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Root Beer Float Cake Makes You Feel Like A Kid

Published:  • 
Last Modified: May 14, 2024
Published: May 14, 2024

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The Amazing Flavor Is A Trip Down Memory Lane

Let's go back in time to a hot summer evening when the sun was slipping down on the horizon. We pulled into the A&W drive-in for a root beer float in a frosty mug. We'd been waiting all day for this treat!

The drive-in became magical as the sun left the evening sky. The neon lights flickered on, casting a colorful glow on the surroundings and creating a perfect backdrop for our evening together.

A car hop would place our root beer floats, napkins, straws, and a spoon on an aluminum tray perched on the driver's side window. We'd hand her our money, and she dispensed our change from a silver coin holder clipped on her belt.

Then she glided away on her roller skates and disappeared back to the kitchen. It was an experience, a taste that will forever whisper "summertime."

A&W drive-ins were renowned for frosty mugs filled to the brim with creamy vanilla ice cream drenched in their crisp, fizzy homemade root beer. It was the perfect finish to a day at the swimming pool or a baseball game. Ah, the memories! This delicious cake captures the nostalgic vibes of these old-school drive-ins.

Why You Will Love Root Beer Float Cake

The ingredients are pretty simple. This 13 x 9 cake starts with a white cake mix. Eggs, oil, root beer, and Watkins root beer extract give the moist, delicious cake that unmistakable flavor we remember.

You can buy Watkins products at Menards, Walmart, or online. McCormicks also makes a root beer extract. This ingredient is a must for full flavor!

How To Make A Yummy Root Beer Float Cake

It's fun to watch how excited all the ingredients get when you pour the root beer into the bowl with the cake mix. The whole thing erupts with fizz, and the unmistakable aroma of root beer fills the air.

Mix the batter and pour it into a 13″ by 9″ pan you have sprayed with non-stick spray. Then bake it in a 350-degree oven for about thirty to thirty-five minutes, or until the edges pull away from the pan ever so slightly and a toothpick stuck in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool completely on a rack before loading it with the thick layer of amazing root beer cream cheese frosting!

The recipe makes a lot of frosting; it goes on nice and thick, the way cream cheese frosting should! It reminds me of the foamy top of a root beer float, and the flavor does not disappoint!

The plain white frosting seemed to beg for just a little touch of fancy (you know me and garnishes!), so I added some brown chocolate sprinkles! This cake is fantastic, and it really does taste like a root beer float!

I got so swept away in nostalgia that I had to play with this cake a little bit. My first summer job back in the day was a car hop at a rival drive-in called Dog n Suds! We didn't wear roller skates, but we sure had the change dispensers! 

Thanks for joining me on a trip down memory lane to those treasured moments at the classic drive-in restaurants like A&W or Dog & Suds. The delightful root beer floats were iconic to the summers of my young self.

This cake belongs on the table at your next picnic, family reunion, weekend at the lake, or your Fourth of July celebration. I hope you let it become part of the nostalgic atmosphere that makes your summer evenings extra special!


Yield: 15 servings

Root Beer Float Cake

root beer float cake

Here is a recipe for an easy, yummy root beer-flavored cake with thick root beer-flavored cream cheese frosting!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes



  • One 15.25-ounce package white cake mix
  • 1 cup root beer
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. root beer extract


  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • One  8-ounce  block of cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup butter, softened (one stick)
  • 1 tsp. root beer extract
  • 1 tsp. vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine cake mix, root beer, water, oil, extract, and eggs in a large bowl.
  3. Beat on low speed for 2 minutes or stir by hand for 3 minutes.
  4. Pour the batter into a greased 13×9-inch baking pan.
  5. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  6. Cool completely on a wire rack, then frost.
  7. Beat cream cheese, extracts, and powdered sugar together until soft peaks form.
  8. Spread the frosting evenly on the cooled cake.
  9. Garnish as desired.
  10. Keep any leftover cake refrigerated.

We do love cake around here (although, personally, I'll always be a pie girl- check out my pie recipes), But here are some of my most popular cake recipes. Almond Joy Cake, Easy Lemon Cake (my favorite), and when you're serving a crowd, try Mexican Chocolate Cake!

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