Butterscotch Cupcakes | What We Do in the Shadows

Whenever I recommend any comedy TV shows to someone, What We Do in the Shadows is right up there at the top of the list. It’s definitely one that pushes the limits on humour and often dances on the line, but it never crosses it. So, incredibly funny. My What We Do in the Shadows butterscotch cupcakes are fit for a vampire from any era. Thirsty for more?

About the TV show:

Following up from the 2014 film of the same title, What We Do in the Shadows (2019 – ) follows the ‘lives’ of four vampires residing in present day Staten Island. Each vampire is of a different era, but they have been living together in a very large, very old house for more than a century.

When I say that What We Do in the Shadows “follows” these vampires, I mean it quite literally. The style of this show is mock documentary, or ‘mockumentary’. A fake documentary crew film and interview all of the main characters, very much putting the lives of the crew at risk. They capture most, if not all, of the hilarity and ridiculousness that these characters create.

Nandor the Relentless is played by Kayvan Novak, who is joined by Natasia Demetriou as Nadja and Matt Berry as Laszlo, Nadja’s partner. Colin the energy vampire is played by Mark Proksch, completing this house of vampires. 

The delightful Harvey Guillén joins them as Nandor’s familiar, Guillermo. I love Guillén’s character because he gives us a different insight and perspective into the activities of these vampires. It adds so much depth and extra humour that we wouldn’t get without him.

The cast list continues with the likes of the great Doug Jones; Kristen Schaal, Chris Sandiford, Anthony Atamanuik, Parisa Fakhri, Jean-Michael Richaud, Anoop Desai, Nick Kroll, Beanie Feldstein, Jake McDorman, and more.

Created by Jermaine Clement and Taika Waititi (who also appears in the series), What We Do in the Shadows is on its fifth season and (hopefully) counting.

There are a whole host of directors and writers that have added more and more to this gem of a comedy – too many to list here.

I talked in my Only Murders in the Building recipe about how comedy can be so touch and go as it’s incredibly subjective. A lot of the time I’ll find something amusing but won’t necessarily laugh out loud. When I’m watching What We Do in the Shadows, I’m WHEEZING because I’m laughing so much.

No copyright infringement intended.

It’s so funny in so many ways – there are different types of jokes blended together. Thus, it caters for multiple tastes. 

I will say that it is very, very rude. If you don’t like rude humour, this isn’t the show for you. It’s also definitely not suitable for young viewers, in case that isn’t known or obvious. 

Let me know what your favourite episode of What We Do in the Shadows is, if you have one! Head over to the Flavour of the Film socials and drop me a comment on the relevant posts. I’d love to know what makes you laugh the most.

About the bake:

There is a running theme across multiple seasons that involves a rather disgusting witch hat, belonging to Laszlo. Nadja loathes this hat – for good reason – and refers to it as a “stupid bloody witch hat”.

Part of this running theme includes beef between Laszlo and Simon the Devious, played by Nick Kroll. Both have been fighting over who the hat belongs to for decades, much to Nadja’s annoyance. 

This was the inspiration behind this bake. Butterscotch cupcakes decorated to resemble this witch hat. 

When it came to the flavour of these fun cupcakes, I wanted something that I knew would provide a close enough colour to match the nasty material that the witch hats are made of. I’m no stranger to making gross but delicious bakes, like my Jujutsu Kaisen demon fingers, but I won’t mention what the witch hat in the show is made from.

If you know, you know.

The flavour I landed on was butterscotch. These butterscotch cupcakes are inspired by Jane’s Patisserie’s own butterscotch cupcakes, which are delicious. If you aren’t a fan of butterscotch then by all means, you can switch it out for caramel or omit it altogether and go with a simple vanilla cupcake.

With this recipe, I provide the method for how to make butterscotch sauce which is so easy, but you can buy it if you prefer.

The only difference between butterscotch and caramel, really, is the sugar used in it.

Butterscotch uses brown sugar, whereas caramel uses white sugar. It definitely changes the taste. This is good to know because if you look for some in the shop, it is often labelled differently. Check the ingredients list and note the sugar in it. Then you’ll know!

To make the butterscotch more relevant to the show, I coloured it red to resemble blood. What We Do in the Shadows is about vampires, after all.

