Triple Ginger Cookie Icebox Cake

I disappeared for a few months. If anyone is still reading this, this is my apology.

I have since left New Jersey for New York. I’ve moved into a brand new (for me – it’s actually quite old) apartment without a roommate and I’ve started my first real salaried job. I didn’t take any of my old furniture with me so it’s been a lot of shopping, assembling, moving, and learning. In the midst of it all this blog fell to the wayside. I thought about ending it all – working 80 hours a week hasn’t left much time for myself, Boy, or much else. Checking my email has come down to the 5 minutes before I fall asleep at night. Baking still exists but it is hurried and never that attractive.

But Boy convinced me otherwise and so I’m here. I may not be here as often as before but I’m still here. The purpose of the blog was to push my baking boundaries and that drive still exists. I’m determined to be comfortable with a cupboard of flour and sugar and to know in the back on my mind what I can do with it without having to check the internet.

My little treat for the week was this delicious icebox cake. I was contacted by Andrea several months ago about her new book, The I Love Trader Joe’s College Cookbook. While I’m long out of college, the idea of quick and simple and the idea of Trader Joe’s both resonate with me. I was immediately intrigued.

This cookbook has a TON of great ideas to offer. While you can obviously just wander around TJ’s and eat the food as is, this expands your repertoire without breaking the bank or the clock. This icebox cake took minutes to assemble and just a quick overnight trip to the freezer and it was done! And the flavor is incredible. It tastes as if I slaved all day making the cake layers. The ginger flavor is prominent but well-balanced. I can’t say enough about this. I’m eating the huge piece I photographed right now!

Triple Ginger Cookie Icebox Cake
adapted from The I Love Trader Joe’s College Cookbook by Andrea Lynn

Ingredients

  • 2 9-oz packages Trader Joe‘s Cookie Thins Triple Ginger cookies
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger (I didn’t have any so I used 1/2 tsp ground ginger and 1 tsp crystallized ginger, minced)
  • 2 c heavy cream, chilled
  • 1 tbsp sugar
Instructions
In a large bowl, place ginger, cream, and sugar. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream until stiff peaks form by gradually increasing the speed from low to medium-high. Set aside about one-fifth of the cream and 6 cookies.
Use a spatula to spread about 2 tbsp of the whipped cream on a large plate. Top the cream with a single layer of cookies. Fit as many as possible. Layer with whipped cream. Continue layering cookies followed by cream until you have 8-10 complete layers. When finished, use set-aside whipped cream to cover the top and sides of the cake.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (I stuck mine in the freezer) for at least 8 hours. When ready to serve, crumble set-aside 6 cookies and sprinkle over the top.

As a bonus treat, Andrea was kind enough to send me a book to giveaway as well! Here’s how you can enter to win:

1. Comment on this post for one entry.

2. Advertise via facebook, twitter, blog, whatever. Comment again with what you did for another entry.

Giveaway ends August 12 at midnight!

If you don’t win, you can always purchase the book yourself here.

Thanks for sticking with me.

Blackberry Custard Kuchen

I most definitely did not do this kuchen justice with this picture. And, unfortunately, there is not another picture I can show you. Suffice it to say this kuchen was so delicious it was gobbled up in under 18 hours. I had planned to take pictures of a slice the next day after returning home from commencement since I baked it in a frenzy the night my relatives flew in from Seattle (and Mom, on her way out to the airport, suddenly requested a baked good to magically appear when she returned).

It was quite delicious though. The blackberries (though raspberries and blueberries would also work well) married perfectly with the slightly sweet custard topping and complementary crust.

I really need to take a class or something so I can better describe. All I can ever seem to say is “mmmmm” while my mouth is stuffed with sugary, creamy goodness.

Just make this!

Blackberry Custard Kuchen
adapted from allrecipes

Ingredients

For crust:

  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut in 1-inch chunks
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 2 pints blackberries, rinsed
For topping:
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
Preheat oven to 375F and grease a 13 x 9″ baking dish.

