My birthday was this past week!
Every birthday I can remember celebrating with my family has included both cake and ice cream. Each person’s plate not only included a slice of birthday cake, but also a generous scoop of ice cream.
As a child--and well, as an adult, if I’m really being honest--I had a preferred method for eating that cake and ice cream. I would eat the frosting first, not because I liked the icing best, but because I felt that it’s flavor and texture got in the way of the cake and ice cream. Next, I would smoosh all the cake with my fork and vigorously mix it with the slightly softened ice cream. Then, it was perfectly mushy & ready to be eaten.
I know, it’s a terribly unladylike way to eat cake... (especially when it’s someone else’s birthday).
My mom made all of our birthday cakes when I was a kid (or rather, until I caught the baking bug and asked to make my own cake). We were allowed to pick out exactly what kind of cake, icing and ice cream we wanted each year. Though she didn’t exactly approve of my preferred cake-and-ice-cream-eating method, she did take pity on me & create a whole new genre of cake for me: the “cake and ice cream cake.”
She baked a chocolate cake, crumbled it up, mixed the cake crumbs with vanilla ice cream, spread the whole mixture back into a 9x13 pan & froze it until solid. Then, she still piped “Happy Birthday Laura!” and some decorations on it right before candles were added & the “Happy Birthday” song was sung. The time out of the freezer & the heat from the candles would soften the cake enough to cut it into squares for serving. And voila, a perfectly polite way to eat my favorite cake and ice cream mush concoction.
It’s been awhile I’ve last had one of my mom’s cake-and-ice cream cakes. Most years, I still make my mushy concoction, usually with cake leftovers, but for my birthday this year, I decided to resurrect the cake and ice cream cake.
I made just a couple of changes.... I added a crust, using Glutino gluten free chocolate sandwich cookies because who doesn’t like a chocolate sandwich cookie crust! The crust also acts as an insulator so that the ice cream doesn’t melt as quickly when put onto the plate, and it makes the cake less messy to serve.
I also folded in a bit of whipped cream to the cake and ice cream filling, just to help stabilize it a little for serving & to keep the cake from melting as quickly. Finally, instead of decorating the top of the cake with colored icing, I piped a quick shell border with some additional whipped cream.
We invited some friends over for an impromptu cake and (spiked) coffee gathering the night of my birthday. It was fun to tell them the backstory to the cake. And, none of them could taste that the cake was gluten free! I’d say it was a great success :)
Cake and Ice Cream Cake
yields 12 servings
One Bowl Chocolate Cake (Gluten Free Version)
makes one 8x8 pan (or 12 cupcakes)
adapted from Martha Stewart
1.15 oz Cocoa Powder, sifted
3.2 oz AP Flour (I used Jeanne’s Gluten Free AP Mix)
5.25 oz Granulated Sugar
3/4 t Baking Soda
3/4 t Baking Powder
1/2 t Sea Salt
3 fl oz Buttermilk
1 large Egg
1.5 Tbl (21 g) Vegetable Oil
1/2 t Vanilla Extract
3 fl oz Water (or substitute cold coffee)
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Generously spray an 8x8 baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the sifted cocoa powder, flour, granulated sugar, soda, powder, and salt.
- Add the buttermilk, egg, vegetable oil, and vanilla to a 2 cup-liquid measuring cup. Gently break up the egg & combine the ingredients with a small whisk or a fork.
- Pour the buttermilk, egg, oil, vanilla mixture to the dry ingredients. Measure the water into the just used liquid measuring cup (to make sure everything is used) and also pour that into the dry ingredients.
- Whisk everything, just until combined. Pour into the prepared pan.
- Bake until a tooth pick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean (mine baked in a metal dish took approximately 25 minutes).
- Allow to cool completely. If not using immediately, wrap the cooled cake & store at room temperature. Cake may be made up to two days in advance.
17 ea/8.7 oz Chocolate Sandwich Cookies (I used one package, minus 4 of Glutino cookies)
2 oz/half a stick Unsalted Butter
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- In a food processor, blitz the cookies until they are finely ground.
- Microwave the butter until it is just barely melted.
- Stir together the melted butter with the cookie crumbs until the crumbs are all coated with butter.
- Press the mixture into a 9” springform pan. Bake at 350 for 5 minutes.
- Allow to cool completely then place in the freezer for 10 minutes to give it an extra chill.
1 recipe Chocolate Cake
16 oz half of a half gallon Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (you could make your own, if you like)
12 oz heavy Cream
3 Tbl Granulated Sugar
1 Tbl Vanilla Extract
1 Prepared Crust
- In a large bowl, crumble the baked, cooled chocolate cake until the cake is all crumbs.
- Remove the ice cream from the freezer & allow to soften slightly. (I scoop the ice cream directly into the bowl where the cake is & allow it to soften there.)
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla. Whip on high speed until the cream forms medium-stiff peaks. Remove 1/3 of the whipped cream & store in the refrigerator.
- Use a spatula to combine the cake & softened ice cream. Fold in the whipped cream & stir until just combined. The more stirring that happens, the more brown the mixture will become & the less contrast in color there will be between the dark colored cake and the light colored ice cream/whipped cream.
- Pour the filling into the cold prepared crust. Place the entire pan into the freezer and freeze for 2 hours. After 2 hours, wrap the pan well with plastic wrap & return to the freezer for at least 12 hours.
- When ready to serve, allow to sit at room temperature for a couple of minutes before removing the outer portion of the springform pan. Pipe a border around the edge of the cake using the reserved whipped cream. Use a hot knife to cut into slices & serve immediately. Store any leftovers, well wrapped, in the freezer.