Friday, July 8, 2011

A Summertime Smash: Root Beer Float Cupcakes . . .

Now what in the world could top a cold root beer float on a warm summer night in the middle of July?  Well, Root Beer Float cupcakes, of course!  As we head on into this weekend (quite a change from the last one we had amidst all of those BBQs, family get-togethers, popping rockets, & exploding fireworks) I thought it might be fun to pull out those few retro straws we had lying around from our last fantastic birthday party and pull together a treat sure to delight anyone who has ever enjoyed a frosty glass of A & W on a balmy night on the front porch swing . . .

Root Beer Float Cupcakes

¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 ¼ cups sugar
½ dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp root beer extract (you can find this at a few liquor/wine stores but is easiest to find online here: Cooks
1 teaspoon salt
1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup cocoa powder (Dutch processed)
2 cups root beer (I used Jones and I would recommend using a similar, natural soda)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugars until light and pale.
3. Add in the eggs one at a time and mix until combined
4. Sift together flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda together
5. Stir together root beer & root beer extract
6. Alternately add dry ingredients and root beer to mixing bowl, scraping down after each addition. Start and end with dry ingredients
7. Fill paper-lined muffin tins with batter 2/3 full.
8. Bake at 350° for 20-22 minutes

Root Beer & Vanilla Bean Buttercream Frosting:

1 lb unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
8 egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tsp root beer extract (or more to taste)

1. Combine the sugar & egg whites in mixer bowl and whisk together over simmering water until hot to the touch and all of the sugar has melted and is no longer grainy
2. Transfer bowl to mixer stand and whip on high until fluffy & cool – about 10 minutes
3. With the mixer on low, add the softened butter, 1 tablespoon at a time until incorporated. Add in vanilla. Whip until smooth (it may look curdled, but just continue to mix & it will be fine!).
4. Remove ½ of the frosting and add root beer extract to the remaining frosting.

(A helpful tip from the chef; 'For the frosting, I wanted to duplicate the vanilla ice cream, but also wanted to make sure that the overall flavor screamed root beer. I settled on making vanilla & root beer variations of my favorite Swiss meringue buttercream recipe and swirled them together. There are a couple of methods to achieve this effect – using 2 bags in one {see a great tutorial here} or you can use these very handy striper bags. Whichever technique you use, it is a little tricky to get the frosting to come out evenly, so plan on taking your time and practicing a few swirls before applying to your cupcakes. Making sure your frosting is on the softer side will make the process much easier. Happy swirling!')

Thank you to Becca from Birthday Girl Blog for this delicious recipe & the fun tips!  Have a wonderful weekend! Photobucket

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