Coconut Key Lime Ice Cream Cupcakes

Ice Cream Cupcake

Ever heard of ice cream cupcakes?  I bet you haven’t.  I hadn’t either until I found this recipe contest, which can also be found here.  I was intrigued immediately, as I hoped it would give my blog more exposure, but more importantly because it sounded crazy awesome and creative.  Even though I’ve seen every episode of Cupcake Wars (don’t judge) and have researched and bookmarked more than my fair share of cupcake bakeries, I’ve never seen ice cream cupcakes.  Sure I’ve found a bunch of insanely creative and just plain insane cupcakes, but never ones stuffed with ice cream.  The moment I saw this contest and idea in general, I began thinking of possible flavor combinations, excited to see what my creation was going to taste like and hoping I might have a good chance of winning the contest.

This really is a genius idea.  Cupcakes by themselves are awesome.  Your own personal cake topped with tons of frosting.  I’d usually rather have a piece of a whole cake, but there’s something special about that individual little cake.  Peeling away the wrapper, making sure to get off as many crumbs as possible, tasting the cake, then the frosting, then both together.  But to take it one step further and hollow out the center, though that center is certainly not to be wasted, and stuff it with as much ice cream as possible without breaking the cupcake into pieces must result in a delicious treat.

In the end, I settled on coconut cupcakes, stuffed with Ciao Bella Key Lime Graham Gelato, topped with vanilla marshmallow frosting and toasted coconut and a homemade graham cracker just to gild the lily.  I was inspired by my resent trip to Joe Muer Seafood, where for dessert I had coconut cake and key lime pie and was rendered completely unable to choose which one I liked better.  Creating a dessert combining those flavors sounded like an awesome idea.

Coconut Cupcakes

The result was awesome.  The almond and vanilla scented marshmallow frosting was killer as always, and even though it uses a candy thermometer, it’s easy to make.  The gelato had amazing flavor, really tasting like key lime pie, which kind of surprised me.  Toasted coconut added crunch and flavor and the graham cracker tasted even better than just a few days before.  But then again, doesn’t any cookie covered in marshmallow frosting?  Here’s the thing:  the coconut cupcakes themselves?  Not too tasty.

Hollowed Out Cupcakes

Cupcakes Stuffed with Ice Cream

I used Ina Garten’s recipe and followed it with only a couple of very minor adjustments, but the cupcakes just weren’t very good.  In the past her recipes have been hit and miss for me from an apple pie that was so bad most of it went in the trash to peach cake and apple and cranberry cake that I can’t wait to make again.  The cupcakes were dry and flavorless, with no discernible taste of coconut even though I added a ton.  I was expecting a rich, moist, decadent cake, and instead found a cupcake that tasted like it came from a grocery store.

I still highly recommend you try this idea using the ice cream and frosting and a coconut cupcake.  Just choose a different cupcake recipe please, even a favorite vanilla cupcake recipe would work; just add a little almond extract and a bunch of coconut.  I don’t want you to be disappointed in one of my recipes.  With a killer coconut cupcake, you won’t be able to believe how yummy these are.  There are definitely more ice cream cupcakes in my future.