For crust, In a food processor or large bowl, combine 1 cup flour and salt. Pulse in butter or cut in with 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cream. Press into the bottom of the prepared dish. Combine sugar and remaining 1/2 c flour in a bowl and sprinkle over crust. Arrange blackberries atop sugar/flour mixture.
For topping, Combine sugar and flour. Then add in eggs, cream, and vanilla. Pour over berries. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until lightly browned. Can be served warm or chilled.
Are you partaking of the berry season?

Strawberry-Coconut Cheesecake

The other morning I woke up and decided that I needed to have cheesecake. I’d recently been to a party that had mini cheesecakes baked in cupcake wrappers but it didn’t quite do the trick for me. So I woke up and craved, needed a proper  cheesecake. I needed gobs of serious cream cheese laced with sugar. I need it to be fruity because fruity means “guilt-free” but chocolatey means “get on the treadmill.” And since I cancelled my gym membership for my impending room, treadmilling was not an option.

Is my thinking delusional? Nahh.

So with reckless abandon I forgot all the errands I had planned to run, did a quick scan of the world wide web, ran to the supermarket (because who keeps 3 blocks of cream cheese around?), ran to fetch my springform pan 20 minutes away, room temperaturized my cream cheese in record time (cheese in ziploc, ziploc in cold water, cold water in bowl), and made a cheesecake!

Run-on sentences are the bomb diggity.

 

This cheesecake was everything I wanted it to be. It was reminiscent of summer with the fresh strawberry topping and delicious coconut crust. The filling itself was not too dense, just how I love it. (Is it blasphemous not to love thick dense cheesecakes if I’m moving to NY?) All in all, a win.

Strawberry-Coconut Cheesecake
adapted from epicurious

Ingredients

For crust:

  • 6 tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted, divided
  • 1/2 c sweetened shredded coconut, toasted, cooled (toast on foil at 400F for 5-10 minutes until browned – be careful not to burn it!)
  • 3/4 c graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/8 c sugar

For filling:

  • 24 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 c (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 c sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 c sweetened cream of coconut (ie Coco Lopez)
  • 1/4 c coconut rum (ie Malibu)

For topping:

  • 2 lb fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1/4 c strawberry jam (seedless preferred)
  • 2 tbsp water

Instructions
For crust: Preheat oven to 350F. Brush springform pan with approximately 1 tbsp melted butter. If needed, line with parchment and brush parchment with extra butter. In a medium bowl, mix together remaining butter, coconut, graham cracker crumbs, and sugar until well moistened. Press into bottom of the springform pan and bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned at the edges. Cool and reduce oven temperature to 300F.

For filling: Using an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese, butter, cornstarch, and sugar until well combined. Add eggs in one at a time, scraping and mixing completely. Beat in cream of coconut and coconut rum. Strain mixture through a sieve and pour into cooled crust. Bake in a water bath at 300F for 1 hr 40 min (epicurious had all these instructions for covering with foil etc but I omitted and had no issues). The cake should jiggle a bit when done and be browned on the edges. Once done, turn oven off, crack oven door open, and let sit in the oven for 30 minutes before taking out to cool completely in the refrigerator (5 hours or more, preferably overnight).

For topping: Simmer jam and water in a saucepan until combined. Layer strawberries atop cheesecake and brush with glaze. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve. Can be assembled 8 hours in advance.

Do you ever crave?

Crostata

Is it possible to have too much fun? These past couple weeks have been a whirlwind of graduation events, parties, BBQs, and weddings. I think I’ve had more alcohol this past week than plain old water (which, if you know me at all, is not something I normally do). Is that bad?

Consequently, blogging has hit the backburner as I slowly make it through the flurry of goodbyes (many of my friends are leaving the area, myself included, and moving elsewhere for residency) and soaking up the last bits of free time we’ll all have in a long time. I apologize. I’ll try to post consistently but the commenting thing may not happen until I’m settled in July. Be patient.

In the meantime, this crostata was an easy dessert to prepare for my family when time was short. It tasted of summer without requiring any completely fresh fruit (is anyone else terrible at picking out the sweetest fruit from the stand?). You can substitute any jam/preserves you wish making this insanely adaptable to your pantry! Can you really go wrong with Giada?

