I have been dreaming of these cupcakes for months and I finally got the opportunity to make them for a small social gathering. I searched the internet for a root beer float cupcake recipe and didn’t find one I liked. A lot of the recipes I found had actual root beer in the ingredients and I didn’t think that would give the cupcake a strong Root Beer taste, plus it adds a bunch of sugar and other ingredients I didn’t want. So I used the base of a vanilla cupcake I found on my favorite cupcake blog, “Your Cup of Cake.” I replaced the vanilla with root beer oil and put in some applesauce in place of the oil. The frosting is a vanilla bean icing, it tops the whole thing off perfectly and gives it that ice cream flavor I wanted. I bought the Root Beer oil from kitchen kneads, you could probably get it at any specialty cooking store. The root beer barrels are a little hard to find, you can probably buy them online if you get desperate. I bought some at Smith and Edwards in Ogden, UT. Here is the recipe!
For the cupcake:
Duncan Hines white cake mix
2 Tbs applesauce (no sugar added) or oil
2 egg whites
1 cup buttermilk*
1/2 cup sour cream
2 1/2 tsp Root Beer oil
24 Root Beer barrel hard candies (optional)
Red and white striped decorator straws cut into thirds (optional)
*I usually just use milk and vinegar when a recipe calls for buttermilk. We drink Almond milk and it works great for this so if you want to substitute the buttermilk use whatever kind of milk you drink. In a glass measuring cup pour in 1 Tbs of white vinegar OR lemon juice. Add milk until you reach the 1 cup line. Let sit for 5 minutes before adding it with other ingredients.
Directions: Pre-heat oven to 350 and line muffin tins with 24 cupcake liners. Sift cake mix into a small bowl and set aside. In a separate large bowl add egg, egg whites, and applesauce. Mix together with a wire whisk, be careful not to over beat. Add sour cream, milk, and Root Beer oil to the egg mixture and stir. Slowly add cake mix to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Fill cupcake liners until 3/4 full. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.
Vanilla Bean Frosting:
1 cup butter (room temperature)
5 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbs vanilla bean paste (also bought at a cooking store)
2 Tbs milk
Using a kitchen stand mixer or hand mixer beat the butter and 2 cups powdered sugar. Add powdered sugar 1-2 cups at a time and beat after each addition; you want to be sure to cream it for at least 2-3 minutes. When the butter mixture is light and fluffy add vanilla bean paste and milk. Mix on medium low until smooth. Add powdered sugar and paste as desired until you reach your desired consistency and taste.
Decorating the cupcakes:
If you are going to use the root beer barrels be sure to decorate the cupcakes 3-4 hours before serving! I had some left over and by the next morning the root beer candies were starting to melt from the moisture in the icing. They still taste good but don’t look as pretty. I used a #21 star decorating tip to do the swirl of icing. If you have decorating tips and bags then you probably know how to set that all up so I won’t go over that. If you have questions with getting the bag ready then send me a message and I can provide further instructions. Once you have your bag ready hold it at an angle just above the edge of the cupcake. Go around the outer edge of the cupcake first and work your way into the center while slightly pulling up further away from the cupcake. This will create a swirl of icing on top of the cupcake. Once you have the cupcakes frosted cut the straws into thirds or however long you want them and stick them into one side of the cupcake then place the root beer candy on top of the swirled icing and… Voila! Enjoy these beauties!