Ice Cream Sundae Cupcakes

24 cupcakes
35 min

I wish I could remember where the inspiration for this cupcake idea struck from, but the idea hung in my head for MONTHS before I got around to testing it out. Ice cream sundaes are such a fun summery treat – I wanted to capture the look in a cupcake! I LOVED the way they turned out – and I recruited my nieces and nephew to help and it made a super fun team project in the kitchen ;) They’re such fun easy cupcakes and SO much more fun to make in a group than by yourself! ;) Recipe below – grab a buddy (or several) and have fun!

(Note - I've included instructions for making the cupcakes from a boxed mix below; if you'd prefer a scratch recipe see

Recipe details
  • 24  cupcakes
  • Prep time: 20 Minutes Cook time: 15 Minutes Total time: 35 min
Show Nutrition Info
Hide Nutrition Info
  • 1 boxed chocolate cake mix
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 3 eggs
Frosting / Decorations
  • 8 oz (one package) cream cheese, softened
  • 16 Tablespoons (two sticks) butter, softened
  • 6-7 c powdered sugar
  • 2-4 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 T clear vanilla extract
  • 1/4 t. salt (if using unsalted butter)
  • - 24 cupcake liners -
  • large ice cream / cookie scoop
  • - 6 oz chocolate chips + 6 oz whipping cream for chocolate ganache (see instructions below)
  • - Squeeze bottle OR piping bag OR spoon – whatever you’d prefer to add your ganache to the cupcakes - sprinkles of your choice (we used rainbow jimmies)
  • - 24 mini spoons – we used small dessert spoons similar to these!
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixes, combine butter, buttermilk, and eggs and beat until combined. Add cake mix and stir until just combined, then increase speed and beat for 2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and beat for another 20 seconds.
Fill cupcake tins or paper liners 3/4 of the way (using a large cookie scoop to transfer the batter into the cupcake liners makes this a quick and easy process, otherwise you can use a spoon).
Bake for 15-20 min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow them to cool completely on a wire cooling rack before frosting - you can speed up this process by placing them in the fridge or even the freezer if desired. The hang time while your cupcakes are cooling is a great time to make your frosting and ganache!
Frosting / Decorations
Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with milk until frosting reaches desired consistency. I recommend making it fairly thick for this recipe, so that the frosting ‘scoops’ hold their shape. Add vanilla and salt if needed and beat until well combined.
Make your ganache - place chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl. Place whipping cream in a small saucepan and bring almost to a boil over medium/low heat. Pour over chocolate chips and let rest for 2 minutes, then stir until smooth and silky. (If desired, this can also be done in the microwave – combine ingredients and microwave on half power in 30-second intervals, stirring in between until smooth).
Noooow – onto the fun part!! Decorating! I ended up thinning down a cup or so of my frosting with about 2 Tablespoons of milk, so I could spread it more easily with a spoon over the top of all the cupcakes. Covers the cupcake and makes it look a bit like the ice cream is melting.
With the large cookie scoop, scoop frosting onto the top of your cupcakes to make the ‘ice cream’ on top! I recommend chilling the cupcakes at this point, to make sure the chocolate ganache sets when you drizzle it on!
When your cupcakes have chilled and your ganache has cooled to a moderate temperature – it should feel slightly warm and still be fairly liquid – transfer it to a squeeze bottle or piping bag. A spoon will work if you don’t have either of those, I've just found spoons to be a little bit more difficult to work with. Slowly drizzle ganache over the top of the cupcakes – I found it easiest to start from the center and push drips outward a bit, working my way around the cupcake. Some of the kids preferred to drizzle it on over the top – no bad options! Add your sprinkles before the ganache sets, and place them into the fridge for 10-15 minutes to set the ganache. Add the spoons to the side of the cupcakes for a finishing touch :)
Step back, give yourself a high-five, and admire your adorable cupcakes!
  • Make this recipe? Let me know how it went - or find me on Pinterest or on Instagram and tag @IntensiveCakeUnit in your photo!
Intensive Cake Unit
Want more details about this and other recipes? Check out more here!