There are a few drinks that always remind me of summer: kool-aid (as a child), mojitos (as an adult), ice-cold lemonade (always!), and root beer. I’m not sure why root beer reminds of summer, but it always feels weird to drink during any other time of the year. Maybe because root beer is best in a float, with a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream! 😉
And that’s what inspired this cake. The recipe originally started off as cupcakes, frosted with meringue icing and drizzled with root beer caramel. (I made them for the NCACS cupcake contest.) But wow! This recipe is even better as a full-sized cake!
The cake contains 4 12-ounce bottle of root beer, tho almost 3 of those go in to the caramel! The cake has a light root beer flavor, accented by the sweet and salty root beer caramel. It’s topped with a root beer-scented meringue, which reminds me of the foamy top of a root beer float. (You know, when the ice cream and root beer fizz mix? Yum!)
Seriously, this cake is awesome! Bake it for someone who loves root beer, and you’ll make their day. Or bake it for yourself — just find someone to share the love with, k?
Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments. And thanks for reading! 🙂
Root Beer Cake
Yield: 1 9-inch cake, about 12-16 servings
Ingredients for the cake:
1 stick butter, at room temperature
2 cups light brown sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon ginger
Pinch fine salt
1 12-ounce bottle root beer
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream
Ingredients for the caramel:
3 12-ounce bottles root beer (reserve 3 tablespoons for icing)
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
Ingredients for the meringue icing:
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 tablespoons root beer
1/2 cup (about 4-5 large) egg whites, room temperature
3 9-inch cake pans
Baking spray, such as PAM
Icing bag or plastic storage bag
1. Preheat your oven to 350* F. Grease your cake pans, and set aside.
2. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl, and set aside.
3. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, blend the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate.
4. Add about a third of the dry ingredients, and stir the batter to combine. Then pour in the root beer and vanilla extract.
5. Add another third of the dry ingredients and then the sour cream. Stir in the remaining dry ingredients.
6. Divide the batter equally among your 3 cake pans. Bake in your preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
7. Let cool in the pans for approximately 5 minutes, and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
8. While the cake is baking, prepare the root beer caramel. In a large saucepan, pour the root beer. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
9. Let the root beer boil until it reduces to a syrup, swirling the pan occasionally (do not stir) to distribute the heat.
10. Add the butter and salt, whisking to combine. Pour the caramel in to a heat-safe bowl, and allow it to cool to room temperature.
11. Next, prepare the root beer icing. Bring 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, the corn syrup, and the root beer to a boil, stirring occasionally.
12. Once the mixture reaches a boil, cook the sugar syrup, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reaches 230* F.
13. While the sugar syrup mixture is cooking, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.
14. With the mixture running on low, add the sugar syrup to the egg whites in a slow, steady stream down the side of the bowl.
15. Increase the mixer speed to high, and beat until the icing is thick, fluffy, and cool (about 5-7 minutes).
15. To assemble the cake, place the first layer of the cake on your serving platter (bottom-side facing down). Place strips of wax paper under the cake to keep your serving platter clean.
16. Fill an icing bag or plastic storage bag with approximately 1/2-cup of icing. Pipe a 1/2-inch border of icing on the bottom layer of cake. Spread half of the caramel on the cake, and then top with the second layer of cake (bottom-side facing up).
17. Repeat step 16, and top with the third and final layer of cake (bottom-side facing down).
18. Spread the remaining icing in a thick layer on the top and sides of the cake. Use the back of a spoon, lightly pressing down the spoon and pulling up and away, to create a wave pattern.
19. Carefully remove the strips of wax paper, and serve immediately. If not serving immediately, cover and place in the refrigerator. Let warm at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.
20. The cake is best served immediately, but it can be stored in the refrigerator, covered and away from any strong-smelling items, for up to two days. Enjoy! 😀