Crostata with Raspberry Preserves
adapted from Giada at Food Network

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp grated lemon peel
  • 10 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3-4 tbsp ice water
  • 12 oz (3/4 c) raspberry preserves
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp sliced almonds, toasted
  • powdered sugar, optional

Instructions
In a food processor, blend flour, sugar, and lemon zest. Add in butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add salt and continue pulsing. Add water one tablespoon at a time until dough begins to form together when pressed with your fingers. I used 3 1/2 tablespoons in total. Gather dough into a ball, flatten into a round, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, approximately one hour.

Once chilled, preheat oven to 400F. Roll dough out into an 11-inch round on a piece of parchment cut to fit your baking sheet. In a small bowl mix together preserves and lemon juice. Spread over dough, leaving 2 inches all around. Fold over crust, sealing gently, to create an 8-inch round. Place parchment on baking sheet and bake 35-40 minutes or until lightly browned. When cooled, sprinkle toasted almonds and dust with powdered sugar if desired.

Cookie Dough Pie

As of sometime today I will officially be a doctor. (I hear I won’t leave the premises for 6 hours.. so the exact timing of this doctor-hood beginning is unknown.)

Can you believe it?

Me neither.

Since coming back from China it’s been a whirlwind of tying up loose ends and graduation festivities. I alternate from sleeping in and being sleep-deprived. My mood switches rapidly from sadness to be closing this chapter and happiness for the same thing. And in the midst of it all, of course, I’ve been baking.

I made this pie for a barbecue last week. I unfortunately had to leave early and didn’t get the chance to hear everyone’s feedback but I stole a slice, took a bite, and I was in complete heaven. Before we left, Boy had stolen two pieces of his own and the entire group knew we thought the pie was perfection in a spoon.

Cookie Dough Cream Pie
adapted from Love and Olive Oil

Ingredients
For crust:

  • 7 oz chocolate wafer cookies like Oreos, filling scraped out/eaten
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

For cookie dough:

  • 1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/8 c granulated sugar
  • 3/8 c packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tbsp milk
  • 1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 c mini chocolate chips

For brown sugar cream:

  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/3 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 c milk, divided
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For whipped topping:

  • 1 c heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions
For crust: Preheat oven to 350F. Using a food processor (or your own hands if you have some pent up anger), grind the cookie wafers into crumbs. Combine with melted butter. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9″ pie plate, using the bottom of a measuring cup or ramekin to ensure even thickness. Bake for 8 minutes and set aside to cool completely. Keep oven on for cookies.

For cookie dough/cookie garnish: Beat butter and sugars together using an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add vanilla and milk and combine. Add in flour, salt, and baking soda on low speed until just incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips by hand. Take 8 small chunks of dough and form 1/2″ balls, reserving the rest of the dough for the pie. Bake small balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 7-9 minutes or until edges are lightly golden. Cool completely.

For brown sugar cream: In a medium saucepan, mix sugar, flour and salt. Add in one cup of milk and while stirring constantly bring to a boil over medium heat. Thicken for 2 minutes then remove from heat.

In a separate bowl, beat together egg yolks and remaining cup of milk. Temper egg yolks by adding some of the thickened heated mixture to the egg yolk mixture and whisking to warm. Pour entire egg yolk mixture back into saucepan, whisking constantly, and bring to a boil again. Then, lower heat and simmer for another minute, until it is the consistency of thick pudding. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Set aside to cool slightly.

For assembly: Break off pieces of cookie dough and begin forming a cookie dough layer atop the cookie crust. You want a layer approximately 1/2″ thick. If there’s leftover feel free to snack. Then, pour slightly cooled cream filling atop the cookie dough layer, smoothing over the top with a spatula. Pop in the fridge until completely chilled.

For whipped topping: When ready to serve, beat heavy cream on low to medium speed until soft peaks form. Add in sugar and vanilla and continue beating on medium to high speed until stiff peaks form. Spread over top of pie, reserving some for a piping bag if desired. Garnish with cooled cookies and serve!

Yes, I took this picture in Boy’s car while driving to the party. Shoot me.

Congratulations Class of 2011!!

Bittman’s Brownies

Ni hao, friends!! I’m back from China, jet-lag free and super excited for the coming weeks filled with graduation festivities, friends, family (all coming in for my graduation party), and even more fun.

