Every time I make these cupcakes I can’t help but think back to when I was younger and my Dad would make my sisters and I root beer floats. Actually, now that I REALLY think about it, it was more like he made a huge one for himself in his A&W mug and we pretty much poached it from there. Regardless of how the memory actually plays out, root beer has always been one of my favourite drinks, but I had never really thought of incorporating the flavour into baking until about a few months ago. When I first began experimenting with unique cupcake flavours, I made it a point to ask my friends what their favourite desserts/flavours in general were. In my friend group at least, an overwhelming number loved root beer both now and when they were younger.
As I mentioned earlier, I have made these cupcakes before, but this time I decided to make a chocolate version, and have a true root beer buttercream frosting (after experimenting with other types of frostings I decided that it’s REAL buttercream or bust for me!).
As the smell of root beer began to waft from my oven I was instantly jealous of the friend who requested these cupcakes for his birthday (I make a point of baking something for my friends’ birthdays…this is why you should follow this blog…’cause maybe someday we will become friends *hint hint*). For what you may think would be a complicated recipe, root beer float cupcakes are actually quite quick and easy to make- and you can even use a store bought cake mix and just add the root beer flavours later.
You might hate me for this, but I have spent A LOT of time coming up with my chocolate cake/cupcake recipe and as such I won’t be giving it away today 😛 The good news for you, however, is that there are about a million other great ones on the internet that you can try, so I will include one I have adapted from The Joy of Baking (which I myself have tried, and it is great!) for you to use if you are so inclined.
Now onto the recipe…
ROOT BEER FLOAT CUPCAKES
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 cup boiling hot water
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1-2 teaspoons of Root Beer extract or 1/4 cup of root beer (you can add more or less depending upon your own taste)
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
2) In a small bowl stir until smooth the boiling hot water and the cocoa powder. Let cool to room temperature.
3) In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
These are the extracts that I used to make my root beer float cupcakes and icing
4) Then in the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract and root beer extract (NOTE: If you don’t have root beer extract you can use 1/4 cup of root beer but the extract gives the cupcakes a much more potent root beer taste). Add the flour mixture and beat only until incorporated. Then add the cooled cocoa mixture and stir until smooth. (NOTE **Make SURE your cocoa mixture is cooled or you can ruin your batter!!)
5) Fill each muffin cup about two-thirds full with batter and bake for about 16 – 20 minutes or until risen, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean.
The great thing about these root beer float cupcakes is that if you don’t like chocolate cupcakes you can also add the extract into your favourite vanilla cupcake recipe. That is how I first made these cupcakes, and I found that the root beer flavour came across a little bit stronger that way.
ROOT BEER FROSTING
Like I said earlier, buttercream is the only icing for me
– 1 cup butter (room temperature or it won’t mix well)
– 2-3 cups icing sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)
– 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
– 1-2 teaspoons milk (I always use almond milk, but this is up to you)
Optional: 1 teaspoon root beer extract
1) Cream your butter together with your sugar (adding the sugar in small amounts) with a hand mixer
2) Mix in your vanilla extract, milk, and root beer extract (if desired)
When they have cooled, frost your cupcakes either using a knife or if you’re feeling fancy (like I was) you can use a piping bag and Wilton tip 1M to create some nice swirls 🙂
The tricky (or some say, good) thing about buttercream icing is that you can try it as you go along, adding more sugar if it is too runny, and more milk and butter if you like a creamier taste. Be careful when adding your extract, if yours is a tad oily like mine it will “break” the buttercream down- not to worry, just add more icing sugar until you achieve your desired consistency.
I hope that baking these root beer float cupcakes gives you the same trip down memory lane as it did me. Here are some photos of my finished cupcakes, I really wish that you could smell them right now, but I guess you will just have to make some of your own!
Happy eating! xo