Several weeks ago I was telling my grandchildren how much I used to love root beer floats. Today many have probably never heard of them nor have many ever tasted root beer but there was a time when it was a refreshing way to cool off in the summer. In fact we would just pull up in our car to an A&W, which was renowned for its delicious root beer soda, and order a float. I do not think that A&W’s exist anymore, but you can imagine it’s similar to a freestanding small 7-Eleven.
We would sit in our car and slurp away.
Lo and behold I picked up a copy of Whisk magazine from my daughter’s home and while flipping through the pages I came to a recipe for Root Beer Float Cake. I was intrigued, and I knew that it was my destiny to try this blast from the past.
I went ahead to buy root beer from the supermarket, checked on all of the ingredients I had in my pantry and started to make the cake. I was charmed by the fact that in the icing was melted vanilla ice cream (Trader Joe’s of course in order to make it pareve).
Most of the excitement related to this cake was solely in my mind as no one else in our family shared this type of enthusiasm with me. To most, root beer is a mystery.
I need to say, after all is said and done, that unless you really love root beer, do not bother to make this cake. One of my chief tasters, my son Akiva, told me that it was too root beer-y for him. The cake itself is very moist. Try it if you are anywhere like me in reminiscing about this flavor, otherwise I would suggest that you skip it! (Not the normal type of recipe suggestion to be printed in a food column).
- 2¼ cups of root beer divided
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 2 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped
- ½ cup unsweetened margarine
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- 3 large beaten eggs
- 2 cups flour
- 1¼ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp allspice (I deleted)
- 1 cup vanilla ice cream melted
- ¼ stick margarine
- 1 ½ cups confectioners sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of kosher salt
Prepare the cake:
Preheat oven to 325 F.
Grease and flour a 12 cup bundt cake pan.
In saucepan heat 2 cups root beer, cocoa, chocolate and margarine until combined. Add sugars and whisk until dissolved.
Remove from heat and let mixture cool. Whisk in eggs.
Separately combine flour, baking soda, salt and allspice. Gently fold mixture into root beer mixture. (Batter will be slightly lumpy.)
Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (55-60 minutes rotating the pan halfway through). Transfer to a cooling rack.
Gently poke the cake all over with a skewer and pour remaining ¼ root beer over the cake.
Let it cool in the pan for 20 minutes, invert the cake onto a serving plate and let cool entirely.
Prepare the glaze:
With an electric mixer, beat melted ice cream with margarine, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Add salt and beat until smooth.
Drizzle glaze over the cake.
Anyone interested in tasting, come on over—I have ¾ of a cake left in my freezer!
By Nina Glick