Even though I just returned from holiday in the US, I have to admit that I’m already majorly missing US food. We get this odd mix of food from the UK, US, Lebanon, China, FInland…really everywhere, but you never know what you will find at the grocery stores…and most of it’s super expensive. And sometimes you just want a cheap American treat like a root beer float! Unfortunately vanilla ice cream can run about $20 for a gallon, so it was time to go for the next best (or, perhaps, the best) option…cupcakes!
Since I’ve also been supplying a local restaurant with cupcakes each week, I’m always on the hunt for new flavor combinations, and combinations that make smaller batches. So this recipe was a total win/win – it made a smaller batch of cupcakes, was super easy and delicious, and translated some American goodness into a cupcake for the Liberian consumer! 🙂
I personally love perusing blogs for recipes and ideas, and there are A LOT of recipes out there for root beer float cupcakes, which all looked delicious! To really maximize the flavor, and particularly because I cannot find (and also have never heard of) root beer extract, I combined and adapted different elements from different recipes, and came up with this one.
This cupcake is sweet with the vanilla frosting, and leaves a great aftertaste of root beer. I want to try it now with Coke, and probably even Dr. Pepper, because everything tastes better with Dr. Pepper, right? 🙂 Enjoy!
Root Beer Float Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes
Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
1 cup root beer (not diet! just do it, go with full sugar)
1/2 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 and 1/8 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 and 1/8 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
extra root beer
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit / 162 degrees celsius.
Before the first step, make sure all your sugar is measured out and ready to go. You don’t want to allow the mixture to burn while measuring out 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar…trust me, I know! So once the sugars are ready to go, add the cup of root beer, cocoa powder, and butter to a medium saucepan, and heat over medium heat until the butter is melted, whisking occasionally. Then add the sugars and whisk until they’ve dissolved. Remove the saucepan from the burner and allow to cool.
To a medium bowl, add the flour, baking soda and salt, and whisk together. In a separate small bowl, beat the egg with a fork or a whisk, and then whisk it into the cooled down root beer mix. Add the flour mixture to the root beer mixture, and mix together. Be careful not to overmix! The overall mixture will be a bit lumpy.
Fill each prepared muffin liner with about 3/4 of batter. Pop in the pre-heated oven and bake for 15 minutes, or longer, until a toothpick stuck in the cupcakes comes out clean.
Remove from oven, and place on wire racks to cool. Once on the wire racks, and while still warm, poke a few holes into the tops of the cupcakes with a toothpick. Pour some of the leftover root beer into a bowl, and using either a pastry brush or your fingers, brush the root beer directly onto the top of each cupcake. The holes help it soak better, and make sure you get more of the root beer flavor!
Allow the cupcakes to completely cool before frosting.
Beat butter and vanilla until creamy. Add salt. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating until combined. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach desired consistency. If you add too much milk, no worries! Add more powdered sugar until you’re happy with the texture and taste of the frosting.
Root Beer Glaze
1 tsp root beer
3/4 cup powdered sugar
Optional: food coloring
In a medium bowl, mix the root beer and powdered sugar. If you would like it to have a different color, as it will be the same color as the frosting, add some food coloring – you can go brown (I know, sounds lovely!), or any color that makes you happy.
12 maraschino cherries
First, during one of the steps above, while waiting for the cupcakes to bake or while mixing the frosting, take 12 of the maraschino cherries from their jar. Line a plate with paper towels, and place the 12 maraschino cherries on the plate – this will help the juice run off, and make sure the cherries aren’t dripping red juice and too wet to be held up by the frosting.
Once the cherries are dry and the other ingredients are ready – it’s time to assemble! Pipe or smear the frosting on the cupcake however your heart desires. Then, using a spoon, drizzle the root beer glaze over the tops of the cupcakes. Top with a maraschino cherry, and get to eating! You can even go a bit fancier and stick a straw into the cupcake – whatever makes you happy! Enjoy!