Root Beer Float Cake with vanilla ice cream frosting


Root Beer Float Cake with vanilla ice cream frosting

Why not bring the root beer float to life in cake form? Start with root beer concentrate. It contains all the unique flavors found in the soda pop in their purest (and most concentrated) form, without added sugar.

A jug of good quality root beer is also a must. It serves as the liquid component in the batter and it’s reduced to a molasses-like consistency to keep the cakes moist. For even more intense flavor, make a root beer syrup to brush on the cakes while they’re still hot and in the pans.

A light-as-air vanilla ice cream frosting makes this cake extraordinary. Start by cooking melted vanilla ice cream with flour to give this frosting structure. Then beat it with sugar, butter, and vanilla bean paste for the creamiest frosting that’s perfect with the root beer cake!


12 servings (one 8-inch cake)

Total Time

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Preheat oven to 350°. Coat three 8×2-inch-round cake pans with nonstick spray, line with parchment paper, and coat with spray again.

For the cake, boil 1½ cups root beer and ¼ cup brown sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat until mixture reduces to ¼ cup, 1820 minutes; cool to room temperature.

Sift together 2¼ cups flour, baking powder, ½ tsp. salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking soda, and star anise

Whisk together reduced root beer mixture, remaining 1 cup root beer, remaining 1¼ cups brown sugar, oil, sour cream, molasses, eggs, vanilla extract, and 1 Tbsp. root beer concentrate until smooth. Whisk in flour mixture in three additions.

Divide batter among prepared pans and bake cakes until a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking. Transfer cakes to cooling racks and let cool 10 minutes.

For the syrup, boil ½ cup root beer and 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced to ¼ cup, 45 minutes; stir in 1 tsp. root beer concentrate. Brush syrup over cakes; cool completely before turning out.

For the frosting, whisk together ice cream and ¼ cup flour in a saucepan over medium heat and cook until very thick and smooth, 45 minutes, whisking constantly. Transfer ice cream mixture to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, pressing onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming, then chill until cold.

Cream butter, ¾ cup granulated sugar, and ½ tsp. salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until very light and sugar nearly dissolves, 5 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl. Add vanilla bean paste and chilled ice cream mixture; beat until very light and fluffy, 5 minutes.

To assemble, place one cake layer on a serving plate and spread a third of the frosting over the top; repeat with remaining cake layers and frosting.


Watch closely when reducing the root beer and brown sugar so it doesn’t burn or go too far.


Brush the root beer syrup over the cakes while they’re still hot. The heat will help the cakes absorb it.


Cook the ice cream and flour mixture until very thick to ensure the raw flour taste cooks out.

Nutritional Facts

Nutritional Facts

Per serving

Calories: 627

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 35g 53%

Saturated Fat 15g 75%

Cholesterol 111mg 37%

Sodium 388mg 16%

Carbs 76g 25%

Fiber 1g 4%

Protein 6g

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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