I have been itching to make some root beer cupcakes with my bottle of Sonoma Syrup Co’s Root Beer Syrup because the syrup is so flavorful and seemed like it would pass on a great root beer flavor into baked goods. The syrup has concentrated the root beer flavor and it comes through much more strongly (and more naturally) than using root beer-flavored extract might. Once I had cupcakes, I decided to keep on going and turn them into Root Beer Float Cupcakes by topping them off with vanilla ice cream
The cupcakes are moist and have a nice, tight crumb that seems to pass on more flavor in each bite. You can really taste the root beer, and the hint of vanilla – which many root beers also include – rounds out the flavor. They can be eaten plain, but they’re at their best when served with ice cream and a drizzle of root beer syrup. To get the ice cream in there, I carved a small hole out of the top of each cupcake, just as I do when I’m going to make filled cupcakes, and placed a small scoop of ice cream on top. I drizzled the cupcakes with a little bit of root beer glaze to give them a little extra flavor and a root beer float look. You can store the ice cream-topped cupcakes in the freezer for a few hours before serving, if desired.
If you don’t have the root beer syrup, and don’t want to buy it, you have two options to make these cupcakes. The first option is to simply use milk in place of the root beer syrup in the recipe and add in about 1 tsp root beer flavored extract. The second option (and a better option, in my opinion) is to buy some good, non-diet root beer (12-oz), pour it into a sauce pan and reduce it until you have about 1/3 cup. This will take about 15-20 minutes over medium-high heat and will concentrate the root beer flavor, imitating the syrup that I used.
Root Beer Float Cupcakes
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup root beer syrup*
1/3 cup milk
Vanilla ice cream, to serve
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until light. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Add in one third of the flour mixture, followed by the root beer syrup. Mix in another 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by the milk. Stir in all remaining flour and mix just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
Bake for 16-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Cool cupcakes completely on a wire rack.
To Finish: Cut a small cone out of the top of each cupcake and place a small (1-2 oz) scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Drizzle with root beer glaze and serve immediately. Plain cupcakes can be prepared in advance and stored for 1-2 days in an airtight container before topping with ice cream and serving. Ice cream topped cupcakes can be stored in the freezer.
*For Root Beer Syrup: Use Sonoma Syrup Co’s Root Beer Syrup or make your own. To make your own, buy a bottle or can (12-oz) of good, non-diet root beer, pour it into a small sauce pan and reduce it until you have just over 1/3 cup.
Root Beer Glaze
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tbsp root beer syrup
approx 1 tbsp water
Whisk together all ingredients until mixture is smooth and thin enough to drizzle easily. Add additional water slowly if needed to thin glaze. Root beer extract may be substituted for root beer syrup.