Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Root Beer Float Cupcakes

by Darla

Are you guys doing the Pinterest thing? I am. I’m obsessed. It’s the worst thing that ever could have happened to my productivity. Once I’m sucked in, I just can’t seem to walk away. Someone will repin one of my pins, or a friend will tag me in some perfectly me Harry Potter post, or tell me abut some new, easy way to style long hair, and I’m drawn in…then Pinterest just won’t. let. go.

I love it.

I hate it.

I have a problem.

The worst part about pinterest, though…seriously, the worst part…is how often I see something I love and want, and one of two things happens. Either I follow a trail of pins and repins all over the Pinterestverse that then eventually leads to a tumblr trail that only ends in a sad little image page on google, never actually leading to the item I so truly love and desperately need (yes, need). Or. The thing that I’ve fallen for is sold out at whatever retailer I finally manage to track it to. Of course, there’s the occasional time when I actually do track it down and it actually is still available, but then it ends up costing an arm, a leg, and at least three toes. Blerg.

On the brightside, unlike my other obsessions (TeeFury, ModCloth, Bake It PrettyETSY…to name a few), at least Pinterest will apparently never cost me any money…because it never actually leads to anything.

When I finally do break away from Pinterest, I go bake my you-can’t-have-your-love-cause-it’s-sold-out depression away. The latest NON-buyer’s remorse could only be cured with cupcakes. Really. Yummy. Cupcakes.

These cupcakes, people, are a-flippin-mazing! There are lots of root beer float cupcake recipes out there, and they’re good, trust me, but I still needed to make my own. I love root beer floats and I love cupcakes, so why not put them together? Mostly, though, I had to make my own because I bought these adorable little spoons that I was dying to use and I just couldn’t picture them in any other kind of cupcake. That’s a good reason, right? Well, even if it isn’t, the cupcakes turned out so delicious that it didn’t matter why I made them anymore!

These cupcakes have a mild root beer flavor, but the filling gives a little more root beer punch to them, and the frosting is the perfect faux vanilla ice cream.

These are a really tasty chocolate cake recipe that I just added root beer too, in place of milk. All you need is all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, root beer, unsalted butter (melted), eggs, baking soda, salt, sugar, brown sugar, and root beer concentrate.

Alright, honestly, you can’t just take milk out and put root beer in and expect everything to be ok. And I didn’t expect that, but my other tweaks still weren’t sufficient. My first batch of root beer cupcakes had too much sugar. :( They tasted fantastic, and they had a nice texture inside, but the outside were very, very sticky (I could hardly remove the papers). Plus, as you can see, they had very little structure and collapsed in the centers. Some of the cupcakes actually came out with a perfect shape, but they were still way too sticky, so I knew I was close to the right ratios…back to the drawing board. I reduced the sugar and increased the flour on these and ended up with perfectly domed, perfectly textured cupcakes. :)

Before I had even started on the cupcake recipe, I know that wanted to top the cupcakes with swiss meringue frosting. I just felt like it would be the closest thing to ice cream, while still holding up to being a cupcake topping. Whipped cream would be good too, but it’s not as stable, and I felt buttercream would be too heavy and sweet. On a whim, I decided to divide out about one quarter of the frosting and add a little root beer concentrate to it and use it as a filling. I’m really happy that I did!

To fill the cupcakes, core the centers with a paring knife or apple corer. Fill the cupcakes almost full with filling, then replace the bit of cupcake you removed. I decided I wanted mine to look like they had a melty, foamy scoop of ice cream on top, so I filled a decorating bag (zip top works great too) with the frosting and snipped the end off. Next, I just swirled the frosting around the outer edges of the cupcakes. There’s no technique here, just go with what you want. Finally, I used a 1 tablespoon scoop to place a little scoop of frosting on top. Admittedly, I’d go with a smaller scoop, if you can, but that was my smallest scoop. They were absolutely delicious, but I like a tad less frosting.

