Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Cake of the Week: Root Beer Cake with Root Beer Fudge Frosting

In the summer I dream about floating in an inner tube in Lake Tahoe. Bobbing with the waves in the middle of a clear cold lake sounds like absolute bliss to me right now. Alas, instead I am adrift in DC’s concrete sea, struggling not to drown in my own sweat...

But just because I can’t be mid-lake doesn’t mean other people shouldn’t be! And by “people,” I mean my ice cream. If the closest I come to ‘cold and bobbing’ is a root beer float, then I guess I can be ok with that! (Bear with me here, I realize this segue is a stretch…I promise it’ll all make sense!)

Odds are you haven’t had a root beer float in a while – they tend to fall in the domain of elementary school parties and summer ice cream stands. But I strongly encourage you to re-visit this classic summer treat. My family always did Coke floats, just because that was my Dad’s soda of choice, but there’s something irresistibly sassafras-y about root beer that I love.

And when I love something, I add chocolate and put it into cake form. Obviously. This cake is a Chocolate Root Beer Cake with Root Beer Fudge Frosting. With a scoop of ice cream of course (we did cookies and cream)!

It’s not super root beer-y, but there’s enough flavor that you can tell it’s not a normal chocolate cake. The texture is very moist and spongy, and the frosting is intense. The recipe made way more frosting than I needed; I had about ¾ of a cup leftover. (Though extra frosting is rarely a bad thing!)

Root Beer Bundt Cake (Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking on Playing House)
2 cups root beer (do not use diet)
1 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs

Root Beer Fudge Frosting:
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly (I used unsweetened chocolate)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup root beer
2/3 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Generously spray the inside of a 10-inch bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.

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

3. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until just beaten, then whisk them into the cooled cocoa mixture until combined. Gently fold the cocoa mixture into the flour mixture. The batter will be slightly lumpy. Do not overbeat, as it could cause the cake to be tough.

4. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minute, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a small sharp knife inserted into the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Gently loosen the sides of the cake from the pan and turn it out onto the rack.

5. Put all the frosting ingredients into a food processor. Pulse in short bursts until the frosting is shiny and smooth. Or use a hand held-mixer to beat all ingredients until smooth. Use a spatula to spread the frosting over the crown of the bundt in a thick layer. Let the frosting set before serving, with the ice cream on the side.

Feel free to serve this cake with a side of root beer float...Yummmhmmmmm! :)