Ice Cream Cupcakes

Ice Cream Cupcakes

4.8 from 5 reviews
Coconut Key Lime Ice Cream Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20
Coconut Cupcakes
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure almond extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 ½ cups shredded unsweetened coconut (I like Bob’s Red Mill)
Marshmallow Frosting
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 ½ cups, plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 5 large egg whites
  • ½ + ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 pint Ciao Bella Key Lime Graham Gelato
  • 2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut (Again, I like Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 20 small graham crackers
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Make the cupcakes. Line 20 muffin cups with paper liners. In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, or alternatively in a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, being sure to fully incorporate each before adding another. Add extracts and mix to combine.
  2. Alternately add the flour and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour, with the mixer continuously running on medium-low. Once the batter is almost mixed, stir by hand to make sure all of the ingredients are incorporated before folding in the coconut.
  3. Using a regular sized ice cream scoop, scoop batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until cupcakes spring back when touched and a toothpick comes out with only a few moist crumbs. Cool completely in pan.
  4. Make the frosting. In a small saucepan, combine water, 1 ½ cups sugar, and corn syrup over medium heat. Stir frequently until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is clear. Once this happens, attach a candy thermometer, raise the heat to medium-high, and stop stirring. Allow the mixture to come to 240 degrees F on the candy thermometer. In the meantime, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-high until frothy. Add the cream of tartar. Continue beating on medium-high until the egg whites form soft peaks. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar, before resuming beating until stiff peaks form.
  5. When the egg whites have formed stiff peaks and the sugar mixture has reached 240, remove the syrup from the heat and turn the mixer to medium-low. Slowly and immediately begin drizzling the syrup into the egg whites, trying not to get it on the side of the bowl. If the whites are done whipping before the syrup is done, turn them off until the syrup reaches 235, then turn them back on to make sure they are fluffy. If the syrup is done before the whites, turn the heat down or remove it from the heat for a minute or so.
  6. Once the syrup is drizzled into the whites, turn the mixer back up to medium-high and beat for about 7 minutes, until the bottom of the bowl is cool and the frosting is thick, glossy, and sticky. Put in refrigerator with plastic wrap pressed directly on top of the frosting until completely cool.
  7. Assemble the cupcakes. Using a small paring knife, hollow out the center of each cupcake. (Snack time!) Fill the centers with ice cream, pressing down to fill it as full as possible. Top with a heaping helping of frosting, an ice cream scoop can be used for this since it’s too sticky to be piped. Sprinkle with toasted coconut and stick a graham cracker in the frosting. Enjoy immediately so the ice cream doesn’t melt. May be stored in the freezer, wrapped in plastic and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to one month. Thaw at room temperature for just a few minutes.
Cupcake recipe adapted from Ina Garten



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  1. Sounds like an amazing combination. It’s always such a bummer when a cupcake recipe doesn’t work out. Thanks for sharing your idea anyway. I’m glad you discovered ice cream cupcakes! Best of luck in the contest!

    • Thanks so much for coming by to wish me luck! I really appreciate it 🙂 I am now in love with ice cream cupcakes and still loved the flavor combination. I can’t wait to come up with more ideas.

  2. These were fantastic Laura – just wish we could have been able to try them with the ice cream. I loved everything about these even without it though – especially the topping. Yum!!!!

  3. Taste like a winner. Very good recipe! Hope you did good in the contest!

  4. Yum, I love Ciao Bella – so tasty! And I bet it’s amazing with the coconut cupcakes. Love the addition of the homemade graham cracker – totally takes these over the top! 🙂

    • Thanks for coming by my blog, Sara! This was the first time I tried Ciao Bella. I was in the grocery store looking for some inspiration, saw it, and couldn’t wait to try it. I was very impressed with the quality. There will be more Ciao Bella in my life soon!

  5. Hey Laura, these were so good, can only imagine how divine they must taste filled with ice cream! Just loved the marshmallow icing, I licked my fingers for hours…lol A big hit in my book! Thank you for sharing them with me.

    • Yay! I’m so happy you liked them. I wish I could’ve put ice cream in them for you, but this hot summer weather just doesn’t go well with ice cream.

  6. These are fantastic! My family would make short work of them. The ice cream would never have a chance to melt. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

    • They really are great, Mary! You should definitely give these or another kind of ice cream cupcake a try. I loved the idea, and I love the flavor and texture combination even more

  7. These look and sound amazing! I will definitely have to try these out 🙂

    Love your blog, I will for sure be following. Excited to see what else you come up with!

    • Thanks so much for coming by my blog! What’s not to like about cupcakes with ice cream and frosting, right?

  8. well my favorite frosting is marshmallow love coconut,so yes very well done.

    • Sal, coconut and marshmallow are two of my favorites too! Other kinds of frosting are okay, but there’s nothing like marshmallow. Thanks for the support!

  9. They were great!!! I loved the marshmallow icing! Wish I could have tasted them with the ice cream. 2 marshmallowy thumbs up from me 🙂

  10. Last year I went with similar flavours – toasted coconut and lime zest atop vanilla ice cream atop ginger cupcakes. Yours sound great!

  11. Bet you my coblogger is going to make these — she’s a huge key lime fan! And when she does, she’d better invite me over!

    Thanks for entering! Good luck!


    • Thanks, Bethany! I love anything key lime too. Please let me know if you try them and how you like them. The flavor combination is so yummy 🙂

  12. Laura, these cupcakes were delightful…the cake had so much flavor and the frosting had a great sticky texture. I too would like to try them with ice cream filling. Good luck in the contest and keep the new recipes coming!

  13. These were great, I loved the frosting !!!! As usual the cupcake was very moist. I’d give this a 10 rating if i could. Very good…

    • Yay! Thanks, Eric. That frosting really is killer. It has a few steps but is so worth the extra effort.

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