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Root Beer Iced Vanilla Cake

My dad loooooves root beer, so for his birthday I wanted to honor his favorite treat.  In addition to serving A&W root beer floats, I decided to make a root beer iced cake.  I confess I used a boxed mix for the vanilla cake because I wanted to spend more time on the decorating, and I was short on time as it was.  So I baked a double vanilla sheet cake and spent the rest of my energy on the decorating!  Little did I know how much energy it would take!  In the end it was all worth it and my dad loooooved his root beer iced cake.  (As did everyone else at the dinner party!)

Root beer Icing (the recipe actually calls it frosting, but I found the consistency to be much more like icing):

  • 1 3/4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temp
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons root beer

Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar to butter until well mixed.  Add the vanilla and root beer.  Add more root beer or confectioners’ sugar until you reach the desired spreading consistency.

I made the mistake of adding too much liquid and therefore had to run to the store mid-mixing to get more sugar.  Then I added too much sugar and had to add more liquid.  I went back and forth like this for a bit until I had as much as a needed at the correct consistency!  It ended up a nice light beige color.

I wanted to crush root beer barrels and sprinkle those on top–at this point little I did I know how much trouble I would have (a) finding root beer barrels and (b) crushing them.  After running around to several stores I finally found them at CVS.  They are quite a bit harder than I expected and crushing them with a meat tenderizer in a plastic bag was not an easy task.  The barrels were the consitency of marbles and when smashed, the sharp pieces poked holes in the bag allowing root beer dust to pour out and create a lovely sticky mess! I eventually did end up with enough crushed barrels to sprinkle on the top of the cake.  I then lined the edge of the cake with piped plain vanilla frosting, just to finish it off.  I also topped it off with some really cute gummy cola bottles. As I said, in the end it worked out well and this cake was a huge hit!

Icing/frosting recipe adapted from Crazy About Cupcakes by Krystina Castella.

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