I've had my eye on this Root Beer Bundt Cake recipe ever since I got my little hands on Baked: New Frontiers in Baking. I had the perfect opportunity to make it recently when I offered to bake a birthday dessert for a friend, and he had no preference for anything in particular, so I had free rein to choose.
My bundt pan and I have been back on speaking terms for a while now, and I'm pleased to say that this was another nonstick success, thanks to my baking spray with flour. Unfortunately, though, this wasn't my favorite cake. While it was really moist, the root beer taste didn't come through too strongly (I used A&W, not sure if a different brand would have other results). I would have loved the frosting, but it felt a bit too salty for me, and that might have been the deal breaker. This was the first time I've seen salt in a frosting recipe, and I won't add it again.
If you have a root beer fan in your life, this could be worth making. It's certainly an original idea, and the cake was easy and fun to make. Everyone I served it to claimed to really love it, so my perceptions could be off, or maybe they were just being polite (ha!).
Important tips! Make sure the root beer/butter/cocoa powder mixture is almost completely cool before you stir the eggs in. You don't want to wind up with a scrambled egg cake! Serve the cake with vanilla ice cream for the ultimate root beer float flavor.
Root Beer Bundt Cake with Root Beer Fudge Frosting
Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking
For the Root Beer Bundt Cake:
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
For the Root Beer Fudge Frosting:
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt (Amy's note: I didn't care for this, would omit it next time)
1/4 cup root beer
2/3 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
Vanilla Ice Cream
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. 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.