Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Root Beer Cupcakes

I needed to make these cupcakes when I saw them in an unlikely (for me) place...a Sandra Lee cookbook.  Unlikely because I'm not really a huge Sandra Lee fan.  No particular reason, just one of those things.  But I couldn't resist checking out her latest cookbook with a "bake sale" theme.  That's one of those things I always toss around in my head...if I were to host or contribute to another bake sale...what would I make?  In search of inspiration, I started paging through the book.  She actually has lots of great (semi-homemade, of course) ideas...that both look beautiful and sound like delicious, sinful, alluring choices. 

Truth be told, when it comes to cake, I only make homemade about 80% of the time.  I don't know.  Cake mixes are just SO handy.  Although, even when using a boxed cake mix, I do usually go for a homemade frosting.  Although in this case, I went with both the boxed mix and the frosting in a canister.  I kinda regret doing the frosting in a canister-thing.  Why?  Because it was a hot day...which led to a hot, dripping mess of frosting...even when I tried refrigerating it for a while.  Ah well...live and learn.  

This recipe could be easily adapted to all-the-way-homemade by substituting root beer for the liquid in your regular Devil's Food recipe...and adding the root beer concentrate to your favorite White or Vanilla or Buttercream frosting.  As a matter of fact, I think that would make it perfect.  Another excuse for my sloppy cupcakes...my broken dead food processor.  Ugh.  Crushing root beer barrels by hand is no walk in the park...it dents and dings beautiful wooden rolling pins and breaks holes in baggies and paper bags, alike.  So, I gave up because it was already hot and sweaty and my frosting was making quick work of sliding off the cakes.  But after all the nit-picking...they were totally tasty and a throwback to my childhood love of root beer.  

I think they'd be great for a kid's party as well as a bake sale...as long as the bake sale was not in the hot sun.
Root Beer Cupcakes
slightly adapted from Bake Sale Cookbook by Sandra Lee
yield: ~24

1 pkg (18.25 oz) Devil's Food Cake Mix 
1⅓ c. root beer
½ c. coconut oil, melted
3 eggs
1 can (16 oz) whipped white frosting 
1 tsp. Root Beer concentrate 
Root Beer Barrels (candy), crushed 
bendy straws, cut short to garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Line 24 (I actually wound up getting 21...I'm a notorious over-filler) cupcake tins with paper cups and set aside.  In a large bowl, beat together cake mix, root beer, oil, and eggs with an electric mixer on low for 30 seconds.  Scrape down side of bowl; beat for 2 minutes on medium.  Spoon batter into prepared cups, filling each ~⅔ full.  Bake 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool for ~5 minutes, then pop out the cupcakes and cool the rest of the way on a wire rack.

In a medium bowl, combine frosting and root beer concentrate, stirring until well mixed.  Frost each cupcake with frosting and dip edges in root beer candy (or sprinkle on top), if using.  Insert a straw in the top of each cupcake, if using.
And yes.  All the kids will want to drink the cupcake through the straw.  It's only natural.  May as well let them try and see what happens. ;-)