It's Time To Start Frosting Your Bakes With Ice Cream

cookies and cream cupcakes
cookies and cream cupcakes - SAROT IN-ORN/Shutterstock

While ice cream cakes are usually reserved for birthdays and other special occasions, there's no reason you can't enjoy this winning combination any time you see fit. It can be tough to make a cake entirely out of ice cream -- you have to take great care to make sure it doesn't melt -- but what if you embraced the softness of ice cream and used it to frost cupcakes, miniature tea cakes, brownies, and more?

Ice cream actually makes a wonderful stand-in for conventional frosting, and it comes in a wide variety of flavors to coordinate with your favorite recipes. Beyond chocolate and vanilla, there's also coffee, Neapolitan, butterscotch, green tea, and many other great flavors. You can even customize your ice cream frosting by adding flavorings like extracts or cocoa powder, as well as food coloring. Just put your ice cream in a bowl, add any extra ingredients you like, and mix thoroughly using a spatula or spoon to flavor your easy frosting.

You do have to take some precautions to make sure your ice cream frosting doesn't melt all over the place, but in terms of ease, it beats the pants out of sculpting a cake out of ice cream. You can enjoy a tasty dessert with less frantic trips to the freezer.

Read more: The Ultimate Ice Cream Brands, Ranked

Best Practices When Making Ice Cream Frosting

assorted scoops of ice cream
assorted scoops of ice cream - Rimma Bondarenko/Shutterstock

The simplest way to make ice cream into frosting is to plop it in a bowl, mix it with a spatula (along with any extras) until it becomes more soft and pipe-able, then put it in a plastic piping bag (or sandwich bag with one corner snipped off). The biggest challenge with this recipe is the melt factor, so place the bag in your freezer for 20 minutes or so to ensure the ice cream isn't runny. You have to let your baked goods cool completely, as well. A warm, fresh-from-the-oven cupcake will cause the ice cream to melt instantly.

Once your bag of frosting feels firm and squeezable, but not hard, it's time to frost. Working quickly but neatly, pipe the ice cream frosting onto your cupcakes or other treats. To stop the frosting from melting, move each piece into the freezer as you finish frosting it.

If you want a little more wiggle room, try incorporating ice cream into a traditional buttercream frosting recipe. The ice cream, which offers plenty of fat in addition to a boost of sugar and flavor, can take the place of the butter in the frosting, though some recipes also include butter. Whip ice cream with confectioner's sugar to make a super simple frosting with a thick and rich texture, that won't require chilling, to boot.

Ice Cream And Baked Good Combos To Consider

scoops of salted caramel ice cream in bowl
scoops of salted caramel ice cream in bowl - Teri Virbickis/Shutterstock

One of the best things about this recipe is that it allows you to easily experiment with different flavor combos. When looking for ice cream that pairs beautifully with vanilla cupcakes, you can't go wrong with fruity flavors. Strawberry and cherry ice cream are particularly well-suited, as they have a slight tanginess that complements the sweetness of a vanilla batter. Look for ice cream with real pieces of fruit mixed in for some pleasing textural variation.

As for chocolate cupcakes, salted caramel ice cream is an excellent option. The slightly salty caramel perfectly offsets the decadence of chocolate cake, while ice cream infused with peanut butter creates a classic flavor combo that's extra rich. For a touch of brightness, you can pair chocolate cupcakes with raspberry ice cream. Of course, these flavor combos are also swell with brownies and chocolate pound cake.

If you want something a bit off the beaten path, consider combining carrot cupcakes with cinnamon-flavored ice cream. Warm spices are already used in carrot cake, so an extra hit of cinnamon is just the enhancement you need to elevate the flavor profile. And don't forget extra toppings -- both ice cream and cake toppings tend to overlap or complement each other, so cherries, nuts, hot fudge, caramel sauce, whipped cream, and sprinkles can make your desserts even more special.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.