Top Tips:

  • An ice cream scoop works well to divide the mixture evenly among the cupcake cases.
  • Leave space in your cupcake cases when filling. They need room to rise!
  • If you can get your hands on some, sturdy cupcake cases that can stand on their own are the ideal cupcake cases to use. This is especially true if you don’t have a 12 hole tray.
  • For the actual piping of the hats, I used a leaf piping tip because it created a cool texture and made it easier to pipe up and over to create the shape. Then, I used a much smaller open star piping tip for the feathers, and a very thin pin-point tip to pipe out the stitching in black.

There you have it. My ridiculous What We Do in the Shadows stupid witch hat butterscotch cupcakes. These are so fun and simple to create, and they make great viewing snacks. I hope you have fun making them!

Happy baking, happy eating!

Ingredients:

Butterscotch sauce:

  • 115g [4 o]z unsalted butter
  • 100g [½ cup] dark brown sugar
  • 125ml [4.75 oz] double [heavy] cream
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Red food colouring

Butterscotch cupcakes: 

  • 150g [5.25 oz] unsalted butter  room temperature
  • 150g [¾ cup] caster sugar
  • 150g [¾ cup + 3 tbsp] self-raising flour
  • 3 medium eggs

Decoration:

  • 200g [7 oz] unsalted butter  room temperature
  • 500g [3¼  cups + 3 tbsp] icing [confectioners] sugar
  • 2 – 3 tbsp butterscotch sauce
  • Splash of milk  optional
  • Black food colouring  oil based
  • Purple food colouring  oil based

Serves: 12

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Baking time: 18 – 20 minutes

Decorating time: 20 minutes

Method:

Butterscotch sauce:

  1. If making the butterscotch sauce, do so now using the following steps.
  2. Melt the butter and brown sugar together in a heavy based pan over a medium heat.
  3. Add the cream and stir in until well combined.
  4. Take off the heat and add the vanilla and salt. Stir in well. 
  5. Separate 2 – 3 tbsp of the sauce and place in another container to cool. This is what you’ll use to flavour your buttercream!
  6. Add 2 tsp of red food colouring to the remaining butterscotch sauce and mix in until you achieve the ‘blood’ shade you’re after.
  7. Pour your ‘blood’ sauce into clean glass containers to cool completely. I used old jam jars for this.
  8. Next, make your cakes.

Butterscotch cupcakes:

  1. Prepare 12 large cupcake cases by placing one in each of the sections of a muffin tray. If using card-based or stand alone cases, place all 12 onto a baking tray and set aside.
  2. Preheat your oven to 180°C [350°F] or 160°C fan.
  3. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl, until light and creamy.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat in until fully incorporated.
  5. Add the flour and mix in until there are no flour lumps. Try not to over mix.
  6. Split the cake mix evenly between each cupcake case until it is used up. They should be around ½ to ¾ full but not completely full. The cakes need room to rise!
  7. Bake the cakes for 18 – 20 minutes.
  8. Your cakes will be ready when the surface of the sponges bounce back when pressed on gently, and you hear little to no crackling/bubbling sounds when you listen to them.
  9. Once baked, leave to cool in the tray for 15 or so minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 
  10. Whilst your cakes are cooling, make your buttercream.

Decoration:

  1. Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the milk here to loosen if needed and beat in well.
  2. When cool enough, add the 2 – 3 tbsp butterscotch sauce you separated earlier and beat in until fully incorporated. Set aside for a moment.
  3. Once the cakes are fully cool (this doesn’t take long!), de-centre each cupcake by spooning the middle of the cake out. Either set aside or eat each centre.
  4. Fill each cupcake with the red butterscotch sauce, putting in as much as you can, right up to the edge of each hole. 
  5. Separate some buttercream into two more smaller bowls. This is used for the stitches and feathers.
  6. Add black food colouring to one bowl and purple to the other and mix individually.
  7. Using a piping bag or sandwich bag with a petal piping tip (or tip of your choice) attached, pipe a small amount of plain butterscotch buttercream in the centre of one cupcake to create a stable structure to continue piping on.
  8. Pipe from the bottom up, moving around the centre of your cake, to create a pointed dome with the butterscotch buttercream. 
  9. Pipe around the base of the dome, on the surface of the cake, to create the lip of the hat.
  10. Repeat with each cupcake until you have buttercream hats on each one.
  11. In a separate piping bag or sandwich bag with the end snipped off or a pin-point nozzle attached, pipe on patchworks and stitches using the black buttercream.
  12. Do the same with the purple buttercream, piping the feathers on one side of each hat. This does not need to be neat, the witch hat in the show is super ugly!

