Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The Big Butterbeer Cake and Butter Beer Fizz - Cracking the Recipe

Have you ever tasted something for the first time and thought that was OK and then a little while later, develop an almost addiction to the stuff ?  I saw the amazing blog by Amy of amybites on her *Butterbeer Cup Cakes* and thought must try that one day. However, a well timed trip to Orlando gave me the opportunity to  taste the Butterbeer at Universal's Wizarding World. Wow! I thought that was a bit sweet and had to refresh my palate with some Hogshead Ale too. However, the magic was beginning to work and before I returned home, I was in the supermarket trying to get the right Butterbeer ingredients. 

Just like Amy's recipe there are some ingredients that you just have to have to make this Butterbeer and the cake. Luckily you can buy American Cream Soda in the UK as an import from the famous Cybercandy and a few other online stores. ( Do not use cola, wrong taste. )
Also, you can buy Butterscotch Chocolate chips fairly easily online from various suppliers such as Amazon but I used mine from my trip ( Also, I'm told that Sainsbury's also stock a version).

Now imagine this scene; I am in Publix looking at the all American goodies but I am taking a long time because I don't know where stuff is, in this unfamiliar store. Also, it appears that I am muttering to myself about what I must buy because I refuse to take a shopping list in with me.  I am going along the shelves chanting 'butterscotch chips, must find butterscotch chips.' People are making way for me because a) I am muttering obsessively and b) you have to stand in the middle of the aisle to get a good view of all the stuff that's there.

My family, now bored, have abandoned me and gone back to the car and besides I embarrass them when I am on a food hunt asking awkward questions etc. Finally, 'Thank You!' to the brave Publix employee that offered to help me, told me I had a great accent, just like Harry Potter ( ? ) and found the cream soda too. No one was impressed until I made the cake, THEN they were and could we have it again? Ha ha! Can you picture me  embarrassing my family again, apparently my Sirius Black impression wasn't too hot either.

Slices of the Big Butterbeer Cake - Sweet caramel sponge with a hint of butterscotch and topped with a frothy butternut icing. It's sandwiched together with a butterscotch chocolate  and sprinkled with gold dust for a bit of extra magic!


The final film ; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, has revived the Butter Beer longing again. So I am back in the potions room,  I mean kitchen, making a fresh batch. This post contains two recipes; one for my version of the Butterbeer Cake, however, if you want cupcakes then Amy's version is the best I've found to date.  I've also added my version of the  Butter beer recipe and the essences can be purchased on ebay or Amazon or a good cake decorations supplier. There are plenty of recipes out there on muggelnet and other fan sites so you can have a good look round and see if you fancy the hot or cold version. 

 Some of the key potions ingredients.. I thought the topping of the Butterbeer at Universal had a slightly artificial taste to it and really reminded me of the Bird's Dream Topping Brand. The caramel adds to the darker colour and overall sweetness. You need the butterscotch essence  and ideally the Vanilla Butternut too.

Text Only Printable Recipes

Ingredients :

Cake :
225g  (8oz) Butter
225g  (8oz) Soft brown sugar
4 Large eggs
275g  (10oz) Self raising flour
2 tbsp Caramel Syrup

2 tsp Butterscotch flavouring
¾ cup American Cream Soda
Optional – You can add 110 g (4 oz) butterscotch chips at this point
Butterscotch Centre:
110g  (4oz) Icing sugar
2 oz (60g) Butter
110g  (4oz) White chocolate with butterscotch flavouring or butterscotch chips

Cream Frosting Topping:
1 Sachet Birds Dream Topping
Milk to mix
Vanilla Butternut to taste
4oz (110g) Icing sugar
1 oz (30g) Butter



Preheat oven 140c/120c Fan/275F/Gas Mark 1.

Cream the sugar and butter together. Whisk in the caramel syrup and butterscotch essence then the eggs, one at a time. Fold in half the flour. Stir in the cream soda. Add the rest of the flour ( and the butterscotch chips if desired). Divide into two sandwich tins. 

Place in the centre of the oven. Check after 20 minutes. Cook until risen and a skewer comes cleanly out. Allow to cool and make icings. 

For the butterscotch centre and the cream frosting topping make up the sachet of Dream Topping but put in slightly less milk for a slightly stiffer consistency. Put to one side.
Gently whisk butter, and icing sugar together. Add and stir in two spoonfuls of the Dream Topping. Melt the butterscotch chips and combine with the icing. Spread on one cake half and place other cake half on top.

For the topping mix the butter, icing sugar and butternut essence until a stiff paste is produced. Gradually stir in the rest of the Dream Topping and spread over the top of the cake. It is possible to cover the sides as well but this a quite a wet topping to mimic the frothy beer topping and does make it tricky, if rather fun, to pick up. Finally, sprinkle with edible gold dust.

