Whether your childhood memories are of Carvel’s or Baskin-Robbins, ice cream cakes seem to scream “birthday.” But unfortunately the store-bought ones often disappoint a grown-up palate. Maybe you never can go home again?
If home isn’t the same because it has changed or you have, don’t despair. We have a quick, inexpensive fix. Make your own ice cream cake – you can spring for better quality ingredients and still pay less.
We served our homemade ice cream cake at a recent birthday and even overheard a friendly neighbor question whether we had indeed made the cake because it was so good. But she ended up asking for the details and served the cake at her own son’s birthday – pretty in pink, pictured above. Only she sandwiched a layer of sorbet between two flavors of ice cream and put it on a chocolate chip cookie base. If the grass is not greener, the ice cream cakes are certainly more elaborate and delicious.
1 pint Whipping cream or heavy cream
1 gallon ice cream
1 8-inch cake pan filled with your favorite brownie or cookie recipe
Fill an 8-inch springform pan with your favorite ice cream flavor (soy-based works too if you’re going dairy-free). You may have to leave the ice cream out a bit to soften it so that it is moldable. Then put the springform pan in the freezer. Freeze until firm (we did it the night before). While it is firming, bake brownies or cookies (from a mix, from scratch, doesn’t matter) in an 8-inch cake pan. Make sure to flour the pan or bake them on parchment paper so that they can come out in one piece (but don’t stress out, this part is the base and no one will see it. Turn the brownie or cookie base out onto a cake plate. Dip the springform pan into hot water briefly then run a knife around the side to separate the ice cream from the side of the pan. Remove springform part and invert ice cream cylinder onto base. Slice off bottom of pan that is on top of ice cream cylinder (or remove if it has melted enough). Put base topped with ice cream cylinder in freezer. Right before serving, beat cream with mixer until it magically turns into whipped cream, adding sugar to taste. Frost cake with whipped cream. Note that whipped cream can also be piped onto cake but whipped cream melts quickly if you are holding the pastry bag. Add sliced strawberries or fruit to top to cover any imperfections in whipped cream icing. Refreeze but only briefly. Remove from freezer 15 minutes or so before serving. Bask in adulation of peers and/or pint-sized people.