Back to the cupcakes. This is not a creamed-butter recipe; the pan above has the heated root beer, butter and cocoa powder in it. You then mix in the sugar and let the mixture cool. I have changed the recipe a little in that I added root beer extract, a specialty product you're not going to find at the grocery store. Although that other iteration of the recipe came out fine, you couldn't really taste the root beer. And for heaven's sake, don't mess up yet another bowl in which to beat the eggs! Just use the bowl you're going to have for the batter as a whole. And use the same whisk you used for the root beer mixture.
Root Beer Cupcakes
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
- 2 cups root beer
- 1 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder (spoon into cup and level off, but sift into the pan)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) butter, cut into pieces for easier melting
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar (original calls for dark brown; I just used light)
- 1 1/2 tsp. root beer extract (optional, but really adds to the rb flavor)
- 2 cups flour
- 1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt (original calls for a whole teaspoon!)
- 2 eggs
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with paper or foil liners. In a small saucepan, 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. Add root beer extract if using.
In a bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together. Add eggs to the mixing bowl you're going to use for the batter as a whole and whisk, then whisk in the root beer-cocoa mixture. Finally, whisk in the flour mixture. The batter will be slightly lumpy; this is okay. If you overbeat it, it will get tough.
Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 to 3/4 full and bake cupcakes, rotating trays back to front and top to bottom halfway through, until a tester inserted into the center of each comes out clean, about 17 minutes. (I love how the original recipe says says this--"about 17 minutes"--but I found that this timing was correct. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
Root Beer Cream Cheese Frosting
(adapted from The Reluctant Entertainer)
4 ounces cream cheese
4 ounces butter (1 stick)
1 tsp. root beer extract (then taste--you may want more)
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Beat together the cream cheese, butter and extracts, then beat in the powdered sugar. You may want a little more powdered sugar. Spread onto the cooled cupcakes. (One of these days I'm going to get a pastry bag with a few simple tips.)