Recipe: Ice Cream Sundae Cupcakes



Happy birthday to two of our sales representatives at Creative Loafing!

In honor of their birthdays, I decided to bring out the big guns ... filled and frosted cupcakes that took me a good portion of my afternoon/evening to make. (Complicated assembly required.)

These Ice Cream Sundae Cupcakes don't really have any ice cream in them, but only resemble sundaes (sorry, you ice-cream-o-holics). But they just may be better than an ice cream sundae. The base is a chocolate cake, which is then cored and filled with chocolate ganache, piped with vanilla buttercream, and then topped with sprinkles and a cherry, oh yes, and more ganache.

The creamy chocolate center and the buttery, rich frosting made the birthday boy and girl, and co-workers, very, very, happy. According to some, these taste ridiculously fantastic. Really, how freaking cute are these? So cute I can almost overlook the hassle of making them...


After the chocolate cupcakes are baked and cooled, you'll need to dig out a core. I didn't have a round cookie cutter small enough to cut out the middles of the cupcakes, so I used an inverted circular piping tip instead and used the tip of a knife to pop the core out.

Once cored, you spoon in the ganache filling, which is just a melted mixture of cream, chocolate, and butter.



The buttercream frosting requires 5 minutes of whipping after each 1/2 cup addition of powdered sugar. Thank goodness for the KitchenAid stand mixer, because that adds up to a lot of whipping. To get the frosting to look like whipped cream, I used a round piping tip.

After you pipe the little white clouds of frosting on each, drizzle on more ganache sauce, add rainbow-colored sprinkles, and top with a stemmed maraschino cherry.

Here's a dissected cupcake:



Chocolate Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes


1 cup sugar

3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cup cocoa powder

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup boiling water


maraschino cherries


Heat oven to 350°F. Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper baking cups.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

Once cooled, core the cupcakes to take out the middles. Don't core them all the way through though – you still want some on the bottom. Just 2/3 deep works. Fill cupcakes with chocolate ganache (recipe below). Save any leftover ganache because you will be using it for the ganache glaze. Frost with buttercream (recipe below) using a round piping tip, then drizzle on chocolate ganache glaze over buttercream. Add the sprinkles before the ganache cools. Push a maraschino cherry into the top of each mound of frosting.

Chocolate Ganache Filling

Makes enough to fill 12 cupcakes, and for glaze


8 ounces semisweet chocolate

2/3 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoon butter, room temperature


Chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then stir until smooth. Add the butter and stir until combined.

Vanilla Buttercream

Makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes


6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

8 ounces confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Beat butter with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes.

Reduce speed to medium. Add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating after each addition, about 5 minutes. (After every 2 additions, increase speed to high, and beat for 10 seconds, then reduce speed to medium-high). Add vanilla, and beat until buttercream is smooth.

Chocolate Ganache Glaze


Leftover Chocolate Ganache Filling

1 tablespoon corn syrup


Add corn syrup to the leftover ganache. Heat over a double broiler and stir until smooth and shiny.

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