Forget the buttercream.
If you think a cupcake is such a perfect sweet treat that it can’t possibly be made any better, think again. Food & Wine culinary director Justin Chapple has a new Mad Genius Tip that proves you can “up your game” when it comes to your cupcake creativity.
How? With a simple swap: replace buttercream frosting with ice cream.
In this video, Chapple uses a pint of vanilla ice cream, but he says you can use any ice cream flavor or color you like. (May we suggest using butter pecan or strawberry?)
Chapple scoops the entire pint into a glass mixing bowl, then he stirs and mashes the ice cream with a rubber spatula until it’s slightly creamy and soft. Next, he adds a touch of mint extract, for flavor, and a bit of green food coloring to dye the mixture, “to make it really fun and festive,” he says. Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day, after all.
Once the ice cream is a consistent color, it’s time to grab a piping bag. (If you don’t have one, Chapple suggests using a large resealable plastic freezer bag.) He places a star-shaped tip into the bag, but you can use any shape you’d like. Then, he balances the bag inside a glass for stability, and in goes the ice cream. Next, the sealed piping bag goes into the freezer, where it should stay for 20 minutes, Chapple recommends, or until the ice cream is just firm.
To ice your cupcakes, you’ll need a chilled plate and cold cupcakes—all the better to keep your ice cream from melting, Chapple explains. On the chilled plate, he places the cupcakes. Then, he cuts off about a half-inch from the bottom of the bag and begins to pipe the ice cream frosting onto the treats. He swirls the ice cream—much like the design you see on the top of a soft-serve ice cream cone—then tops the frosting with gold and green sugar sprinkles for decoration.
“Keep in mind,” Chapple reminds us, “with every cupcake you do, immediately put in the freezer—otherwise, it will melt.”