Saturday, April 17, 2010

Harry Potter and the Butterbeer Cake

I have a confession to make. I love Harry Potter. It is quite possibly my favorite book series ever. The first two books were released in the US when I was but a wee little 6th grader. I have devoured every book since. The last of which may be sitting on my nightstand because it is being reread for the 9 billionth time. The Harry Potter franchise has made its author one of the wealthiest people in Britain, and the most highly paid author ever. If you haven't read the books and have only seen the movies, you are missing out. I know that "they aren't for everyone", but I just don't see how that could be, especially if you like food.

These books revolve around food. They talk about it all the time. All the food is tasty sounding British food, a fanciful sounding confection (licorice snap, chocolate frogs, Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans), and most importantly (now that I am past the legal drinking age) the tasty sounding alcohol Butterbeer (and Fire Whiskey). 

Today I bring you: Butterbeer Cake. This cake required a few revisions, because the only recipes I could find for Beer Cake called for either boxed cake mix or chocolate. And while I have absolutely nothing against chocolate, I didn't want it to get in the way of the other flavors I had in mind, namely beer, browned butter, and butterscotch. So I had to develop my own recipe from start to finish.

This cake is not very sweet. I wanted the nuttiness of both the beer and the browned butter to be able to shine through. The sweetness is found in the homemade butterscotch glaze. Since the first version of the cake was made, (which I brought to a party of all things) this has quickly become a very requested cake. (Which I'm fine with because its easy to make and delicious.)

This maybe the first time I use Harry Potter for inspiration, but it most definitely will not be the last.

Dossier for: Harry Potter and the ________ (I'm not picking a specific book)
Author: J.K. Rowling
Characters: Harry Potter, Hermoine Granger, Ron Weasley, Dumbledore, and Voldermort
Setting: Britain, mainly Hogwarts and London

Butterbeer Cake
There is not a lot of sugar in this cake, but as mentioned before that is because the glaze is sweet. Also, this is not the time to use the crappy, light beer you have sitting in your fridge leftover from a party. If the only thing you drink is light beer, go to the store and buy a single bottle of full calorie beer. Light beer is made by reducing the carbohydrate content of the beer. In beer, the carbohydrate is maltose, a type of sugar, which is needed to sweeten the cake.
  •  2 sticks unsalted butter
  •  2.5 cups all purpose flour
  •  1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 3 eggs
  • 1.5 cups beer (preferably Fat Tire or another amber ale)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a bundt cake pan (or you can use cupcakes). In a small skillet, brown butter until dark and nutty smelling. (If you don't know how to brown butter, here are directions). In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. In a separate bowl, combine the beer, eggs, vanilla, and butter. Add the beer mixture to the flour and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Pour into the prepared bundt cake pan and bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (check at 15 minutes for cupcakes). Allow the cake to cool then pour slightly, warm butterscotch sauce over the top of the cake. (I used all of the butterscotch)

Recipe from
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over moderate heat. Add the sugar, cream, and salt and whisk until well blended. Bring to a very gentle boil and cook for about five minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Taste the butterscotch and adjust the vanilla and salt to your liking. (I made mine a little on the saltier side and found it to be perfect with the cake.) Allow to cool until thickened but still pourable before putting on the cake.

Oh and this- I'm pretty sure I'm supposed to tell you that I'm an Amazon Affiliate. Normally not my kind of thing but I'm cooking from a book every week, some of which (next week's!) are obscure so it made sense.


  1. This intriques me! I love the idea of the browned butter and the beer. And I have some full calorie beer in the garage! ;)

  2. I love the Harry Potter series too! J.K. Rowling has such a vivid imagination and I've always loved books that revolve around food :)

  3. Deanna,
    This butterbeer cake sounds truly delicious. I can see me licking my fingers after a slice or two! I like the fact its not overly sweet, just look at that butterscotch sauce (drooooooool).

  4. Ohhh, I LOVE this, Deanna! You made me so very happy with this post. :-) Although I've read all the books, I'm listening to them on cd at the moment, and loving it immensely. :-) This cake looks fantastic and I can't wait to try it. :-)

  5. I'm glad to know I'm not the only person who has read (or listened to) the books more than ones. And I recommend making a double batch of butterscotch. You'll want it for ice cream.

  6. Your mom told me about this. Sounds yummy. I'll have to try it. Or you could just send a piece with your mom the next time you make it (hint hint)


  7. Do you really mean baking soda? or baking powder?

  8. I'm pretty sure I used baking soda because I figured the beer would be acidic enough to only use baking soda, but now (with further research) I think baking powder would probably be better. If you try it with baking powder let me know how it works!