Easier actually. And perfect for birthdays. This is the easiest birthday cake you’ll ever make. Hands-down. And I’ll share a few secrets that will guarantee you professional-looking results. Easy professional results – the best kind!
It’s an ice cream cake, something my girls have often requested over the years. Years ago, after paying $30 to $40 for a cake at the local Baskin Robbins, I realized I could probably make my own in no time. So here’s the scoop. Scoop, get it? Ice cream humour!
First thing – pick your flavours. A 9” round cake pan takes about 2 tubs of ice cream, so I usually choose 2 flavours and make a 2 layer cake. A house favourite is old-fashioned strawberry – the fake pink kind, not the gourmet light pink one with pieces of real strawberry in it. No Haagen Dazs strawberry for us – the faker the better, don’t ask me why. Probably one of those weird genetic family quirks.
Lately the girls have discovered
frappuccinos, so this time I chose a chocolate-coffee combo. In fact, my youngest is on an anti-inflammatory diet to help heal a knee injury, so I used Nads’ recent discovery, Coconut Bliss. We can’t rave enough about this “ice-cream” – dairy free, yet it takes like the best ice cream you’ve ever had. Over-the-top delicious! And coconut is anti-inflammatory and has so many health benefits. So this is a naturally-sweetened, dairy-free, vegan, anti-inflammatory birthday cake (if you don’t consider a few minor, easily-ignored dollops of Betty Crocker icing). Eating this cake is practically like taking your vitamins!
Another ice cream cake tradition in my house is that it has to be heart-shaped. My girlfriend had a heart-shaped springform pan I borrowed the first time I made one when the girls were tiny. I didn’t bother to buy my own because I thought “how often will I need a heart-shaped pan?” Well the girls only wanted heart-shaped birthday cakes after that, so I kept borrowing it until my girlfriend wised up and bought me one of my own. Here, I’m trying out a new gadget Nadia gave me – a notched metal strip that forms a heart shape in several sizes. Perfect, since I can make the cake right on the serving dish.
Here’s ice cream cake Secret #1 – Betty Crocker frosting. There’s just something amazing about frozen Betty Crocker. I’m all for home-made ingredients and all, but frozen Betty Crocker is the bomb. And it goes especially well with fake pink strawberry ice cream.
I am talking a little too much for an ice-cream cake post, aren’t I? So let’s get down to business!
Make Your Own Ice Cream Cake
1. Line your cake form with plastic wrap. Here I’m using my heart-shaped tart ring on a serving plate. Make sure whatever pan or dish you use fits in your freezer!
2. Soften the first flavour of ice cream at room temperature until it spreads easily. Fill the bottom layer with ice cream, smooth the top, and pop it into the freezer to firm up. Secret #2 is to work quickly and keep everything cold! The edges of your cake will thaw first and get a little runny, so make sure to pop it back into the freezer if this starts to happen.
3. While the cake is firming up, soften your second flavour of ice cream. Fill the rest of the pan with the second layer and smooth the top. Secret #3 is to make sure to press the ice cream firmly against the sides, or you will see gaps in the ice cream when you un-mold.
4. Let the cake set up in the freezer, and then release the mold if you used a spring form pan or tart ring like I did, or pull the cake out using the plastic wrap. Carefully pull the wrap out from under the cake. Smooth the cake with a spatula.
5. The finishing touch is the icing. Secret #4 – pipe it on! This is an easy way to get a professional look. Don’t be afraid, piping is easy. Spoon the icing into a pastry bag or even a sandwich bag if that’s all you have. Use a piping tip if you can – here I used a round tip #6 where the opening is about 12 mm wide. This gives you a nice dollop of icing. Basically I just run the piping tip around the bottom of the cake, stopping every inch or so and giving a squeeze of the bag and then pulling the tip up to make a cute little drop of icing. It’s easy! You can practice first on an empty plate – you’ll be a pro after a few tries. I also run a border of icing along the top of the cake. Secret #5 – if you’re going to do this, keep the border at least 1 cm in from the edge. As the cake warms up, the edge starts to melt first and you’re cute little mounds of icing will fall off the edge, something I learned the hard way.
6. Voilà! Stand back and admire your professional looking and delicious cake. Give yourself a little pat on the back. And then get it into the freezer real quick!