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The under-appreciated ice-cream cake


Fat Guy
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Ice-cream cakes seem to be hopelessly out-of-style. But I think they're great. Not the crap ones you buy in the supermarket or at the chain soft-serve places, but real ice-cream cake made at home from respectable ice cream.

Will anybody join me in championing the humble ice-cream cake in 2009?

I like to use two flavors of ice cream and a standard metal brownie pan. You let flavor number 1 soften enough to be spreadable, fill the pan a little less than half way with that flavor, then put it in the freezer to firm up while you soften flavor number 2. Then you can add flavor number 2, leaving some space at the top. It's also possible to put crumbled cookies, etc. in between the layers at this time. Then back in the freezer to firm up the top layer. Then the top can be drizzled with all sorts of toppings, like chocolate or butterscotch sauce, and decorated according to the whim of the ice-cream-cake chef. Freeze again. Take out of the freezer about 20 minutes before serving.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard "I haven't had ice-cream cake in so long; I can't believe how great it is!"

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Perhaps we need to define "ice cream cake".

When I was growing up, my mother often made desserts twice a day. When she didn't, and we complained, she would always say "There's always canned peaches or ice cream." So to me, fruit and ice cream were things you ate instead of dessert, and to me it takes a mighty production to make either seem like a real dessert.

This ice cream cake is sort of a reverse baked Alaska, but without the half-baked meringue:

Prepare simple ice cream layer or layers as above, lining pan with a parchment "cradle" so ice cream can be removed from pan easily. Freeze.

Prepare a simple and sturdy yellow cake (or other flavor) in same size pan. When cool, slice cake into two layers. (If you like more cake, prepare a two-layer cake.) Prepare whipped cream.

When ready to serve, heat cake until very hot. Place ice cream between hot cake layers and quickly frost with whipped cream. Serve in its melty goodness. You can make additions or sauces, but the real attraction is the contrast in temperatures.

The obvious disadvantage is that you have to have a bunch of people to eat it quickly while it is at it's best. (It makes a great birthday party dessert.) Alternatively you must assemble with cold cake and keep cake in freezer, not nearly as good. I'm thinking about making the components ahead of time and preparing them to order. Cupcakes, maybe?

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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I dislike icecream cake so much, I have difficulty putting it into words.

I am really not an icecream person, maybe having two cones a year. I wish I felt the same way about chocolate. (Actually, no I really don't :raz::raz: )

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I did one that was shaped like half a watermelon. It was lime sherbet lining the bowl, then a thicker layer of vanilla then filled with raspberry sherbet that had been littered with mini chocolate chips for 'seeds'. And after it was all set up I drizzled green food color on the outside to mimic the striping.

I mean it could get foodied up with vanilla bean vanilla and matcha sherbet and a killer red fruit sorbet. And you could easily pipe some chocolate to totally mimic seeds, nice and flat and oval to really blow people's minds.

They are fun.

Edited to correct the spelling of sherbet. Sherbert did look kinda funny.

And~~And of course, we would want to line the bowl or brownie pan with plastic wrap first. No seriously, try the watermelon, very easy, lots of fun. Surprise yourself and do a sculpture.

Edited by K8memphis (log)
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We have several summer birthdays in my family, so Ice Cream Cakes are a must in my repertoire.

I use a square springform pan with a homemade crushed shortbread or black cocoa cookie crust. I bake my bottom crust, the same way you would bake a graham cracker crust. Then I add thin ice cream layers, about 1" deep, more crushed cookies, repeat, all the way to the top, crust, ice cream, each 3 layers deep. Ice cream flavors vary, depending upon desire, but the middle layer is always french vanilla. Frost top and sides with stabilized whipped cream, piped top and bottom border is Martha's Marshmallow for Piping (recipe below).

http://www.marthastewart.com/portal/site/m...a00aRCRD&page=1

Theresa :biggrin:

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

- Abraham Lincoln

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I'd very much like to try my hand at an ice cream cake. I just read the related thread link too (thanks!).

My concern has always been the "softened" ice cream. How soft? What happens to the melty/totally melted "runoff" ice cream stuff when it re-freezes, as far as texture goes? Do I soft the ice cream in a big bowl, stir it to get a uniform texture (ie: stir in the totally melted ice cream), and then spread? or do I plop the ice cream in and don't worry about the totally melted liquid stuff?

