Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Root Beer Float Cupcakes
A particularly fond memory I have of my childhood in Singapore is, on every Saturday afternoon, my mum would take my sisters and I to the library to get us interested in reading. But it wasn’t the books that got us excited. It was the part after the trip to the library, where my mum would take us to the A&W fast food restaurant that was just around the corner. And we would have our usual order of fried chicken wings with curly fries and a large mug of A&W root beer float.
All the A&W restaurants in Singapore have since closed down. However, we still remember the icy cold frizzy root beer topped with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream, which goes so well with the equally unforgettable chicken wings and curly fries.
Wouldn't it be fun to make a cupcake that taste like root beer float?
So et voila, root beer float cupcakes.
The cupcake is adapted from the Root Beer Bundt Cake recipe in the Baked: New Frontiers in Baking cookbook. I have halved the ingredient which makes perfect quantity for 12 cupcakes. You can definitely taste the root beer in the cake, but it is not very strong. It is like a good moist chocolate cake with a subtle root beer aftertaste. You really got to know that there is root beer in the cake to be able to taste it.
For the frosting, I used the Fluffy Vanilla Icing from the Peyton and Byrne British Baking Cookbook (I LOVE this book). I wanted the frosting to taste like vanilla ice cream, and this wonderful vanilla icing is exactly that.
I drizzled some A&W root beer syrup over the frosting to give the cupcake an extra boost of root beer favour. Unfortunately you can't get the syrup in Perth (or in Singapore). A friend gave this syrup to me, and she got it from Indonesia. I suspect you can only get the syrup in Indonesia. Maybe next time, when I eventually run out of the syrup, I might try to make the root beer syrup myself by reducing the root beer until it becomes a thick glaze. I imagine that this could work.
The cupcakes are best made the night before serving to let the root beer flavor intensify. The cupcakes can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for 2-3 days and is best served at room temperature or until frosting on cupcakes become soft.
Root Beer Float Cupcakes
(Cupcakes adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking,
Fluffy Vanilla Icing from Peyton and Byrne British Baking)
For the root beer cupcakes
1 cup root beer (do not use diet root beer)
1/2 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
65 gram unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup plain flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large eggs
For the fluffy vanilla icing
2 large egg whites
110 gram caster sugar
175 gram unsalted butter, soften
50 ml milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
seeds scraped from 1/2 vanilla pod
Make the root beer cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line cupcake/muffin tin with baking cases.
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 the heat and let cool.
In a large bowl, whisk the 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. Gently fold the flour mixture into the cocoa mixture. The batter will be slightly lumpy- do not overbeat, or it could cause the cake to be tough.
Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake/muffin tin and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until when a toothpick is inserted in the center comes out clean
Make the fluffy vanilla icing:
Combine the egg whites and caster sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water and whisk continuously by hand until the sugar is dissolved (about 8-10 minutes). Test by rubbing a small amount between your fingertips; it should feel completely smooth, without sugar grains.
When the sugar has dissolved and the syrup is warm to the touch, remove the bowl from the pan. Using an electric hand-held whisk, whisk for about 10 minutes until fluffy peaks form and the mixture has cooled (checked by touching the bottom of the bowl). The meringue needs to be completely cooled before you add the butter.
Start adding small lumps of the softened butter a little at a time, whisking well after each addition and scraping down the bowl from time to time. The icing may appear to curdle and split as you add the butter, but keep going and it will come back together again. Gradually add the milk and the vanilla extract and seeds until everything is well incorporated and the icing is smooth.
Spoon the icing into a piping bag fitted with a star tip and pipe swirls onto the cupcake.