February 15, 2012

Double-Decker Ice Cream Cake

I have been waiting a while to find the perfect occasion to make an ice cream cake. Since I've seen them on other blogs, I dreamed of having layers of my favourite ice cream flavours in the form of a massive cake. And then the time came when my friends came over. This was the result: beautiful layers of vanilla and chocolate ice cream with a chocolate biscuit base and brownie. Did I also mention a milk chocolate ganache and white chocolate shavings!? That seems to be a mouthful of words and A LOT of calories but it tasted heavenly. It was really heavy to carry in and out of the freezer though (a good workout for the arms!). Me and my friends actually couldn't finish one big piece because it was quite filling but I did see their eyes sparkle and their mouths open when they saw it. Even my mother called it a masterpiece (she doesn't usually like chocolate). And can I tell you, it was so HARD to cut so next time I would have to dip the knife into hot water to cut it more easily.

What did you say? How did I make it? Well, it was probably the most time consuming and challenging cake I have ever done because it is ice cream, so it needs to be kept in the freezer to prevent it from melting into a gooey puddle as well as ruining the other layers. There are also many elements to this cake so I had to start making it the day before my friends were due to visit and it took me almost all day. I'm warning you, for those who want to lose weight shouldn't try this, because it made us (including me) feeling bloated and really full afterwards. But it really is the best cake I've ever made so far and it did leave the guests happy. If you still want to go ahead and create this, I suggest serving small pieces and eating them a little at a time, although it does look tempting doesn't it?
For the cake, I used Rosie of Sweetapolita's recipe as a guide and adapted it to become a little bit more complicated. But of course you could follow her recipe if you would like to recreate her cake. I changed the instructions a bit below though if you would prefer making this. I made homemade ice cream, which I used the 2 batches of the same recipe as my Easy Peasy Ice Cream but you could buy it if you don't have enough time. I kept the first layer plain vanilla and the other layer with some nutella in it to make it chocolatey. I didn't add chocolate to the sides and to the biscuit base though like Rosie did because I thought it had enough chocolate in it. I also made the brownie but cut it into half as it was pretty thick and as a result, my poor springform cake pan nearly overflowed with all of the layers.

Double-Decker Ice Cream Cake
Adapted from Sweetapolita's Double Chocolate & Banana Ice Cream Cake:

Biscuit base
1/2 cup (1 stick, 115 g, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 packages chocolate biscuits (9 ounce/255 g packages totaling 14.5 ounces/382 g) OR 14.5 ounces/382 g of Oreo cookie crumbs

Ice cream filling
3 1/2 cups of vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
3 1/2 cups of chocolate ice cream, slightly softened

Chocolate ganache
1/2 cup (4 liquid ounces) whipping cream (heavy cream, 35%)
6 ounces (170 g) premium bittersweet (extra dark) or semisweet (dark) chocolate
White chocolate shavings (optional)

6 1/2 ounces (185 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used 3/4 cup cocoa powder instead but if you're using the chocolate, omit the cocoa)
1 1/2 sticks (173 g) unsalted butter
1 2/3 (332 g) cups sugar
1 cup (140 g) all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon (5 mL) pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Biscuit base
1. Grind the chocolate biscuits in a food processor until they become fine crumbs (unless you are using store-bought cookie crumbs).

2. Gently stir cookie crumbs into the melted butter until just combined. Set 1 cup (8 liquid ounces) of the mixture aside, and press remaining crumbs onto the bottom of an 8-inch round springform pan. Place in freezer until firm.

1. Preheat oven to 163°C. Line an 8″ round pan with baking paper (leave some overhang for easy removal).

2. Melt the butter (and chocolate if you want) in a heatproof bowl over a small pot of simmering water. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth.

3. Remove bowl from the heat, and add the sugar, stirring until well incorporated. Add the flour (and cocoa if you're not using chocolate) and stir until well combined. Lastly, stir in the eggs, vanilla, and salt, and mix until thick and smooth.

4. Spread the batter among your pan evenly with a small offset palette knife and bake until the surface of the brownie is cracking and flaky for about 30 minutes. The centre of the brownie may not be cooked, but it will harden when it cools.

5. Cool it completely in pan on wire rack. Chill in pan, then remove using baking overhang.

1. Warm cream in small saucepan over medium heat until it just begins to bubble.

2. Add chocolate and whisk gently until smooth. Let it cool for about 45 minutes.

1. Spoon the chocolate ice cream onto the frozen crust and spread evenly with an offset palette knife (you will want to place the bowl of remaining ice cream into the freezer while you work on the first half).

2. Sprinkle and gently press the reserved crumb mixture on top, followed by one of the halved brownie layer. Freeze for about an hour.

3. Place remaining ice cream on top, and then the other brownie layer and freeze for about 4 hours.
4. Warm bowl of glaze over simmering water until it is pourable but not too warm.

5. Spread over top of the whole cake with the small offset palette knife.

6. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings or your own decorations while the ganache is still wet. Freeze overnight.

7. Loosen sides of cake with a small knife between pan and cake, then release from springform pan, and place on plate or cake stand.

*Note that if you don't want to include the brownie, simply omit it but it adds a chewy texture to the cake and it heightens the other flavours. You can use a different biscuit base or add your own ice cream flavours instead of vanilla and chocolate to the cake. The options are endless so be creative!
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