Also, I got an ice cream maker for Xmas, which I have yet to even open. But... I was wondering, if I make ice cream in the maker and then pour the unripend ice cream onto a cake base (isn't the unripened ice cream sorta like soft serve??), etc. will that be a good/easy way to make an ice cream cake?

TIA!

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I made this upscale version of an ice-cream cake recently & it was really excellent. I can't see why a more traditional one couldn't be good too.

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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Also, I got an ice cream maker for Xmas, which I have yet to even open. But... I was wondering, if I make ice cream in the maker and then pour the unripend ice cream onto a cake base (isn't the unripened ice cream sorta like soft serve??), etc. will that be a good/easy way to make an ice cream cake?

TIA!

That's what I've done.

"Life is a combination of magic and pasta." - Frederico Fellini

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I will probably have to relinquish my eGullet membership for admitting this, but... I love Dairy Queen's ice cream cake with the chocolate cookie crumble thing! I know, I know - it's totally ghetto crap that is pumped full of non-dairy garbage, but it's just soooo good! To my credit I haven't had a piece in years, but I love how the DQ cake is so birthday-partyish.

I am now going to stand in a corner and hang my head in shame.... :raz:

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I will probably have to relinquish my eGullet membership for admitting this, but... I love Dairy Queen's ice cream cake with the chocolate cookie crumble thing!  I know, I know - it's totally ghetto crap that is pumped full of non-dairy garbage, but it's just soooo good!  To my credit I haven't had a piece in years, but I love how the DQ cake is so birthday-partyish.

I am now going to stand in a corner and hang my head in shame....  :raz:

Me too! My friend in elementary school had one EVERY year for her birthday, and I was so jealous. Begged my mom for one, but she was not a fan of the pre-made b'day cake. I finally got one for myself in college. It was awesome! OK, not awesome, but I wasn't disappointed. I went in fully knowing it was not real food, but it satisfied my birthday requirements!

"Life is a combination of magic and pasta." - Frederico Fellini

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I will probably have to relinquish my eGullet membership for admitting this, but... I love Dairy Queen's ice cream cake with the chocolate cookie crumble thing! 

No you won't. eGullet is about food. Food is about eating what you like... not what someone else says you should or shouldn't like.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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One of my most well-received summer desserts was an ice cream cake of sorts, a jelly-roll style cake with ice cream instead of whipped creme, served with raspberry sauce:

Rose Levy Beranbaum's recipe in The Cake Bible for "Cocoa Souffle Roll," filled with softened vanilla ice cream (store-bought), sprinkled with fresh raspberries, rolled and frozen. Remove from freezer 15 minutes before service, but for neat slices, slice while still firm. To plate, spoon some raspberry sauce on a dessert plate, top with a slice of the roulade, garnish with a few fresh berries.

Not revolutionary, but delicious nonetheless. Not a crumb left. I think I need to make it again this summer.


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  • 2 years later...

If there's "cake" in the name, there better be actual cake in the dessert. Just sayin'...

Nothing annoys me more than a birthday cake with NO ACTUAL CAKE! This is a pet rant of mine, my husband teases me about it all the time since we go to so many of my children's friend's birthday parties. A layer of cake, then a layer of ice cream, perfectly acceptable. Otherwise, no thank you!

If you ate pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry? ~Author Unknown

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Steven -- Unless there's a whole lot of cookie crumbs involved, I just don't see the point of making it in cake form. Why not just scoop out the two ice cream varieties (rather than soften, layer, and re-freeze)?

Edited by Emily_R (log)
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For the last two family birthdays, we've gotten ice cream cakes from Coldstone Creamery. Normally, I don't really love their ice cream, but their cakes aren't bad. Actual cake layers, plus ice cream loaded with stuff in it makes it pretty good. My husband always wants ice cream cake, so his was vanilla cake, one layer oreo with extra oreos, I think, and the other coffee with heath and caramel or something like that. For mine, vanilla cake, and two layers of dark chocolate with oreos & pecans and chocolate ganache outside. Honestly, much better than I expected, and more what I think of an ice cream *cake*.

Joanna G. Hurley

"Civilization means food and literature all round." -Aldous Huxley

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