We celebrated Binks’ birthday this past weekend. The usual is to get an ice cream cake for the whole family. The usual that is until I came into the picture. Binks is a fan of cupcakes. Mostly because he can grab a piece easier than having to cut from a bigger cake. Obviously my husband cares about the speed in which he obtains his cake. And while he is definitely not a foodie, he is very serious about his cake…and for birthdays…ice cream cake.
These cupcakes are so easy to assemble that I really don’t think this quite classifies as a recipe but rather, a how-to. You can use your favorite cake, favorite ice cream and top it to your heart’s content. Next time, I might try to incorporate homemade chocolate shell and whipped cream. It’s perfect for summer birthdays or a general summer treat altogether. As a person that eats one sweet thing everyday, this would have been perfect but for the fact that we had none left. You can definitely make these a day or two ahead, which cuts down prep time substantially and allows you more time to spend with the birthday boy.
Ice Cream Cupcakes
slightly adapted from Joy the Baker
- yields approximately 24 cupcakes
- Your favorite cake batter – I used half of my chocolate cake from here
- Your favorite ice cream – I used Snickers ice cream (Binks’ favorite)
- Chocolate ganache – optional
- Sprinkles – optional
- Preheat your oven to 350F. Line cupcake tins with foil liners. Scoop a tablespoon of cake batter into each liner. You don’t want to use any more than a tablespoon. Bake for 8 minutes (make sure it passes the toothpick test). It should be done by then.
- Once done, remove and cool to room temperature. If your cupcakes domed, then flatten by cutting the top with a knife. Place in freezer for 30 minutes. When you put the cake in the freezer, remove the ice cream. You want the ice cream to be softened to be able to spread.
- Take the cake out of the freezer and using a spoon, spoon the ice cream over the cake and smooth out the top.
- Place the filled cupcakes back in the freezer for at least 4 hours.
- If you are topping with ganache, remove from freezer and add ganache and sprinkles, if using.
- Place back in freezer for 15 minutes. Remove from the freezer only before serving as it will melt quickly. The foil helps keeps the ice cream colder longer.
I remember my early baking days. They consisted of making a cake mix in a 9×13 pan (the only one my non-baking-interested mom had). Once the cake was done, my family would eat it – without frosting. That’s how we ate cake. It wasn’t a bad thing. In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed it. My parents would enjoy their piece of cake with tea, while my sister and I ate it with milk.
Nowadays, with my discovery of frosting for those who love the sugar and those who want something more subtle, my cakes are rarely frost-less. Recently, when I had extra Swiss meringue buttercream, I wanted to pair it with a vanilla cake to see how the flavors would work out. Beautifully. Just beautifully.
I found the recipe on My Baking Addiction, which if you have not perused, you should and be warned that you will find yourself wanting to make everything you see. I made this.
A light yet flavorful vanilla bean cake, which held up and complemented the subtle sweetness of the strawberry buttercream. Using both the vanilla bean seeds and extract allow the flavor to really shine in this cake without being overwhelming. The seeds in the batter bake up beautifully and stand out against the pale yellow cake.
In preparation for company, I made half of the batch into cupcakes and the other half as one layer of cake. I served the cupcakes to the guests. I saved the cake for myself to remember the same experience I had as a child…to eat a really good piece of cake.
Vanilla Bean Cake
recipe from My Baking Addiction
yields 2-layers of an 8-inch round cake or about 20 cupcakes
- 2 and 1/4 cups cake flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 and 1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
- 4 large egg whites, room temperature
- 1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
- seeds scraped from one vanilla bean or 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350F. If you make cupcakes, line with cupcake liners. If you are baking cake layers, grease two eight-inch round cake pans.
- In a large and separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In another bowl, whisk the milk and eggs. Set aside.
- In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the paddle attachment, on medium heat, beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla bean seeds, until the mixture is very light/pale.
- Add the vanilla extract until fully incorporated.
- Carefully add and mix in half of the milk mixture until all is combined.
- Then, mix in half of the flour mixture until fully combined.
- Add the remaining milk mixture until combined. Finally, add the flour mixture until incorporated.
- Once everything is incorporated, beat the mixture for a good 2 minutes to ensure that everything is smoothly combined.
- If making cupcakes, spoon evenly into the cupcake liners, filling 2/3s full. Bake between 18-24 minutes until it passes the toothpick test.
