Friday, April 6, 2012

Rootbeer Float

Around November of 2011, I got an email from my sister, Dani, with the subject line "Challenge."  She issued me a challenge to create a cupcake that used at least one flavor of Pinnacle Vodka, preferably more.  Specifically, she wanted me to use a the Pinnacle Whipped.  She may have even strongly suggested that the cupcake be a Rootbeer Float flavor.  I promised to do so...

I intended to make these cupcakes shortly after she issued her challenge.  I purchased the Pinnacle Whipped vodka and intended to purchase the Rootbeer flavor as well.  However, the liquor store I went to didn't have it, so I just purchased Rootbeer and made a mental note to go to another liquor store.

I drank the first bottle of vodka.  It's really good.  Mixed with Rootbeer, it's like the perfect adult Rootbeer float.  No joke!

I went to liquor store number two and purchased my second bottle of Whipped, but still wasn't having any luck with the Rootbeer flavor.  So, I purchased Rootbeer and went home.

I drank my ingredients again.  Seriously, I don't know what's wrong with me.

I tried a third liquor store and still had no success with the Rootbeer vodka, so I decided I would use Rootbeer schnapps instead and try to actually bake cupcakes with my ingredients this time.

And I did it!  (I baked while drinking an adult Rootbeer float!  DON'T JUDGE ME!). 

For my cupcakes, I wanted a rootbeer cake, a vanilla "ice cream" frosting, and a whipped cream for the very top.  I used recipes from the Cupcake Project for the cake and "ice cream."  I found about a million websites that tell you how to make whipped cream, so I really don't know who to credit with this one, but I changed the standard recipe by adding the whipped vodka AND IT WAS AMAZING.

But, I'm getting ahead of myself! 

Prior to this recipe, I'd never attempted to make whipped cream.  According to all of the websites where people discuss making their own whipped cream, it's supposed to be SUPER EASY.  I think they lied. 

My first whipped cream attempt went well...and then it didn't.  Well, to be honest, it didn't actually start off that great.  First, Ian makes fun of me frequently for over-purchasing and hording baking necessities.  So, when we go shopping I now try not to purchase anything I don't actually know that I absolutely need.  Well, I didn't actually have enough sugar to make my whipped cream.  Thanks IAN.

I had a little regular sugar and then some leftover sugar just hanging out with my vanilla beans from when I made creme brulee.  So, I used vanilla flavored big deal...there may or may not have been some vanilla parts thrown happens.

So, I got everything whipped up, added my vodka, whipped a little more...made Ian taste it, put it on one cupcake, ate a cupcake, Ian told me the decorating looked like "poop" (not bad, but like literal poop).  I set out to do more decorating and when I got back to the whipped cream it was starting to not look so whipped.

I tried whipping it again and it just completely came apart.  Things separated and turned into was not great.
So I had to start over.  And I had no sugar.  So off the the store I went.

I then made a plan.  Obviously, I had over-whipped the first batch AND let it sit at room temp for too long.  I was NOT going to make that mistake again.  I was having frosting issues (as in, everything I attempted to do Ian told me looked like poop), so I waited until I figured out what I wanted to do with the frosting before whipping up my whipped cream again. 

When I made my whipped cream the second time, it again came out lovely!  Tasted wonderful, I wanted to eat it all.  Only problem was that it wouldn't hold its form.  It was under-whipped.  I tried whipping it more, but got concerned about another separation issue, so I stopped and worked with what I had.  I'm sure there is a sweet spot for whipped cream, but I haven't found it yet.  I will someday...but for now, slightly under-whipped whipped cream will have to do!

The first cupcake we ate, Ian and I agreed was "ok" but definitely not my best.  The frosting was delicious, the whipped cream, even under-whipped, was the best whipped cream that I've ever had, but I wasn't sold on the cake.

The problem was that it was warm!

Cool these suckers down and they are DELICIOUS!  I seriously ate 5 cupcakes in 3 days.  As I told you earlier, stop judging me.

Oh...Ian told me they tasted too much like booze.  He wouldn't take them to work with him.  No one else had that complaint so I'm sure they were fine! 

I HIGHLY recommend these cupcakes.  They are wonderful!

I clearly need to work on my photography skills...and the lighting
Rootbeer Cake - (makes 12)

1 C rootbeer soda
1 t apple cider vinegar
3/4 C sugar
1/3 C canola oil
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 1/3 C flour
3/4 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
Pinch of Salt
Rootbeer Schnapps
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Combine the soda and vinegar and let stand for a few minutes.
  3. Add in the sugar and oil, whisking vigorously until slightly frothy.
  4. Integrate your extracts, and gently introduce the flour, along with the baking powder / soda, and salt, being careful not to over mix.
  5. Fill cupcake liners approximately 3/4 of the way to the top.
  6. Bake for about 18 - 22 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Leave in pan for five minutes to cool, then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling.
  8. Poke hole in middle of cupcakes with toothpick (I use a meat thermometer that doesn't work) and brush on Rootbeer Schnapps while cupcakes are still warm.
1 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar (add more until it reaches your preferred consistency)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (add more to taste)
1 tablespoon milk
  1. Mix together sugar and butter until they are blended and creamy.
  2. Add vanilla bean paste and milk and continue to beat for another minute.
  3. If desired, add more vanilla bean paste to taste, or more confectioners' sugar to make it stiffer.
Whipped Cream infused with Pinnacle Whipped -
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon Pinnacle Whipped
  1. Whip cream until almost stiff.
  2. Add sugar and Pinnacle Whipped
  3. Beat until cream holds peaks.