Sunday, September 20, 2009

Root Beer Cake

Now I have to give you the full disclosure here: this isn't my recipe. If you haven't heard me say this before, most recipes I post are recipes I've seen other places but have tweaked them here or there to suit my fancy (I love saying the word fancy. As in "fancy that" or "I'd fancy some root beer cake." I suppose deep down I wish I were British) but before I get too sidetracked over vocabulary what I was saying was that most recipes, while not entirely original, are changed here and there.

And then there are those that are completely original (which I'll usually brag about) and then there are some that I've had in my files so long I couldn't possibly remember who the original source was.

However, this one fits none of the above. Instead, I found it at Joy the Baker's place and I'd feel funny about sharing it except that it seems she herself was passing it along from the book she references so I don't feel the need to get too worked up over sourcing on this one. And I promise, it's a fabulous, amazing, terrific recipe. How many more adjectives can I recycle to convince you?

You might think it tastes like root beer (which I happen to adore--though on another rambling side note I've heard that the flavor is most definitely an American taste. I had a friend who'd lived in Denmark who claimed the Danes thought root beer reminiscent of toilet bowl cleaner and I'm not sure if that speaks more definitively of the Danes or of root beer because how on earth would anyone know what toilet bowl cleaner tasted like? Obviously they're not to be trusted on the subject and need to stick to pastries) but it doesn't.

Doesn't taste like root beer that is. At least not really. The root beer brings out the super-chocolate flavor of this dense, rich, dark bundt cake and because the frosting too is made with root beer there's more of a root beer flavor in the frosting but it's not necessarily a strong root beer flavor. Subtle. Very subtle. Like my flowing prose which lilts from one run-on sentence to the next.

The root beer flavor does become stronger over time so it's perfect to make a day ahead, a practice which actually improves the texture and flavor of almost any cake though I doubt many people know that because who bothers to leave cakes sitting around their house to "mellow"? What, are we talking cheese here people? Of course not. But if you can find the self-control you will be rewarded.

Enough talk. On with the recipe.

2 cups non-diet root beer
1 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs

Preheat even to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan.

In a small saucepan, heat the root beer, cocoa powder and butter over medium heat until butter is melted. Add sugars and whisk until dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.

In a small bowl whisk the eggs until just beaten. Then whisk into the cocoa mixture until combined. Mix the flour into the batter which will be slightly lumpy. Whisk it a bit to mix but don't over beat the batter or it will make the texture tough. Just get some of those lumps out.

Pour the batter into pan and cook for 35-45 minutes until a sharp knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely then loosen edges with a butter knife and turn out onto a cake plate.

Chocolate Root Beer Frosting

2 ounces semi-sweet chips melted
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup root beer
2/3 cup cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Beat softened butter and cocoa powder. Add the melted chocolate, salt, powdered sugar and root beer. Beat together until smooth. Spread on top of cooled cake.

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Shannon said...

OK I have to try this. I loathe Root Beer to the point I don't even want to be in the room when my 4 kids and husband (who all adore the stuff) are drinking it, BUT I love all things chocolate. Maybe this would make everyone happy.

Stephanie said...

This recipe looks so like a chocolate cake I make with a peanut butter frosting, only no PB and add RB, Anyway that cake is delicious, and this sounds like a very delicious alternative.

Peruby said...

Yeah. My mouth is watering. Shannon - are you Danish? ;-)

patty w said...

You've got me crackin' up this morning! Love the sidetrack chatting probably even more than the real thought!

Cake sounds great ! I'll have to give her a try..I'm kinda chocalate caked out at the moment! WHAT ??? How can that be? Yep.. Maybe next week ! Love Root Beer...can't imagine comparing it to caustic toilet bowl cleaner!

Carina said...

Since I love, love root beer and chocolate, you have piqued my interest. I might have to break out the measuring cups and give it a shot.

I think another option on the Dane question is...they have delicious toilet bowl cleaner there! =)

Marielle said...

I'll have to file this one away for my husband. I'm with the Danes although to me root beer tastes like cough syrup - robitussin to be exact. LOL

Susan Berlien (warmchocmilk) said...

Looks wonderful, my mouth is watering, too!
Ps. Still waiting for your writing contest :)

Lori said...

I'm not really a cake person, so I was a bit disappointed that the root beer cake didn't have a scoop of ice cream to go with it--but I suppose if it's not root beer like, then it's not going to remind anyone of a root beer float.

I'll be passing this one on to my mother in law, who is a cake person and would love this decadent looking treat!

