We’re going back to the beginning with this cake. Ice Cream Cakes- that’s what started it all. Can I tell you a story?
I moved from Los Angeles, California to Burlington, Vermont when I was 18 and straight out of high school. I had it in my head that I didn’t want to go to college right away, and that I wanted to do some soul searching, as far away from my parents as I could get. I landed in Burlington with one suitcase and the phone number to one friend that I knew there. My friend Niki graciously let me stay in her apartment, and her Lisa friend gave me a job at the Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream flagship store. Miraculously, I had it all worked out. I had a place to stay and a job. There was just one small hitch- I was TERRIFIED. I had never been so far away from home and out in the world on my own. I literally stayed in Niki’s apartment for a full week. I never even cracked the door open. I knew that I was in a strange place, surrounded by people I didn’t know and I, frankly, didn’t want anything to do with any of it. I stayed in that apartment listening to Niki’s entire music collection and taking lots of baths. That’s when I discovered I loved Billie Holiday and grapefruit bubble bath.
What finally drove me out of my cave? Food of course, I ran out of food and I’m no good with hunger pains.
Once I was out of the apartment and well fed, I realized that my new surroundings were actually pretty awesome. People acknowledged me as I walked down the street. I lived right around the corner from the most beautiful lake, a glass blowing studio, a picture perfect chapel and a culinary school that fed me samples of their student food every day. It was the most beautiful, friendly, warm and open place I’ve ever been.
My job scooping ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s quickly turned into the head cake decorator position. I could frost and decorate an ice cream cake like maniac. And because we’re talking about wild and wacky Ben and Jerry’s, the flavor combinations and signature tie dye frostings were completely over the top.
I loved my job. I loved Vermont. I met some characters that I won’t soon forget.
Once I stepped out of that apartment door, after a week of solitude and regret, I felt that I was blazing forward on the life I knew I wanted for myself. I also learned how to make a killer Ice Cream Cake along the way. That’s was almost ten years ago…. wow.
How I made a Strawberry Vanilla Ice Cream Cake-
What You’ll need:
2 8-inch (3-inch deep) round baking pans- you’ll need a deep cake pan to build your cake.
Vanilla cake batter (recipe to follow)
Half Gallon Strawberry Ice Cream
Heavy cream to make whipped cream frosting (recipe to follow)
adapted from the “Confetti Cakes” cookbook via ButterCakesbyEvan
2 cups cake flour (8 ounces)
1 3/4 cups plus 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour (8 ounces) (yes, two types of flour)
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
3 cups granulated sugar (21 ounces)
3/4 tsp salt
1 Tbs vanilla extract
1 cup egg whites (8 ounces; about 7 eggs)
1 1/2 cups milk, room temp (12 ounces)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter, flour, and line pans with parchment paper (optional) and set aside.
In a large bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla to the eggs and then add the egg mixture, a little bit at a time, until fully incorporated. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Try to do this as quickly as possible so you don’t dry out the cake by over mixing. It is okay to add the milk immediately after adding the flour, and vice versa.
Divide the batter between your cake pans and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For cupcakes, bake 20-25 minutes.
Whipped Cream Frosting
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar
In a large bowl of an electric mixer add whipping cream and vanilla extract. Using the whip attachment, begin to beat the mixture on medium speed. Gradually add the powdered sugar, increase the speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Assembling the Cake
Step One: Grease the two 8-inch round cake pans. Make the vanilla cake batter and add about 2 -2 1/2 cups of batter into each cake pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Remove cakes from oven and let cool for 30 minutes. Once cooled, loosen the edges of the baked cake with a butter knife, flip the cake pans over onto a wire rack. Return 1 cake round to one of the 8-inch cakes pans and place the other cake round on a plate. Place both cake pan and plate in the freezer to begin to freeze the cake rounds.
Step Two: Freeze the cake rounds for 1 to 2 hours. You’ll need the cakes to be firm enough to spread fairly hard ice cream over them. Take the ice cream out of the freezer about 15 minutes before you’d like to use it, letting it rest on the counter.
Step Three: Remove the cake that’s in the cake pan from the freezer. Using the back of a stiff spatula, spoon the strawberry ice cream into the 8-inch cake round, on top of the first layer of vanilla cake. I used all but 1 cup of the half gallon of ice cream. Leave about 1-inch of space from the top of the 3-inch deep cake pan. At this point you’ve got a vanilla cake bottom layer topped with strawberry ice cream, leaving about 1 inch of empty space at the top of the pan.
Step Four: Remove the plated vanilla cake layer from the freezer. Place the second layer of vanilla cake inside the 8-inch round, on top of the strawberry ice cream. Return pan to the freezer to set for about an hour, depending on how soft your ice cream became while you were shaping the cake.
Step Five: Make Whipped Cream Frosting and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Step Six: After 1 to 2 hours in the freezer, remove the cake pan. Run a butter knife under hot water and run the knife along the cake, in between the cake pan and the ice cream cake to loosen the sides. Flip pan over onto a serving plate or cardboard cake round. Return cake to freezer if you find it too soft.
Step Seven: Quickly frost Ice Cream Cake with Whipped Cream Frosting. Return to the freezer to chill. Decorate the cake as you like. I used fondant to make a layered heart topper.