Graduation Part II: Ice Cream Cake

May 20, 2008

After a two-week, final-exams-induced kitchen hiatus (okay fine, semi-hiatus), I am back. And on Sunday I was back in a big way. After my graduation ceremony Sunday afternoon, we had a BBQ-turned-indoor-party (thanks for nothing, Mother Nature) for 12 back at our place. Sounds lovely, right? Well, it was, but in sort of an odds-defying way. You see, there were two hitches in the plan (three if you count the weather) that made the whole thing kind of a harebrained idea: (1) I’d be in exams the week before the party and in Madison a mere 24 hours before the party and (2) all the guests would be arriving at the exact same time after the ceremony, including the graduate-slash-cook. So, I made as many things ahead of time as possible.

Which is why this cake was the absolute perfect thing. I saw a Chocolate-Raspberry Ice Cream Cake on Eggs on Sunday back in February and it’s been languishing on my to do list ever since. Every time I revisited the recipe, I’d be scared off by the multiple steps, most of which were separated by two hour intervals (for freezing, setting and hardening). And the thought of an entire 9-inch ice cream cake in our freezer was downright dangerous. But this time around, I actually needed something I could make ahead of time (I started on Wednesday!) and I was assured that 12 hungry guests would leave nothing but a sliver in the way of leftovers to tempt and taunt me.

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

The only thing I had left to figure out was what flavor combination I wanted to try. As Amy mentioned when she posted the recipe, the options are endless. She made some great suggestions herself and commenters chimed in with others. I finally settled on a chocolate cookie crumb crust, pistachio ice cream and a bittersweet chocolate ganache. I garnished the ganache topping with a perimeter of crushed pistachios, which have got to be the prettiest nut on the planet.

Amy mentions the Carvel cakes of her youth in the post. While neither Kevin nor I have had a Carvel cake, we did grow up on our own versions of the ice cream cake: Dairy Queen for me and Baskin Robbins for him. This cake offers the same novelty (ice cream and cake all in one!) but with a decidedly grown up twist, both in its flavor and elegance. Thanks, Amy, for a wonderful recipe!

You can find the recipe here. My notes on the recipe: (1) I used 3 pints of ice cream for the filling and 6 ounces each of bittersweet chocolate and cream for the ganache and about a 1/4 cup of crushed pistachios for the garnish; (2) do follow Amy’s suggestion of using Newman’s Organic Chocolate Cookies (tasted great with no icky ingredients); (3) take the cake out of the freezer 15 or so minutes before unmolding and cutting it (it’s easier to un-hinge the outer ring of the springform and cut the cake when it’s softened a bit).

19 Responses to “Graduation Part II: Ice Cream Cake”

  1. This cake turned out gorgeous! It looks perfect with its layers and with the nuts around the edge. Great job!

  2. eggsonsunday Says:

    Just gorgeous, Kristin! Well done. I love the ring of pretty green chopped pistachios. So glad you liked the recipe! 🙂 -Amy

  3. I have always wanted to make an ice cream cake – this is so wonderful!

  4. Ali Says:

    This beautiful cake combined two of my favorite treats… Ice cream (duh) and pistachios! It was absolutely delicious, so delicious in fact that I’m not sure a DQ cake will ever taste the same!

  5. Emily Says:

    I’m going to be a 3L this year in Cleveland, and I also continue to be a foodie… so your blog is such a delicious marriage! I stumbled upon it looking for a recipe for key lime bars…thank you so much! I’m looking forward to perusing back entries and planning my meals for the week 🙂 Your writing is a pleasure to read, and your creations are a sight to behold.

    Good luck on the bar!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Amanda Says:

    I’ve said it before and I will say it again. YOU ARE KILLING ME! The minute I saw the little crushed pistachios and ganache in my blog reader, all my bikini-ready resolve floated out the window. ice cream cakes were the ones I used to dream about as a child. i especially loved the ones from Baskin Robbins but to be honest, I never enjoyed the stale cake that came with it. now I can just do it myself 😉

  7. This looks absolutely amazing! I love the flavor combo!

  8. Jennifer Says:

    Wow. Looks absolutely delicious!

  9. I think these are my favorite pictures of yours… great work!!

  10. Robin Says:

    Don’t know why my comment said from “robin the blogger not the author”… I think it was from an old comment… but I meant simply, Robin. 🙂

  11. Jerry Says:

    I’ll take the WHOLE cake! Thanks!

  12. Zoe Francois Says:

    This brings back great memories of working at Ben and Jerry’s ice cream shop during college. I made the ice cream cakes and thought I had the best job on earth.

    This one looks fantastic!


  13. joycesiew Says:

    Ummmmm….i love the look of the pistacios with chocolate. Must be delicious, i haven’t the chance to try Pistacio Ice-cream though :(. Not available in my country…

  14. Laura Says:

    Holy cow you are brave. And it turned out so beautifully! Now I want to try!

  15. Gigi Says:

    How can you go wrong with pistachios and chocolate! The cake looks unbelievably delicious.

  16. Ginny Says:

    Congrats! Great ice cream cake! I love the flavor combination!

  17. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink Says:

    Gretchen: Thank you!

    Amy: Thanks again for the recipe! I can’t wait to try more flavor combinations.

    Patricia: Thanks!

    Ali: Oh no! I’ve turned you off of DQ cake? My apologies.

    Emily: Thank you so much for your kind words. Enjoy your third year!

    Amanda: Yes! That Baskin Robbins cake is absolutely terrible—so dry. Bikini season, schmikini season.

    My Sweet & Saucy: Thanks!

    Jennifer: Thank you!

    Robin: I was wondering what that meant! I thought I just didn’t get the joke. Anywho, thanks.

    Jerry: One cake + one fork, coming right up.

    Zoe: Wow! Coming from an expert, that means a lot. 🙂

    Joycesiew: You could always make your own …

    Laura: Thanks! And it’s more “unreasonable” than “brave,” I think.

    Gigi: Thanks!

    Ginny: Thank you!

  18. Adela Says:

    This cake was absolutely delicious! I made it for my grandmothers 90th birthday because she loves pistachio ice cream! Thank you so much!!! I would defiantly recommend using a 7 inch pan because other sizes (a nine inch for example) aren’t as tall and beautiful!

  19. Adela: I’m so glad to hear it! I hope it was a wonderful celebration.

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