Root Beer Float Cupcakes, Gluten-Free

Root Beer Float Cupcakes, Gluten-Free. When chocolate meets everything, it's a kitchen sink cupcake.

It was probably just the after-effects of a wild migraine that my recipe making brain went all Lewis Carroll.  This cupcake sure reminds me of something Alice would find down that rabbit hole.  When it was all said and baked, however, it earned a permanent place in the cupcake recipe folder. Suspend all good sense when making this concoction and the results will be worthy of the whimsy.

Think root beer float in a cupcake liner. Along with the kitchen sink. I was always somewhat intrigued by the Momofuku Compost Cookie. But only a little bit. Sort of in the way that I’m intrigued by space travel, but I don’t expect to reserve a room in the space station any time soon.

The compost cookie has the basic bones of a chocolate chip cookie and then it strays to the kitchen sink and rolls through all the leftovers like collecting lint on a roller. It gets chilled for a while and baked into a cookie that looks disgusting but tastes great by the account of most people.

I was in the mood for a kitchen sink experiment. And there is nothing like a root beer float kind of day to get it rolling. I figured the cupcake could be an ode to the crazy things that my brothers hoarded when we were kids.

So it had to contain Jell-O instant pudding, root beer, potato chips (I know, shudder), Heath Bar, peanut butter – or in this case, leftover buckeye filling and chocolate chips. Then I moved onto the odd things that our parents love, like mayonnaise and lemon. Apparently the only thing Mr. Canteen could think of that his dad hoarded were shoes and not food – but I draw the line at leather in my cupcake.  I added mayo and a little lemon zest. And just to be crazy, it had a little cream cheese because why not? And white chocolate chips because it looked really nice with the dark chocolate.

Begin with the basics and then add your own theme. Like Dr. Pepper more than Root Beer? No potato chips, but you have pretzels? Don’t like chocolate pudding, but you love banana? No buckeye stuff but you have white chocolate peanut butter? Fresh ground coffee beans not your thing? Skip it or add tea. Add raisins. Add nuts. Add M&Ms. Think of your cupboard as a place where the lint roller could pick up stuff and let your imagination run wild.  Or wild-ish.

I’d like to report back that it was  really stupid idea and it didn’t work. Another wreck. But in fact they were ridiculously good. So good that I probably wouldn’t share what was in them if I wasn’t already spilling the recipe.

I promise not to think Momofuku is crazy after this. And I will never look at the kitchen sink the same way again.

Root Beer Float Cupcakes, Gluten-Free. When chocolate meets everything, it's a kitchen sink cupcake.

Root Beer Float Cupcakes, Gluten-Free
These are crazy good cupcakes if you like deep dark chocolate, lava craters topped with a zing of root beer buttercream. Makes 24.
Basic Cupcake
  • 130 grams Canteen Flour Mix (1 cup)
  • 150 grams granulated sugar (3/4 cup)
  • 50 grams unsweetened cocoa, sifted (1/2 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 115 grams unsalted butter, slightly softened (8 tablespoons, ½ cup)
  • 115 grams cream cheese (1/2 cup)
  • 30 grams mayonnaise (2 tablespoons)
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 150 grams root beer (2/3 cup)
Kitchen Sink Additions
  • 4 tablespoons peanut butter buckeye filling or peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground coffee beans (not instant)
  • ½ lemon zested
  • 120 grams mini semisweet chocolate chips (2/3 cup)
  • 60 grams crushed (coarse) potato chips (1 cup)
  • 85 grams heath bar chips (1/2 cup)
  • 90 grams white chocolate chips (1/2 cup)
Root Beer Icing
  • 230 grams unsalted butter, slightly softened (16 tablespoons, 1 cup)
  • 440 grams powdered sugar (4 cups)
  • 2-3 tablespoons root beer
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Place liners in a standard cupcake pan (two 12-count). Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In a large bowl beat together butter, cream cheese mayonnaise until blended. Add eggs and mix. Add root beer and blend. Add flour mixture and beat until mixture is blended and slightly fluffy.
  3. To the batter, fold in buckeye filling, ground coffee and lemon zest. Fold in remaining ingredients just until blended but don't over work the batter. Scoop ⅔ full into the cupcake liners. Bake 24-26 minutes, rotating pans halfway for even baking. The batter will rise up and dome and by the time it is almost finished baking it will sink in like a crater. That's your cue to test with a toothpick. Take them out of the oven when a few gooey crumbs remain on the toothpick. Remove from the cupcake pan while they are hot (gently because they're fragile) and transfer to a rack to cool completely before icing. The tops will sink a little more and look crackly.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer using a whisk attachment whip the butter with the powdered sugar until it looks like coarse crumbs. Add the root beer 1 tablespoon at a time until the icing is smooth. Turn on high and whip so that the icing fluffs up. Add the vanilla and mix in. Pipe or spoon onto the cupcakes.
  5. Prepare to zoom down that rabbit hole. These are crazy good.

Root Beer Float Cupcakes, Gluten-Free. When chocolate meets everything, it's a kitchen sink cupcake.


  1. Okay, those first two lines with the Lewis Carroll and Alice in Wonderland reference made me laugh out loud, Lisa! Although I’m very sorry about the migraine. 🙁 I adore Root Beer Floats so I’m thinking these cupcakes are for me. 🙂 Some of the ingredients surprise me, but you’ve never disappointed before, so I will have to trust you when I’m back in the baking mode. 😉


    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      It’s a list where you can add or subtract your own, Shirley. Next time I might add pretzels instead of potato chips, for example. It’s a crazy cupcake, for sure. Maybe we’ll have a root beer float together one day!

  2. Certainly looks crazy enough but kitchen sink appeals to me. If I haven’t mentioned it before I love your site for GF (and GF/DF) recipes and I totally love you for putting weights as well as measurements. Wish all recipe sites did! Thanks!!

  3. I have always been intrigued by the compost cookie and have thought about trying to make some, but I never thought about extending the technique to cupcakes! Also, the cupcakes with the straws are too cute 🙂


  1. […] Lisa admits that she went “all Lewis Carroll/everything but the kitchen sink” with these Root Beer Float Cupcakes! I’ll admit that the unexpectedness of the ingredients in this recipe surprised me. Which of […]