I warned you – I like a gimmick! And I like root beer, so I had to try it in cake form. After a bit of Googling, a couple of cupcake batches and a lot of tweaking, I came up with this version. This recipe has Chinese 5 Spice powder in it which complements the root beer’s licorice and spices. The root beer doesn’t jump out at you but it is a good chocolate cake that is slightly earthy. It is also pretty easy to make. You have to heat the root beer and everything keeps going into the one pot.
The cream cheese frosting has white chocolate melted in it which adds a rich flavour and it is not as sweet as regular cream cheese frosting. It also has a nice truffley texture when it firms up. I added a few drops of root beer extract to half of the frosting so I would have something to compare it to. My inner food geek was quite happy to perform this little experiment. I literally frosted 6 with the root beer extract and half a dozen without the root beer extract. The verdict – both were really good so it is your call if you want to order the root beer extract because there are no stores in Calgary that I could find that carry it. I ended up ordering it from www.vanillafoodcompany.ca plus found a few other items I wasn’t looking for. – Steph McVox
Root Beer Cupcakes
- 1.5 cups or 355 ml bottle of root beer
- ½ cup of coffee (temp. not important)
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ cup butter, cut into 1” pieces
- 1 ¾ cups sugar
- 2 cups flour
- 1.5 teaspoons of Chinese 5-Spice powder
- ¼ tsp allspice
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
- Preheat oven to 350. Line a muffin tin with approximately 30-32 liners. In a large saucepan, heat the root beer and coffee over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and butter and whisk until the butter is melted. Add the sugar and whisk until dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk the flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.
- In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and yolk until combined, and then whisk them into the cooled root beer-cocoa mixture until just combined. Gently whisk the flour mixture into the cocoa mixture. Try not to over-mix but try not to have white lumps of flour
- Using an ice cream scoop, add batter to each cup, filling to 2/3 to ¾ full. Bake for 16-18 minutes. Cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean without crumbs. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before removing and let cool on wire rack.
6 oz white chocolate, chopped finely or Bernard Callebaut drops
1 8 oz pkg Philly cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract or ¼ tsp root beer extract…if you just happened to have it
2-3 cups icing sugar
- In the top of a double boiler or a heatproof bowl, melt the white chocolate, stirring often. Alternatively, microwave the chocolate in a glass bowl at 30 seconds intervals, stirring in between. When melted, remove from heat and cool to lukewarm.
- While chocolate is cooling, beat cream cheese and butter with electric mixer on medium speed, until smooth and creamy. Beat in melted white chocolate on low until blended. Add the icing sugar half a cup at a time, beating until well blended after each addition until desired texture/thickness and sweetness is achieved. Add the extract in between one of the icing sugar additions.
Note: To get cupcakes that look prettier, use JVR’s tip and spoon the frosting into a plastic zip-lock bag, seal it, snip off a small corner and pipe it out, starting from the centre and swirl it round and round.