Recipe for Magic: Frosting Made with Ice Cream

Magical frosting

From the moment I had the thought, it pretty much haunted my every moment until I had the ingredients and was situated near my stand mixer.

The thought was simple: "what would happen if I used ice cream instead of butter in my frosting?".

Well, I guarantee you that the time between thought and action wasn't long, and now I can tell you exactly what happens. Magic, that's what.

Cupcake and Ice Cream

Here's how it went down. First, I raided my fridge and was happy to see that I had an almost full container of vanilla ice cream. And then I raided my cabinet and was happy to see I had two bags of confectioners' sugar. 

Ice cream and sugarIce cream

Basically, my plan was to follow my usual buttercream recipe, but use ice cream instead of butter. Simple, right?

I got to work by first measuring out, as well as I could, a cup of ice cream. I put it in the stand mixer. By this point it was getting slightly soft, so I figured I would just go for it. I put the mixer on low speed and let the ice cream whir for a couple of minutes.

Creaming the magical frosting

It softened right away, but wasn't totally melty just yet. I figured it was about time to start adding confectioners' sugar. 

I added about 4 cups' worth and started mixing. At first I had no idea how it would all incorporate. It seemed thick and like it wasn't incorporating well.

But then the sugar started to yield to the ice cream (possibly this was the ice cream getting more melty, too). 

Magical frosting

It became thick, like the consistency of dulce de leche.

Magical frosting

So I did what I felt was right: I added more sugar. I kept 4 more cups on deck.


I added it gradually, but I did in fact add it all. And after a while it began to get thick. Not fluffy, but substantial enough to be called frosting. I kept on mixing for a while to see if it would fluff, but that it did not, so I stirred in some food coloring to make it pink (why not?) and called it good.

Magical frosting

So, the frosting was spreadable. It was like the consistency of, I'm not exactly sure how to describe it. It would spread like frosting, but it had a bit of an almost...chewy texture to it. Like, frosting that had the tiniest bit of taffy mixed in or something like that. 

Since I had taken on this project with such haste that I had no cake or cupcakes handy, I used the frosting on some shortbread cookies, kind of like a quick version of pink frosted cookies. 

Magical frosting

How to describe the taste of this frosting? It may look like buttercream, but it is most assertively not. It is much thicker, for one thing. It'll stick to your teeth for sure. Slightly gooey, yet stable--it will retain its shape at room temperature. It is very, very sweet. 

Magical frosting

And yet somehow, not as cloying as I thought it might be, considering the fact that using ice cream instead of butter means a lot more sugar total in the final product. It's unique, and very vanilla-y (this may alter depending on the type of ice cream and brand of vanilla, of course). It's more luxuriant than buttercream, too. You wouldn't want it piled high the way you might like a fluffy beehive of buttercream on top of a cupcake, but you might be surprised by how much of this stuff you can put away.

I'm going to call this mission: success. I can't wait to try it on cupcakes or a cake!

Magical frosting

Ice Cream Frosting

  • 1 cup vanilla ice cream (not melted. Kind of pack it down in the cup but you don't need to be too fussy about it)
  • up to 8 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • food coloring, if you want
  1. Put the cup of ice cream in the bowl of an electric mixer. "Cream" it for a minute or two--the ice cream will get really soft really fast.
  2. Add about 4 cups of confectioners' sugar. Beat on LOW, otherwise you'll have a snowstorm in your kitchen. Keep a spatula nearby and keep on scraping it down. It will start out thick but then all of the sugar will be absorbed. Add more sugar in, adding in small increments until the frosting becomes thick and spreadable (it will have a thicker consistency than a butter-based buttercream).
  3. Stir in the food coloring and mix til combined.
  4. Now, use your frosting the usual ways you would: to frost cupcakes or cookies, or make cake sandwiches or the like. Or use it to top an ice cream cake, but don't think about that too hard or your MIND MIGHT EXPLODE.