Whirlwind recap of China: Extremely tiring since every day there was something else exciting to see but definitely a lot of fun. Highlights include Shanghai (what a lovely city!), the Great Wall (picture below), a friend’s wedding, and literally spending every last penny of ours on food. It was two weeks with one of my favorite people in the world, our first trip longer than an extended weekend, and it was wonderful.

Now for the baking. Towards the end of our trip I was constantly complaining that I wanted some serious chocolate cake or brownie action. If you’ve eaten Asian food, you’ve realized that they’re not big on chocolate and their cakes are not the rich, dense versions you’ll find in any Western bakery, but rather light, fluffy sponge cakes with a barely detectable flavor. For this girl, whose refrigerator is never without butter and heavy cream and whose pantry is constantly stocked with dark chocolate, satisfaction with Eastern desserts could only last so long. So while I enjoyed my time in China I was looking forward to getting back into my own kitchen and whipping up some serious brownies.

These are serious brownies. They were not as chewy as I like my favorite brownies but they sure satisfied that gnawing in my stomach from a lack of a really good chocolate dessert.

Bittman’s Brownies
adapted from Eats Well With Others

Makes 16 or 1 8×8″ square pan.

Ingredients

  • 3 oz dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 c sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c all-purpose flour

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350F. Line 8×8″ baking pan with aluminum foil. Melt chocolate and butter together in a medium-sized bowl over gently simmering water. Once almost melted, take off heat and continue stirring until completely melted. Stir in sugar with a wooden spoon followed by the eggs one at a time, salt, and vanilla extract. With a spatula, fold in flour until it just disappears. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 25-30 minutes or until just set. Eat with a spoon as soon as they come out of the oven.

Yeahhhhh spoon!!

Pina Colada Cake

(Pardon the horrendous picture. This is actually the only decent shot I got and I am terrible at taking pictures in restaurants!)

I’m currently in China getting chubby on dumplings and hand-pulled noodles but figured I’d leave something sweet for you to munch on while I’m gone!

I made this cake as a (surprise, surprise) last-minute decision for a friend’s birthday (originally someone else volunteered but ended up not having enough time). I simplified it by baking it in a disposable cake pan, making a whipped topping rather than buttercream, and just slathering on toppings rather than slicing out layers etc. Actually, I was under some severe time constraints so we drove all the way to the restaurant with separate components and a still-too-warm cake and I threw it all together in Boy’s trunk. Thankfully, it came together perfectly and went well with the Cuban dinner we attended for the celebrant. It was a huge hit (some even said it was better than this ice cream cake). The flavors melded and the cake was a light ending to our meal. Each individual component was full of flavor and together there could be nothing more delicious.

Pina Colada Cake
adapted from Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes

Ingredients
For Brown Sugar Cake:

  • 3 3/4 c cake flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 c packed light brown sugar
  • 1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 c buttermilk
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

For Pineapple Topping:

  • 1 can (20 oz) crushed pineapple in juice
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1/4 c freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 vanilla bean

For Coconut Whipped Topping

  • 2 c heavy cream, chilled
  • 1/4 c confectioner’s sugar, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp coconut extract
  • 1/2 c sweetened shredded coconut, for garnish

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350F.

For filling: Combine pineapple, sugar, lemon juice, and the scraped vanilla seeds in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir constantly while the sugar dissolves, 2-3 minutes. Then increase the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened and almost jam-like. Cool completely before using.

For cake: Butter a 9×13″ cake pan (or 3 9″ round cake pans). If you use the 9×13″ pan, you will have extra batter for cupcakes or a 9″ round cake.

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl attached to an electric mixer. Whisk gently to combine. Add brown sugar, butter, and 1 1/2 c buttermilk and blend on low speed. Once incorporated, beat on medium 2-3 minutes or until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs with remaining 1/4 buttermilk and vanilla. Add to the batter in 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl in between, just until combined. Pour 2/3 of the cake batter (you can eyeball) into the prepared cake pan, saving the rest for cupcakes or a smaller cake. (Or divide among the 3 9″ round cake pans evenly.) Bake 35-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean (for smaller pans, adjust time accordingly). Cool completely before topping.

For whipped topping: Whip heavy cream until soft peak stage. Add confectioner’s sugar and coconut extract and continue beating until stiff peaks. Taste and add sugar/extract as needed for your coconut loving taste.

