Vanilla Cupcake Ice Cream Sandwiches

Who isn’t a fan of an ice cream sandwich? We love every variation in my house, so, naturally, I had to try this version using vanilla cupcake tops.

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Candace Nelson. I made the cupcake tops using a muffin top pan to give them more surface area- genius, right?

We gobbled up these all-American treats for dessert during the Super Bowl this year. I filled half with salted caramel gelato and half with vanilla bean ice cream. The vanilla ice cream-filled sandwiches were our favorite.

Yield: Serves 6

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°, preferably on convection. Coat a standard muffin pan or a muffin top pan with cooking oil spray.
  2. 
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the milk with the vanilla.
  4. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter with the sugar 
at medium-high speed, scraping down the bowl once or twice, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  5. At medium-low speed, beat in the eggs one at a time until incorporated.
  6. At low-speed, beat in the dry ingredients and the milk mixture in 3 alternating additions until smooth.
  7. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the batter into each prepared cup.
  8. Bake the cupcakes for 15 minutes if using a muffin top pan, or about 18 to 25 minutes in a standard pan, until a toothpick inserted in 
the centers comes out clean.
  9. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then cool 
completely on a wire rack, about 1 hour.
  10. Working with 1 cupcake at a time, carefully slice off the cake top. Reserve 
the cupcake bottom for another use.
  11. Arrange the top smooth side down 
on a platter. Repeat with the remaining cupcakes. Freeze the tops for 1 hour.
  12. Spread 1/4 cup of the ice cream 
onto each of 6 cupcake tops.
  13. Close the sandwiches with the remaining cupcake tops and gently press together. Wrap individually in plastic wrap.
  14. Freeze for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Note: The ice cream sandwiches can be wrapped in plastic and frozen for up to 1 week. Let soften at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

One Year Ago: Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Two Years Ago: Country Apple Fritter Bread

Three Years Ago: Soft Baked Snickerdoodles

Four Years Ago:

Five Years Ago:

Pig Party!

My daughter adores PIGS. 🙂 She collects stuffed pigs, reads fictional and non-fictional books about pigs, and even wrote her first research paper (in 2nd grade!) about pot-bellied pigs. To celebrate her 9th birthday, she invited over a few friends for a pig-themed sleepover party. It was perfect!

We started with a pig invitation- inviting everyone to come PIG out and celebrate. 😉 It included a custom rhyme based on one of our favorite books “If you Give a Pig a Party” by Laura Numeroff.

We PIGged out eating pizza, pig cupcakes, pig pancakes, and pig cookies. We also had our traditional “Number Cookies” as well as chocolate fondue. (Which will most likely become a new tradition!)

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Yes, there were a lot of sweet treats. 🙂

The girls also made beanie boo sleeping bags adapted from Doll Diaries.com. SO cute! 🙂 (I cut 2 pieces of fabric 19″ x 16″ and 1 piece 11″ x 16″, with a 4″ fringe border.)

For the Yellow Cupcakes: (Recipe from The New Best Recipe All-New Edition from the Editors of Cook’s Illustrated)

Yield: 12 cupcakes

  • 7 1/2 oz (1 1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 7 oz (1 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg, plus 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Line a standard muffin tin with paper or foil liners. (I prefer foil-lined paper liners!)
  3. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer.
  4. Add the butter, sour cream, egg, yolks, and vanilla and beat the wet ingredients into the dry at medium speed until smooth and satiny, about 30 seconds.
  5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and stir by hand until smooth and no flour pockets remain.
  6. Divide the batter evenly among the cups of the prepared tin using a 2-oz ice cream scoop or a spoon.
  7. Bake until the cupcake tops are pale gold and a toothpick or skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 24 minutes.
  8. Use a skewer or paring knife to lift the cupcakes from the tin and transfer to a wire rack; cool the cupcakes to room temperature, about 45 minutes.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting & Pig Decorations:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened but still cool
  • 5 T unsalted butter, softened but still cool
  • 1 T sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 oz (1 1/4 cups) Confectioners’ sugar, plus more for glaze
  • red gel food coloring
  • 6 jumbo marshmallows
  • 12 standard marshmallows
  • pink sanding sugar
  • semi-sweet chocolate chips for the eyes and piping
  • 12 sugar flowers
  1. Using a serrated knife, cut each jumbo marshmallow in half to create two smaller rounds (snouts). Cut each standard marshmallow in half on a diagonal (ears).
  2. Combine a few tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar with a teaspoon of water. Add more water as needed to create a thin glaze.
  3. Cover the top surface of the snouts and the inner surface of the ears with the glaze. Place on a cooling rack and sprinkle with pink sanding sugar to coat. Set aside to set.
  4. When the cupcakes are cool, process the cream cheese, butter, sour cream, and vanilla in a stand mixer until combined, scraping down the bowl as necessary.
  5. Add the 5 oz Confectioners’ sugar and process until smooth.
  6. Using a toothpick, add a small amount of red gel food coloring and process to combine. Continue to add small amounts until desired shade is achieved.
  7. Using an offset spatula, spread the frosting evenly over the surface of each cupcake. (I place a dollop on each cupcake before spreading to ration it evenly.)
  8. Place the snouts, ears, sugar flowers, and eyes on each cupcake. Pipe melted chocolate chips to create the nostrils on the snouts.

