Not Your Father’s Root Beer Float Cupcakes

18 Oct


IMG_3474As anyone who follows this blog knows, being on the cutting edge of whatever’s hot and trendy in the liquor cabinet is not my strong point. But this past summer I was actually able to ride the popularity wave of the hottest potent potable coming out your liquor store’s refrigerated case. I’m talking about Not Your Father’s Root Beer.


For anyone not familiar, Not Your Father’s Root Beer is an ale brewed by Small Town Brewery that tastes exactly like root beer!  Not a regular beer with a hint of root beer flavor, this ale (that boasts a 5.9% ABV) tastes exactly like a root beer soda. Goes down like one too. Which can be both a good thing and a bad thing. NYFRB was so popular, the brewery was unable to keep up with demand, and it soon became a prized commodity. I won’t even tell you how much I was gouged for when I finally found someone who had a stash. Such a craze, it was like Beany Babies all over again.

Baking in the summer is virtually unheard of in my house. I can’t stand the idea of turning on the oven, heating up the kitchen, while my AC struggles to cool it all down. And the life span of a frosted cupcake in 90 degree heat is not good, not good at all.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy concocting sweet treats – I just try to find something that doesn’t have to be baked. This summer, NYFRB came to the rescue, in the form of Not Your Father’s Root Beer Floats. The ultimate summertime treat, you want to make sure the kiddies are in bed before you mix up one or two of these ice cream delights. Just pour NYFRB in a tall glass, drop in a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and let the party begin! They go down so easy, maybe a little too easy….delicious!



But finally, baking weather arrived and I immediately knew what my first batch of baking was going to be: NYFRB Float Cupcakes. So easy to make, even easier to wolf down, these root beer chocolate cupcakes, topped with a marshmallow vodka frosting that tastes a little like whipped ice cream, won’t hang around long. Why not whip up a batch this afternoon?


Chocolate Root Beer Cupcakes

Makes approx. 24 cupcakes

I used Betty Crocker for this recipe, so I am providing those directions here. If you use a different brand, follow the directions on the box, but substitute Not Your Father’s Root Beer for the amount of water called for in the directions.

1 box Devil’s Food cake mix

3 eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 1/4 cups Not Your Father’s Root Beer, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with paper liners. Set aside.

In large bowl of stand mixer, combine cake mix, eggs, vegetable oil and NYFRB, mixing on low speed for 30 seconds, then at medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally.

Fill cupcake tins about 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely.

Marshmallow Vodka Buttercream Frosting

This frosting was the perfect topping for these cupcakes, reminiscent of both vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.

1 cup butter, room temperature

1 cup marshmallow Fluff

pinch salt

3 cups confectioner’s sugar

2 tablespoons marshmallow vodka

24 Maraschino cherries

In large bowl of stand mixer, cream together butter and marshmallow Fluff until well combined and fluffy. Add confectioner’s sugar, salt and marshmallow vodka, mixing on low speed until combined, and then on highest speed until light and fluffy, approx. 5 minutes. Frost cupcakes as desired and top with a maraschino cherry.



Zucchini Banana Snack Cake with Bourbon Icing

10 Jul Zucchini Banana Snack Cake with Maker's Mark Icing


One of the joys of summer is having a small garden to tend to. Nothing too large, just a little patch in the corner of the yard where I can plant a few tomatoes, a pepper or two, some basil and mint (gotta have those mojitos!) and of course, zucchini. This was something I looked forward to every spring –  turning over the earth, planting my little seedlings, knowing that with the help of the summer sun and pop-up rain showers, in a few weeks I’d be harvesting my abundant bounty of fresh summer crops.


Until Mr. Groundhog arrived. Mr. Groundhog, along with his wife and two small children, first appeared in my backyard 3 years ago, and have returned to my yard every year since. (Actually, I suspect it’s a new litter of pups each year, but I’m pretty sure it’s the same fat, old Mr. Groundhog.) That first year, Mr. Groundhog and family proceeded to make themselves right at home by gnawing holes in the fences on both sides of my property, presumably one for ingress and one for egress. I tried patching the holes, to which Mr. Groundhog responded by tunneling an enormous trench under each fence, the better to pass his prodigious fat self through, I suspect. That first year, the Groundhog family then proceeded to take advantage of my generous hospitality by sampling one half of each of my ripening tomatoes and squashes, and devouring entirely the blossoms off any and all flowers growing in any reachable container on my deck, petunias apparently the popular favorite.

Slow, but determined learner that I am, the next year I again planted my little seedlings, watching as they grew, looking forward to those summer-ripened vegetables. However, Mr. Groundhog, evidently having wintered under my deck, was more than ready to go and hungry from hibernation, wasted no time decimating those plantings before even the first tomato blossom appeared. That was also the year I switched from container flower gardens to hanging baskets.