For assembly: Spread pineapple topping over cooled cake (despite not using all the cake batter in my 9×13″ cake, I still used all of the topping – it’s yummy!). Then spread shredded coconut, followed by the whipped topping. Serve and enjoy!

I wish I had more pictures but alas it was not my camera’s night.

Enjoy your week everyone!

DB April – Maple Mousse in a Bacon Container

I realize that many of you think this is a crime punishable by law but.. I don’t really love bacon.

I like bacon, yes. I think it smells fantastic. Bacon grease is an excellent way to add flavor to pretty much anything. However, when it comes to breakfast I prefer hearty, fatty sausage to bacon. I find that my perfectly cooked bacon is not always how others make it and I’m also terrible at making bacon the way I want it. In the end, it often amounts to a lot of grease with not-super-awesome texture. I’m usually left wanting.

So when I found out that this month’s Daring Bakers challenge was a maple mousse served in bacon cups I was a little underwhelmed. I’m typically excited upon finding out the challenge and immediately start thinking about when I can make it and who I can serve it to. This time, I waited until the very last minute before leaving for China and just made a single one for myself in case it wasn’t fit for sharing.

I was so wrong. After bite numero uno, I started kicking myself for not making more. Baking the bacon in the oven for exactly 27 minutes yielded a perfectly crisp complement to the smooth and slightly sweet maple mousse. The combination together is indescribably good. I licked my plate afterwards and I’m not afraid to say it. This was a winner.

The April 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Evelyne of the blog Cheap Ethnic Eatz. Evelyne chose to challenge everyone to make a maple mousse in an edible container. Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 27th to May 27th at http://thedaringkitchen.com!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins

I’m leaving for China this coming Sunday. (Can I get a what WHAT??) Don’t worry, I have posts lined up while I’m gone.

There are errands to do, ends to tie up (as it’s also my last week of school), things to buy, and bags to pack. In all the frenzy, I developed a craving for muffins. Something I can run out the door with and get enough of an energy boost to keep me going. Cue wonderful muffin recipe falling into my lap.

These muffins are delicious. They’re grainy and healthy tasting but with just enough chocolate to satisfy my sweet tooth. The hint of cinnamon in the background of it all doesn’t hurt either. And bonus you don’t even need to break out any electrical mixers for this – it can all be done with a whisk and a spatula in  just two bowls. Oh yes, this recipe is all kinds of wonderful.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to call my credit card company so that I don’t get completely cut off in the middle of China.

PS. Have you been to China? We’re going to Beijing, Shanghai, and Hanzhou with a day trip to the Great Wall (we’re thinking Mutianyu). Any recommendations/tips/advice are much appreciated.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins
adapted from How Sweet It Is

Makes 12 muffins.

Ingredients

  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 1 c milk, divided (I used whole)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 c light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 c white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 c semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin tin with paper liners or grease with nonstick spray.

In a small bowl, mix rolled oats and 1/2 c milk. Set aside for 5 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk together egg and brown sugar until caramel-colored and well combined. Add in vanilla and butter and whisk until combined (some chunks are okay). Add in oat mixture, flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix. Stir in remaining 1/2 c milk. Finally fold in chocolate chips. Portion out about 1/4 c batter per muffin cup and bake for 18-20 minutes.

I didn’t even share these with Boy. I ate all of them myself. Yum!

Neapolitan Ice Cream Cake

Lessons I’ve learned thus far in my quarter of a century existence on this earth:

1. Double knotting sneakers can never be a bad thing.

2. Facial moisterizer is necessary after I wash my face or I dry up and it’s not attractive.

3. People have a funny way of surprising you (this can be good or bad but there are lots of surprises either way).

4. Coffee is not actually essential to my being though I enjoy it.

5. Ice cream cakes are best made in a pan with four tall sides for ease of transport and the least amount of messy.

Yup. That’s it. Five things. That’s one thing for every five years I’ve been alive. But the quantity isn’t what matters, it’s the quality, and friends, that’s some quality lessons learned up there. Let’s talk about the last one, shall we?

