Butterbeer Cupcakes

butterbeerWhen Harry Potter came out, I could not get into it.

As much as I tried, as hard as I’d wanted to, I just couldn’t.  It wasn’t that I found it boring or lame or anything; it just couldn’t hold my interest — or patience — for long.

But I remember all my friends and classmates and every single human within a 65432 mile radius of me LOVED Harry Potter.  They proudly wore their Gryffindor maroon-and-gold scarves, or I’d occasionally see the rogue Slytherin fanatic.  I would hear fellow peers bicker about their favorite characters, about whether or not certain spells could do certain things and why, and of course, brag about their reading skills.

I read the entire first book in one day.”

Oh yeah?  Well I just got the fourth book at noon and I’m already on page 486.”

And I would just sit there, completely out of touch and wishing so desperately that I could like Harry Potter and not have prior childhood attachments to a certain other (less famous) witch.

You know.  Sabrina.  Homegirl was the shiiiiizzzzz, y’all.  I remember prancing out into the living room on Friday nights at 8pm when a new episode of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch aired.  I was jealous of her bedroom.  Her time-traveling closet that boomed with thunder and lightning whenever they’d time travel.  Her witty, dry-humored cat Salem, who always seemed to know what was up.  And her British aunt because dude, British people are just so damn cool.

This likely stemmed from my addiction to Clarissa Explains It All which meant I was bound with a die-hard loyalty to Melissa Joan Hart in the 90’s.  No other witch and/or warlock could satisfy.

And Harry, your owl is cool and all, but it doesn’t even talk.  What the what is up with that?

DSC_0430AAnywho, I know that people are loyal to their favorite lightning-bolt-scarred wizard and I totally understand — while I have yet to read the books (I KNOOOOWWWW), I have seen the movies and think they’re really well made & interesting (sorry if you’re cringing right now — I am totally being that person I usually hate who loves the movie but who hasn’t even read the book which is so much bettttterrrr it hurts).

So when I found this Butterbeer at my local Whole Foods Market, I had to pick it up!  First of all, don’t get your panties in a bunch, k?  While it’s called butterbeer, there’s no alcohol in this, so kids and adults alike can down it happily.  Second of all, it’s actually a butterscotch flavored soda which is uber-sweet but super yummy.  Very rich and creamy, with a slight hint of salt per the natural flavor composition of butterscotch.  And it’s the star of these cupcakes that would make any wizard (or wannabe wizard) happy.  Including ones who prefer talking cats over owls.


4.8 from 5 reviews
Butterbeer Cupcakes
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18
Bite into these sumptuous, rich cupcakes flavored just like Butterbeer from Hogwarts. Topped with adorable edible broomsticks and a golden snitch, they're perfect for Harry Potter fans and wizards alike!
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 bottle butterscotch soda (if you can't find butterscotch soda, use one can/one bottle of cream soda)
  • 1 small box sugar free/fat free butterscotch instant pudding mix
  • ¾ cups butter, softened
  • 3 Tbsp butterscotch sundae sauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • About 4 cups powdered sugar
  • Gold Sixlets
  • Pretzel Sticks
  • White Grapefruit Gummies (if you can't find these either, use yellow Laffy Taffy!)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with about 18 liners. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix and the soda-- NOTHING ELSE! Beat with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes or until well combined. Stir in the butterscotch pudding mix. Evenly distribute the batter among the muffin tins, filling about ⅔" full.
  3. Bake the cupcakes for approx. 14-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the softened butter, butterscotch sauce and vanilla until creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar, about one cup at a time, until frosting is light and fluffy.
  5. Pipe the frosting high onto the cooled cupcakes. Adorn with a broomstick and a golden snitch. Serve immediately.
  6. TO MAKE THE BROOMSTICKS, attach the pointed tip of a grapefruit gummy to a pretzel rod using a little melted chocolate. Let them stand at room temperature to harden. If you'd like a more authentic broomstick look, brush the gummy with edible brown luster dust. If you cannot find grapefruit gummies, gently flatten a banana Laffy Taffy candy with the heel of your hand and cut strips about halfway through the longest side to create the fringe. Wrap the Laffy Taffy around the pretzel rod and secure with chocolate if needed.

DSC_0429AThe butterscotch flavor in these cupcakes is to die for!  If you’re a butterscotch fanatic like my sister and I, you’ll really enjoy the authentic, sweet-yet-slightly salty flavor of these moist, rich cupcakes.  And Harry Potter fans will enjoy the fun edible broomsticks and golden snitch adornments.

