Root Beer Cake with Tonka Beans

A two laye frosted cake on a grey cake stand.

Root Beer Cake with Tonka Beans is old fashioned layer cake featuring the sweet and spicy flavours of root beer and tonka bean. It’s a real treat for the root beer lover in your life.

Root Beer Cake with Tonka Beans

Let’s Bake a Root Beer Cake


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For once I didn’t want to do anything citrus related and it had to be a cake that I had the ingredients on hand for. I thought really hard about what hubby would like and came up with…rootbeer! Surely there would be all sorts of recipes on pinterest for rootbeer cakes. I had a look and quickly ruled out the classy {sarcasm} rootbeer ‘poke’ cakes and the ones that used boxed mixes. What was left after that was a lovely looking Root Beer Cake pin from Culinary Alchemy and I had just enough Hires Root Beer left from our recent trip to the Vintage Soda Company in Airdrie. I didn’t have any rootbeer extract on hand but I did have 3 cans of Hires so I set immediately to reducing one of them down to 2 tbsp of syrup. Did I mention that I finally began making this cake at 11:45 am? This left me 1 hour to reduce the rootbeer and get that cake in the oven. I decided to not worry about the recipe asking for cake flour and just went crazy with the sifter. I ground some tonka beans in my spice grinder and threw in about a teaspoon instead of using vanilla. 


Everything worked out just fine. I got the batter into the pans with nary a second to spare…and maybe a moment too soon as I spied some lumps going into the pans which I quickly fished out. The minute I had the cake out of the oven and cooling on racks, I was out the door and on my way to my hair appointment. I had actually texted hubby in a moment of panic asking, “what would you like more for your birthday? A birthday cake or a beautiful wife?” HA! For the next three hours I tried not to obsess about how I was going to finish the cake because I knew I would be leaving for football as soon as I returned home. Somewhere in that time I was able to book us a table for two at NOtaBLE (which is conveniently located near the football field) and instruct our daughter on how to make vanilla butter cream. She saved the day by finishing the cake for me. I dropped our son at the football field at the appointed time and met hubby at NOtaBLE for well deserved (and much needed) pre-dinner cocktails. After our delicious meal (he had the prime rib, I had pork tenderloin) we were able to watch the rest of the football jamboree. Our evening ended the way all great birthdays do, with cake! Despite the sorely needed extra mixing time the texture of the cake was gorgeous and we could actually taste the root beer.

I’m not sure what recipe my daughter used for the buttercream but any recipe will do. She added some caramel sauce to the buttercream (as per my request) but it was quite sweet…you are best to go with a butter cream that is more ‘buttery’ as opposed to ‘sweet’. 


If you make this Root Beer Cake recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Pinterest for my latest recipes. Also, if you do make this recipe, please tag me on Instagram, I’d love to see what you guys are making! Thank you so much for reading my blog.

Yield: 8

Root Beer Cake with Tonka Beans

A two laye frosted cake on a grey cake stand.

Root Beer Cake with Tonka Beans is old fashioned layer cake featuring the sweet and spicy flavours of root beer and tonka bean. It's a real treat for the root beer lover in your life.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


  • 1 cup (226g) Unsalted Butter; softened
  • 1 1/2 (300g) cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups (283g) all purpose flour (plus more for the pans)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground tonka bean
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup Root Beer
  • 1 can Root Beer reduced to 2 Tablespoons
  • 4 large Eggs


  1. Pre heat oven to 350 F.
  2. Butter and flour two 8 inch cake pans.
  3. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy then add eggs one at a time.
  4. Sift flour, baking powder, salt, and tonka bean into a medium bowl.
  5. Mix root beer and reduced syrup in a small pitcher.
  6. Add flour mixture and root beer to the butter mixture, alternating between flour and root beer. Begin and ending with adding flour.
  7. Beat until smooth and no lumps remain. Divide evenly between prepared pans.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Be sure to cool completely before frosting the cake.


Use a buttercream icing to frost the cake.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 275Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 97mgSodium: 476mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 1gSugar: 22gProtein: 7g

Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.

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  1. foodisthebestshitever

    Happy birfday to the ol’ lad. It’s my turn at 40 this year and Jennee’s a bit like you with the whole “must have cake theory”. Something to look forward to fer sure πŸ‘Œ


    1. dishnthekitchen

      Cake is a requirement, especially when one turns 40…another requirement? visiting San Francisco πŸ™‚

  2. cathyandchucky

    Ooh what are Tonka beans Bernice? Do they taste like vanilla and can they be substituted for them? Happy 40th to the man of the house as well πŸ˜„


  3. Teresa

    Happy 40th to your husband! The cake you did make turned out beautifully!


  4. Nicole @ Culinary Cool

    I love that you used Tonka Beans! I’ve been eyeing them up for sooooo long, and always pass them up! Next time, I will be sure to buy them! The cake looks effing awesome! I wish I could have a thick slice πŸ™‚


    1. dishnthekitchen

      I found some sasparilla bitters in San Francisco…there might be a Root Beer Cake 2.0 coming out soon πŸ™‚

  5. Natalie Browne

    This cake looks and sounds delicious πŸ™‚ Your story sounds like how I bake, lol. I often forget one of the key ingredients and I always underestimate the time required. As for the buttercream, I usually add a pinch of salt to cut the sweetness.


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