{ L } said...

Oh this sounds amazing! I've tried Root Beer FLOAT cake, which tastes exactly like a root beer float. :) It has no chocolate either. This sounds so good. Thanks

Minda said...

Looks great! Going to try this with fresh root beer from the Moose Tooth!

owlfan said...

Sounds interesting, but I really don't like root beer. I wonder how the frosting would be with ginger beer (which, like root beer, isn't an alcoholic beverage - just extremely gingery). chocolate ginger frosting sounds divine!

Tammy said...

This sounds so good! I've saved this recipe to try for later. Maybe I'll make it for my birthday!

I laughed through this post - you're so witty. =)

Janelle said...

For anyone who may be wondering abotu the weirdness of this recipe and doubting the yumminess claims, I can vouch for the yummy side. I made this cake for my husband's birthday back in May, not long after Joy posted it on her blog. I made it the day before, because she said that the flavor improves (and the root beer pops out more) after a day. I found that it was better even the next day after that. I made it on a Friday, and Sunday was when we finished it. Sunday's cake was much yummier than Saturday's cake was. The soda helps keep it really moist, too, so it doesn't dry out at all.

P.S. I don't like cake, and I especially don't like chocolate cake (I prefer brownies and cheesecake), but I really liked this cake. said...

Is the cocoa powder regular or dutch?

Serena said...

Yummmmm! If I had root beer in the house, I'd go make this right now. As it is, I love the stuff too much, so I can't buy it or I'd drink it constantly. I love root beer. The Danes--pah! ;)

Amy @ Experience Imagination said...

Ooh, that does sound yummy!

FYI on sharing other people's recipes: you can share ingredients, no problem as those are not copywrited. You do have to write your own instructions, though, unless you have permission from the writer of the original recipe to reprint theirs.

Amy @ Experience Imagination said...

Oh, and toilet bowl cleaner? Ewwwwww!

Janelle said...

You can use normal Hershey's cocoa powder, but the recipe calls for it DARK, which is super yummy!

I can understand the toilet bowl thing, by the way. A lot of toilet bowl cleaners use a minty fragrance...specifically wintergreen, which is a flavor added to a lot of brewed root beers. Yuck.

Scribbit said...

I used dutched cocoa, the recipe didn't specify.

And thanks Amy--good to know.

charrette said...

I love rootbeer, and like you, I had a friend from Australia visit and tell me our root beer tastes like "Deep Heat" (mentholatum). --That remark is twice as funny if you say it with an aussie accent!

I definitely want to try this cake, though.

dieMutti said...

Definitely want to give this one a try! Root Beer is my beer of choice :) so I bet I will love it!

As for the acquired taste, I'd agree. When I lived in Germany, my German friends thought Root Beer tasted like a mix between toothpaste and liquid medicine. Yuck! Well, I still think they're missing out. Thanks for the great recipe!

Andrea said...

Thanks for the recipe--my husband's birthday is this week, and he LOVES root beer. I think this recipe will come in handy.

tim said...

looks delicious. Im sure my husband will like this recipe

Steph said...

I am making this tomorrow, for my husband's birthday, instead of my normal mayo chocolate cake.

brian b. said...

I have tried mountain dew cake and coke cake, but a root beer cake I got to try this. Always looking to try something new!

Audrey at Barking Mad! said...

I'm married to a Brit and they detest Root Beer! Hate it. They claim it tastes too medicinal. The entire time I lived over there I craved it in the worst way and the hubby, being the well meaning sort, went out and bought me something called "Ginger Beer" thinking it would be the same thing or close enough.

Can I just say, BLECH! It's like drinking Pine Sol. Awful, terrible, no good, very bad stuff.

This cake sounds amazing and I'm going to make it, if I can keep from drinking the root beer. Love the stuff.

One of the reason the root beer enhances the flavor of the chocolate is because it's typically flavored from sassafras extractives and those closely resemble anise. Anise seriously intensifies chocolate.

The only reason I know this is because a very nice Belgian man who gave us a tour of Brugges in his gondola told us about it after we commented on a piece of the most amazing chocolate cake we had been eating. His wife packed an awesome picnic lunch for my hubby and I, at no extra charge, and the cake was unbelievable. And get this, I don't even like chocolate. Not unless it's dark chocolate (and NOT American chocolate) dipped in creme fraiche. Anyhow he told us that his wife adds the tiniest amount of anise to the cake batter and frosting and hence, the flavor explosion.