These witch-approved butterscotch cupcakes will last for 4+ days in an airtight container/cake case/cupcake box. Any leftover butterscotch sauce will last for around 2 weeks in the fridge. Enjoy!

Recipe card:

Butterscotch Cupcakes | What We Do in the Shadows

Laura – Flavour of the Film
Devilishly sweet cupcakes filled with a homemade butterscotch sauce, decorated with butterscotch flavoured American buttercream in the shape of witch hats, celebrating What We Do in the Shadows.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Decorating time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 8 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 12

Ingredients
  

Butterscotch sauce:

  • 115 g [4 oz] unsalted butter
  • 100 g [½ cup] dark brown sugar
  • 125 ml [4.75 oz] double [heavy] cream
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Red food colouring

Butterscotch cupcakes:

  • 150 g [5.25 oz] unsalted butter room temperature
  • 150 g [¾ cup] caster sugar
  • 150 g [¾ cup + 3 tbsp] self-raising flour
  • 3 medium eggs

Decoration:

  • 200 g [7 oz] unsalted butter room temperature
  • 500 g [3¼ cups + 3 tbsp] icing [confectioners] sugar
  • 2 – 3 tbsp butterscotch sauce
  • Splash of milk optional
  • Black food colouring oil based
  • Purple food colouring oil based

Instructions
 

  • If making the butterscotch sauce, do so now using the following steps.
  • Melt the butter and brown sugar together in a heavy based pan over a medium heat.
  • Add the cream and stir in until well combined.
  • Take off the heat and add the vanilla and salt. Stir in well.
  • Separate 2 – 3 tbsp of the sauce and place in another container to cool. This is what you’ll use to flavour your buttercream!
  • Add 2 tsp of red food colouring to the remaining butterscotch sauce and mix in until you achieve the ‘blood’ shade you’re after.
  • Pour your ‘blood’ sauce into clean glass containers to cool completely. I used old jam jars for this.
  • Next, make your cakes.
  • Prepare 12 large cupcake cases by placing one in each of the sections of a muffin tray. If using card-based or stand alone cases, place all 12 onto a baking tray and set aside.
  • Preheat your oven to 180°C [350°F] or 160°C fan.
  • Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl, until light and creamy.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat in until fully incorporated.
  • Add the flour and mix in until there are no flour lumps. Try not to over mix.
  • Split the cake mix evenly between each cupcake case until it is used up. They should be around ½ to ¾ full but not completely full. The cakes need room to rise!
  • Bake the cakes for 18 – 20 minutes.
  • Your cakes will be ready when the surface of the sponges bounce back when pressed on gently, and you hear little to no crackling/bubbling sounds when you listen to them.
  • Once baked, leave to cool in the tray for 15 or so minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Whilst your cakes are cooling, make your buttercream.
  • Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the milk here to loosen if needed and beat in well.
  • When cool enough, add the 2 – 3 tbsp butterscotch sauce you separated earlier and beat in until fully incorporated. Set aside for a moment.
  • Once the cakes are fully cool (this doesn’t take long!), de-centre each cupcake by spooning the middle of the cake out. Either set aside or eat each centre.
  • Fill each cupcake with the red butterscotch sauce, putting in as much as you can, right up to the edge of each hole.
  • Separate some buttercream into two more smaller bowls. This will be used for the stitches and feathers.
  • Add black food colouring to one bowl and purple to the other and mix individually.
  • Using a piping bag or sandwich bag with a petal piping tip (or tip of your choice) attached, pipe a small amount of plain butterscotch buttercream in the centre of one cupcake to create a stable structure to continue piping on.
  • Pipe from the bottom up, moving around the centre of your cake, to create a pointed dome with the butterscotch buttercream.
  • Pipe around the base of the dome, on the surface of the cake, to create the lip of the hat.
  • Repeat with each cupcake until you have buttercream hats on each one.
  • In a separate piping bag or sandwich bag with the end snipped off or a pin-point nozzle attached, pipe on patchworks and stitches using the black buttercream.
  • Do the same with the purple buttercream, piping the feathers on one side of each hat. This does not need to be neat, the witch hat in the show is super ugly!

Notes

These witch-approved butterscotch cupcakes will last for 4+ days in an airtight container/cake case/cupcake box. If there is any left, the butterscotch sauce will last for around 2 weeks in the fridge. Enjoy!
Keyword american buttercream, butterscotch, butterscotch cupcakes, cupcakes, homemade butterscotch sauce, what we do in the shadows, witch hat

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