Several weeks ago we went out for a going away party for a friend (she just left for Korea for a month). While she was out of earshot, her boyfriend said that he thought she snuck a cake into their car because she’d be out of town for his birthday. He then remarked that out of all the years they’d been together she’d never gotten him the cake he truly wanted. My ears perked up. Cake? I’m in!

Turns out all he wanted was an ice cream cake. And that’s what he was going to get.

The first birthday cake I made for my group of friends was actually for Boy. He too wanted an ice cream cake but only told me this on the day of his celebration which led to a lot of scrambling around. Needless to say, the cake was improperly frozen and proceeded to melt all over me as we tried to transport it from my freezer to the restaurant. There was toilet paper involved. Don’t ask.

The second ice cream cake I made the next year was for Boy’s roommate. I discovered the joys of building the cake in a disposable pan with tall sides so that if it began to melt it wouldn’t melt on me. Much better. However, I baked the cake in a separate pan and then transferred it which meant some holes and not the prettiest slices.

This time around, I think I finally perfected my ideal cake. I baked a bottom cake layer in the pan and simply built up the cake by adding homemade ice cream on top. It was a huge hit with the birthday boy, Boy himself, and all our friends and was much simpler than my previous versions. I may switch up the flavors but this will definitely be my method!

Note: If you’re looking to plan out your time, I suggest making the ice cream bases the night before and refrigerating overnight. The cake can also be made the day before if desired or the morning of. Make sure you freeze it for at least an hour before spreading ice cream on top. I then churned my middle layer (vanilla), immediately spread atop the cake, and froze for 20 minutes while my top layer (strawberry) churned. I didn’t wash my ice cream maker in between and went straight from flavor to flavor. You can spread this part over a few days if you like. I’m just insane.

Vanilla Ice Cream
adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking from My Home to Yours

Makes ~ 1 quart.

Ingredients

  • 2 c whole milk
  • 2 c heavy cream
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Instructions
Bring milk and cream to boil in a heavy saucepan. Meanwhile whisk together yolks and sugar until slightly thickened. While whisking, drizzle 1/3 of the hot mixture into the eggs to temper. Pour the rest of the hot mixture in, whisk, and then transfer back into the pan. Heat on medium, stirring constantly, until the mixture is 170-180F or the custard coats the back of a spoon without running when you slide a finger through it. Strain into a heatproof bowl. Stir in the vanilla extract. Cover and refrigerate until ready to churn according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.

Strawberry Ice Cream
adapted from epicurious

Makes ~5 cups.

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 c heavy cream
  • 3 3×1 inch strips of lemon zest
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 c sugar, divided
  • 1 lb frozen strawberries (fresh if you can find really great ones), trimmed and quartered
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions
Combine cream, zest, and salt in a saucepan and heat until just to a boil. Remove from heat and discard zest.

In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and 1/2 c sugar until well combined. Add a small amount of the heavy cream to the egg mixture while whisking constantly. Then add the rest in, mix, and pour back into the saucepan. Turn the heat back on medium-low and whisk constantly as you heat the mixture to 170F. Be sure you do not exceed 180F. Pour through a sieve into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate at least 2 hours or until cool.

Once cooled, puree strawberries with remaining 1/4 c sugar and lemon juice in a blender. Strain through a sieve to remove seeds. Mix into the cooled custard. Churn according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.

Chocolate Cake
adapted from Gale Gand

Makes 1 9×13″ cake.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 1/4 c + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c + 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 eggs*
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c boiling water

*for the half egg, you can break the egg into a bowl, whisk, then measure out half of the mixture

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13″ cake pan and set aside.

Sift together sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk to combine. In a separate bowl fitted with an electric mixer, combine eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and beat on low for 5 minutes. Gradually add the hot water, still mixing at low speed until just combined. Pour batter into the pan and bake 25-30 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Cool and freeze at least 1 hour to firm up before assembly.

For Assembly: Ensure that the vanilla ice cream is soft before spreading by either spreading right after churning or letting the ice cream sit on the counter for 30 minutes. Spread vanilla ice cream onto the frozen chocolate cake. Freeze for 30 minutes while you churn or soften the strawberry layer. Spread strawberry ice cream and freeze at least 1 hour before serving. Decorate as desired.

I love ice cream cakes, don’t you?

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