Have a fantastical day!!

xo, Hayley


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  1. I’ve always been the same way about Harry Potter. I read part of the first book years ago and it wasn’t for me. Fast forward to now: I’m obsessed. So these cupcakes come at the perfect time!

  2. Oh girrrlll, I think I can forgive you for not reading HP in exchange for bringing butterbeer cupcakes into my life! does whole foods seriously have butterbeer now?? I’ve been planning a trip nto Orlando, in large part just to drink a gallong of butterbeer at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. (is my fangirl showing??)

  3. I’ll forgive you for not having read Harry Potter a minimum of 8 times. These cupcakes are adorable.

  4. These look and sound incredible Hayley! I didn’t read the books either! 🙂

  5. Just discovered these on Pinterest! So, so cute. Just love them. And I’ve had those grapefruit Haribo gummies before, they are the best. Can’t believe you have not read HP!! You gotta try again 😉

  6. I am not a strong reader so I got through the books slow to most, but wicked fast for me. They are my all time favorite. I LOVE harry potter and have been wanting to make butterbeer something, but have not. I just have not come up with a good enough idea to do the series justice. Well, I need my butterbeer fix and these are so cute!! Love the golden snitches and brooms, So fun!

  7. So…not sure how I feel about you and your thoughts on Harry Potter, but I will forgive you because these cupcakes look amazing!

  8. Could these be more fun and adorable?! I think not.

  9. I LOVED Clarissa!!! Also Salem was my favorite cat (until Norma Jean, of course). These cupcakes are SO adorable! I’m kind of jealous though because I know I’ll never find butterbeer and even though you say cream soda is cool I really only want the stuff I can’t have. Haha.
    Also– I have missed you! Life stole reading from me for awhile and I’m trying to catch up!

  10. This is why we’re soulmates. I don’t dig Harry Potter either (have never read a book or watched a movie)–and my heart has always belonged to Sabrina!!!!

    These cupcakes are cute as all get ouuut!

  11. I’ve never seen butterscotch soda before but I’m gonna be on the lookout!

  12. OMG, these cupcakes! Hayley you’ve done it again. You’re a genius!

  13. Even though I am shocked to hear you haven’t read the series, I will give you serious kudos for being such a Melissa Joan Hart fan: Sabrina and Salem were my FAVE witchy/cat duo growing up. I have to find this butterscotch soda though because these cupcakes are AMAZING! Perfect for autumn.

  14. Butterscotch soda! YUM! these cupcakes look amazing! I’m a potter obsessive!

  15. hahaa this post is SO timely! My dad bought the first book back when my son was a baby. I think he read it in 2 days – LOVED it. Bought the next one, loved that one. When my son was around 10 he started reading them – & he loved them. I took him to the later movies – where HE had to explain to ME who everyone was. He was so patient with me 🙂 He kept telling me the books were better. Yeah … whatever. Then last year we went to Universal – & we were BLOWN away by the Harry Potter section. I think I loved it more than everyone else. I started reading the books when we got home & I’m currently on the 4th one. LOVE the books. After each book, I watch the movie. The books ARE better, but it’s still fun to watch the movie too.
    Anyway, we LOVED the Butterbeer at Universal, I can not WAIT to try these cupcakes. I think these are going to be a HUGE hit!

  16. I just knew we were meant to be BFFFFFFFFF, I never ever got in to harry potter but damn I was OBSESSED with Sabrina- I even had the sabrina psychic phone! LOL and I insisted that inside my closet there was something magical!! Oh and I just loved Clarissa especially when her and ferguson fought! Haha… BTW can I have some of these cucpcakes cuz butterscotch soda cupcakes sounds amaze freaking balls! Oh and they are super duper cute!

  17. How adorable is this?! And those broom garnishes are precious!

  18. That broom you made is seriously the most creative thing EVER! Wow so impressed. And I need a cupcake right now, extra frosting please! 🙂

  19. wondering where the butterscotch pudding goes?

  20. I haven’t read HP either, but I saw the boxed set the other night at Doodle’s book fair…and I kind of wanted to buy them for myself, haha. These cupcakes – soooo creative, Hayley!!

  21. LOVE these. I didn’t read the books until my best friend told me I needed to! Such a creative idea for a HP party.

  22. I liked Harry Potter, but I wasn’t crazy into it like other people I knew! I totally watched Sabrina too -LOVED that show!

    These cupcakes sound amazing!

  23. I have seen all the movies, but I haven’t picked up a single one of the books. I love these fun butter beer cupcakes though. My kids would go crazy for them!!!