- If making cake layers, divide between the two layers. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until it passes the toothpick test.
- Cool completely before frosting.
…and butterscotch ganache.
Lately, I can’t stop. Baking. Cupcakes. Well, lately, baking in general. On Friday I was set to attend a mediation for my client. Typically, Binks and I have our own separate cases that we handle, but keep apprised of each other’s cases nonetheless. Here’s why.
I had every intention of me going to the mediation while Binks sat at home to take care of the baby. To date, the baby has not taken a bottle. I thought, no biggie – he should take it without a problem. (We are baby-dumb people.) Well, Binks did a trial run at home one morning. It did not go well. After calming down the hysterical baby and cleaning up spilled milk, we looked at each other and came to the conclusion that an all-day mediation would not be the best way to first experiment with the bottle. So, I stayed home and I helped via telephone.
Well, during a mediation, both parties do a lot of waiting. When the waiting fell concurrently with Isaiah’s nap-time, I baked.
Something warm and comforting was in order. Warm: Butterscotch. Comforting: Banana. I mean they really do just go together, don’t they? My main focus was to balance the sweet. The butterscotch ganache does just that. While the banana cake and butterscotch provide a complementary sweetness, the butterscotch ganache cuts each bite with a slightly salty, caramel flavor that cannot be beat.
And let me tell you about the banana cupcakes. They are just that cake/cupcakes. Not muffins. Not banana bread in muffin form. Unlike the denser muffins and bread, this cake is light and clearly a dessert as opposed to a snack or breakfast option. Because I really don’t want banana bread with buttercream. Because I really prefer banana muffins more like this.
Banana Cupcakes with Butterscotch Buttercream Frosting … and Buttercream Ganache
- yields approximately 36 cupcakes
- adapted from Allrecipes
- 1 and 1/2 cups very ripe banana (about 2 large), mashed
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 and 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/2 cups of buttermilk
- Mix the mashed banana and the lemon juice and set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 275F. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners.
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt.
- In a larger bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Once it’s light and fluffy, add the eggs once at a time until fully incorporated. Then, add in vanilla extract.
- Add the flour mix to the wet mixture, alternating with the buttermilk, ending with the flour mixture. Once the flour mixture and buttermilk are added and fully mixed in (no lumps), stir in the mashed banana.
- Pour the batter into the cupcake liners.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
- 2/3 cup butterscotch chips
- 3 tbsp heavy cream
- In a small saucepan, over low heat, mix and melt the butterscotch chips and cream until it’s fully melted and both are incorporated. Set aside until cooled. This is the butterscotch ganache.
- Remove about 3 tbsp of the butterscotch for drizzling later. The rest will be used for the buttercream.
- As for the 3 tbsp of ganache, you may want to reheat a bit when it’s time to drizzle.
- yields enough to frost all of the cupcakes
- adapted from my vanilla buttercream
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Reserved butterscotch ganache
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- With your electric mixer, cream the butter and add the vanilla.
- Add the reserved butterscotch ganache to the mix until it’s completely mixed in.
- Slowly add the powdered sugar until fully incorporated and fluffy.
- Frost away.
I was ignorant.
Remember when I told you I didn’t find any difference between cakes or cupcakes? Well, I jumped to conclusions too fast. I didn’t sample enough cupcakes to know the value of this tiny treat. The answer came from my buddy Bianca.
“…I think the cupcake gets a couple extra points for … having a better frosting-cake ratio.”
Talk about spot on.
And if you were to ask me 10 years ago, I would have not cared about frosting. Shocking. I hadn’t sampled enough buttercreams to know the value of frosting.
I fixed that.
The best vanilla buttercream I have ever eaten. Not overly sweet and balances well with the cake. The vanilla and butter flavors work together perfectly to give you a delicious buttercream that also lends itself to easy frosting and piping. I already have plans on using this for pending birthday cakes and of course, more cupcakes of every flavor.
Oh, and I’m keen on sprinkles too!
- 1 cup of butter, softened
- 4 cups of confectioners (powdered) sugar, sifted
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 6 tbsp heavy cream
- Cream butter until pale and fluffy.
- Add powdered sugar to the creamed butter until incorporated.
- After the sugar and butter have nicely come together, add the salt, vanilla and cream.
- Beat at high-speed until the mixture becomes light and resembles frosting.