ice cream cupcakes displayed on white cake stand on white background

This ice cream cupcake recipe starts with yellow cake mix but no one would know, it tastes like it’s made from scratch! Each cupcake has a scoop of ice cream in the center, making these the best birthday cupcakes! Decorate the cupcakes to look like ice cream sundae cupcakes.

I’m partnering with Hudsonville Ice Cream to add sweeter moments to your day with these fun ice cream cupcakes! This is a great recipe to make to celebrate a birthday, especially if the birthday person can’t pick between cake and ice cream! 

For this recipe I used Hudsonville’s Classic Chocolate ice cream that is anything but ordinary. It’s made with real Dutch cocoa and fresh cream. Hudsonville is focused on making moments sweeter, and this Midwest brand makes some of the best ice cream using a base recipe created in 1926! Feel free to personalize the flavors, using a different flavor of cake mix and ice cream to create your perfect combination!

birthday cupcake with scoop of vanilla frosting, chocolate ganache drizzle, sprinkles and maraschino cherry on white background

Ice Cream Cupcakes Components

  • easy yellow cupcakes using a box mix
  • chocolate ice cream
  • vanilla frosting
  • chocolate ganache
  • sprinkles
  • maraschino cherries

Why Start with a Box of Yellow Cake Mix?

Our yellow cupcakes start with a box of cake mix because this recipe is all about ease! 

This box cake recipe is perfect for all of us who like the ease of a box mix, but  want to doctor up the cake mix for more of a homemade taste. Plus, this doctored up version comes together just as quick as the box mix because you can still put everything into one bowl and beat it together.

ice cream cupcakes arranged on white surface with Hudsonville ice cream container in the background

How to Make a Box Cake Taste Homemade

It’s all about adding ingredients to the cake mix to give the cake better texture & taste. In our case, we’re adding ingredients with moisture like buttermilk and sour cream! 

  • yellow cake mix: the base of the recipe! Be sure to use a 15.25 oz box of yellow cake mix. Some brands have different sizes so be sure to get the correct size. 
  • all purpose flour: flour is necessary to build the cake structure 
  • granulated sugar: adds sweetness and flavor
  • salt: just a pinch to balance the sweetness and enhances the other flavors
  • eggs: binds the batter together by providing structure
  • vanilla extract: adds that classic vanilla flavor to the cake
  • milk: adds moisture 
  • buttermilk: adds moisture and acidity 
  • sour cream: adds moisture and acidity
how to make a hole in a cupcake collage

How to Make a Hole in Cupcakes

When the cupcakes are baked and cooled, it doesn’t really matter what you use to make a hole in each cupcake, there just needs to be a hole for the ice cream!

Tool Options:

  • piping tip
  • melon baller
  • knife
  • a finger
  • tablespoon

Pick the tool you like best to make a hole in the center of each cupcake. 

Once you add a scoop of ice cream to each cupcake, be sure to cover the cupcakes with plastic wrap and store in the freezer until you’re ready to add the frosting.

ice cream cupcakes with one cupcake cut in half showing chocolate ice cream center displayed on white cake stand on white background

Create Frosting that Looks like Ice Cream

One of my favorite parts of these birthday cupcakes is that the frosting on top of the cupcake looks like a scoop of ice cream! 

To achieve that look use a large cookie scoop – one that’s 2.25 inches in diameter or larger. Press the scoop into the bowl of frosting, leveling off the excess frosting against the side of the bowl. Then use the spring release to place the scoop of frosting on top of the cupcake.

how to assemble ice cream cupcakes collage

Finishing the Cupcakes

I like to transfer the chocolate ganache (aka the hot fudge sauce) to a squeeze bottle for easy application. A squeeze bottle helps to create those nice drips!

Next, add sprinkles and finish each cupcake with a maraschino cherry.  For best results, be sure to pat the maraschino cherries with a paper towel to remove the excess liquid before adding them to the cupcakes.

How to Store Ice Cream Cupcakes

Because these cupcakes are filled with ice cream, they will need to be stored in the freezer. 

