Monday, July 12, 2010

Ice cream cake

In honor of my mom's milestone birthday yesterday I will post instructions on how to make an ice cream cake - something she taught me.

Ideally you need 24 hours to make an ice cream cake but if you have a really great freezer you can do it in less time.

To make a 9" round cake you will need:
1 8" round cake - frozen
2 - half gallon containers of ice cream (your favorite flavor*) - you will have some left over
1 half gallon of vanilla or chocolate ice cream for the "frosting"
stuff to decorate it with
Waxed paper
9" round cake pan
*rocky road ice cream is especially challenging because of the mini marshmallows.

Bake your cake first. I usually just use a box cake mix and cook it in two 8 inch pans. Make sure you grease and flour them well before cooking them, let them set 10 minutes in the pan on a cooling rack after they are finished cooking and then turn them out onto the cooling rack. When they are cool, put them each in a gallon ziploc bag, squeeze out all the air and put in the freezer until frozen solid. You will only be using one of the layers.

If you want a larger cake you just need to make sure the pan you put the ice cream layer in is 1" larger than the cake. (a 10" pan uses a whole cake mix and the full 2- 1/2 gallons of ice cream. You can use the same sized pan it's just not as easy.

Once the cakes are in the oven set out your filling ice cream to soften.
Line a 9" cake pan with waxed paper and set aside. When ice cream is somewhat soft remove large portions and press it into the lined pan making sure it fills in all the crevices and has no air space. Smooth the top so it is level, cover it with another piece of waxed paper and put it in the freezer.

When the cake and ice cream are both frozen, put the cake on your serving platter, (remove the top layer of waxed paper) and center the ice cream on top of the cake, removing all waxed paper.
Allow it to sit at room temperature to soften the edges of the ice cream.
When the ice cream is soft and spreadable, carefully spread the ice cream down over the sides of the cake. Smooth the sides and then spread the crown that is created at the edges of the top of the cake towards the center so that the ice cream leaves a smooth surface all around the cake.
Put it back in the freezer to harden - at least an hour - most likely more.
About 20 min. before you are ready to "frost" the cake take the vanilla or chocolate ice cream out of the fridge and let it soften. When it is soft enough, put it in a large bowl and break it up.
Let it sit to soften a little more and then using the back of a sturdy spoon stir and smash the frozen lumps out of the ice cream until it is smooth but still thick.
Retrieve your frozen cake from the freezer and dump all the "frosting" ice cream on top of it.
Spread it on the top of the cake creating a large lip that hangs over the sides.
From the top smooth the lip down the sides and around the cake taking more from the overhanging lip of ice cream as needed.

It helps to turn the cake as you go to smooth out the sides.
Once the sides are smooth, use the spatula to clear off the extra ice cream, returning it to the bowl (to eat later or make shakes with - sooo yummy).

continue to smooth the top removing excess ice cream.
Don't take too long doing this as your cake will be melting.
Return it to the freezer as quickly as possible.

The longer you can freeze it at this point the easier it will be to decorate.
Use regular decorator frosting to pipe borders but work quickly so they don't slide off. Melted chocolate is always good dripped on the edges but allow it to cool as much as possible before putting it on the ice cream to avoid sliding.

When you are ready to serve the cake, allow the whole cake to sit out for 10 min. or so to soften for easier serving. A knife dipped in hot water also helps.

For Ruby's Elmo cake we printed off a picture of Elmo from the internet, cut out the center creating a stencil and filled it in with red sprinkles. I piped melted chocolate for the outlines and mouth and filled the nose in with almond butter.