"Ice cream and cake and cake..Ice Cream and cake and cake. Ice Cream and cake, do the ice cream and cake..."
So how much do you hate me now, since I know you are singing that in your head? I literally hummed this song the entire time I was making this ice cream cake...which in all honesty has no cake in it! Instead it's a lovely layered confection (say that three times fast) of two different kinds of ice cream, Ghirardelli brownies, chocolate fudge and wrapped in whipped cream frosting.
When I offered to bake the Sweet 16 birthday cake for one of my favorite young ladies in the whole wide world, Ashton, I had no idea that she wasn't really a "cake girl". She's more an ice cream girl. And since I'm always willing to take on a food challenge, I decided to tackle my first ice cream cake.
I will be honest here, I was pretty nervous. Cupcakes..easy peasy, Birthday Cake...piece of cake (yes I meant to say that..grin), Ice Cream Cake...not so sure. Especially, when you know there will be 50 people staring at it.
I am pleased to say it was a success! And I am going to share some of the tricks and tips I learned while making this cake. After this endeavor, I can safely say I will NEVER buy a store bought ice cream cake again! This cake was inspired by one from Zoe Bakes. Who happens to be a pastry chef, so I was pretty darn proud my turned out even remotely as nice as hers.
Layered Ice Cream and Brownie Cake-inspired greatly by Zoe Bakes
2 1.75 quart cartons of your favorite ice cream flavors. (needs to be high quality ice cream)
1 box brownie mix of choice* (needs to be a high quality, I used Ghirardelli that comes with chocolate fudge packet)
3 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Dark and White Chocolate Bars for chocolate curls (optional)
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips for piping (optional)
*You can also use a homemade brownie which I will probably do next time.
8-9" springform pan
2 8-9" round cake pans
pastry bags with small round piping tip (optional for piping chocolate swirls)
vegetable peeler (optional for making chocolate curls)
offset spatula for frosting cake
stand mixer or hand-mixer and bowl
Prepare brownie batter according to package directions. Divide between two 8 or 9" round cake pans that you have lined the bottom with parchment paper. Use the size cake pan that matches the size of your springform pan. When brownies are done. Allow to cool and remove from pans. Place the bottom part of your springform pan over brownie layers and trim brownie to fit within springform pan.
Place bottom of springform pan back into pan and using strips of parchment paper line sides of springform pan. All pieces need to extend over top of pan. You can use a small amount of cooking spray to hold parchment strips to side of pan. Make sure there are no gaps between paper strips, or ice cream might stick to sides of pan.
Place first brownie layer on bottom of pan, if necessary press down on brownie to make sure it is covering bottom all the way to the sides of the pan. Using chocolate fudge pack that came with brownie mix, spread half of fudge on top of brownie layer. A spatula will work well for this.
Remove first carton of ice cream from freezer and soften in microwave for 30 seconds. Still well in carton, making sure ice cream is soft and there are no frozen parts still. Scoop ice cream over brownie and fudge layers, and spread evenly making sure to pack ice cream down. You will most likely not use all of carton. These three layers (brownie, fudge and ice cream) should take up half of the depth of pan. Place in freezer for at least 30 minutes. After ice cream layer is firm again, repeat above steps one more time, ending with final layer of ice cream. Your final layer of ice cream should be level with top of pan.
Loosely cover top of cake with parchment paper and place in freezer for minimum of 4-5 hours or overnight.
When you are ready to frost your ice cream cake, place mixing bowl and whisk feature (if using stand mixer) or beaters (if using hand mixer) in freezer for 30 minutes. Remove and combine whipping cream and sugar in bowl. Whip until mixture begins to form stiff peaks. Add in vanilla and mix to combine. Place whipped cream frosting in container, because you will be taking it in and out of fridge several times.
When frosting is made, remove ice cream cake from freezer. Carefully remove sides of springform pan and parchment paper. Place cake on cake-stand or plate and gently slide off bottom of springform pan, your cake should not be resting on your cake-stand. Place several strips of parchment paper under edge of cake to protect stand while frosting.
Beginning with the top and using an offset spatula, begin to frost cake with a thin layer of frosting. Place back in freezer for 10 minutes and place frosting in refrigerator. Remove both and proceed with second layer of frosting. Continue these steps (being sure to not allow cake to thaw) until you have used most of the frosting. Reserve a small amount for any piping and decoration along bottom edge of cake. You will want to make sure your last frosting layer is as smooth as possible.
Place cake back into freezer. In the meantime, melt chocolate chips a small amount at at a time in microwave according to package directions. Place melted chocolate in decorator bag with small round piping tip. Remove cake and begin to quickly make swirls along top and sides of chocolate. If you make a mistake, wait a moment until chocolate hardens and then carefully remove with a toothpick. If you run out of chocolate melt a new batch. It is better to work in small batches as chocolate hardens quickly and makes piping it impossible.
Return cake to freezer when you are done decorating. If desired make chocolate curls for top of cake using a vegetable peeler. Run your peeler along flat surface of chocolate bars, forming chocolate curls. Spring curls in center of cake.
Keep cake in freezer, until 15 minutes before serving. You will need a very sharp, long knife to properly cut ice cream cake.
Something I might do different next time:
Next time I might make the bottom layer a chocolate cookie crumb layer. Because I was also making 50 cupcakes, I made my bottom layer a day in advance and the bottom brownie layer froze pretty solid. It was difficult to cut through when serving. I might try a different bottom layer next time. But your experience might be different.
I'd love to hear if you decide to make your own ice cream cake!
I also made cupcakes for Miss Ashton, since we knew the cake would not serve everyone. I made red velvet with cream cheese frosting and chocolate A's:
I had so much fun making all of this for my sweet friend. I was honored to be a part of her special day. Ashton...I love you much!
And a big thank you to my friend Jonny, who came out to take pictures and provided me with these. You're the best!
Also, just a reminder to PLEASE KEEP VOTING in the Everyday Chef Challenge. Every vote counts! Here are links to both of my recipes:
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