My oldest turn ten years old this week. Recalling very clearly those earlier years of being a new mom, I often wondered why the days seemed to crawl along so slowly. Quite the opposite now, I find myself grasping to hold on to each moment, wanting him to grow up and at the same time not wanting him to grow up. I’m sure those of you with kids can relate. He gave me very specific instructions for his birthday cake this year. An ice cream cake with chocolate and mint chocolate chip ice creams, crushed cookies and fudge sandwiched in the middle, no whipped cream. Of all the birthday cakes I’ve made, this one was by far the easiest. And yet, he declared it my best cake ever, reminding me that more time invested does not always mean better.
I had not intended to blog about this cake since it seemed far too simple to make an interesting post, but because this space serves as my kitchen journal, I wanted it here for me. The first time I made an ice cream cake I ended up with a big mess of melty drippy ice cream, but this time went a lot smoother after reading through some notes I’d jotted down previously. I used this post from the Kitchn as a rough guide, but I thought I’d also share a few of my notes that made it easier for me, in case you’d like to try it too.
- A brief, but important run though the mixer helps the softened ice cream to be more easily and evenly spread and layered. Don’t skip this step.
- The Kitchn recommends using parchment paper as the base, but this method didn’t work for me very well since the ice cream leaked out from the side of the springform mold and created more mess than I wanted. It also turned out to be really slippery on the plate when it came time to peel off the paper. I found it much easier to use the glass bottom that came with the pan.
- Freeze the springform for at least an hour before spreading the bottom layer. This helps with the melting that might otherwise occur when the ice cream makes contact with the pan.
- To release the cake from the pan, first press a warm cloth around the sides of the springform. Run a sharp knife around the ice cream to help loosen the cake.
- This one should go without saying, but using high quality ingredients makes for a better tasting cake. I really like the crispy cocoa einkorn cookies by Jovial and the dark chocolate malted fudge from Dave’s Homemade. (Not sponsored in any way, just products I buy and honestly love.) With the variety of so many new artisanal ice creams out there now, here are a few other combos I’d like to try:
A Very Simple Ice Cream Cake
- Yield: 12 servings
- 1 1/2 quarts of one ice cream flavor, slightly softened
- 1 1/2 quarts of a second ice cream flavor, slightly softened
- 2 1/2 cups crushed chocolate wafer cookies
- 1 cup melted fudge sauce
- 1 ounce melted dark chocolate, for garnish
- Freeze a 10-inch springform pan for at least an hour before spreading the first layer of ice cream.
- Add the first flavor of ice cream to the bowl of a stand mixer. With the paddle attachment, mix for about 30 seconds, just until the ice cream has an even consistency. Set the springform pan on a large baking pan to catch any leaks. Use a spoon or spatula to spread the ice cream evenly into the bottom of the cold springform pan. Sprinkle the crushed cookies over the ice cream and press lightly to adhere. Drizzle the fudge evenly over the cookies. Freeze for at least 4 hours.
- Add the second flavor of ice cream to bowl of a stand mixer. Mix again the same way as in the first ice cream. Spread the ice cream over the cookies and fudge layer. Use an offset spatula to smooth the top. Freeze for another 4 hours.
- To garnish, drizzle the melted dark chocolate in a decorative pattern around the outer rim of the cake. Freeze again for another hour or overnight. (At this point, I place a large plate over the top of the cake to keep it fresh. Be sure that the plate does not touch the ice cream.)
- To release the cake from the pan, first press a warm cloth around the sides of the springform. Run a sharp knife around the ice cream to help loosen the cake. Store any uneaten cake covered with plastic wrap in the freezer.
You’ll want to make this at least day before serving it to give it time to thoroughly freeze. To soften the ice cream, I leave the it at room temperature for about 20-25 minutes before running it through the mixer.