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I have been waiting so long to make a butterbeer cupcake.

Death By Butterbeer Cupcakes w/Treacle Butter Frosting + Chocolate Covered Pretzels | @hbharvest

Like too many years.

Death By Butterbeer Cupcakes w/Treacle Butter Frosting + Chocolate Covered Pretzels | @hbharvest

I do not know if you know this, but I am huge Harry Potter fan. I know, I know, who the heck isn’t. I am not one of those die-hards or anything, but I have to say, the Harry Potter books are about the only books I have ever read page for page and truly enjoyed. It’s just my era I guess, but I will always love Harry Potter. The series brings back awesome memories for me.

I will forever love the Harry Potter marathon weekends on ABC family. They will never get old. Never.

Death By Butterbeer Cupcakes w/Treacle Butter Frosting + Chocolate Covered Pretzels | @hbharvest

Ok, and I just have to throw this in there too, ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas? Yeah, that is something I look forward to all year-long. Like no joke, that is my favorite thing. Call me whatever you want but, I will always be a 25 Days of Christmas Girl… and don’t judge, you know you are too.

Death By Butterbeer Cupcakes w/Treacle Butter Frosting + Chocolate Covered Pretzels | @hbharvest

Come every October though, it seems I have Harry Potter on the brain. I mean, it makes sense since October is all about magical, spooky things. Normally, I just watch the movies over and over until I can move on to the Christmas movies, but this year that just was not enough.

I was out hiking the other day and I thought back to these broom stick cookies I made. They were one of my very first posts on this blog and the photos are horrific, but the cookies are cute, and so good. I was thinking about how cute they would be with a butterbeer cupcake and that was it, that was when the decision was made. I was making butterbeer cupcakes… death by butterbeer cupcakes.

Hey, it’s October. Death By Butterbeer just seemed fitting.

Death By Butterbeer Cupcakes w/Treacle Butter Frosting + Chocolate Covered Pretzels | @hbharvest

If you are wondering, butterbeer (or at least the butterbeer in this recipe), is basically just butterscotch mixed with a little butter extract. It’s beyond delicious you guys. Super sweet, crazy “fall” like, and I am not going to lie – so addicting. Literally, the butterbeer glaze could be a dessert in itself? I am thinking small espresso mug filled with warm butterbeer glaze, drizzle of chocolate and marshmallows. OH MY GOSH. That would be good. Gotta do that sometime.

Cupcakes today though.

The cupcake itself is really simple. It’s made with brown sugar and butter extract, but I also added in some vanilla bean and um, chocolate covered toffee bits because they just needed to happen. I have had a bag of bits sitting in my pantry since last fall and these cupcakes just called out to them. They’re a match made in the cupcake heavens. The vanilla beans just add such great flavor. You can never go wrong with vanilla beans. Honestly you just can’t. They work with just about everything and they make recipes that much more special.

Death By Butterbeer Cupcakes w/Treacle Butter Frosting + Chocolate Covered Pretzels | @hbharvest

For the frosting, I had to go chocolate…and chocolate treacle butter!! It may just be physically impossible for me to have an all non-chocolate dessert. PLUS butterbeer and chocolate together seemed like such a good pairing. Topped off with some chocolate covered pretzels? Yeah, why not? It is finally that time of year again, when chocolate, sugar salt, carbs and all the good stuff is totally acceptable – every single freaking day. Or at least in my head it is.

Good months ahead…

Really though, this frosting is oh my gosh, GOOD. It’s the whole treacle butter thing which is really just unsulphured molasses and salted butter. It may seem simple, but when combined with a little butterbeer and a little chocolate? Um just, yes!

Death By Butterbeer Cupcakes w/Treacle Butter Frosting + Chocolate Covered Pretzels | @hbharvest

Finally, I do realize that these photos sort of look like a craft project gone wrong AND most importantly that the scarf is scarlet and white, not scarlet and yellow. I tried so hard to find a scarlet and yellow scarf, but had no luck. I found one online, but I really did not want to wait for it to get it here. So… sorry for the scarlet and white. I tried, really I tried.

And the as for the photos themselves, I was SO close to not even showing you these because they are not “my kind of perfect”, but my mom talked me into keeping them. Sorry for my craft project gone wrong, but I promise the cupcakes themselves are delish.

Double finally, if you have kids these are the cupcakes that will make you the “cool” mom or dad – guaranteed. If I could, I would bring them into Asher’s school on Halloween, but they have this new rule of no sweets for birthdays and holidays. I get it, but at the same time, it’s so lame. For me, in school class parties filled with the homemade treats where the best. ESPECIALLY on Halloween.

Halloween is meant for an all day sugar high.

Death By Butterbeer Cupcakes w/Treacle Butter Frosting + Chocolate Covered Pretzels | @hbharvest

Death By Butterbeer Cupcakes w/Treacle Butter Frosting + Chocolate Covered Pretzels.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Refridgerate 10 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings: 18 Cupcakes
Calories Per Serving: 536 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.



