A Southern Grace: root beer me.

August 15, 2012

root beer me.


You may recall that I previously confessed to disliking Coca-Cola. Here's another beverage we can add to that list--root beer. I don't care for it; in fact, it offends my senses.

Oddly enough, just as I didn't mind those Coke cupcakes, I thought these root beer cupcakes were pretty delicious, too. Perhaps the butter, cream, and sugar have a little something to do with that.

There's absolutely no denying the root beer flavor in the cupcakes--it hits greets you immediately and lingers for a spell. To make the cupcakes more root-beer-float-like, I added a fluffy whipped cream to the center of each cupcake in an effort to bring in some vanilla flavor. It was no vanilla ice cream, to be sure, but it was an acceptable alternative.

The frosting was where the majority of the root beer flavor found its home, and that's because I added way too much root beer extract into the mix. I knew it was too much the second it happened, but there was no turning back. Interestingly, what I was sure was too much ended up being just enough, even for those of use who aren't that fond of the root beer flavor.

As a side note, if you don't have root beer extract, you can make your own root beer concentrate by boiling down a can or bottle until a thick, reduced liquid is formed. Don't let it go too far and burn, though--that's a mess you don't want to clean!

Root Beer Float Cupcakes
adapted from Smitten Kitchen, makes about 2 dozen

  • 2 cups root beer
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon root beer extract, or to taste

To make the root beer cupcakes, first preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners.
In a small saucepan, heat the root beer, cocoa powder, and butter over medium heat until the butter is melted. Add the sugars and whisk until dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. (This is an important step, for if you do not sift, you will have unattractive white clumps; I learned this the hard way.)
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until just beaten then whisk them into the cooled cocoa mixture until combined.
Fold the liquid and flour mixtures together in the large bowl. The batter will be slightly lumpy, but do not overbeat.
Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 to 3/4 full and bake cupcakes, rotating trays halfway through, until a tester inserted into the center of each comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the filling, beat the cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. Gently beat in the vanilla extract.

To make the frosting, beat the butter with an electric mixer for a few minutes. Add the powdered sugar gradually until the frosting is thick enough to spread easily, then beat in the concentrate.

To fill the cupcakes, carve out a cone-shaped hole and squirt or spoon the whipped cream inside. Apply frosting generously to the cupcakes, after giving the components a few minutes to mingle, devour.


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I hate Coca-Cola too! I've never tasted root beer, but I'd love to eat one of those pretty cupcakes.



Rosita Vargas said...

También a mí no gusta la coca cola , pero tu pastel está original y delicioso,abrazos y abrazos.

Louisa said...

These look yummy! Thanks for eplaining about the extract... I was like, 'Oh, root beer extract? I can't get that... (scroll down)...ahh!' :) Also, yes...Stiles is so funny! Can't believe the season is over!

Erica said...

I hate root beer, but love coca-cola! Your cakes look moist and I would love try them....!

jillian said...

Root beer is the only soda I like, and I very rarely have it. Root beer extract in cupcakes sounds pretty awesome!

the southern hostess said...

They certainly look delicious! Yum.

Monet said...

I don't like root beer either (although my husband LOVES it). However, these cupcakes might just win me over. I have yet to turn a cupcake away! Thank you for sharing!

Choc Chip Uru @ Go Bake Yourself said...

It's amazing how we can enjoy things in baked goods as opposed to the original :D
I am totally with you on this - irresistible root bear cupcakes!

Choc Chip Uru

Lynda said...

I love root beer, so I know I'd love your cupcakes, especially with that awesome fluffy frosting and filling-yum!
I have to agree with you on the Coke though; I don't really like it, except at a local Mexican resaurant. They have the best tasting Coke we've ever had.

Blond Duck said...

Sugar makes everything better! I've always wanted to try Dr. Pepper ribs.

Joanne said...