Create a hole in each cupcake, add a scoop of ice cream, then cover the cupcakes well in plastic wrap and store in the freezer until ready to assemble.

Once the cupcakes are fully assembled with frosting and ganache, store them in the freezer until serving them, but for best results serve them the same day you assemble them.

ice cream cupcakes displayed on white speckled plate on white background

Total Time Required

  • 5 minutes to prep the cupcake batter
  • 18-20 minutes to bake
  • 30 minutes to cool the cupcakes
  • 10 minutes to create holes and add ice cream
  • 30 minutes to make frosting and ganache and assemble the cupcakes

More Frosting Options

See where Hudsonville Ice Cream is sold near you with the Scoop Locator.

Learn How to Make Ice Cream Cupcakes in this Video!

Ice Cream Cupcakes

Ice Cream Cupcakes

Yield: 24 cupcakes
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes

This ice cream cupcake recipe starts with yellow cake mix but no one would know, it tastes like it’s made from scratch! Each cupcake has a scoop of ice cream in the center, making these the best birthday cupcakes! Decorate the cupcakes to look like ice cream sundae cupcakes.

Ingredients

Cupcakes

  • 1 box yellow cake mix, 15.25 oz (I prefer Duncan Hines)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk (skim, 1% or 2%)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 container Hudsonville Classic Chocolate ice cream

Vanilla Frosting

  • 3 sticks (1 & ½ cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp heavy whipping cream

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Additional

  • Sprinkles
  • Maraschino cherries

Instructions

Cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350º F. Line a muffin pan with liners, this recipe makes about 24 cupcakes. Set aside. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine the cake mix, flour, sugar, salt, eggs, vanilla extract, milk, buttermilk, and sour cream, beat with an electric mixer until combined, 1-2 minutes.
  3. Fill each muffin cup 1/2 full with batter. Place one pan in the center of the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely. 
  4. When the cupcakes are baked and cooled, it doesn’t really matter what you use to make a hole in each cupcake, there just needs to be a hole for the ice cream! You could use a piping tip, melon baller, knife, a finger or tablespoon to create a hole in the center of each cupcake. 
  5. Add a scoop of Hudsonville Ice Cream to each cupcake, pressing the ice cream into the cupcake to create a flat top. Once you add the ice cream to each cupcake, be sure to cover the cupcakes with plastic wrap and store in the freezer until you’re ready to add the frosting. 

Frosting

  1. Place the room temperature unsalted butter in a mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer on medium and beat the butter for 1 minute, until whipped and fluffy. 
  2. Add in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract, beat again on low for 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until everything is incorporated. 
  3. If the frosting is too thick, add a tablespoon of milk or heavy cream, and beat until creamy. 

Chocolate Ganache

  1. Place the chocolate chips in a medium heat-proof bowl.
  2. In a small pot over low heat, heat the heavy cream just until boiling.
  3. Pour the heavy cream over the chocolate chips. Allow the mixture to stand for 1 minute.
  4. Use a spatula to stir the mixture until smooth. Transfer the ganache to a squeeze bottle for easy application. 

Assemble

  1. One of my favorite parts of these ice cream sundae cupcakes is that the frosting on top of the cupcake looks like a scoop of ice cream! To achieve that look use a large cookie scoop - one that’s 2.25 inches in diameter or larger. Press the scoop into the bowl of frosting, leveling off the excess frosting against the side of the bowl. Then use the spring release to place the scoop of frosting on top of the cupcake. 
  2. Add chocolate ganache “hot fudge topping”, sprinkles and a maraschino cherry. For best results, be sure to pat the maraschino cherries with a paper towel to remove the excess liquid before adding them to the cupcakes. Serve and enjoy! 

Notes

How to Store Ice Cream Cupcakes

Because these cupcakes are filled with ice cream, they will need to be stored in the freezer. 

Create a hole in each cupcake, add a scoop of ice cream, then cover the cupcakes well in plastic wrap and store in the freezer until ready to assemble.

Once the cupcakes are fully assembled with frosting and ganache, store them in the freezer until serving them, but for best results serve them the same day you assemble them. 

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