Butterbeer Sauce

  • 1 (11 ounce) bag butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Treacle Butter Frosting + Chocolate Pretzels


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 standard cupcake pans with 18 liners.
  • In a medium size mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and brown sugar.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, canola oil, butter extract, seeds from half a vanilla bean and the buttermilk. Beat until smooth.
  • Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients with the mixer on low until there are no longer any clumps of flour. Add the beer and mix until combined. Batter should be pourable, but not super thin. Stir in the toffee bits - if using.
  • Fill baking cups three-fourths full. Bake for about 18-22 minutes. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
  • Meanwhile, make the butterbeer sauce. Add the butterscotch chips, cream and honey to a small sauce pot. Set over low heat, stirring often until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat.
  • To make the frosting, melt chocolate in the microwave on 30 second intervals, stirring between each, until smooth. You may also use a double broiler. Dip each pretzel in chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. Place on wax paper lined cookie sheets and chill in the freezer until firm, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the butter, molasses and powdered sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand held mixer). Beat the butter and powdered sugar together until the butter is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the cocoa powder, vanilla and butter extract. Beat, scrapping down the sides as needed another 2 minutes or until there are no streaks of white. Beat in 1/3 cup butterbeer sauce + the seeds from 1/2 of the remaining vanilla bean until smooth and creamy. Add 2 tablespoons of the heavy cream and whip the frosting for 2-4 minutes or until light and fluffy. Taste the frosting and add more powdered sugar if you like a sweeter or thicker frosting.
  • Now take about 1/3 to 1/2 the chocolate covered pretzels and finely chop them. Stir the pretzels into the frosting. Skip this step if you like a smooth frosting.
  • To assemble the cupcakes, pipe frosting onto each cupcakes (or just smooth it on with a knife). Garnish each cupcake with a chocolate covered pretzel. If needed, warm the butterbeer sauce until just smooth enough to drizzle. Drizzle each cupcake with butterbeer sauce just before serving. Sink your teeth in!
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Death By Butterbeer Cupcakes w/Treacle Butter Frosting + Chocolate Covered Pretzels | @hbharvest

That’s what butterbeer dreams look like. It’s the glaze and the pretzels and the treacle b butter frosting and most definitely the cupcake. Really it’s the whole darn thing!

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    1. I think this would be great as a full size cake! It will make a 2 layer cake. Let me know if you have questions. Hope you love the cake! 🙂 And happy early birthday!

  1. Hey just made these – really great. I did use the toffee in the batter – made them look awesome when cut into. Chopped up the additional pretzels and instead of mixing them into the frosting, I sprinkled them over the piped frosting.

    Few tips – I would make the butterbeer sauce first – depending on how warm your kitchen is it might need extra time to thicken up a bit before drizzling. Extra pretzel bits seem necessary given how sweet the cupcakes and frosting turned out- however you decide to incorporate them – that salt and crunch are awesome!
    Next time I might also use less whipping cream in the frosting – it was very soft and already very sweet so I kept pausing and putting it in the fridge – came out too soft to hold up pretzels long end-up?

    Great recipe – thanks!

    1. Hey Kelly! So happy you love the cupcakes. yeah! Thanks so much for the helpful tips for readers! 🙂

  2. We are big Harry Potter fans here too. Friday nights, me & the kids have a movie night & make a special dessert. Last night was Prisoner of Azkaban & these special Harry Potter inspired cupcakes…. Well…. WOW!!! These are amazing! They were perfect, flavors & presentation. Truly magical cupcakes!
    Thank you for the great recipe.

  3. I just made these for a party and even though it’s years after you posted the recipe, I wanted to let you know I was so impressed with its accuracy and flavor. It made EXACTLY 18 cupcakes and the frosting was EXACTLY the perfect amount for that many cupcakes and the 9 oz of chocolate chips were the PERFECT weight to cover 40 pretzels. 22 minutes was the exact baking time the cupcakes needed, and they were perfectly round on top, moist, fluffy, and not excessively sugary. I really have never baked anything that was so flawlessly proportioned. Bravo! Also, of course, they were delicious and beautiful and oh-so-buttery and butterscotchy. Everyone who ate them was awed. The only minor thing I would’ve changed was cutting down the baking soda to 1/2 a teaspoon maybe. 1 t seemed like a bit much and I could detect an ever-so-faint hint of it in the finished cupcakes. I’m a little hyper-sensitive to baking soda, though, so it was probably just me. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing this awesome recipe!

  4. Thanks so much for posting these! I just finished making a batch…and I’m definitely not a baker but wow, they were awesome. Best butterbeer cupcakes I’ve made/tried yet!

  5. Two questions- where do you find a vanilla bean to harvest? And can the vanilla bean and unsulphered molasses be replaced with other ingredients?

    1. Hey Allie, the vanilla beans can be bought at the grocery store or here on amazon. The molasses is pretty important in developing the flavor, but if you must you can use honey or maple syrup.
      Oh and the vanilla beans can be left out completely.

      Hope you love these!

    1. I developed the cupcake recipe on my own with a few ingredients pulled from her recipe, yes. I also cited my sources below in the notes to give her credit.

  6. And NOW I want to re-read Harry Potter. Oh how I wish jordan would be interested in the books! I’d totally make her these cupcakes if it would make her read them!

  7. Girl, you never cease to amaze me with your creativity. Words cannot describe how badly I am craving one of these butterbeer cupcakes to devour right now. WOW they are incredible!

  8. Harry Potter for life! I just reread all the books for the first time since reading them as they came out. Yes been a while. I would have loved to have some of these around for that but I can just do a movie marathon with them instead O:-)

  9. Seriously! Your stuff always amazes me. And your photography! I have to say you are one of my favorite bloggers to idolize 🙂

  10. So, my kids love Harry Potter, but I just could never get into it. However, these cupcakes look fabulous! (Did somebody say butterbeer?) And the broomstick cookies are adorable!

    1. Thank you so much, Andrea! These are a kids cupcake for sure…but I mean, delicious for anyone of course! 🙂