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Ice Cream Cakes

Ice Cream Cake Ice Cream Cakes
Having Your Cake and Ice Cream, Too

By Jennifer Farmer

Ice cream cakes do not have to be complicated. They can be fun, simple and easily done at home. Ice cream cakes can be almost any flavor or combination of flavors, although I don't recommend using fruit in the ice cream, as it tends to be hard to eat when frozen.

We can start with a basic chocolate or vanilla cake, and don't be ashamed to use a box cake mix. Sponge cake works very well for ice cream cakes, too. We want to make the cake in two layers. This can be done with two cake pans or by making one cake and using a bread knife to slice it into two layers, trimming off any excess so that there is no "dome" effect to the cake. The cake should be flat on top.

After the layers are baked and trimmed, put them in the refrigerator or freezer with parchment paper in between the layers to keep them separate and to prevent them from drying out.



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The easiest way to assemble an ice cream cake is in a springform pan that is the same size as the pan the cake was baked in. Cut a circular sheet of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan; then cut a long, rectangular strip that will fit inside and cover the sides of the pan from top to bottom.

For an ice cream cake with two layers of cake and two layers of ice cream, you will need approximately one-half gallon of ice cream, possibly more if no goodies are added to the ice cream. The ice cream should be put into a large plastic bowl to be stirred and folded. It should be soft enough to work with, but not melted. At this time you can add fudge, caramel, nuts, coconut, candy or any other ingredients. But keep in mind that these items will harden once frozen, so use ingredients that will not get so hard that they can hurt teeth.

Ice Cream Cake Combinations

I like to do theme combinations like a German Chocolate Cake theme using German chocolate cake with coconut, pecans and fudge mixed into vanilla ice cream. Other winning combinations include:
  • Vanilla ice cream with peanut butter and chopped up Reese's Peanut Butter Cups with fudge and almonds mixed in with yellow, chocolate or caramel cake
  • Crumbled oreos mixed with vanilla ice cream and a white cake for a Cookies & Cream effect
  • Macadamia nuts and coconut with caramel with sponge cake for a Hawaiian flavor
  • A Texas ice cream cake could have pecans, caramel and fudge swirled in vanilla ice cream with sponge or chocolate cake for a Turtle effect.
  • Fold chunks of brownies with fudge and walnuts into vanilla ice cream with chocolate cake.
Ice Cream
Cookie dough is a very popular ingredient, as well as M&Ms. Also, Cool Whip can be folded into softened ice cream of any flavor, but don't overmix it. A swirling effect is the goal.

Once the ingredients are added to the ice cream and the cakes are cooled or frozen, spread a layer of ice cream inside the bottom of the pan about 1 to 1-1/2 inches thick. Place one layer of cake over the ice cream gently pressing it down flat on the ice cream. At this time, sprinkle an optional liqueur onto the cake layers, just enough to moisten the cake a little. Then spread the second layer of ice cream over the layer of cake. It is important for the cake to be thoroughly chilled, if not frozen, so that it does not crumble and fall apart. If it does fall apart, however, don't panic. Just piece it back together inside the pan like a puzzle. Finally, place the second layer of cake over the second layer of ice cream, gently pushing down so that all layers are firmly pressed together.

Put the entire pan in the freezer for at least three hours. After three hours, remove the springform pan and parchment paper. We will hope that our parchment paper did not get crumpled and folded into the ice cream; otherwise, it could be hard to remove. Sometimes letting the pan with the cake in set out for a couple of minutes will help to get the parchment paper and pan off of the cake.

When you have the cake out of the pan, turn the cake over onto a board or cake plate so that a layer of cake is now on the bottom and a layer of ice cream is on the top. The cake can be put back into the freezer until ready to frost.

For the frosting, there are many options: frosting from a can, seven minute frosting, butter cream, sweetened whipped cream or even Cool Whip. Since it is going to be frozen, we want a frosting that will stand up to being frozen without cracking. My personal favorite frosting for ice cream cakes is Cool Whip. It's easy, tastes good and freezes well. Any type of whipped topping will do.

Spread the whipped topping onto top and sides of cake. Make sure the topping or frosting is refrigerator temperature and not frozen. Using a long spatula, spread the frosting or topping evenly over the cake and decorate as desired. Running threads of chocolate syrup back and forth over the cake can be very pretty and you can get creative with nuts and even Oreos.

Caramel looks very pretty, but it will begin to puddle on the cake if done too many hours in advance. Again, fruit and berries will be frozen and hard to eat, so I suggest not using them. Keep the entire cake in the freezer until about 15 to 30 minutes before serving.


Jennifer Farmer is a pastry chef living in Austin, Texas.

If you have questions about this article or the recipes, contact us at moc.gnikoocsaxet@nibrof_solkim.

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