Root Beer Float Cupcakes

September 16, 2013
root beer float cupcakes

This week I went to a 50s themed “iron chef” get-together and thought, “Hmm…how can I make a 50s themed cake recipe for this?” And then I realized, “Whoa. I definitely just bought root beer extract on an impulse two months ago.” Bam. Root beer float cupcakes.

So as you can see, this post does not follow my usual pattern of just giving you the cake recipe and letting you decide whether to make it into cake or cupcakes. (A quick explanation for new people—I tend to post cake and frosting recipes separately so that you can get creative and combine whatever flavors you like.) The recipe I bring you today is a cake and frosting pairing—vanilla cake with root beer frosting. Topped with a cherry and paper straw.

root beer float cupcakesVanilla Cupcake Batter

Makes about 15 cupcakes.

For the cake part of the cupcake, I used my basic vanilla cake recipe. (This link should open in a new window.) Simply prepare the batter as usual and drop the batter into 15 cupcake liners. I recommend using brown cupcake liners (just for looks) and filling them to about 2/3 full.

Root Beer Frosting

Makes enough for 15 cupcakes or for half of a standard double-layer 9″ round cake.


1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
4–8 oz. neufchâtel or cream cheese
2–3 cups powdered sugar
2 TB root beer extract*
a pinch of salt (optional)

*You should be able to find this in your typical grocery store along with the other extracts used in baking. And yep, I used 2 tablespoons of root beer extract. That’s because the kind I used wasn’t particularly strong. You may want to add a little at a time and taste as you go just in case yours is different!


Cream together the butter and cream cheese.

Gradually beat in the powdered sugar. The more you add, the stiffer your frosting will be.

Beat your frosting for a few minutes. The more air you incorporate, the better!

Finish by incorporating the root beer extract and salt.

Apply frosting to completely cooled cupcakes. (Use a round piping tip! It gives more of the look that you want.)


Just a couple of things worth noting for how I styled these cupcakes:

  • As I said before, brown cupcake liners look best for this, in my opinion. But of course, this is up to you!
  • As I also said before, a round piping tip (or a plastic baggy with the corner snipped off) for frosting your cupcakes works best. It gives it a more authentic look, methinks.
  • Garnish your cupcakes with maraschino cherries! Just be sure to pat them dry before setting them on top of the frosting.
  • You know those ever-popular Kikkerland Red and White Straws? You should totally use them here. Cut the straws into thirds, and stick them into the tops of your cupcakes.

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