Note: I refrigerated these cupcakes overnight and brought them to room temperature prior to serving.

Although I thought the cupcakes were absolutely delicious, the chocolate fondue was the big hit for dessert. I prepared it in minutes and served it during the intermission of our first pig-themed movie, “Babe”.

We used marshmallows, pound cake, pretzel rods, and banana chunks as dippables. The recipe was adapted from Rachel Ray. I used a combination of Lindt milk chocolate and dark chocolate instead of all bittersweet chocolate. I also omitted the optional liqueur and the nuts. Eating fondue is FUN! 🙂

Chocolate Fondue
Yield: 6 to 8 servings

  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream, divided, reserve 1/4 cup to thin if fondue begins to thicken
  • 4 bittersweet chocolate bars, chopped, 3 1/2 ounces each (I used 1/2 Lindt milk chocolate & 1/2 70% Cacao Lindt dark chocolate)
  • 2 tablespoons Frangelico or Amaretto liqueur, optional
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped hazelnuts or almonds, optional

Suggested Dippables, choose 3 or 4 selections of the following:

  • hazelnut or almond biscotti
  • salted pretzel sticks or pretzel rods
  • cubed pound cake
  • sliced bananas (large chunks work best)
  • marshmallows
  • strawberries
  • pineapple chunks
  1. Heat 1/2 cup cream in a heavy non-reactive saucepot over moderate heat until cream comes to a low boil.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and add chocolate.
  3. Let the chocolate stand in hot cream 3 to 5 minutes to soften, then whisk chocolate together with the cream.
  4. Stir in liqueur and/or chopped nuts, if using, and transfer the fondue to a fondue pot or set the mixing bowl on a rack above a small lit candle.
  5. Arrange your favorite dippables in piles on a platter along side chocolate fondue with fondue forks, bamboo skewers or seafood forks, as utensils, for dipping.

Note: If fondue becomes too thick, stir in reserved cream, 1 tablespoon at a time, to desired consistency.

In the morning, the girls watched their second pig-themed movie, “Gordy,” while I prepared their “pig” pancakes. I used this gold standard recipe.

Before…

After… (well, almost after…)

HBD, sweetheart! ❤

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

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pig cake

The Best Birthday Cupcakes

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I truly love trying new recipes, but sometimes tried and true is best. I have made these cupcakes for YEARS to celebrate my kids’ birthdays at school or for parties. This recipe from Food and Wine has served me well- the cake is moist and tasty and the frosting is perfect. The first time I tried these recipes, I made chocolate Elmo cupcakes for my daughter’s 2nd birthday. (The chocolate cupcakes are especially delicious!) This year they were golden (vanilla) cupcakes transformed into pink & purple peace signs! 🙂 How times change….

Golden Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
  • frosting (recipe below)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or foil liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the cornstarch, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the sugar with the eggs and vanilla extract at medium-high speed until smooth and thickened slightly, about 3 minutes. Add the butter and oil and beat until incorporated, scraping the bottom and side of the bowl. Add the dry ingredients and milk in 3 alternating batches, beating well between additions. Carefully pour the batter into the lined muffin tins, I use 1.5 to 2 cookie scoops each, filling them about two-thirds full.
  4. Bake the cupcakes in the center of the oven for 15 (on convection) to 23 minutes, until springy and a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool slightly in the muffin tin, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Frost and top the cupcakes as desired.
Note: The unfrosted cupcakes can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

IMG_6222

Chocolate Cupcakes

Yield: Makes 12 cupcakes

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • frosting (recipe below)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or foil liners.
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter with the vegetable oil and water over low heat.
  3. In a large bowl, sift the flour with the sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add the melted butter mixture and beat with a handheld mixer at low speed until smooth. Add the egg and beat until incorporated, then add the buttermilk and vanilla and beat until smooth, scraping the bottom and side of the bowl. Pour the batter into the lined muffin tins, filling them about three-fourths full. (I use a cookie scoop.)
  4. Bake the cupcakes in the center of the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, until springy and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool slightly, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely. Frost and top the cupcakes as desired.
Note: The unfrosted cupcakes can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

IMG_3867

White Buttercream Frosting

Yield: Makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes (When I pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes, I often make 1 1/2 times the recipe.)

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
  • food coloring to tint, if desired
  1. In a medium bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the softened butter at medium speed until smooth.
  2. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract and salt and beat the mixture at low speed just until combined. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until smooth.
  3. Add the milk or heavy cream and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Spread the frosting on the cupcakes and top as desired.
Note: The white buttercream frosting can be refrigerated in an airtight plastic container for up to 2 days. Return to room temperature before using.

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Also! It isn’t a birthday in our house without “number cookies” (& peace sign cookies! :)) Our fun tradition. 🙂

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