Sunday, August 22, 2010

Root Beer Float Cupcakes

Eek! I'm nearly a week behind on Hoosier Homemade's Summertime Cupcake Challenge. I'm gradually catching up on all of the housework I neglected while I was sick and now that the laundry pile is back to a reasonable height I think it's high time I get back in the baking trenches as well.

I'll admit that I was less than thrilled when I saw that I had to invent a cupcake using a cake mix for the third week of the competition. I'm just not a fan of using packaged foods, both because in this case some flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder is bound to be cheaper than a box of cake mix but also because of, well, this:

What is half of that stuff? I'm not going to delude myself into thinking that eating lots of butter, cream, and sugar in the form of cupcakes is good for me, but at least I know that what goes into my baked goods are the same basic ingredients my grandmother used in hers, and she's lived to the ripe old age of 97 and is still going. Not so sure what all of those preservatives and unpronounceable ingredients will do to my body in the long run and I'd rather not find out. So this will likely be the first and last time you'll ever see a recipe on my blog using a mix.

I know that others have found clever ways to enhance and change the texture and flavor of boxed mixes by doing things like adjusting the egg count and adding pudding mix, but because I'm such a neophyte I figured I'd stick as closely as possible to what the mix calls for while still adding my own twist. I had in mind a root beer float cupcake since summer's the time when I indulge myself and occasionally have such treats to help beat the heat. I already had a tiny bottle of sassafras flavoring I'd bought on a whim and figured what better way to bring out the spicy flavor of root beer than with a spice cake mix. Following the instructions on the box, I substituted root beer for the water called for, melted butter for the vegetable oil as I prefer that buttery taste, and added a dash of sassafras flavoring. The result was a cake that made my tongue tingle at the spicy flavors and taste of root beer clearly shining through.

For the frosting, I used the chocolate-based frosting for the root beer bundt cake in Baked: New Frontiers in Baking. It's incredibly rich and the dark chocolate perfectly complements the spicy root beer flavor from both the root beer mixed in and the sassafras flavoring I also added.

After carving a shallow cone out of the top of each cupcake, I scooped a small serving of vanilla ice cream into the center surrounded by dollops of frosting. I'll admit that the cake mix did bake up into something delicious and the whole combination is quite a winner! Almost better than the real deal, in fact. A great summer treat!

Root Beer Floar Cupcakes

1 box spice cake mix
Root beer (not diet)
Sassafras or root beer flavoring

Make the cake mix per the box's instructions substituting melted butter for vegetable oil, root beer for water, and add 1/16-1/8 teaspoon of sassafras or root beer flavoring (to taste).

Root Beer Fudge Frosting
Recipe adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 ounces dark chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
1/16 - 1/8 teaspoon sassafras or root beer flavoring
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup root beer (not diet)
2/3 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2 - 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
Vanilla ice cream

1. Cream butter until smooth. Add melted chocolate, 1/16 teaspoon flavoring, salt, root beer, and cocoa powder and mix until smooth.
2. Gradually add confectioners' sugar and beat until desired consistency is reached. Add more flavoring if needed.
3. Using the cone method, scoop a shallow cone out of each cupcake. Pipe frosting around the edges.
4. Using a cookie scooper or spoon, place a small scoop of vanilla ice cream in the center of each cupcake. Enjoy!


Aunt Peg said...

Wow, you have a fantastic creative streak! I can't wait to try these...
Oh and I would love to repost this recipe on my blog is you allow this...

HoosierHomemade said...

Thanks so much for giving the cake mix a try. I agree it does have lots of things in it that we aren't sure of. I set up the Challenge so that I covered all the bases, and some bakers just don't bake with anything other than a mix. I appreciate you joining in :-)

Lindy said...

I am ashamed to say I only use cake mixes -- I am such a bad, bad girl...
Yours look YUMMY!


Nadine said...

Lecker, mmmhmm!! I stumbled upon your blog through Tatertot's Weekend party, and as a fellow German (Mänzer Mädsche) I had to look around! Wow, you have some AMAZING cupcake recipes, I know what I'll be doing next weekend... just have to try the Nutella one, and the white chocolate bread pudding one, and, and, and... ;)
Grüsse aus AZ,

Ren- Lady Of The Arts said...

I have monkeys- two of them. They LOVE root beer floats and have had one pretty much every day this summer- I on the other hand think root beer tastes like five cent Bazooka gum.
So great idea to make cupcakes I wouldn't eat!

Nice to meet you- great blog-

Kimberly said...

Yum. I know what I'm making for dessert next Monday!!

Jami said...

I love this idea! I would never have thought of sassafras! And I agree with you on the mixes but I am finding myself using them more and more. Thanks for the reminder to stop.

Erin said...

Your cupcakes look delicious!

Anonymous said...

Yum... I'm your newest follower.

Kristin Renee' Wynegar said...

oh my goodness! you are so creative! i would have never thought to put all this stuff together into a cute little recipe; however, it looks delicious. my boyfriend was asking me to make some hahah but anyways i found you on night owl crafting. just thought i would say hello! i hope to hear from you soon! :)

Sourkraut said...

Thanks for the kind comments, everyone!

Scraptastic Mel x said...

Wow these cupcakes are my dream combo. My sisters and I are all obsessed with rootbeer floats. Love the blog I have just become a follower as your about me made me laugh!

Summer said...

I featured your idea on my blog today!

Thanks for linking up! Come grab a featured button!


Anonymous said...

Hi, Viele Gruesse aus den Rockies. Toller Blog. Bin gerade auf einer Deiner Posts gestossen, die mich zu Deiner Seite gefuehrt hat. Die Dame von "That Girl can Cook" posted leider auch Deine Posts weiter. Hat sie mit meinen auch eine Zeit gemacht, bis ich sie zum Glueck stoppen konnte. Oftmals gibt sie auch andere Posts als ihre eigenen aus. Wollte Dir das nur mitteilen.
Liebe Gruesse