The summer has slowly settled into a routine: runs (with or without my dad) in the morning, go to work, watch movies in the evening. While I love my job, it is unfortunately not what I need right now – it has been slow, and I find myself constantly wishing for the emptiness of polite and silly conversations with people while I ring up their purchases. It does succeed in getting me out of the house, however, and is therefore better than nothing.
When I am in the house, I look at the somewhat-bare cupboards, and mostly feel bored and uninspired to cook. There is something about the unrelenting 95 degree heat that is oppressive, and it easily sends me cowering for my dark room, my bed, and a book. With the promise of ice cream, however, I managed to muster myself and make a cake for our very belated Father’s Day celebration.
This cake is not particularly lovely, I have to say. Not having attempted to make an ice cream cake before (but with much longing to do so), I didn’t have much of a plan in terms of the actual assembly – which is finally where this recipe does break down a bit. However, given some quality freezer time, and accepting that it won’t be the most beautiful cake ever served, I can safely say that this is a fairly amazing combination of ice cream and cake (and frosting and chocolate sauce). For a hot day, this is probably the most ideal cake that can be served. While it is somewhat labor intensive (I’m about to supply you with four recipes and endless hours of cleaning dishes), it is well worth the effort to taste the tang of coffee frosting against homemade vanilla ice cream.
Not Really What I Planned Ice Cream Cake
Serves sixteen to eighteen
Vanilla Ice Cream (Adapted from The Cake Bible)
5 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup milk*
1+ tsp vanilla extract**
1 tbsp vodka***
Combine the egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a medium-sized saucepan and set aside. Heat the heavy cream and the milk until just boiling. Add several tablespoons to the egg mixture, and then add the remainder, stirring as you do. Heat the egg and milk mixture until steam begins to appear and it coats the back of a spoon. Immediately remove from heat and pour through a strainer into a pan or large mixing bowl. Add the vanilla and mix well.
Cool the mixture in the refrigerator until the container is no longer hot. Add the vodka and move to the freezer. Remove from the freezer and stir approximately every 45 minutes. Stirring can be done with a spatula, whisk, or hand-held mixer.
Chocolate Cake (Adapted from The Cake Bible)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
3/4 cup boiling water
2 large eggs
1/2 tbsp vanilla
1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/8 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup softened butter
Combine the cocoa powder and the boiling water in a small bowl and whisk together. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, and vanilla. Add several tablespoons of the cocoa mixture.
In the bowl of a mixer, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the butter and the remaining cocoa mixture and mix until well blended. Increase the speed of the mixer in order to provide texture. Add the egg mixture in thirds, mixing briefly after each addition. Scrape down the sides in between to make sure that everything is well combined. Pour into a 10″ greased and powdered springform pan and bake at 350 F for 45-55 minutes. Allow to cool for ten to fifteen minutes in the pan before removing the edge. Allow to cool for approximately half an hour, then carefully cut the cake in half horizontally, removing the top half and allowing it to cool separately.
Coffee Frosting (Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking)
2 tbsp instant coffee
1+ tsp water
2/3 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup softened butter
Combine the instant coffee with the water and mix well. In the bowl of a mixer, combine powdered sugar and butter. Add the coffee mixture and mix well. Chill until ready to use.
Chocolate Sauce**** (Adapted from my mom)
1/4 cup butter
2 squares of baking chocolate
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup light cream
1 tsp vanilla
Melt butter and baking chocolate in a small saucepan. Add cocoa and sugar. Cook for five minutes before stirring in the cream and vanilla. Simmer until well combined. Can be left out for several hours, then reheated.
Frost the top of the bottom-half of the chocolate cake. Add a generous helping of ice cream to the top of the frosting and spread quickly, making sure to distribute it evenly. Put the second layer of the cake on top of the ice cream, and hustle the whole thing to the freezer (where it will promptly gush ice cream everywhere, ahem). Allow the ice cream to refreeze before serving. Using a very good knife, cut the cake. Drizzle chocolate sauce over the top and serve.
*When milk is indicated in a recipe, I use skim. I know this goes against the grain for many people, so use whatever milk makes you happy – just know that skim milk does work in this recipe, and does not detract from flavor or texture.
**Vanilla bean is technically indicated in this recipe – I didn’t use it because I didn’t have it. If you want to use vanilla bean, follow these instructions: Heat the cream, milk and vanilla bean together. Add to egg mixture as indicated. Pour through the strainer. Remove the vanilla beans and scrape the seeds into the sauce. Add the hull to the sauce until ready to freeze.
***Rose suggests the use of vodka because it maintains consistency through the freezing process by slightly lowering the freezing point. While this becomes a little bit challenging while preparing the cake, it does make it much easier to manipulate the ice cream (without an ice cream maker) during the freezing process.
****God, there are a lot of asterisks in this post. Are you still with me? Okay. That chocolate sauce you just made? Or are thinking about making? Yeah, it’s god’s gift to chocolate sauce. My mom makes it about once a year, and it is without a doubt some of the best, if not the best I’ve ever tasted. It is fantastic on this cake (I thought about frosting it entirely with coffee frosting, but I didn’t have enough, and the flavor would have been overwhelming), but it is also incredible over ice cream. If you want a homemade chocolate sauce to make sundaes with, this is it.