Ice-ing on the Cake: A Different Kind of Ice Cream Cupcake

Filled Cupcake
Recently, I was posed with an interesting reader inquiry: "Have you ever made cupcakes using ice cream instead of milk in the recipe?"

Well, no. The thought had never actually occurred. But you can bet that shortly after being asked, I found myself in the freezer aisle of the local grocery.

So what happens when you make cupcakes with ice cream?

First, I chose a cupcake recipe by Amy Sedaris. It's copied below as it appeared in her wonderful book, but "milk" is replaced with "ice cream" in the appropriate spots.



Amy Sedaris's Vanilla Cupcakes Made with Ice Cream
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 cups slightly melted (still cold) ice cream (this was milk in the original recipe)
Turn oven on to 375 degrees F.


Put butter in mixer and beat at medium speed until somewhat smooth. Pour in sugar and beat well. Add 2 eggs. I like to crack the eggs on the side of the bowl while it is moving, which can be really stupid. I like to take chances. Yes, I have had to throw away my batter because I lost eggshells in the mix. Yes, it was a waste of food and yes, I know how expensive butter is, but what can I say? I'm a daredevil. Mix well. Add: vanilla, baking powder, salt, flour, and ice cream. Beat until it looks like it is supposed to and pour into individual baking cups, until they are about 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Should produce 24 cupcakes; I get 18 because I'm doing something wrong, although my cupcakes were voted second best in the city by New York Magazine.


Ice cream cupcakes baking

When the cupcakes were baking, they looked just fine--they were rising nicely, and if anything the only thing that clued us in that they were different was a slight glossiness to the texture of the top of the cake.

Looking good...
When they came out of the oven, they still looked good...

Fallen cupcakes
But then something started to happen--they began to slowly collapse, like fallen souffles. Oh no!

When cooled, we took them out of the silicone baking liners, and found that not only were they fallen, but these cakes were seriously dense. They seemed to weigh more than a cupcake should, and had a texture that was more like a scone or cakey cookie than a light and fluffy cupcake.
Fallen cupcake

Luckily, our friend Dan the Baker had just given us a jar of delicious bourbon caramel sauce (what's in it we have no idea, but it is good), and so instead of frosting the cupcakes, we filled each indentation with a generous spoonful. This seemed appropriate in more ways than one--not only did it cleverly disguise the fallen cupcakes, but it tasted a little like an ice cream topping. A nice, thick hot fudge sauce or butterscotch sauce would probably work just as well.

Filled Cupcake
The ice cream cupcakes were pretty good as a baked good, but it was hard to actually think of them as cupcakes, since they had such a different texture and density--it's almost as if they needed their own category, resting somewhere between cookie and cake. Replacing the milk with ice cream definitely does change the character of the finished product (don't ask me why in terms of chemistry, please--I went to art school)--so proceed with caution!