Some cute stripey straws and sweet little float spoons from Bake It Pretty were the perfect finishing touches for these. :)

Or you could always add two straws and share with that special someone. *eyebrow waggle*

If you’re a root beer float fan, then you should definitely try these. The cakes are dense, but light, with a rich chocolatey flavor that is perfectly complimented by the subtle root beer taste. The filling and frosting are light, airy, and mild, and give the perfect illusion of vanilla ice cream in frosting form. Plus, they’re fast and easy…you can have them from mixed to decorated in under 90 minutes. They’re the perfect summer drink in the perfect summer cupcake! Enjoy!

Root Beer Cupcakes [Printable Version]
Makes 20 cupcakes


2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (60 g) cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick/4 oz.) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar (50 g), packed
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon root beer concentrate
1 cup (8 oz./250 ml) root beer

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). Line a muffin pan with paper liners; set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the butter and sugars and mix until well combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Thoroughly stir in the root beer concentrate.

Sprinkle about 1/3 of the flour mixture into the bowl, mixing on low speed. Add half of the root beer. Once incorporated, repeat with another third of the flour mixture and the remaining root beer. Stir in the rest of the flour, mixing until just combined. Do not over mix; batter will be a little lumpy.

Place 3 level tablespoons of batter into each lined cup and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted int he center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before filling or frosting.

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Frosting
and Root Beer Meringue Filling [Printable Versions: Frosting, Filling]
Makes about 5 cups


5 large egg whites
1 cup (200 g) sugar
pinch of salt
2 cups (4 sticks or 1 lb.) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 2 tablespoon chunks
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon root beer concentrate

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, set over a pot of simmering water, combine the egg whites, sugar, and salt. Heat the mixture, whisking often, until it reaches 160 degrees and the sugar is dissolved.

Remove from heat and whisk on medium high speed until stiff peaks form, about 8-10 minutes. The mixture should also be room temperature, at this point.

With the mixer on medium speed, add the butter, 1 piece at a time, and beat until incorporated before adding another piece. Continue to beat until thick and smooth (if it looks curdled or soupy, just keep beating it until smooth again, another 3 minutes or so). Stir in the vanilla until incorporated.

Separate out 1/4 of the frosting into a medium bowl. Stir in the root beer concentrate and use this as filling for cupcakes.

Cupcake recipe by Darla, Frosting/filling recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Myrna July 26, 2011 at 9:46 am

You are soooooooo my new favorite baker!! Brilliant=D


2 Kelly July 26, 2011 at 10:17 am

These are amazing!!!! Always do such a fabulous job, love these! :)


3 Blog is the New Black July 26, 2011 at 10:39 am

These are adorable and I’m sure they taste wonderful!


4 Sincerely Jill July 26, 2011 at 10:56 am

Yum… I’ll take one of those please :)


5 Debbie July 26, 2011 at 11:19 am

Ha! I saw the post about these cupcakes on facebook on my phone, so I just logged into your website on my computer so that I could pin this on pinterest! Great minds…


6 Darla July 26, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Too funny!! I am so obsessed with Pinterest, it’s not even cool. I just don’t let myself get on there too much. It’s dangerous!!


7 Debbie July 26, 2011 at 5:24 pm

And now we’ve come full circle, because I just checked out Bake It Pretty on account of your obsession and then I ended up pinning a candy mold that I must have. I’m thinking they must have 12-step programs for people like us. :-)


8 Ashley July 26, 2011 at 11:42 am

WHY?! Why must you shove me towards more websites that will turn into obsessions?? I’m already on pinterest and etsy, and obsessed with both. Now I have more things to take me away from cleaning the kitchen after making these cupcakes.


9 Karly July 26, 2011 at 11:43 am

Could these possibly be any cuter? No. I think not.


10 Sarah July 26, 2011 at 12:50 pm

That’s strange. You have the same obsessions as me. Except for pinterest. What is that? Wait, don’t tell me. I might just get obsessed.


11 Jaime July 26, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Ok, bear with me here, but I HATE rootbeer floats!!! I love the FLAVOR but cannot stand the TEXTURES. I know, I am weird. Then I was turned on to a rootbeer FREEZE at the A&W and I was IN LOVE. Its basically a rootbeer MILKSHAKE!! I get the best of both worlds: the flavor of a float but without the yucky texture I cant stand!! Hooray! But alas, the only A&W I know of is in northern CA and I live in San Diego. Maybe its better for my waistline that way. Until these dang cupcakes came along. These are a triple threat: the FLAVOR I love, without the texture I hate ALL IN CUPCAKE FORM!! YUM!!!!


