When I was an art student at the University of Vermont I worked at the Ben & Jerry’s making ice cream cakes. It was my first job in the world of sweets and I have never looked back. My brothers were very little then and it started a birthday tradition for them that lives on today. I wish my two brothers lived close by, but Alec is an artist in Portland, Oregon and Carey works in a recording studio in NY. They are wildly talented and two of my favorite people to be with. Every summer my family rents a cabin in Northern WI and we get to spend precious, albeit short, time together. This year that time fell on Carey’s birthday. Even at the ripe old age of 27 he still wants his childhood favorite; ice cream cake.
As some of you may know this month has been a marathon for me. Jeff and I finished the manuscript for Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day just last week. Did you hear me celebrating! The week prior I was on vacation with my family in Maine. It was a glorious week of ocean, lobster, fresh wild blueberries and some of the best pie on earth. And last but not least, yesterday was my 18th wedding anniversary. Despite my absence from blogging I have been baking and look forward to being back home where I can start posting about my adventures in the kitchen.
I hope you all have had a wonderful August!
Ice Cream Cake as inspired by the hundreds I made in the 1980s at Ben & Jerry’s:
Outrageous Brownies from Lee Bailey’s Country Desserts:
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 pound plus 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 large eggs
2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons powdered instant espresso
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups chopped walnut pieces (optional)
baked in 4 (9-inch) round cake pans (you will only use 3, so you’ll have an extra pan to freeze or snack on):
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line the pans with parchment rounds. Set aside.
In a double boiler, melt together the butter, 1 pound of the chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate until smooth. Cool to room temperature. (I saved a couple tablespoons of this to decorate the top!)
Combine the eggs, powdered espresso, vanilla, and sugar. Stir in the cooled chocolate. Set aside.
Sift together the dry ingredients. Mix them into the chocolate batter. Finally fold the remaining chips and walnuts into the batter. Divide evenly into the greased pans.
Bake about 30 minutes, or until tester comes out clean. Do not over bake, they should be a bit fudgey. Let cool. Invert and remove parchment.
3 quarts ice cream – homemade or your favorite store bought. The more premium brands (ie less air whipped into them) will set harder and be easier to cut in the end.
Some equipment you will need:
clear acetate band and tape (or you can use wax paper around the inside of the mold. This will allow you to lift the mold away from the cake, but is not as clean as the acetate strips.)
Set up the cake ring with a card board round on the bottom and the acetate along the inside of the ring. Place one round of the cooled brownie on the bottom and spoon in the first flavor of ice cream.
Smooth out the ice cream and make sure you press it all the way to the edges so that you can see the distinct layers when you unmold the cake. If the ice cream is very soft at this point place it in the freezer for 15 minutes before continuing.
Add another layer of brownie and another flavor of ice cream. I did three flavors of ice cream and three layers of brownie. Once the cake reached the top of the cake ring, I added another layer of acetate so that I could continue to build up above the ring. you can stop at just two layers of ice cream if you prefer.
Add the last layer of ice cream and then smooth out the surface so that you can…
decorate the top. Freeze the finished cake for several hours before serving to make sure it is fully set. If you have reserved some of the melted chocolate to pipe on the finished cake, you may have to remelt it in order to pipe it. Remove the acetate right before serving. If the ice cream is at all soft if may stick a little to the acetate, use a spatula to smooth the edges.