Root Beer Float Cupcakes

Same friend as the meatball subs, different weekend. Deb has done it again with these recipes. I know I have an almost sick obsession with Smitten Kitchen, but honestly, those recipes are good and it’s updated pretty regularly so I have a seemingly endless supply of those good recipes.

Anywho, cupcakes. One major tip – make sure you have the coco powder clear of clumps. While the cupcakes still tasted phenomenal, there were periodic clumps of coco powder within the cake. Also, the batter is liquid and they turn out fine with said liquid batter. Now I know my piping skills aren’t quite so fantastic, but that was part of the fun of eating them! We didn’t wait for the cupcakes to cool entirely so the ice cream was melting within them and the whipped cream was all over our noses.

I’m considering trying these with Ithaca Root Beer instead of generic brand so we’ll see how those turn out once I’m back to not having a full kitchen at my constant disposal.

Recipe (Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Cupcakes
2 cups root beer
1 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs

Toppings
1 1/2 cups heavy or whipping cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pint of vanilla ice cream (you’ll have leftover; you’re welcome)
Maraschino cherries (optional)

Make the root beer cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 22 cupcake cups with paper 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.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until just beaten then whisk them into the cooled cocoa mixture until combined. Fold the liquid and flour mixtures together in the large bowl. 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 (a 1/4 cup scoop or measuring cup will filled mine perfectly) 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. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

Assemble cupcakes: Whip heavy or whipping cream with powdered sugar and vanilla until it holds soft peaks. You can do this with an electric mixer, but if you do it by hand, not only will you get a killer arm workout (which you can trade in for a cupcake, very soon), it will be nearly impossible to overbeat the cream. (Which I almost always do with a mixer.)

Use the tip of a knife to cut a small cone of cake out of the top center of each cupcake; feel free to snack on these, I won’t tell anyone. Using a spoon or a small cookie scoop, nest a scoop of ice cream in each indent. Surround ice cream with dollops of whipped cream. Top with a cherry, if using. To keep cupcakes in a holding pattern while you assemble the remaining ones, you can put them in the freezer, but try to do so for no more than 5 minutes or the whipped cream will harden.

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