs to get out of the Air Force STAT.  I’ve got that under control: 24 days!  16 work days!

I’ve decided that cupcakes will be my new baking endeavor.  Cakes never really work out for me the way I want them to, but cupcakes are small and manageable.  If one goes kaput, I’d rather one cupcake explode than a whole cake.  My cakes usually crumble, fall lopsided, and don’t even get me talking about icing a cake.  Cupcakes, however, are challenging in an enjoyable way.

I never make up my own recipes.  I am terrified about that aspect of baking, but maybe I will eventually try something out for myself.  I find most of my recipes through blogging and online searches, but the final pictures and end result are always mine.  In the title of the recipe, I will always include the link to the page I originally found the recipe.

And so, after much blabbering, here are the Butterbeer Cupcakes.

Butterbeer Cupcakes
Makes 18
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.

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