Root Beer Cake

Today is my birthday. I’d planned for weeks to make a cake to celebrate. When Sunday rolled around and it was time to get down to baking, nothing struck my fancy. I really wanted apple cake and pumpkin ice cream, but since those are seasonal, I decided it was best to wait until Fall.

I recruited J for help. J got out our newest cookbook, The Pan That Can, and we found a recipe for root beer cake. I was intrigued. Unfortunately it called for yellow cake mix. Since I try to make everything from scratch, yellow cake mix was not an option. I resorted to google searches. Unfortunately there are not many recipes for yellow cake mix. There are many recipes for root beer cake, but most called for chocolate and I wasn’t feeling it. So, in a moment of insanity, I decided to make up a recipe. This is crazy for a few reason: 1) I never bake without recipes 2) I rarely make cakes and am not even sure what cake batter is supposed to look like. 

Somehow everything came together and two golden cake layers pop out of the oven. On the plus side: This recipe is super simple to make and the cake is yummy, especially the frosting. It is also light and fluffy, which I like. Sadly, it is not amazing and would probably do better as a potluck item (think cupcakes) instead of a featured dessert. I think it is mostly because the root beer is not very strong. Maybe next time I’ll use extract instead of actual root beer.


Root Beer Cake

Yields 1 2-layer cake

Root Beer Cake:

  • 2 9″ cake circular pans
  • parchment paper
  • butter
  • 2 cups all-purpose white flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks butter softened
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs (room temp)
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste (such as Nielsen-Massey Vanillas)
  • 1 cup root beer

Preheat oven to 350F.

Line cake pans with buttered parchment paper.

Sift flours, baking powder, and salt together into medium bowl. Set aside.

With a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat in one at a time. Add lemon zest and vanilla bean paste and stir until just combined. Alternating first flour and then root beer in three batches, mix dry ingredient and root beer into the butter/egg mixture.

Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes until top is light brown and tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack.

Buttercream frosting:

  • 10 tbsp butter
  • 5-6 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
  • 5 tbsp root beer
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
Cream butter in bowl of electric mixer. Slowly add sugar and mix until combined. Drizzle in root beer and vanilla. Add more sugar as needed until desired consistency.


Creaming the butterCake batter. Now I know what it looks like.

Just out of the oven.
I make a mess sometimes…

Cake decorating is not my forte. J said he needs to get me classes for my birthday next year. Now I just need to find time to make cake more than once per year.

About cookingcampus

I'm a graduate student trying to stay happy and busy and pursue the things I love.
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