Your childhood favorite root beer float and frosted cupcakes come together in these Root Beer Float Cupcakes. A super delicious and fun summer dessert mash-up!
Other root beer inspired treats include our Root Beer Popsicles and Root Beer Float Granita – both so cool and refreshing on a summer day.
Sipping on a root beer float on a hot day is pure summer nostalgia. These Root Beer Float Cupcakes are a fun spin on that delicious vanilla and sassafras flavor combined with sweet frosted vanilla cupcakes. Super easy to make and guaranteed to make everyone who eats one happy!
Root Beer Cupcakes Recipe
Root beer. Vanilla ice cream. Cupcakes. Frosting. Put that all together and you’ve got one awesome treat.
We took a basic box cake mix and doctored it up, along with homemade frosting. Both the cake batter and fluffy frosting include root beer in addition to a little root beer extract, so the entire dessert has that classic old fashioned root beer flavor. And even though we swapped the ice cream for frosting, I’m pretty sure nobody would complain if you served these cupcakes with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side and a tall glass of root beer to wash it all down.
Here’s what you’ll need to make these cupcakes:
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- Cake mix: We simply doctored up a box of vanilla cake mix. White or yellow cake mix would also work, or even use your favorite homemade cake mix if you have one.
- Root beer: Wouldn’t be root beer cupcakes without root beer! We love its unique flavor. If you’re not a fan, Dr. Pepper or Coca Cola are good replacements.
- Root beer extract: For a real noticeable root beer flavor, we added in a little root beer extract to the cake batter and frosting.
- Vegetable oil and eggs: These are needed to make the cake batter.
- Frosting: Butter, powdered sugar, and root beer.
- Maraschino cherries: This is an optional garnish, but really finish off the cupcakes with a nice pop of color.
Tips for Success
- Soda: The soda not only lends flavor, but more importantly the carbonation makes these cupcakes so light and fluffy. You can omit it, but then you’re not really making root beer float cupcakes.
- Butter: We really like the taste of regular salted butter for the frosting. If all you have is unsalted butter, that’s totally fine, but we recommend adding in a 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Root beer extract: By simply using root beer in the batter and frosting, you get a nice subtle root beer flavor. A 1/2 teaspoon of root beer extract added into the batter and frosting gets you a stronger root beer taste.
How to Frost Cupcakes
If you aren’t a frosting expert, never fear! Frosting can be very simple. It is easiest to fill a dedicated frosting piping bag with a frosting tip, but you can also use a plastic ziploc bag if you’re in a pinch.
- If using a plastic ziploc bag, first cut out a hole in one of the corners. This hole should be about 1 centimeter in diameter.
- Scoop the frosting into the bag using a spatula.
- Gently squeeze the frosting out of the hole onto the center of the cupcake. Starting in the center, and with a steady pressure, create a tight spiral towards the outside of the cupcake.
- Once you get about 1 centimeter from the sides, change directions towards the center of the cupcake and on top of the frosting that is already there. Keep a steady and gentle pressure this entire time so the frosting stays even.
- Once you hit the center, pull up quickly to finish the stream of frosting.
- Place a cherry straight in the middle to cover up any mistakes! Voila! Beautiful frosted cupcakes!
How to Store Root Beer Float Cupcakes
Since these are frosted cupcakes, they need to be stored in the refrigerator. Keep them in an airtight container, so that they don’t dry out. Eat within 4 days.
More Cake Recipes:
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Root Beer Float Cupcakes
For the Cupcake Batter
- 15.25 box vanilla cake mix
- 1 cup root beer
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon root beer extract
For the Frosting
- 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter , softened
- 5-6 cups powdered sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons root beer
- 1/4 teaspoon root beer extract
- maraschino cherries , for topping
- red paper straws , cut to 2-inch length pieces, for topping
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
- Prepare the cake batter by combining the cake mix, root beer, vegetable oil, eggs, and root beer extract in a large mixing bowl. Use a hand mixer and beat for 30 seconds on low and then on medium speed for about 2 minutes.
- Pour the batter evenly into the cupcake liners, 3/4 of the way full.
- Transfer to the oven and bake for 19-21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and set the cupcakes aside to cool completely.
- To make the frosting, beat the salted butter until it's creamy, about 1 minute. Turn the mixer to low speed and slowly add in the powdered sugar, mixing it until well blended.
- Mix in the root beer and extract. Beat until just combined. Add more root beer or powdered sugar until you reach a good consistency.
- Turn the mixer to high speed and beat for 5 minutes or until very light and fluffy. (This is easiest with a stand mixer using the paddle attachment.) The frosting should end up thick, but loose enough to pipe.)
- Make sure the cupcakes are completely cooled before frosting. Frost with a piping bag and desired tip (I used tip Wilton 1M).
- Top with a maraschino cherry and a tiny straw. Serve and enjoy!