Saturday, October 31, 2015

Root Beer Float Cake

Happy Halloween from me and my little gremlins!

Lucy is probably the fattest lady bug on record.
And the most unenthusiastic trick-or-treater.

Matthew and I stayed up late last night making a few friendly ghosts to hang throughout our house. Emma was excited to find them in the morning and Matthew was more than happy to formally introduce her to his ghostly friends.

He creatively named them the boyfriend and girlfriend ghosts...

the little sister ghost...

and the little boy ghost.

The kids are so excited for trick-or-treating tonight. Paul and I have always enjoyed Halloween even before we had kids old enough to participate in the activities. I think Paul's excitement stems from all the candy. Paul loves candy. I remember the first year we were married, we were so excited to pass out candy to trick-or-treaters from our small apartment. We bought about 20 pounds of chocolate bars, skittles, and starbursts and excitedly waited for the trick-or-treating hours to begin. Much to our disappointment, we had a grand total of three kids knock on our door and spent the rest of the night eating a large portion of that candy ourselves. Yuck.

So, the following year, we decided to not buy any candy and just had a couple pieces on hand for the two kids who might ring our bell. Well, wouldn't you know, we were flooded with candy-seekers that year. We started pulling some of the Easter candy out of the freezer to hand out - Reese's eggs, robin's eggs, etc. I don't think little kids are too discriminating. However, when we handed one three-year-old firefighter a large one-pound solid milk chocolate bunny, we received some strange looks from the parents.

Well, we don't have to worry about that this year since we'll be out with our kids during trick-or-treat hours and will probably come back with more candy than we'll know what to do with! We're probably going to put aside a nice pile for filling Christmas stockings in a few months. Sneaky, sneaky!

Have a fun-filled Halloween night!

For dinner tonight, we will be enjoying chili and this boo-tiful chocolate cake for dessert. Since there will not be enough sugar around the house after trick-or-treating tonight, I decided to throw in a rich, luscious chocolate cake with fudge frosting. But really, I was just looking for an excuse to make this cake for it is truly amazing. It incorporates root beer into both the cake and the frosting. The root beer is not super pronounced, but it does lend an interesting flavor that will make you stop and wonder what exactly is that magical ingredient inside this cake. This is the most moist and fudgy cake I have ever had in my life. Serving it with vanilla ice cream and a side of root beer is a must. Heavenly, heavenly. The ghost decorations were just a fun touch for the kids. They'll probably pass on trying the cake in favor of a Snickers or Milky Way bar from their treat bag. Their loss, More cake for Paul and me!

Root Beer Float Cake
from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

For the Root Beer Bundt Cake:
2 cups root beer (do not use diet root beer)
1 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1¼ cups granulated sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1¼ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs

For the Root Beer Fudge Frosting:
2 ounces dark chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
½ cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup root beer
2/3 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2½ cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Generously spray the inside of a 10-inch bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray, or butter the pan and dust with flour, shaking out the excess flour. Set aside.

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.

In a medium 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 flour mixture into the cocoa mixture. The batter will be slightly lumpy, which is okay. Do not overbeat it, as it could cause the cake to be tough.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a small sharp knife inserted into the cake comes out clean. My cake always takes about 10 minutes longer - but be careful not to overbake! 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.

To make the Root Beer Fudge Frosting, put all of the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse in short bursts until the frosting is shiny and satiny, scraping the sides of the food processor a couple of times. (If you don't have a food processor, simply throw it all into the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl using a hand mixer and mix on medium-low until combined and satiny smooth.)

Use a spatula to spread the fudge frosting over the cake in a thick layer. Let the frosting set before serving. Decorate with ghost Peeps and mellocreme pumpkins, if desired. Store leftovers wrapped well or in an airtight container at room temperature.

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