This year, I gave up. No garden plot for me, just a lush, green patch of grass where then garden used to be, and which Mr. Groundhog and family seem to enjoy nibbling on immensely. Evidently groundhogs are not picky eaters.

Which leads me to my current predicament – depending upon the mercy of others for their surplus garden produce. And which is how I ended up with one of those baseball bat-sized zucchinis – compliments of my sister, who came back from vacation and found her (groundhog-free) garden full of enough oversized gourds to supply the entire batting line-up of the Boston Red Sox. And which is what led me to stirring up a batch of this fabulous snack cake.


I was in the middle of pulling together what seems to be the obligatory summer zucchini bread recipe, and was literally just about to measure out the vanilla extract when I was struck by a flash of inspiration. This recipe doesn’t need vanilla. What this recipe needs is bourbon, and lots of it! So I subbed in a healthy teaspoon (or two) of Maker’s Mark, threw in a couple of over-ripe bananas and topped the whole thing off with an amazing bourbon icing, and there you have it – zucchini banana snack cake with Maker’s Mark icing. A delicious, easy, healthy (sort of) summer snack cake perfect for the picnic basket or backyard barbecue…..just be sure to keep it away from Mr. Groundhog.



Recipe adapted from One Ordinary Day

3 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons Maker’s Mark bourbon

1 cup shredded raw zucchini

1 cup mashed ripe bananas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour bundt pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat eggs, oil, sugar and Maker’s Mark until combined. Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add shredded zucchini and mashed bananas and combine until well blended.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 45-55 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10  minutes, then remove from pan to cool completely.


2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup confectioners sugar

2 teaspoons Marker’s Mark

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. Spoon over warm or cooled cake.



Shiner Ruby Redbird Cupcakes with St. Germain Buttercream Frosting

9 Jun Shiner Ruby Redfruit Cupcakes


Behold the lowly grapefruit. While lemons, limes and oranges have risen to citrus celebrity status thanks to their liaisons with Leinenkugel, Corona and Blue Moon, the poor grapefruit has had to sit on the sidelines, the wallflower of all citrus fruits. There’s been no ice-cold craft brew pairing for this lonely yellow fellow. No, Mr. Grapefruit has had to content himself with merely adding a little brightness to ho-hum diner breakfasts and the obligatory winter fruit salads.


Until now. Once again, Shiner has risen to the occasion, delivering the grapefruit from its mediocre existence. Take a look at Shiner’s Ruby Redbird – a crisp, refreshing beer brewed with Texas Ruby Red grapefruit juice. What Blue Moon has done for the orange, Shiner’s has done for the grapefruit, the signature citrus of the Rio Grande Valley.


Having happened upon this latest summertime citrus quaff, there was no way I could resist giving it the b.u.i. treatment. So I grabbed a few of the golden globes, set about concocting some grapefruit curd and here you have it – Shiner’s Ruby Redfruit cupcakes, filled with just-the-right-amount-of-tartness grapefruit curd, and topped with St. Germain buttercream (which lends itself beautifully to these favors, if I do say so myself.)


So before it gets too hot to fire up the oven this summer, give these cupcakes a try – a tart & delightful cupcake from a “tart & delightful beer” – thanks Shiner!


Makes approx. 18 cupcakes

As I often do with the beer infused cupcakes, I started with a box mix. With the extra steps required for the grapefruit curd, it makes sense to save a little time using a mix. Start with the curd first, so it has time to cool.


From Cooking Light magazine

(This recipe calls for grated grapefruit rind and fresh squeezed grapefruit juice. I find it’s much easier to grate the rind first and then extract the juice.)

2 teaspoons grated grapefruit rind

2/3 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

4 large egg yolks

2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces

Combine first 5 ingredients in the top of a double boiler, stirring well with a whisk. Cook over simmering water until thick (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly. Strain the juice mixture through fine sieve into a bowl. Discard solids. Add butter, stirring well with a whisk. Cool completely. This will keep in the fridge for up to a week.


When using a box mix, follow the directions on the box, but substitute the amount of water called for with the same amount of grapefruit beer. I used Pillsbury for this recipe, so this recipe follows those directions. 

1 box yellow cake mix

3 eggs

1 cup Shiner Ruby Redfruit beer

1/3 cup butter, room temperature

2 teaspoons grated grapefruit rind

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with paper liners.

Mix all ingredients in large bowl of stand mixer until just combined, then mix at medium speed for two minutes. Fill prepared cupcake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes, then remove to racks and cool completely.

Once cool, remove small portion from the center of each cupcake (I like to use a melon-baller for this task.) Fill each cupcake with a small dollop of grapefruit curd, then frost as desired.


1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

4 cups confectioners sugar

2 tablespoons St. Germain liqueur

1 – 2 teaspoons grated grapefruit peel

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

In large bowl of stand mixer, cream together butter and grapefruit rind. Add confectioner sugar, St. Germain and juice and mix on low-speed to combine, then at high-speed for 4 -5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Frost as desired.





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