Here’s the thing about four-year-olds: They are clever, they are charming, and they let you get away with nothing! Nothing at all, really, such as missing and not baking cakes for their toys’ birthdays. Yep. But, as you may have guessed, I am very open to the idea, and felt simply terrible that I forgot dear Clementine the Monkey’s birthday. Bad mommy. Bad. When Reese explained that it was Clementine’s birthday, and that we forgot to bake her a cake, I asked her what kind of cake would she want. She replied, “She’s a monkey, mommy, so banana, ice cream, and sprinkles, of course!” I simply couldn’t argue with that logic.
The good news for Clementine (and my girls) is that I’ve been wanting a reason to try making an ice cream cake, and I thought this seemed to be the perfect occasion. I found a fun and easy no-bake recipe for a round two-layer ice cream cake, and gave it a whirl. I was pretty enamoured with the concept: ice cream, a chocolate cookie crust, a ganache shell, and no-bake. Well, it was no-bake until I decided to replace the middle layer with my favourite brownie recipe, but it’s not necessary to make this cake yummy.
I did love the chewy brownie center, and I loved the idea that the possibilities for ice cream cake are endless: you can add almost anything you can dream up, and chances are it will take great inside an ice cream cake. Next time I would be tempted to create homemade ice cream for this cake, but a premium ice cream (they freeze well) worked well. You definitely could use homemade, if you enjoy and have time to make your own.
The original recipe was peppermint, but we assumed that Clementine would want no part of that, so I went with a premium vanilla ice cream mixed with some frozen banana puree (any reason to use my food processor excites me). It was really a pretty simple way to go, but I wanted to avoid filling it with candy (although you definitely could, and it’s safe to say that I will too in the near future), and I wanted something classic and not too sweet. It was a success!
After an entire night of freezing, it was finally ready to go, and the kids eagerly awaited their slices. Is it just me, or does Clementine have that cake in an unrelenting stare-lock?
Neve was definitely ready for cake. But, then again, she was born ready.
And smiles for Daddy (I’m pretty sure that those expressions of adoration are exclusive to him) while they waited ever-so-patiently.
It was so yummy, but I have to tell you this was the most difficult treat I’ve ever photographed. As you can imagine, it started to melt pretty quickly and the window for photography was small. Good thing it tasted so good.
Happy Birthday to You
Happy Birthday to You
Happy Birthday Dear Clementine
Happy Birthday to You
Here’s the recipe for the no-bake version. If you would like to try it with the brownie, you can simply omit step two and replace with your favourite brownie baked in an 8-inch round pan and chilled. I’ve included the recipe for my all-time favourite brownies below (I highly recommend making them anytime, actually) adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook. Actually, I’ve been making these incredible brownies for several years now, and they are one of the most requested things I bake. I believe that using premium chocolate is the key.
- 8 oz. (227 g) premium bittersweet (extra dark) or semisweet (dark) chocolate
- 1/2 cup (1 stick)(115 g) unsalted butter
- 1-1/2 packages chocolate wafers (382 g) or 382 g of Oreo cookie crumbs
- 7 cups of premium vanilla ice cream, slightly softened (or you can use homemade banana ice cream, and eliminate the addition of bananas)
- 3 large bananas, frozen
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) whipping cream (heavy cream, 35%)
- 1/4 cup (59 ml) light corn syrup
- 6 oz. (170 g) premium bittersweet (extra dark) or semisweet (dark) chocolate, finely chopped
- Sprinkles, optional
- In a heatproof bowl over simmering water, melt chocolate and butter until smooth. Stir gently with rubber spatula to make sure it is completely smooth and remove from heat.
- While chocolate and butter are bring warmed, grind chocolate wafers in food processor until fine crumbs (unless you are using store-bought cookie crumbs). Gently stir cookie crumbs into warm chocolate and butter mixture until just combined.
- Set 1 cup (240 ml) of the mixture aside, and press remaining crumbs onto the sides and then the bottom of a 9-inch round with 2-3/4" sides springform pan. Place in freezer until firm.
- Remove frozen bananas from freezer about for about 30 minutes to soften, then puree in food processor. With a wooden spoon, stir banana puree into vanilla ice cream (or, if you're using homemade banana ice cream, omit step 1-2). You will want to work fairly quickly so the ice cream doesn't become too soft.
- Melt cream and corn syrup in a heavy small saucepan over medium heat until it just begins to bubble.
- Pour over chocolate and whisk gently in circular motion, until smooth. Let cool for about 45 minutes.
- Spoon half of the ice cream into 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).
- Sprinkle and gently press the reserved crumb mixture on top, followed by 1 cup of the cooled glaze. Freeze for about an hour.
- Place remaining ice cream on top and freeze for about 4 hours.
- Warm bowl of glaze over simmering water until it has thinned, but not too warm. Spread over top of ice cream with the small offset palette knife. Sprinkle with desired decorations while glaze is still wet. Freeze overnight.
- Loosen sides of cake with a small knife between pan and cake, then release from springform pan, and place on plate or platter.
Best sliced when chilled and best enjoyed room temperature, warm, chilled, or even frozen.
[ice cream cake recipe adapted from Bon Appetit]
These rich and chocolaty brownies melt-in-your mouth, and are best enjoyed with no frosting, but only a sprinkling of icing sugar.
- 6-1/2 oz. (185 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1-1/2 sticks (173 g) unsalted butter
- 1-2/3 (332 g) cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 325°F. For use in the ice cream cake, line an 8-inch round pan (or, if you're making these apart from the Ice Cream Cake, you can use a 13 x 9-inch baking pan) with parchment paper (leave some overhang for easy removal).
- Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a small pot of simmering water (do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water). Leave until melted and smooth, stirring occasionally.
- Remove bowl from the heat, and add the sugar, stirring until well incorporated. Add the flour and stir until well combined. Stir in the eggs, vanilla, and salt, and mix until thick and smooth.
- 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, about 30 minutes.
- The center of the brownie will still be soft, and you may feel that they aren't quite done, but they will solidify a bit more during cooling. The result is a melt-in-your mouth texture.
- Let cool completely in pan on wire rack. Chill in pan, then remove using parchment overhang.
[brownie recipe adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook]
- If you decide to do a brownie layer, you can bake your favourite brownie in an 8-inch round pan lined with parchment paper (you will want the brownie layer to be no more than 1″ high. Cool and chill in pan, then remove from pan and place over first ice cream layer, pressing down gently, and continue with Assembly step 3.
- The flavour combinations are absolutely endless for this dessert! Substitute any of your favourite ice cream flavours, add a layer of caramel, add some cheesecake bits, add chunks of candy — anything you can think of!
- This cake is best sliced carefully with a sharp, hot knife as it is quite hard when it comes out of the freezer.
Good luck & enjoy!