EDIT: It would appear that my little cupcake madness has been popping up all over the net! That being said, there are comments and emails GALORE about them, 99% positive and the rest questions and critiques.
So here is my Edit. PLEASE READ BEFORE BAKING:
1. USE LINERS! Yes I know that I don't have them in the photo... but I haven't had a chance to take a new photo. Use foil liners. And no, do not take the liners off.
2. If you can find root beer extract, more power to you, you can replace the vanilla extract with it. I prefer not to include things in recipes that you can't buy at a regular grocery store, as it bugs the heck out of me when I want to try a recipe, but have to order half the ingredients. I bought all the ingredients for these at one store, in one trip.
3. The glaze. Many critics say that its sticky. One person called it tasteless. A) Pour on the glaze while the cupcakes are still slightly warm like I say, it will soak in a bit, and some of the moisture will be taken out of the glaze and into the cupcake... once you let it set up a bit it shouldn't be sticky. B) I still don't know how it could be tasteless with both shnapps and root beer in it... I wanted to eat the stuff with a spoon... I did not add shnapps to the buttercream as thats the "vanilla float" part. If you think it has to do with proportions of wet to sugar... take it up with Paula Dean, as its an adaptation of a glaze she made for Lemon Blossoms.
4. Someone brought up a very good point. I say to fill the liners to the top with the batter, that works for my oven, they puff perfectly. But, I forgot my Alton Brown, and every oven is different... so filling to the top may not work for you... so if you are worried... don't do it, but you will end up with a few more cupcakes.
Root beer floats are one of those things that my brothers and I loved as kids. I don't know about them, but for me, its still something that I love to have on occasion. That's why I wanted to make a cupcake that tasted like a root beer float. I mean come on, nothing is more fun than a cupcake, or root beer floats… why not combine the two. Now, I did find a couple recipes online, that just added a can or two of root beer to the batter. Not good enough for me… the flavor of the root beer kind of faded away. And I was super picky about the flavor on this one. It's taken several tries at this recipe to get it right…
First round: I tried using spices and ingredients that are used in root beer as well as a can of root beer… but it ended up tasting more like a spice cake… not bad, but not what I wanted.
Second round: I tried reducing a lot of root beer in a sauce pan to make a syrup, and adding a can of root beer… but the flavor wasn't to strong (I think that boiling the root beer made the flavor evaporate), and I didn't use an "old fashioned" root beer, and the flavor didn't bake well.
Third round: Eureka! The only change that I would make is to use cupcake liners, as the cake can easily fall apart during the "tipsy" phase. And here's the recipe!
Root Beer Float Cakes
1 cup root beer schnapps
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned style root beer (like A&W or Dads)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups dark brown sugar
1 cup butter
3 cups all purpose flour
1 Tbs. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
Root Beer Glaze
4 cups confectioners sugar
1/3 cup root beer
3 Tbs. root beer schnapps*
3 Tbs. vegetable oil
*for a more kid friendly version, replace schnapps with more root beer
You will also need some extra root beer schnapps (1 Tbs. per cupcake)
Or for the kiddies use root beer (again 1 Tbs. per cupcake)
You will also need some basic Vanilla buttercream ( there are many recipes online to try J)
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
2. In a bowl, mix together root beer schnapps, root beer, and vanilla extract. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Add eggs, mix until smooth
5. Sift in flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
6. Mix with hand mixer on low, while slowly pouring in root beer mixture.
7. Mix until smooth and lump free.
8. Pour into lined cupcake pan. (Use foil cupcake liners to avoid "leakage" later.) Fill nearly to the top, you may think its over-filled, but it puffs up perfectly this way. Don't be tempted to use more than 24 cupcake cups... trust me. :-)
9. Bake for 15- 20 minutes, until golden brown and cake springs back when touched.
10. While cupcakes are baking, prepare your butter cream and root beer glaze. For glaze, put all ingredients into a bowl and mix with a wisk until smooth and lump free.
11. To assemble, start by letting cupcakes cool, still in the pan.
12. While still slightly warm, pour 1 Tbs. of root beer schnapps over each cupcake. Pour on slowly to allow schnapps ( or regular root beer for the kiddies) to soak in.
13. Once the schnapps has soaked in and let sit for a few minutes, pour a couple tablespoons of glaze over each cupcake.
14. When the glaze sets up a bit and isn't too runny, put a "scoop" of buttercream atop each. For an added touch, you can even place a root beer barrel candy on each one.
Makes 2 dozen cupcakes