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Root Beer Float Cupcakes

These Root Beer Float Cupcakes are like eating a root beer float in cake form! You’ll enjoy a homemade root beer flavored cake that’s topped with a vanilla ice cream frosting that’s made with real vanilla ice cream! And for an extra punch of root beer flavor, the frosting is then topped with a root beer drizzle.

Root Beer Float Cupcakes

Root Beer Cake

This recipe uses the creaming method which combines the butter and sugar. For best results, make sure your butter is 65 to 70 degrees. Your butter should be soft enough that when you press it with your finger it will leave an indentation. The butter and sugar mixture should be light in color and fluffy in texture.

Root Beer Float Cupcakes

Vanilla Ice Cream Frosting

I love this fun frosting! It’s fluffy and sweet and is definitely the quintessential bakery style frosting. Best of all, this version tastes like vanilla ice cream and is made with real melted vanilla ice cream. And this vanilla ice cream frosting won’t melt!

Root Beer Float Cupcakes Root Beer Icing

Don’t skip the icing! It adds even more root beer flavor to these Root Beer Float Cupcakes and is reminiscent of the classic root beer float that has those drips of sweet goodness overflowing the sides of the frosted mugs. And these cupcakes aren’t complete without the cherry on top!

Root Beer Float Cupcakes

Plan It Out

There are several steps to creating these Root Beer Float Cupcakes so it’s best to plan it all out before getting started. Here’s what my plan looked like.

Day 1: Bake cupcakes.

Day 2: Make frosting and icing and assemble cupcakes.

Root Beer Float Cupcakes

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Root Beer Float Cupcakes

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Adapted from Simply Beautiful Homemade Cakes by Lindsay Conchar and The Sweetapolita Bakebook by Rosie Alyea

Root Beer Float Cupcakes

Root Beer Float Cupcakes

Yield: 24
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Homemade root beer cupcakes, topped with vanilla ice cream frosting and root beer drizzle.




  • 1 ¾ cups (7.5 ounces) root beer, divided
  • ¾ cup (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature, about 65 degrees
  • 1 ½ cups (10.5 ounces) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon root beer concentrate
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature, about 70 degrees
  • 2 ½ cups (12.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 3 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • ¼ cup (2 ounces) whole milk, at room temperature, about 70 degrees


  • 2 cups (32 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • 6 ½ cups (26 ounces) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) heavy cream
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) melted vanilla ice cream


  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons root beer
  • ¼ teaspoon root beer concentrate
  • 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
  • ¾ cup (3 ounces) powdered sugar



  1. Adjust an oven rack to the center position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with cupcake liners and set aside.
  2. Add 1 ½ cups root beer to a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat for about 15 to 20 minutes, until reduced to ¾ cup. Do not boil the root beer. Pour reduced root beer in a heat proof liquid measuring cup to see if you have ¾ cup. Pour root beer back in the saucepan if it has not reduced enough and continue to heat until you have ¾ cup. Set reduced root beer aside to cool to room temperature, about 8o degrees. You can put the root beer in the refrigerator if you want to speed up this process.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, and the butter and sugar and cream together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the sour cream, vanilla extract and root beer concentrate and mix until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In a 2 cup liquid measuring cup, combine the milk, cooled and reduced root beer, plus
    the remaining ¼ cup root beer and set aside.
  5. Add half of the flour mixture to the batter and mix until incorporated. Add the root beer mixture and beat until combined. Add the remaining half of the flour mixture
    and mix until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  6. Divide the batter among the prepared cupcake pans, with 3 tablespoons of batter in each cup. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, (rotating pans halfway through baking) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let cupcakes cool in their pan for about 5 minutes, then invert on to a cooling rack to cool completely.


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, shortening and salt on medium speed until light and creamy, about 8 minutes. Slowly add the powdered sugar, heavy cream, vanilla extract and vanilla ice cream.
  2. Reduce the speed to the lowest setting possible on your mixer and beat for 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 7 minutes.


  1. In a small saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, heavy cream, root beer, root beer concentrate and corn syrup. Heat the mixture on low until the sugar has melted. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove the saucepan from the heat and immediately pour the mixture into a heatproof bowl. Whisk in the powdered sugar and allow icing to cool and thicken. While the icing is cooling start frosting the cupcakes.


  1. With an ice cream scoop that measures 3 tablespoons, scoop out frosting and top each cupcake with vanilla ice cream frosting. Once the root beer icing is cooled but still pourable, drizzle each cupcake with icing. Cut paper straws according to size and stick the straws in the frosting of each cupcake. Top each cupcake with a maraschino cherry.


Storage: Store cupcakes at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 day. Or stored in the refrigerator for 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Make Ahead: Cupcakes can be made up to 3 days in advance, stored in an airtight cake container.

Frosting will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Or stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 day. Bring chilled frosting to room temperature before beating on low speed to soften.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1067Total Fat: 56gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 3gUnsaturated Fat: 32gCholesterol: 90mgSodium: 969mgCarbohydrates: 138gFiber: 5gSugar: 97gProtein: 11g

*Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary.*

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