Wednesday, April 7, 2010

root beer float cake experiment

I came across something that sounded amazing recently--root beer float CAKE! The recipe I planned to use was based on the one from this book. All the comments and reactions to this recipe I'd read on blogs were very encouraging, too, and when I tweeted about the find a few weeks ago, the reaction was just phenomenal.

I baked the cake for my husband's birthday yesterday, using Barq's root beer, which I felt was nice and dark and appropriately bite-y. (I really miss my favorite root beer, which is Old Dominion, but unfortunately it's not a brand we have access to on the west coast.) I made very few changes to the recipe and used our fun little castle Bundt cake pan.

And so, after all that...I'm disappointed to say that the recipe wasn't what I hoped it would be. The cake itself is very moist and has great texture, but the flavor of the root beer is very subtle, almost more like an after taste. I've heard that if you use root beer schnapps (or perhaps extract, as recommended on other sites?) the flavor might be stronger. Overall, the cake was nice and sponge-y, but the flavor wasn't very distinct in either the root beer or the chocolate.

The frosting, though was a complete disaster. The butter and cocoa came together just fine, but once the soda went in the whole thing went a little crazy. I had to add a bit more than the 1/4 cup of root beer recommended just to get it smoother, but even so the texture was just unpleasant and much too sweet. It also melted within minutes, leaving behind a soggy, syrupy mess.

If you're interested in trying out the recipe, I'd recommend trying out root beer schnapps or extract, and perhaps use more chocolate, too, for stronger flavor. As for the frosting, I'd recommend using a very good vanilla buttercream, or perhaps a cream cheese or a dollop of Bailey's flavored whipped cream.

I'm not sure I'd venture to try this again, though...I'm now craving deep, rich chocolate cake to make up for this one. Oh well, sometimes these experiments don't work out to your liking. It's just a bigger deal when it's something as crucial as dessert!


  1. I have Root Beer Vodka, do you think that will work?? The cake looks pretty--love the castle!

  2. Oh, that sounds interesting Momma! Is the root beer taste very strong in the vodka? I think it would need to be to work for this recipe. I bet you've had a lot of great mixed drink recipes for that, though!

  3. Thanks for the heads-up. Sounds so good on paper, but sometimes you really need to try it out IRL.

  4. oh wow...that's too bad. It sounded like such a good idea. Maybe with some suggested tweeking it would be better. Thanks for saving us the headache!

  5. I'm so disappointed the cake turned out this way...was so excited to try the recipe! And yes, maybe with some fiddling the flavor could be intensified. Thanks for your feedback. :)


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