When I was a kid regular old birthday cake never particularly appealed to me. I would enjoy the token piece, but really I preferred to just have a bowl of the ice cream. So I went through phases of different types of birthday cakes/desserts that strayed a bit from the traditional frosted yellow cake. There was the birthday cookie cake phase, which I can still get on board with today. The peanut butter pie phase, which is really less of a phase than a lifetime commitment. And then there was the ice cream cake phase, in which only an ice cream cake would do for birthday celebrations because it counted as a cake, but still had the ice cream. Obviously.
It never particularly occurred to me how easy it is to actually make an ice cream cake. Make an ice cream cake? Uhm, no, that’s something you leave to professional ice cream cake makers. But then I saw this recipe, and read it, and, of course, it was suddenly so clear. A spring-form pan. That’s all that’s necessary.
Gerrit’s birthday was this past weekend, and I’ve been saving this recipe for months now just for this occasion, mint chocolate chip ice cream being his favorite and a constant staple in our freezer. And it really was simple to make. The cake layers were quick to mix together. And because they were so thin, their baking time was quick as well. And then you just layer it all together with softened ice cream in the middle and freeze it in your pan, and if you want at some chocolate ganache on top (not pictured here, although it was delicious). It comes out with beautiful layers and of course beautiful flavor. It’s a perfect treat for any birthday, or for one of those hot summer days that is rapidly approaching this time of year.
Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake
adapted from Southern Living Magazine, August 2011
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Bake Time: 14 minutes
Wait Time: 9 hours
For the cake:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup hot, strong brewed coffee (or water)
1 teaspoon white vinegar
For the layers:
1/2 gallon mint chocolate chip ice cream
10 chocolate wafers, crushed (or 1 cup chocolate teddy grahams, crushed)
For the ganache:
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
4-8 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Begin by making the cakes. In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar. Cream with mixer at medium speed, until mixture is light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, beating until blended.
3. In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda, blending together.
4. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Then add about 1/3 of the coffee (or water). Continue adding these, alternating between the two, while mixing on low speed, until everything is combined. Then stir in the vinegar.
5. Grease 3 9-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Distribute the batter evenly among the three cake pans, and shake the pans to spread the batter out. Bake cakes for 12-14 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
6. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Then remove the cakes from the pans, peel off the parchment paper, and allow them to finish cooling on wire racks (about 45 minutes).
7. When the cakes are almost completely cooled, remove ice cream from the freezer and allow it to soften until it is spreadable.
8. When the cakes have completely cooled, place one cake in the bottom of a 9-inch spring-form pan. Spread 1/3 of the softened ice cream over the cake, and then sprinkle the top of the ice cream with 1/2 of the crushed chocolate wafers. Top with another cake, another layer of ice cream, and the last of the chocolate wafers. Then top with the final cake, and then the rest of the ice cream. Cover and freeze for at least 8 hours.*
9. When you are ready to serve, remove the cake from the spring-form pan, and allow it to stand at room temperature while you make the ganache (for about 15 minutes).
10. To make the ganache, combine chocolate chips with 4 tablespoon of the heavy cream. Heat in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes, stirring at 30 second intervals, until mixture is smooth and creamy. If desired, stir in up to 4 tablespoons more of heavy cream to make the mixture thinner. Then allow the chocolate to cool for about 5 minutes before using it on top of the cake.
11. Top the ice cream cake with the chocolate ganache, and serve immediately.
*This can last much longer than 8 hours in the freezer. I made the cake on Wednesday and we ate it on Friday. Although by Sunday it was no longer at it’s prime (but still good enough that we had some for dessert).