I turned 32 last week, and I decided to throw a party. The theme was Brunch and Boardgames, but in reality, this party was just a cover for my cooking and baking addiction.
We squeezed 15 people into my tiny apartment and I fed them until they were about to burst. I made an egg and veggie casserole, homemade cinnamon rolls, coffee cake, a fruit platter, yogurt with honey and granola, Chris made a ton of bacon and sausage, a friend brought hash brown and egg cups, and another friend brought fried potatoes smothered in onions and garlic. We also had a drink bar with orange juice, mimosas, bloody Marys, coffee, and San Pellegrino.
The piece de resistance was my butterbeer cake. I knew that I wanted a butterbeer cake for a long time, so I spent HOURS practicing the cake and frosting the week before. Poor Chris and I had to eat a mini cake and test out which icing and topping tasted best (it’s a really rough life), but I perfected it in time for my party.
For those of you who aren’t in the know (but honestly, if you clicked on a Butterbeer Cake recipe, you already know), butterbeer is a sticky sweet brewed concoction from Harry Potter. You can get it at Universal Studios or make your own at home. Butterbeer has the flavors of butterscotch and cream soda with a sticky marshmallow foam. It’s great, but it is insanely sweet.
While I like sweets, I didn’t want to make an overwhelmingly sugary cake, so warning: this is a subtle butterbeer flavor. It won’t hit you over the head (or teeth) like other butterbeer-flavored treats I’ve tried.
For my version, I skipped the marshmallow in favor of a subtly flavored cream soda buttercream frosting. To make up for it though, I added a salted caramel drizzle around the outside. If you add the caramel and you’re like me and don’t like sickly sweet desserts, I strongly recommend adding salt, as it takes the edge off the sweetness.
A couple tips for you before you get going.
- Soak a tea towel and put it in the oven while baking the cakes. I learned this from Kristie at The Sweet and Simple Kitchen. I’ve been baking my entire life and I NEVER knew this worked! The weight of the steam helps to keep the cake from rising too high, leaving you with a nice level top, which is much easier for stacking. Just keep an eye on the towel. I found that after about 15 minutes, mine was drying out. I removed it for the remainder of the baking time and my cakes stayed level and my kitchen didn’t catch on fire. Always a plus.
- Make sure the pans are completely cooled before icing. Always, always, always make sure your cakes are completely cool before decorating! Otherwise they’ll slide right off each other and you’ll have a terrible mess.
- When mixing the batter, it will be pretty thick. Don’t panic! It’s a thick batter, but it comes out very moist.
- Cook and serve pudding is fine. I’ve made jello pudding cakes in the past, and they have all said to use instant pudding mix. I couldn’t find any at my store, so I gave the cook and serve kind a try, and it worked perfectly fine.
- Keep an eye on the boiling soda. This process takes time (about 30 minutes) over medium heat. Do not try to speed up the process by turning up the heat and don’t abandon the soda altogether. These are surefire ways to end up with a pot of burned sugar. (I know this because it happened to me!) My recommendation is to get the soda simmering and then make the batter so you can keep an eye on the bubbling pot.
- Do not melt your butter. And make sure it is room temperature. If the icing is too thin, add more powdered sugar a little at a time. If it is too thick, use a splash of milk or cream to thin it.
Caramel Sauce Tips:
- Do not boil it too quickly. Like the cream soda, do not turn the heat up on this too quickly. Keep it on medium to medium-high heat, and whisk so it doesn’t scorch.
- Cool completely before drizzling. If you want a ring like my cake, outline the inner circle before letting caramel drip off the edge. You can also drizzle in any pattern you want. And add sprinkles if you want. Go crazy!
This cake is time consuming, but it’s delicious and so worth it! Just take the time to do it right, and I really believe you’ll be very pleased with the results.
Now accio ingredients and enjoy!