Great Ice Cream Cupcake
- 3 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 1/3 cups unsalted butter
- 2 1/3 cups sugar
- 5 eggs, lightly beaten
- 4 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 1/3 cups milk
- 1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened (see related recipe at left)
Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 325°F. Grease and flour a great cupcake pan; tap out excess flour.
Over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 30 seconds. Add the sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla just until incorporated, about 1 minute.
Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour. Beat each addition just until incorporated, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, filling the wells to within 1/2 inch of the rim and spreading the batter so the sides are higher than the center. Bake until the cupcake halves begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center of each half comes out clean, 70 to 80 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cupcake cool in the pan for 15 minutes.
Gently tap the pan on the counter to loosen the cake. Set the rack over the cupcake, invert the pan onto the rack and lift off the pan. Let the cupcake cool completely, at least 2 hours. Reserve the cupcake top to decorate and enjoy on its own. Using a serrated knife, level the cupcake base by gently sawing off the domed portion.
Meanwhile, wash and dry the pan, and make sure it has cooled completely. Using a spatula, pack the ice cream into the well that forms the cupcake top. Freeze until firm, at least 2 hours.
Set the cupcake base, cut side up, on a plate. Remove the pan from the freezer and invert it onto a cutting board. Using a handheld kitchen torch, heat the exterior of the pan, moving the flame around the cupcake top in a slow, continuous motion, until the ice cream releases easily from the pan when the pan is tapped against the cutting board. Alternatively, dip the pan into a bowl of warm water to loosen the ice cream. Remove the pan from the water, invert a plate on top of the pan and flip the pan onto the plate, releasing the ice cream onto the plate.
Using a large, flat spatula, transfer the ice cream top onto the cupcake base. Freeze until the ice cream has hardened and is fused onto the cake, about 1 hour. Remove the cake from the freezer and decorate as desired. Serves 12.