12 Darla July 26, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Yay! I hope you like these, Jaime. They’re mild on root beer flavor, because I didn’t want to keep adding a whole lot of artificial flavoring, but you can add even more to give them a bigger root beer punch, if you like. :)


13 Emily@SoDomesticated July 26, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Too cute! Love the pipping of the Swiss Meringue!


14 Maria July 26, 2011 at 4:40 pm

These are too cute for words!


15 Jennifer July 26, 2011 at 6:48 pm

Mmmm…If only I had some root beer! Must add that to my list when I go to the store. :)


16 Linda V @ Bubble and Sweet July 26, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Oh Pintrest is totally evil, and totally amazing…but underneath a web of timesucking evilness. Still I Love Pintrest….also love root beer and cupcakes to your latest treat looks delicious.


17 Rosa July 26, 2011 at 9:20 pm

Yum, yum, yum, YUM! These will be perfect for a kiddie party that I want to help out at! Thanks for sharing!


18 Mary Anne July 27, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Root Beer always makes me think of my Nana…. She LOVED root beer, and the woman had a sweet tooth like nobody else! I think I must get mine from her, and I’m pretty bad, but she was way worse (in a good way!) Nana would have loved these….
Just wondering if I’ll be able to find Root Beer Concentrate at my local grocery store….


19 Darla July 27, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Hi Mary Anne, Yep…you can get root beer concentrate in the grocery store. I found mine at Walmart during my visit to the states. It’s with all of the extracts and flavorings in the baking aisle. :)


20 Bttrflybabydoll July 27, 2011 at 11:24 pm

These might just be my birthday cupcake! Thank you!


21 Mansi July 28, 2011 at 3:22 pm

HI Darla,

I love cupcake, so innovative! couldn’t take my eyes off the photo! I’m hosting a giveaway on my blog and this would be a perfect addition to the roundup, if you’d be kind enough to send your entry in!


Thanks, and I hope you can participate in the event!


22 Sasha @ The Procrastobaker July 28, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Your photos never fail to make me so happy :) I mean how could you be down looking at something so bright and beautiful, let alone delicious! loverrrllyy


23 Elizabeth July 28, 2011 at 4:48 pm

I have to agree about Pinterest. So addictive I even have the app on my iPhone too…mobile Pinterest! Its’ the devil..but there’s always that pin to pin to tumblr to google craziness. Drives me MAD, I want the original post people!

As for these cupcakes, i can imagine how good they are because I’ve made Rootbeer float cupcakes too (with a rootbeer whipped cream frosting though) and they were divine. Took me THREE tries to get the recipe perfect. But man do they ever taste like a rootbeer float! I love that you used swiss meringue buttercream, probably even better…a richer (frothier?) head to the float…awesome!


24 Mona July 29, 2011 at 9:53 am

As I hold up my hand and state the following …… My name is Mona and I am a Pinterest addict!!!!! Oh. My. Gawd. I have to set the kitchen timer to pace myself LOL.

LOVE this recipe and the photos ….. the cupcakes looks amazing. AND the little float spoons!!!! Adorable! Root beer is my go to soda! I will try these. This post just made my day : ) Now, off to Pinterest LOL.

Have a great day : )


25 Ally July 30, 2011 at 2:31 pm

You have got to be kidding me … these are too good to be true!
Amazing photos as well.


26 Christy August 2, 2011 at 9:36 am

Believe it or not, I just found your blog by tracing back a picture on…Pinterest! It is a mild obsession for me! But I love your recipes and am going to have to come back a lot (and probably pin your pictures…I already pinned your Hogwarts cake!) You are truly gifted! Thanks for sharing with those of us who are similarly obsessed but not so culinarily (is that a word?) blessed!


27 Kalyn August 13, 2011 at 10:35 am

I’m going to try to bake these for a cupcake war at my work. Wish me luck!


