Monday, January 24, 2011

Root Beer Cake (and Cupcake Bites)

I love making these root beer cupcake bites!! I think I've made them more often than any other flavor. Well, at least lately. This time, however, my husband picked the flavor. I wanted peppermint vanilla, but he chose root beer. So I decided to give in without any argument. It was tough, but I did it!

This time around I mixed the cake with vanilla frosting. However, I didn't notice a difference in taste by changing up the frosting. I thought it would help give it a root beer float type flavor, but it didn't make a difference. At least not to my taste buds! Then I thinned ou
t the white candy coating with some shortening so it would drip down the sides of the cupcake bottom a little bit and look like a scoop of ice cream. And, to celebrate the upcoming "holiday", I topped with heart shaped candy sprinkles. (Also, by using these I didn't have to sort through a bag of M&Ms picking out only the red ones!) I think they turned out super cute. Of course the best part is how they taste!!

With this baking experience I learned that my husband will always pick the flavor made with chocolate, where I, the self-proclaimed chocoholic, leans more toward the vanilla flavors. What's going on with that???

P.S. A great thing about cupcake bites is that th
ey're individually sized servings. Perfect when trying to be a little healthier. No need to worry about serving up a too big piece of cake! However, you still need to watch how many you eat so you don't take three at a time! ;o)

I've been asked by a few people for the cake recipe so here it is. I've actually only ev
er used it for cupcake bites, but the cake does look good when it bakes. It has a nice, moist flavor that would work well as a cake or cupcakes. You can play with frosting flavors like a vanilla whipped version or just top with ice cream to give it a root beer float like flavor. It would be so much fun for kids or any root beer lover!

Root Beer Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen (http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/06/root-beer-float-cupcakes/)

Ingredients:

2 cups root beer (OR 1 1/2 cups root beer and 1/2 cup root beer schnapps for a fuller root beer flavor - this is how I do it
)
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (the original recipe calls for dark chocolate, but I like regular better)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar (light brown sugar works as well)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

How To:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan or two 8 inch rounds or line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners.

In a small saucepan or pot, 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 slightly.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until just beaten, mix in the vanilla extract then slowly whisk the egg/ vanilla mixture into the cooled cocoa mixture until combined. (Make sure to do it slowly so you don't cook the eggs.) Gently fold the liquid into the flour mixture in the large bowl. The batter will be slightly lumpy, which is fine because you don't want to over beat and make the cake tough.

Pour batter into prepared pans or fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full and bake until a tester inserted into the center of each comes out clean. (About 17 minutes for cupcakes, or 25 for a cake.) Transfer pan(s) to a wire rack to cool completely.

Frost with your favorite frosting, ice cream or whatever floats your cake! Eat and enjoy!!

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