I absolutely DETEST root beer also....but it's hard to resist anything in cupcake form.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I would have to say that I do avoid Root Beer, but I am still a firm believer that we will like everything if it is made in a way we would enjoy. I may just enjoy root beer cupcakes.

Leslie said...

yes..butter cream and sugar make everything better!

La Cuisine d'Helene said...

I can't drink root beer but my DH likes it. Interesting recipe and I like the filling.

Anonymous said...

Georgous pictures, dear Grace! I never tasted root beer. I am going to look for it.

These cupcakes look so delightful & fabulous even! really appetizing too! :)


kimberleyblue said...

so cute, with the straw in it! and i love the frosting technique, these look so nice!

TKW said...

I can only stomach root beer if it is ICE cold. There is nothing grosser than warm root beer. Ack, I'm gagging just thinking about it.

The Squishy Monster said...

I'm sooo wondering what these are like...can't wait to make these!!!

~~louise~~ said...

I'm sure I would love a nibble of these cupcakes Grace. Root Beer soda is one of the few sodas I actually do like. I do however understand how you can not like one and devour the other. For me it's Blueberries. I don't like fresh blueberries but I love anything cooked with blueberries.

I'm going to "grab" this link right now to include in a post I did for Mr. Hires:)

Thanks so much for sharing...

lisa is cooking said...

You don't like root beer? Impossible! It's always been my favorite soft drink. It sounds terrific in a cupcake too.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

About once every 2 years, when I'm thirsty and tired I'll drink Coke but other than that, I can totally leave it. But root beer and in cupcake form? I'm there like white on rice! :D

chowwithchow said...

Root beer flavour is awesome in everything. I've even tried it in stew! Thanks for sharing the fantastic cupcake recipe!

pam said...

I never even knew there was such a thing as root beer extract.

Beth said...

I'm not a fan of root beer either, but the sugar, cream and butter might change my mind too!

Valerie Gamine said...

Like you, I'm not a Coca-Cola fan (or any soda, really), but I do Love root beer! These cupcakes are adorable!!

Barbara said...

Got to admit I haven't had soda of any kind in years, but I used to love root beer floats. So I'd be a big fan of these cupcakes. (never heard of root beer extract!)
And the favorite cake of one of my friends is the coke cake made by Cracker Barrel, while one of my mother's favorites was a pound cake made with 7UP.

Hungry Dog said...

I actually love root beer and love the root beer bundt cake I once made. In fact I often dreamed of making them into cupcakes and stuffing them with frosting. You have made my dream come true!

Nutmeg Nanny said...

What a fun and delicious looking cupcake! However, I cannot believe you don't like root beer. I love the stuff :)

vanillasugarblog said...

if you can find it, try the root beer liquor.
i've used it in my root beer & peanut butter cake. so good.

Jackie @Syrup and Biscuits said...


You're the only person I've ever heard (read??) admit they don't like "Co-Cola". And you're a Southerner, to boot! :) Does your family know about this affliction?

Cheers, Grace!

Pam said...

I am not a big soda drinker but I would absolutely inhale these tasty cupcakes Grace!

Faith said...

What a great picture! It's funny, I go through root beer love/hate phases. I know I would love these cupcakes though!

Kerstin said...

What fun cupcakes! I don't love root beer but occasionally crave a root beer float :)

Magic of Spice said...

I don't drink soda often, and usually make it at home if I do, but I must say I do like the occasional root beer :) I can see however that you would not need to be a fan of the soda to enjoy these beauties!

Carolyn Jung said...

I grew up on A&W root beer floats as a kid. So root beer will always have a special place in my heart. And with these cupcakes, a special place in my tummy, too! ;)

Lori said...

I have to say , these look amazing! i like root beer on occassion. I know, I would love these.

I Wilkerson said...

I an not a root beer fan either. You may be right though about the butter, sugar, etc!

Lisa-Marie said...

I don't like root beer at all, though I love ginger beer. Perhaps these are my way into the root beer world!