28 Nuala Redbird August 20, 2011 at 1:42 am

What would happen if someone were to make vanilla cupcakes and do something to make the cakes brown other than chocolate?


29 Darla August 21, 2011 at 9:11 am

I imagine that the cupcakes would still be quite delicious. I haven’t tried them without the chocolate, so I’m not 100% sure how prominent the root beer flavor would be, but I’m sure it’d be great. You might not even have to add food coloring. The root beer and concentrate are both very dark, and may do all of the coloring for you. I’d really love to hear how they turn out. :)


30 Debra August 25, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Darla, I needed something fun to make this weekend to pair with homemade vanilla ice cream–it’s my dad’s 80th birthday, and he wants the ice cream! So I immediately thought of you…and although most of your gorgeous creations are a little steep for my abilities–I mostly just read and admire and dream–I’m thinking I might just be able to pull these off! I love the concept and they sound fabulous. If I have trouble finding the rootbeer concentrate, can you suggest anything else that might be possible? Would I do better just to leave it our rather than substitute? I’m sure the flavor wouldn’t be as intense, but… I’ll have to see where this takes me!!


31 Jen September 30, 2011 at 12:57 am

WOW!! I wonder if my kids will like these as well as the root beer cookies I make. They are always a hit. All I need is a reason, and I will be making these. Hey, it’s almost Friday! Good enough reason for me!


32 Britany October 5, 2011 at 9:04 am

I made these last night for my sister’s birthday and they look great but I ran into two problems:
I went to three grocery stores and none of them carried root beer concentrate, therefor my cupcakes tasted much more chocolaty than like root beer.
Also, I followed the frosting recipe to a t and it was great until I added the butter. When I added the butter it reallllly started to taste like butter and less like meringue and I even left a stick out because the consistency was much different. It tastes good but just a little too creamy. I’m definitely going to try the frosting again, but that’s just what happened to mine.
And did you find the concentrate at the grocery store?
(Also, should these be refrigerated due to the frosting?)


33 Darla October 5, 2011 at 11:03 am

Hi Britany, I did get my root beer concentrate at the grocery store. It’s usually in the baking aisle with the spices and extracts. Sometimes it’s with the food coloring, for some odd reason.

The thing about that frosting is that it does tend to taste buttery, especially if you’re used to more traditional buttercreams. I was put off by it at first, too, but it has grown on me. I’ve also learned that a little extra vanilla goes a long way (or in this case vanilla and/or root beer concentrate). Since posting that recipe, I have actually modified the recipe to have one less stick of butter, as well. The original (with 4 sticks) was modified from Martha Stewart, and I just prefer mine (taste and texture) with a little less butter.

I prefer to refrigerate these if I’m going to have them for more than a day, but I bring them to room temperature before eating or serving, just because the frosting is fluffier and silkier when it’s not cold.

I hope all of this is helpful, and I really appreciate your input. :)


34 Laura(wr) November 13, 2011 at 7:21 pm

I was wondering if you had tried the frosting with vanilla beans? I think they would have added that pretty flecked quality you can get in some ice creams, making it look even more like ice cream. :)


35 Jessica March 8, 2012 at 10:49 am

I made these last night and the cupcakes turned out perfect, and the frosting was a huge failure. I followed the instructions perfectly but my frosting was just liquid.

I’ve made meringue and pavlova before and I’ve always beat the whites alone before adding sugar and never heated them. My husband suggested doing a plain meringue and baking it. But I want the frosting consistency.

Any idea what I could have done wrong? Everything was room temp, and when I heated it the sugar was dissolved and it got to 160 or 165.


36 Rosa Contreras March 8, 2013 at 11:32 pm

I’m sure the flavor wouldn’t be as intense, but… I’ll have to see where this takes me!! I’m definitely going to try the frosting again, but that’s just what happened to mine. Any idea what I could have done wrong? It tastes good but just a little too creamy.


37 Julie May 2, 2013 at 10:01 am

How would I adjust the baking time if I wanted to make this as an 8″ or 9″ round cake? I am thinking this would make an awesome smash cake for my son in a couple weeks!!


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