Counter Action: Butterbeer cake

butterbeer cake i

Welcome to D.A. Days, a celebration of all things Harry Potter! I’m deviating from my usual schedule to post every day this week, so feel free to check back every morning and join in the merriment.

Today’s installment features a cake I made for a party in my junior year of college. The summer before that year, I had been living in that hot, dusty, snoozy college town, with not a lot to do except work, read, and try not to get heatstroke. Fortunately, there was a classmate I knew slightly — we’ll call her Liz — who was also in town, living in an air-conditioned house. Merlin’s beard.

I feel your pain, kid. Unless you get any closer.

Most kids cool their mouths with popsicles, but Edna Mae is what you’d call an innovative thinker.

As Liz had just come back from nine months in England and I’d recently spent a delightful seven weeks rummaging around the same country, we agreed that we should get together immediately at her house and wax nostalgic about that royal throne of kings, that scepter’d isle, that earth of majesty, that seat of Mars, that other Eden.

(Ten karma points if you can name that play.)

During that kaffeeklatsch, we quickly discovered that we had other things in common, including a serious cooking habit and a love of all things Harry Potter. And where should those two things intersect, we decided, but in periodic movie/dinner parties. This cake made its debut at our very last party, for Deathly Hallows Part II. Or perhaps I should say our last Harry Potter party, because Liz and I have been roommates now for two years and heaven knows we’ve had enough Merlin parties, Firefly parties, Castle parties, and It’s Finals Week And We Seriously Need A Break parties since then to fill a shelf of scrapbooks.

But without further ado, the cake.

butterbeer cake ii

Butterbeer cake

(Based on this recipe at Amy Bites. Just a heads-up: the original recipe is super cool, with a butterscotch filling and a fancy topping. In other words, if Amy’s recipe is a Peter Jackson epic with a budget of $34 million, my version is a video someone shot with their phone in a vacant lot. Use her recipe if you really want to make a splash at a gathering; try my version for something more everyday and budget-friendly.)


  • 2 c. flour
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ c. unsalted butter
  • ½ c. white sugar
  • ½ c. brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ c. buttermilk
  • ½ c. cream soda


  1. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Cream butter until light and fluffy. Mix in sugars and vanilla. Add eggs and continuing mixing.
  3. Combine flour mixture, butter/egg mixture, buttermilk, and cream soda in stages, beating well after each addition.
  4. Pour into greased 9″ x 13″ cake pan. Bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes.
  5. Garnish with butterscotch icing (recipe below).


Butterscotch icing

(Made from this recipe at Simply Recipes)


  • 4 T. unsalted butter
  • 1 c. packed brown sugar
  • c. heavy whipping cream
  • up to 1 T. vanilla extract
  • up to 1 tsp. salt


  1. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add sugar and stir to mix. Continue to heat and stir until sugar is melted.
  3. Add cream and lower heat slightly. Whisk until smooth.
  4. Heat mixture to a boil. Whisk periodically for 10 minutes or until quite thick.
  5. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and salt to taste.
  6. Pour over cake.


Photo credits: Child and fan from Andi_Graf on Pixabay.



5 thoughts on “Counter Action: Butterbeer cake

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