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Reader Recipe: Root Beer Float Cupcakes

This weekend I was checking out the recipes on TeamSugar and noticed that lately, you all have a been a bit cupcake crazy. There's been a bunch of innovative cupcake recipes like: sarahkushner's Red Wine & Chocolate Cupcakes, minko's Pear & Blue Cheese Cupcakes and Lychee Lemon Coconut Cupcakes, as well classics like laurafox's Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese. However since today is National Root Beer Float Day, I thought I'd share TeamSugar member sarahkushner's recipe for Root Beer Float Cupcakes. These babies look fantastic, does anyone else want to lick their screen too?!? To check out the recipe,

Root Beer Float Cupcakes submitted by TeamSugar member sarahkushner

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.


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

Cake Ingredients

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
2 eggs
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

Joe-Kim2857171 Joe-Kim2857171 5 years
 @Bee2549663 well for your remedy of having left over schnapps you can drink the schnaps with root beer add some half and half and wow  root beer floats
Joe-Kim2857171 Joe-Kim2857171 5 years
you can buy root beer extract at walmart it is watkins so its really good
Bee2549663 Bee2549663 5 years
Just made these  and I have to say they are good but dissapointing.  They do not taste like root beer at all, my other taste tester agrees. Not to mention the expense , the schnapps(1/2 bottle=$10 here) the foil liners $3 , etc ; probably would be close to $1 each!   I filled mine to the top and they did not over run into each other, maybe I'll try these again with only root beer.  My glaze was way to thick to run anywhere so ordinary liners would of been ok; I tried putting them in the warm oven thinking it would melt the glaze, but it didn't so I had to spread it.  It's a good thing I drink, I got 1/2 bottle of  schnapps left.
Debbie2530896 Debbie2530896 5 years
here u go! Zatarain's  Root Beer extract  from Zataran's pure foods...makers of root beer for over 100 years. 4oz. (I pd.  .99 got it from a Amish store in MI.) comes from this address origionally; ZATARAIN's NEW ORLEANS, LA. 70114 1-877-837-3796 or vist online:  says great recipe ideas and product info can be found there, back of the bottle actually has the recipe to make homemade rootbeer!
Marissa2494981 Marissa2494981 5 years
THIS IS THE WORST RECIPE I HAVE EVER ENCOUNTERED! in my 20 years of baking i have never met a recipe that i could not execute, this one was the first. first of all, the technique of  adding the dry ingredients at once and then adding the liquid created a very unsightly batter. i did not take the author at her word about filling the liners to the top so i filled them 3/4 full, that was still waaay too much batter. after only 4 minutes in the oven and the top of the cupcakes had all run together. they took twice the time to bake, almost 40 minutes for only 12 cupcakes. the root beer flavor is very faint in the cake, but the smell is amazing, and the glaze adds a bit more flavor, but if you are making these to be visually pleasing you may be disappointed
Nicole2420785 Nicole2420785 5 years
What can I substitute the RB Shnapps with in the cake recipe?
macbackwards macbackwards 6 years
these root beer cupcakes do tatse good butt the fall apart like no other. the bottoms no mater how long you cook it never really hold there shape and when you take the liner off you are left with a top and a bottom. good i guess if you are useing a spoon but when you give a cupcake to a kid the expect hands are involved and i would not suggest this for anything to do with kids. you can even see what i am talking about in the picture. also in the directions it doesnt say anything about removing the liner before putting on the glaze i am guessing whoever wrote this left that one out because really who has 24 plates to just hand out to everyone.
motherof3 motherof3 9 years
I can't wait to try this.
katynopocket katynopocket 9 years
I found the cupcake to be delicious but that the extra dribbling of root beer schnapps a bit over powering. The glaze was so sweet, a little too much for me. I can't see how anyone could say it was tasteless. I intend on making again only this time going for the kid friendly version and trying a different glaze. Other then that, very tasty cupcake. Liners were definitely needed.
katynopocket katynopocket 9 years
I was planning on making these this weekend but I am curious to know why it is so important that they have liners? I really wanted to use my silicone liners. They look so much better without them. Is the cake that moist that they are needed?
controlledspin controlledspin 9 years
These sound AMAZING :)
curlykel13 curlykel13 10 years
I made them for my boyfriend and his family and they LOVED them!! I didn't use schnapps, but instead used a half root beer/half root-beer extract whenever you asked for schnapps and they were AMAZING!!!
alexarch alexarch 10 years
We're in the midst of cooking these. The batter is delicious, so we're looking forward to tasting the finished product. HOWEVER, they are taking over our oven. That "Trust me. Fill it nearly to the top" thing is a mistake. All the cupcake tops have melded together in a singular mass. Like I said, looking forward to tasting them. Thanks for the recipe.
sarahkushner sarahkushner 10 years
Sorry if they didn't turn out for you. Not sure what could have happened. I've had scads of emails of people that thought they were great.
outsdr outsdr 10 years
I made this last night, and boy, what a disappointment. They look gorgeous and appealing, but the only flavor in the cupcake comes from the tablespoon of root beer schnapps that was poured over them after they were baked. The "glaze" was a runny, sticky, tasteless mess. The same results could have been had from mixing some butter cream icing with a shot of root beer schnapps. That was an expensive amount of ingredients that went straight in the trash. A friend who tried the recipe also had the same results & reaction.
Joy-Monson Joy-Monson 10 years
I'm glad you didn't give up on this recipe after the first two times. EUREKA is right! What a great idea Rootbeer Schnapps. I can not wait to make these.
reboehme reboehme 10 years
I'm thinking or trying to make the cupcakes with Virgil's root beer
msanya msanya 10 years
My hubby actually sent me the link to these and asked me to make them. I made these today and they turned out wonderfully!
RobinFabulous RobinFabulous 10 years
I'm printing this out for our fall festival at school. I'll leave out the liquor though ;-)
quiss quiss 10 years
My sister, who loves rootbeer and those hard rootbeer candies is flying in for a visit in a week and a half. Maybe I'll make these for her arrival! Awesome!
buffyanne buffyanne 10 years
Impressive! I have to try these. Thanks for adding the kid-friendly directions. :) amandachalynn--I totally love your presentation idea. Thanks to you both!
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