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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.



White Russian Cupcakes

26 Feb


Back when I was in college, I’m pretty sure I worked as many different part-time jobs as I earned college credits. You name a profession, I’ve probably tried my hand at it. But in those days, it was all fun. It didn’t matter if I was flipping burgers and blending milkshakes, swinging my whistle on the lifeguard stand, or cleaning summer cottages at the beach. I was in college and I was having a good time. One job that stands out, and to this day was probably one of my favorite jobs, was serving up cocktails at the local club. Maybe not the most prestigious job, but it helped pay the tuition and I had a blast. It was hard to believe that someone was willing to pay me to listen to great live music all night long while plying my new-found friends with drinks. The tips didn’t hurt either. But the best part of the job was at the end of the night, after the patrons had gone home and the band was breaking down. That’s when the staff was allowed one drink each, on the house. Anything we wanted.


And that’s when the addiction began. Every night, around 1:15 a.m.,  what I wanted was a tall, creamy, coffee-flavored White Russian. And not one of those little on-the-rocks size ones either. I got mine served up in a long, tall glass, full of the best vodka, cloyingly sweet Kahlua and artery-clogging cream, poured over just enough ice to keep it nice and cold. I simply loved them. Of course, my love affair with the White Russian lasted about as long as that job, and I don’t think I’ve had one since.


I don’t know if it’s the recent Winter Olympics in Sochi or the fact that February 27 is National Kahlua Day, but the memories of those late night cocktails have recently made their way back into my consciousness. And while I still have no desire to ever drink another White Russian, it did occur to me it might make a phenomenal cupcake. And I was right. This recipe adapted from Baked Perfection turns out one rich, delicious, Kahlua spiked cupcake. Give them a try, you may score a perfect 10!

White Russian Cupcakes

Makes one dozen cupcakes

1 1/4 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sugar

6 tablespoons butter, room temperature

1 whole egg

1 egg white

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/8 cup vodka

1/8 cup Kahlua

1/2 cup 1/2 & 1/2

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

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add eggs, one at a time, until combined.

Stir in vanilla, vodka and Kahlua.

Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, alternating with the cream, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

Fill cupcake tins about 2/3 full. Bake 18-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool in pan for approximately 5 minutes, then remove to rack to cool completely before frosting.

Kahlua Buttercream Frosting

4 tablespoons Kahlua

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

3 cups confectioners sugar

pinch of salt

1 – 2 tablespoons 1/2 & 1/2

chocolate covered espresso beans (optional)

While cupcakes are still warm, brush the tops with 1 – 2 tablespoons of Kahlua.

Cream butter in bowl of stand mixer. Add confectioners sugar and salt at low-speed until combined, and then at high-speed, adding remainder of Kahlua and enough 1/2 & 1/2 until desired consistency is reached.

Frost as desired. Sprinkle with ground espresso beans.



Fluffernutter Cupcakes with Marshmallow Vodka Frosting

9 Oct


I recently discovered that October 8 is National Fluffernutter Day. But imagine my shock when I also learned that not everyone knows what a Fluffernutter is! (Mind out of the gutter you Urban Dictionary aficionados.)  A Fluffernutter is an iconic sandwich consisting simply of white bread, peanut butter and Marshmallow Fluff. Like so many culinary delights (like baked beans, lobster rolls, Necco wafers and Sam Adams beer), Marshmallow Fluff is a New England creation invented by a fellow from Lynn, Massachusetts back in 1917. It is a sweet, fluffy (hence the name) “spreadable” (maybe not – see below) confection consisting of corn syrup, sugar, vanilla and egg whites. And as far as I can tell, it has a shelf life of forever.


The recipe for the sandwich seems simple enough. But as anyone who has ever actually made a Fluffernutter knows, there is a right way and a horribly, terribly wrong way to make this sandwich. Your first instinct might be to simply smear some peanut butter on one slice of white bread, spread some Fluff on the other slice of bread, slap the two together and enjoy. But no….as any Fluffernutter fanatic can attest, Fluff does not simply spread. No, try spreading Fluff on a virgin slice of plain white bread and you will soon start wondering if Fluff isn’t part Super Glue. As you draw your Fluff-laden knife across the bread you will find that the bread is so attracted to the Fluff it will tear itself out of its very crust so that it can rise up and wrap itself around all that Fluff still enveloping the knife. In the end you are left with a crumb coated glob of Fluff on the knife and a pathetic crust carcass on the plate.


As any master Fluffernutter chef can tell you, the proper way to create a Fluffernutter is to start by spreading gobs of peanut butter on the first slice of bread, then spreading mounds of Fluff on top of the peanut butter and then topping it all off with the second slice of bread. Voila! The perfect, classic Fluffernutter sandwich!

I have been a Fluffernutter fan for as long as I can remember, but the peak Fluffernutter consumption occurred when I was pregnant with my daughter. Peanut butter and marshmallow sandwiches were what I craved most, and I’m talking about a good 1 1/2 to 2 inches of filling. On the trashy white bread too – none of that whole grain, fiber-filled stuff would spoil my sandwich.

Although the Fluffernutter is the best way to enjoy Marshmallow Fluff, it does have one or two other uses. I have a recipe for the richest, creamiest chocolate fudge that lists Fluff as one of its ingredients. And there’s the Fluff and cream cheese fruit dip recipe that’s pretty tasty too. I’ve even come across a recipe for faux S’mores that subs the  marshmallow and chocolate with Fluff and Nutella (that sounds like a good cupcake too.) But other than these, I’m not aware of too many other recipes for Fluff. If anyone knows of one, I’d love to hear about it.


I’m coming up on the first anniversary of writing this blog, and if there’s anything I’ve learned in the past year, it’s that if a particular food exists, somebody’s turned it into a cupcake. And if someone’s created a cupcake, I’m going to add some “spirit” to it. So here it is: the Fluffernutter cupcake with marshmallow vodka frosting – a nice peanut butter cupcake adapted from a recipe by How Sweet It is, with a marshmallow vodka swirl, topped with the Fluff-iest marshmallow vodka infused frosting and finished with a drizzle of melted peanut butter. No crumbly bread needed.


Fluffernutter Cupcakes

This recipe makes about 1 dozen cupcakes. They are fabulous served the day they are made, but I found if you pop them in the microwave for maybe 8 seconds the next day, they’re even better!

1/4 cup butter, room temperature

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

1/3 cup milk

1/2 cup peanut butter morsels

2/3 cup Marshmallow Fluff (spray your measuring cup with cooking spray first to avoid over-stickiness)

1 tablespoon marshmallow vodka

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill cupcake tin with paper liners.

In medium bowl, combine Fluff and vodka. Keep stirring, it will combine. Set aside.

Cream butter and peanut butter in large bowl of electric mixer until well combined and creamy.

Add sugar and eggs and beat together until fluffy. Add vanilla and mix for another minute.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl.

Add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, until just combined.

Fold in the peanut butter chips and Fluff mixture.

Fill cupcake tins 2/3 full. Bake 18 minutes. Remove to wire rack and cool completely before frosting.



Marshmallow Vodka Frosting

1 cup butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cups Marshmallow Fluff

3 cups powdered sugar

pinch salt

1 tablespoon marshmallow vodka

1/4 cup peanut butter

Cream butter in bowl of electric mixer. Add Fluff and beat for 2-3 minutes. Add  confectioner sugar, salt and vodka, combine at low speed, then beat at high speed for 3-4 minutes. Frost cupcakes as desired.

Melt peanut butter for 30 seconds or so in microwave. Drizzle over frosted cupcakes.




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