First, of course, you've gotta bake some cupcakes! To make sure everything holds its shape, it's easiest to use these nut and party cups instead of regular cupcake liners. I got a whole bunch at Smart and Final. You can also buy them in smaller packages at Michaels and specialty baking stores. If you don't have these and don't want to get any, you can use regular cupcakes liners, just keep everything in the muffin pan the whole time to hold the shape.
Turn the cupcakes out of the liners. I ran a toothpick around each cupcake then sort of pushed them out from the bottom. Keep the liners! As you can see, all of my cupcakes came out in one piece, but there was some resistance. A much, much easier way to do this would be to unpeel the wrappers like normal, and get out a new set. I will do that next time. I only did it this way this time because taking the cupcakes out and putting them back in their same wrappers is the idea I orginally had in my head, and I was just plain being stubborn about it.
Cut the cupcakes in half. For some of my cupcakes that were a little tall, I cut out a strip of cake from the middle as well so the finished product wouldn't be teetering over the top of the cup. Put the bottoms back in the cups.
Make some yummy frosting. I made a plain, sweet buttercream, because a) that's the type of frosting that usually comes on ice cream cakes from the store, and b) I know regular buttercream freezes and unfreezes well. Oh, and c) I didn't want a strong frosting flavor that would compete with the ice cream. If you're going to pipe your frosting on, get it ready in your piping bag so you can frost the assembled cupcakes as quickly as possible.
I made these on Thursday and we ate them Saturday night, but if you want to eat them the same day, a couple hours in the freezer should be sufficient. Take them out a few minutes before you want to eat them. YUM!
So, here are my final thoughts about ice cream cupcakes: Most importantly, these were yummy!! I definitely will make ice cream cupcakes again some day, but I will try to do a few things differently. First of all, everyone who ate one agreed that there is too much frosting. It's just too much extra sugar. I would put probably only half as much frosting on them next time. I actually really didn't mean to put quite so much on them this time, but I still have trouble not ending up with ridiculous amounts of frosting when I pipe. With most of my cupcakes it's not a problem, but this frosting was much sweeter than I usually make, and something about it being frozen and being combined with the ice cream made it too, too much.
I will also try some different ways of getting the ice cream on there. I don't know if you can tell in the bottom picture, but there is a fair bit of ice cream on the side of the cupcake. I have a couple ideas to try and prevent this. First, maybe stick each cupcake in the freezer as soon as you get the ice cream on it. Once they're all filled, take them back out one or two at a time to put the tops on and frost them, then back to the freezer. I filled all my cupcakes, put the tops on, and frosted them all before getting them in the freezer. Since the ice cream was already mushy, it of course got a little melty before I got the cupcakes in the freezer. My second, and more complicated, idea is to smooth the ice cream out in a pan, re-freeze it, then use a circular cookie cutter to cut out the ice cream and put it on the cupcakes. Of course, I'd still try and get the cupcakes in the freezer right away, and this would also require working quickly so the ice cream in the pan doesn't get too melty. Option 1 seems like a better idea, but who knows?
So that's that. Make ice cream cupcakes, they're good!!