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Make root beer floats better — turn them into cupcakes

Diana Johnson is a professional recipe developer, food photographer, freelance writer and cooking instructor. She's also a mother who believes that kids can love healthy food, and that no child should have to experience food insecurity. ...

Delight your kids with a dessert switcheroo

These clever root beer floats are actually cute cupcakes in disguise. Whip up these sly treats with just a boxed cake mix, a can of frosting and a can of root beer.

Delight your kids with a dessert switcheroo

If you like root beer floats, you'll love these root beer float cupcakes. I find heavy-duty glass mugs for $1 or less at my local thrift shop and keep them in the cupboard just for this purpose. The generously portioned cupcakes are baked right in the mugs, making assembly incredibly simple.

Delight your kids with a dessert switcheroo

You have a couple of options for cake flavors with these cupcakes. The first is to use a chocolate cake mix, which will give you a nice dark color for the "root beer" cupcake. While I find that I like the convenience of the color, the flavor of the chocolate can overpower the flavor of the root beer.

Delight your kids with a dessert switcheroo

If you really want your root beer float cupcakes to taste like root beer, I suggest using a plain white cake mix and adding brown icing color.

To make the cupcakes, start by measuring out 1-1/2 cups of root beer.

Delight your kids with a dessert switcheroo

Stir the root beer into your cake mix, and add brown food coloring if you'd like. You also have the option of adding a teaspoon of root beer extract, which will really boost the flavor of your cupcakes.

Delight your kids with a dessert switcheroo

Scoop the batter into your mugs. I prefer filling them to just under half full.

Delight your kids with a dessert switcheroo

Carefully place your mugs on the bottom rack of your oven, and bake them for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Delight your kids with a dessert switcheroo

When your cupcakes are done, let them cool before frosting them. Once they're cool, use a paper towel to wipe off any cake residue on the inside glass above the cupcake.

Delight your kids with a dessert switcheroo

To frost, simply snip off the corner tip of plastic baggie filled with vanilla frosting. Spiral the frosting on top of your cupcake, just like a lovely drizzling of vanilla soft serve.

Insert a straw, and you've got some adorable baked root beer floats to fool your kids with.

Delight your kids with a dessert switcheroo

Root beer float cupcake recipe

Yields 8-10

Ingredients and supplies:

  • 1 box white or chocolate cake mix
  • 1-1/2 cups root beer (room temperature is fine)
  • Brown icing color (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon root beer extract (optional)
  • 1 can vanilla frosting
  • 8-10 heavy-duty glass mugs
  • Plastic baggie
  • 8-10 straws

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix together the cake mix and the root beer. Mix in the icing color and/or root beer extract, if using.
  3. Spoon or pour the batter into the mugs, filling them 1/3 to 1/2 full.
  4. Place the mugs in the oven. You might want to place them in a baking pan first in case of any overflow.
  5. Bake for about 30 minutes, until a bamboo skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Scoop the frosting into a plastic baggie, and snip off one corner. Pipe the frosting in a nice spiral on top of the cupcakes.
  7. Insert a straw into each cupcake.

More cupcakes in a glass

Pumpkin cupcakes
Orange creamsicle cupcakes

Mimosa cupcakes

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