Butter Beer  Fizz


1 can of American cream soda per person
1 tbsp caramel syrup per can
½ tsp Butterscotch essence (Preema brand) per can or a few drops of LorAnn Vanilla Butternut flavouring . I found the LorAnn butterscotch had too chemical overtones.

Optional Topping :

Dream Topping and milk to mix
2 tbsp Cream soda* (Save some from the  main beer mix if you are not using large quantities)
½ tsp Vanilla Butternut essence


Combine most of the soda* and the syrups and essence in a glass.  For a ‘slushie’ version as served in the park, use a plastic cup or your Hogwart’s Butterbeer Mug and put in the freezer for an hour before serving. Stir half an hour in to break up ice crystals.

Make up Dream topping with milk according to the directions on the sachet and mix in the butternut essence. Lighten by adding a two tbsp of soda and float/place on top of beer.


***Other inspired 'Harry Potter' Cakes : - Magical Sherbet Lemon Cake***

If anyone can tell me why the Butter Nut, Butter Pecan or Butter Flavouring used in the States is not marketed in the UK, I would be very interest to know. Many thanks.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Choc & Nut Sundae Cake - A Nutella Conversion

After a Knickerbocker Glory and a Banana Split Cake, do we have room for one more? Of course you do, that's the beauty of puddings, you may feel full after your main meal but then by some miracle, you can suddenly make room for a dessert or three. For the third of the ice cream themed cakes; we have the Choc and Nut Sundae Cake which is also gluten free. A very rich, chocolate, single layer cake with toasted hazelnuts and a very special ingredient or two in the cream swirls on the top. Serve one or maybe two small slices each.....

I hope I've whetted your appetite because I have to give credit for the original recipe to Nigella's Nutella Cake.  I have made a few adaptions but she lured me with the words 'easy' and 'delicious' and besides, I was so curious as to how you could bake a cake with a whole jar of Nutella, that I had to try it. I had not been a Nutella fan and even considered it just a diluted form of my more favoured pure chocolate spread, but no more.  I have been converted by the real intense hazelnut flavour this imparts to the cake.
The next important ingredient has to be the chocolate used in this recipe. Again this is completely transformed by Green and Black's Sweet Dark 70 % Chocolate. This and the chocolate extract are well worth seeking out before you make this cake because they will make all the difference to the taste.  It reminded me of the best Choc and Nut Sundaes ; a dense rich dairy ice-cream, covered in dark chocolate sauce whirls and then topped with sweet hazelnuts.

Under the dark chocolate icing is a layer of creamy white, whipped buttercream,  flavoured with Pure Chocolate Extract.  This extract gives a fantastic chocolate flavour with a hint of something more and after looking at the label that something more is alcohol , 45% proof ! Of course, if I had read about the process, I would have known that is how the flavour is extracted and very nice it is too. You are only going to use a little in the frosting but I know it is important for some of my friends to avoid certain ingredients.

It is stocked by Waitrose and various online stores and I would  recommend it, not only for this recipe but also it's good in a cup of hot chocolate or coffee. ( Click on Star Kay Whites for an interesting historical link about the company which has been operating since 1890 in New York.) If you want to avoid alcohol in your frosting then I would recommend using a good quality white chocolate with vanilla flavouring instead.

Text Only Printable Recipe



6   Large eggs
125g (4.5 oz) Butter
1 tablespoon Honey
400g Nutella ( jar size)
100g (3.5 oz) ground hazelnuts (or almonds)
100g dark chocolate ( bar size - Green and Black’s)

Icing 1:

225g (8 oz) Icing sugar
55g (2 oz) Butter
2 tbsp Milk
1 tsp Chocolate extract ( or to taste )

Icing 2:

225g (8 oz) Icing sugar
55g (2 oz) Butter
2 tbsp Milk
85g (3oz ) Dark Chocolate


Chopped toasted hazelnuts


Nigella uses a 23cm springform tin but I used two 7 inch/18 cm sandwich cake tins, greased and lined. Slightly less cooking time but worked out well for two smaller cakes.


Preheat oven 140c/120c Fan/300F/Gas Mark 2

Beat the butter and Nutella together, and then add the honey, egg yolks and ground hazelnuts or almonds until well combined. Melt the chocolate gently in the microwave. In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until stiff. Fold in the cooled, melted chocolate into the main batter, then lighten the mixture by stirring in a third of the egg white. Gently folding the rest of the egg white a third at a time.

Pour into the prepared tin and cook for 30/40 minutes or until the cake's beginning to come away at the sides, then let cool on a rack.

Make first icing by mixing softened butter and icing sugar together with the chocolate extract.  Whisk in the milk until icing is light, spread over cake tops.

Make the second icing by mixing butter and icing sugar together and then add the milk. Melt chocolate and gradually stir into icing. Spoon into icing syringe and make swirls on top of cakes. Finally sprinkle with hazelnuts.

I enjoyed serving this as a chilled cake which fitted in with the ice-cream theme nicely. It worked really well as a party dessert cake too, serving up small rich chocolatey slices at the end of a meal.