Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream Cake with Salted Caramel
I remember the first time I went to the grocery store by myself, for myself. It was the day I realized I could buy cheese puffs, a candy bar, and a strawberry-kiwi Snapple… call it dinner, and no one would argue with me.
I’d experiment with different combinations of ridiculous dinner purchases just to make sure it was all possible. Top Ramen and marshmallows and chocolate milk? You’re going to let me get away with this, Mrs Cashier? Amazing. You mean I don’t have to buy broccoli and steam it and eat it cold? I love you.
Downside. Be prepared to pay for your own weird food when you’re grown and making poor dinner decisions.
This cake is made in that spirit. I’m here to tell you that we can combine graham crackers, pecans, salted caramel, vanilla ice cream, AND toasted marshmallows and call it CAKE! And then we get to eat it so… what more could you want? (A pony and Beyonce’s vacation wardrobe… but focus!! We have marshmallows on our ice cream cake!)
We’re not going to need the oven for this recipe so let’s take a moment to celebrate that small victory!
Here’s what we’ll need:
• graham crackers, for which to crumble
• pecans, also for pulverizing
• melted butter, brown sugar, and a pinch of salt
• soft vanilla ice cream
• salted caramel that we’re going to make from scratch because it’s delicious!
• lots and lots of marshmallows, big and small.
For the crust we combine graham cracker crumbs, pecans finely chopped, brown sugar, and salt.
Melted butter will act as our moisture and our glue. Hardworking butter.
The moistened graham cracker mixture is pressed firmly into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a springform pan. The crust goes from pressing straight to the freezer where the butter will harden and solidify the crust.
A few years ago I made Salted Caramel and drizzled it over cheesecake. That was the day I decided that salted caramel should be drizzled whenever and wherever possible.
In this iteration, salted caramel is drizzled over the frozen crust and returned to the freezer to chill.
We’ll save a little caramel to drizzle over the toasted marshmallows… of course we will.
The crust and caramel rest in the freezer for about an hour. Then it’s ice cream time.
I used 3 quarts because I wanted a thick cake. You could use 2 quarts of ice cream and also be a happy camper.
Scooped in and smoothed out.
I used a spatula that was run under warm water to smooth the ice cream. Just rinse the spatula periodically to keep from fighting the ice cream. A fast hand is best. Then, because ice cream is melting everywhere, the cake goes back to the freezer to rest and rechill.
Can we get to the marshmallows already!? Geeeezzzz.
Once the cake has rechilled and hardened we top it with marshmallows large and small. A kitchen torch, blazing, to brush up against the marshmallows and toast (ok… burn) them to perfection.
And… you guessed it, back to the freezer for at least an hour, or overnight.
Slicing this cake is serious. There’s no time to mess around. It’s summer. We’re melting right alongside our ice cream.
I carefully ran the outside edge of the springform pan under warm water before releasing the spring. Next… slicing. I ran a large sharp knife under warm water (the warmth and moisture help with sticking) and quickly sliced the cake, rinsing the knife often.
Hold your breath, show no fear, drizzle everything in sight with salted caramel, serve quickly, lick your fingers and accept all accolades. You’ve earned them.
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (from about 8 crackers), finely ground in a food processor
- 1/2 cup pecans, finely ground in a food processor
- 2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 quarts vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
- 12 large marshmallows
- 2 cups mini marshmallows
- To make the crust, in a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, ground pecans, brown sugar, and salt. Add melted butter and toss until everything is lightly coated in butter and combined. Press into the bottom and just up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Place in the freezer while you make the caramel.
- To make the caramel, add sugar, water, and corn syrup to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring once or twice. Bring to a boil and allow to brown. Once sugar has browned to a medium amber color, remove from heat and immediately add heavy cream and butter. Mixture will boil and foam. Stir well. Add salt and stir well to incorporate. Caramel may seem thin… that’s ok. Place in a bowl.
- Remove the chilling crust from the freezer. Drizzle 1/3 cup of warm caramel over the crust and return to the freezer for 20 minutes or so.
- Once crust and caramel have chilled, remove from the freezer and spread the vanilla ice cream over the crust and caramel. Return to the freezer for 1 hour to rechill and firm.
- Remove from the freezer, top with marshmallows and use a kitchen torch to toast the marshmallows. Return to the freezer for at least 2 hours or until ready to serve.
- To serve, carefully run the sides of the cake under warm water for a few minutes and release the springform pan. Run a sharp knife under warm water and quickly slice the cake, cleaning the knife under warm water between slices. Show no fear. Serve immediately.