These butterbeer cupcakes will tell you which Hogwarts house you belong to! Topped with tiny chocolate covered sorting hats, each one is filled with a different Hogwarts house color. Take a bite and see for yourself! Then, dig into a deliciously moist butterbeer cupcake topped with butterscotch buttercream and homemade butterscotch sauce.
How to make homemade butterscotch sauce
Much of the flavor of these butterbeer cupcakes comes from a rich butterscotch sauce. You can choose to use store bought, or make it from scratch! The homemade version is so easy to make, so I highly recommend going this route to get the most flavor out of your cupcakes.
The base of the sauce is just three ingredients:
- Dark Brown Sugar
- Heavy Cream
All three are combined in a saucepan over medium heat. After about 6 minutes, the sugar is completely dissolved an the mixture will have thickened into a thin sauce consistency.
An extra layer of flavor is added with a bit of vanilla and rum flavor extract. They both add richness and depth to this simple sauce. Once combined, just let it cool to thicken. What I love about this butterscotch sauce is that it’s way easier to make than salted caramel sauce, but provides a big flavor playoff to this cupcake recipe.
How to flavor butterbeer cupcakes
Butterbeer is a very unique flavor because…well…it’s completely made up. But to give these cupcakes that magical element, here’s what you’ll need:
- Dark Brown Sugar – The extra molasses in dark brown sugar adds a rich flavor to these cupcakes. It also helps with the texture making these cupcakes super moist.
- Cinnamon – Just a hint of cinnamon is used to warm up these cupcakes to give them a cozy and spiced feel.
- Butter Flavor Extract – Yes, there’s an extract that tastes just like butter. It’s also strong, so a tiny bit goes a long way. It adds a smooth and creamy aspect to these cupcakes that helps mimic the butterbeer flavor.
- Rum Flavor Extract – Nope, not actual rum. Rum flavor extract TASTES like rum but without the alcohol. That’s why I love it in these cupcakes, because it adds that warm rum flavor without the tinge of alcohol aftertaste.
These four flavors combined help to recreate that rich and creamy butterbeer flavor, making these cupcakes the perfect Harry Potter inspired dessert.
Chocolate covered sorting hats
Of course, the centerpiece (and arguably the best part) of these cupcakes are the chocolate sorting hats on top. They’re so easy to make, but nerve wracking to bite into. With each hat containing a different Hogwarts house color, you’re able to truly discover which one you belong to!
To make these cute hats, you’ll need these ingredients and tools:
- Chocolate sandwich cookies – Split in half, these provide the base of the hat. I like to use off brand sandwich cookies (not Oreo) because most off brands have holes in the cookie. This then allows you to stick a toothpick into the hat for dunking in the chocolate.
- Gel food coloring – Use gel and not liquid! Gel is not only much more potent, but liquid will likely thin out the buttercream used to fill these hats. If the buttercream is too thin, the hats won’t stand tall.
- Piping tip – For the best results, use a round pastry tip for piping on the hats.
- 2 cup measuring glass – Or any tall glass that can fit a hat inside. Since we’re dunking the hats to coat in chocolate, it’s important to use a tall but narrow container so that the hats don’t touch the bottom of the container when dunked.
- Toothpicks – Stick a toothpick into the button of the frozen hats to easily dunk in chocolate.
- Cardboard box – I just use whatever Amazon box I have laying around! This is used to stick the hats into so that they can set without disrupting the bottoms of each hat.
My biggest tip for dunking the hats is to dunk them fresh from the freezer into chocolate that has cooled for about 10 minutes. And by fresh from the freezer, I mean pull the hats out of the freezer one-by-one for dunking. Since it’s buttercream, it will soften fast. If it softens, you’ll be able to see the color of the buttercream poking through the chocolate thus ruining the house surprise!
Once they’re all dunked, immediately transfer to the refrigerator to chill solid. Then when it comes time to place them on top of the cupcakes, they’ll be very easy to handle.
Can these cupcakes me made gluten free?
I haven’t tested it, but I have no doubt that swapping the flour with a good quality gluten free all purpose baking flour will work just fine. Just make sure the mix includes xanthan gum, and weigh the flour instead of measuring by cups. Since gluten free flour is more dense than regular flour, it’s very easy to use too much and weighing will prevent that from happening.
Easier sorting hat options
If you’d rather not make these sorting hats, you can still have that surprise element by filling the cupcakes with the colorful buttercream.
Once the cupcakes have cooled, core out the center of each cupcake about halfway through. Then fill with the individual house colors. Now when someone takes a bite of a cupcake, they’ll still have the sorting house element just without the hats themselves.
How to make butterbeer cupcakes ahead of time
Since the hats add quite a few extra steps, you can also prep the cupcakes a day ahead and chill overnight. As long as they’re in an air tight container, they’ll keep for about 2 days.
You can also make the butterscotch sauce a few days ahead of time. Store in a sealed jar in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to use it, heat it up in the microwave for about 10 seconds. It don’t take long to return it to the sauce consistency.
For more halloween dessert recipes, check out my:
- Butterbeer Caramel Slice
- Black Velvet Cake
- Full Moon Brownie Cupcakes
- Leftover Halloween Candy Cookie Bars
Make sure to tag me @butternutbakery on Instagram and leave a review below if you make these sorting hat butterbeer cupcakes To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can use the button on the recipe card, the buttons above or below this post, or on any of the photos above. Happy baking!Print