Happy Harry Potter’s birthday!
Today is the day, many years ago, when a young wizard got the letter that would change his life forever. Not that horrible Uncle Dursley made it easy to get, but eventually it was gotten, and we were thankful.
To answer the questions my coworkers have been asking today, no, it is not Daniel Radcliffe’s birthday, it’s the character’s birthday. No, not Prince Harry. No, there is no new guy in the office named Harry.
Next, I should apologize for posting this today. One of my pet peeves is reading about something after it happens, when it’s too late to do anything about it. For that reason I was going to make my office celebrate on Monday so you could have had a day to plan your own party, but the “cupcakes” I made that day were a slight disappointment. To me, that is. Not to anyone else. I think I’m too picky sometimes.
I used this Butterbeer Cupcake recipe, which is the main one you’ll find all over the web. The cakes tasted fine, but they had the consistency of a dense muffin, which wasn’t what I was expecting. Maybe I was having a bad baking day, maybe they’re supposed to be thicker, I dunno. They were just really heavy.
And I suppose I could have just called them Butterbeer Muffins and left it at that, but when I’m expecting one thing and get another, I get frustrated. So Sunday afternoon I threw my hands in the air and gave up on them.
I did bring them to the office on Monday though, set them out with this note, and people gobbled them up. Guess I could have frosted them and had my party after all.
Anyway, determined to make this party happen, I decided to simplify. I considered going really authentic and recreating Harry’s original birthday cake:
But Harry would be 33 today, so something more adult was called for. Plus, I’ve been wanting to make Butterbeer Cupcakes for ages, and I wasn’t ready to give up on them yet. I wanted to be a dedicated, loyal Neville baker, not a wishy-washy unreliable Gilderoy Lockhart baker!
I remembered from my Irn Bru cupcake research that you can take any package mix and add 12 oz. of any soda to make a cake. So I grabbed a plain white cake mix, a bottle of Hank’s awesome Cream Soda and 2 teaspoons of butter flavoring for extra yumminess and whipped up some cupcakes. (That’s right: no eggs, no water, no oil.)
Then I went back to the Butterbeer Cupcake recipe I started with and used that to make the butterscotch ganache and frosting. I just put a little ganache in the middle of each cake because it was thinner than I think it should have been (maybe reduce the amount of cream you use), and I was afraid of the cakes getting mushy.
After serving them today a couple of people did say the middles were a bit too moist, so I think ideally you should add the ganache to the middle as close to serving time as possible. That just means waiting to frost them as well. If you can do it in the morning before work, perfect.
I used Gryffindor colors to decorate with and brought in a few of my favorite Harry Potter things: the Hedwig a friend gave me and the glasses that were given out as a freebie at a midnight release party for Order of the Phoenix, I think.
People enjoyed trying them on.
If you missed out on a magical celebration today, don’t worry. With birthdays, there’s always next year.