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).