  24. Where does the butterscotch pudding go…in the cake mix or in the frosting?

  25. I have yet to read Harry Potter. I think you just convinced me. These cupcakes are adorable. Pinned!

  26. I’m making these now… But where does the inastant pudding come in????

  27. Girl, I have seriously been missing you. (On vacation right now…from the blog, too.) These cupcakes are phenomenal! Love all the butterscotchy ingredients and your creativity in decorating them. I did NOT read HP either. (I know. Started the first book, I couldn’t get into it either. Maybe I wasn’t in the mood and should try again.) Saw only 2 or 3 of the films. If I spot tons of people going haywire for something, I have a natural inclination to walk away. LOVE Samantha (Bewitched) and Sabrina! The coolest TV witches, ever. Thanks for sharing, girl. Will definitely be pinning to all group boars at Pinterest! xo

  28. Perhaps I am not reading correctly but where does the butterscotch pudding fit into the recipe?

    • thedomesticrebel says:

      Hi Jennifer! The butterscotch pudding goes into the batter — I’ll fix the mistake on the recipe 🙂 thanks!

  29. Harry Potter was my childhood in a nutshell. I remember when Bertie Bott’s Beans came out and they were basically the coolest thing ever.

  30. Thanks for sharing such an awesome recipe. Will you please tell more regarding the Butterbeer though? Who is the manufacturer? Which Whole Foods store did you find it in? Was it located in the beverage aisle or was it on a special display? How much did it cost? Was the flavor of the product what you expected?

    • thedomesticrebel says:

      Hi Astral! I found the Butterbeer at Whole Foods in Roseville, CA., just outside of Sacramento. It was sold in a 4-pack for $4.99 I believe, and it was on a special Halloween product endcap near their spooky ghost chips and some bug gummies. Since I’ve never had the infamous butterbeer at Harry Potter World in Orlando, FL, I didn’t know what to expect but based on what I’ve heard others say in that it tastes like butterscotch, I was pleasantly surprised! Cream soda would also work in a pinch — just maybe add a little butterscotch extract or butter extract to sweeten it up some more 🙂

  31. hi,
    curious why there are no eggs in the cupcakes?


    • thedomesticrebel says:

      Hi Sarah – this uses soda instead, which replaces the eggs, oil and water 🙂

      • hi,
        i am a doubter no more. Made these cupcakes today with cream soda — wasn’t up to braving the Whole Foods for butterscotch soda — and they totally rock! Even though I am a chocoholic, these may be my new fav. Thanks for sharing.

  32. Do you not use any egg/oil/water that the boxed cake mix calls for? How does that work?

    • thedomesticrebel says:

      Nope, just the soda! The soda acts as all of those and produces a super moist cupcake. Trust me on this one! 🙂

  33. You must not have loved Sabrina the Teenage Witch that much, because neither Hilda nor Zelda were British.

  34. I have a question. You say to use a bottle or a can, how many ounces?

  35. I have soooo much trouble with piping the frosting like that. Any tips? Or a YouTube tutorial you like?

    • thedomesticrebel says:

      I have some tutorials on YouTube, Beth! Just search “rainbow cupcakes + domestic rebel” on YT and it should come up. Hope that helps!

  36. I made these twice and they taste delicious. My problem with them though was the texture– they were chewy and sticked to the baking cups. I thought maybe they just needed to be cooked longer but that didn’t change it. Regardless of the odd texture they are quite good!

    • thedomesticrebel says:

      Hi Julia! Sorry you had some issues! They do have a different texture because of the soda. Glad you liked them though!

  37. Mary Capalbo says:

    Hi, I’m hoping you can answer me asap…..I’m making these for this Saturday…
    I have a quick question about the Butterbeer cupcakes….they look fantastic!! Why do you say to “serve immediately” I wanted to make them for a bridal shower…can they stay out for a few hours?

  38. I couldn’t get into HP at first, either – then the orchestra with which I sat at the time started rehearsing John Williams’ Theme from Harry Potter (orig. Hedwig’s Theme). Williams, to me, is like Mozart: complex, but he recycles a lot. (To that point, the only really unique score I’d encountered was Schindler’s List – until I played HP & found variations of Schindler running throughout). I figured the books were a good bet for getting a good idea of the story in the music. I read the first four in one weekend. A regular 2-day weekend.
    Anyway …
    I really like brooms on these cupcakes – great idea! I do have an alternate suggestion for anyone who might not be able to find grapefruit gummies: use a rolling pin to roll out a yellow or white gumdrop/spice drop, & then slice as directed to form bristles.

  39. Riley Schwass says:

    How much butterscotch/Cream Soda do you use? Ounce wise? Making these for my daughter’s birthday this week and don’t want to screw them up!

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