Wednesday, August 20, 2008

no-bake birthday cake

Pretty, right? A five-year-old could make it. Really.

In honor of Tom's birthday, I wanted to make him a cake. However, I was not about to turn the oven on. I like you, Tom, but not that much. While looking for chilled desserts, I came across this lovely Neopolitan-like creation from Bon Appetit. Pretty as it this cake is, the recipe's a bit fussy and overly complicated. So I simplified it down to its basic elements: three pints of ice cream and a cookie crust. Perhaps my cake wouldn't be as nuanced or whatever, but it seemed silly to add in all these additional toppings when you can buy ice cream with the same stuff already in it. I also went with a more tropical combination of ice cream flavors, to complement the tacos we had just finished eating. But feel free to refer back to the original recipe or choose any trio that sounds good to you. If you wanted to make the ice cream from scratch (as some people do) it would probably elevate this dessert to a whole other level of deliciousness. But I used regular old Häagen-Dazs and it was promptly devoured.

Three-layer ice cream cake
A helpful tip from Bon Ap: you can thaw hard pints of ice cream by microwaving them for 30 second intervals, until the ice cream is soft and the edges are slightly soupy. I stored the pints in the fridge until I was ready to add a new layer to the cake.
(Serves 8 to 10 people)

1 pint chocolate chocolate chip ice cream (or any other flavor)
1 pint coconut ice cream (or any other flavor)
1 pint raspberry sorbet (or any other flavor)
5 ounces chocolate cookies (I used Famous Chocolate Wafers, but chocolate graham crackers would work)
5 Tbsp. butter, melted

Line a metal or glass baking pan with foil, extending over the sides of pan. Finely grind the cookies in a food processor, then add butter and process until moist crumbs form. Press crumbs onto the bottom of a foil-lined pan. Place in freezer for 15 minutes. Use a butter knife to spread the thawed chocolate ice cream on top of the cookie crust. Freeze for 30 minutes. Top the chocolate layer with the thawed coconut ice cream, and smooth the top with your knife. Freeze for 30 minutes. Top the coconut layer with the thawed raspberry sorbet, and smooth the top with your knife. Freeze for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

When ready to serve, lift the ice cream cake from pan by the foil overhang, then peel off the foil. If your foil rips, like mine did, use a pie server to pop the frozen cake out of the pan. Transfer the cake to platter or cutting board. Cut into squares and top with chocolate sauce, if desired. And I think you do.

Chocolate sauce
This is my go-to recipe for chocolate sauce, straight from the Joy of Cooking.
(Makes about 1 cup)

1/4 cup heavy cream
1 to Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. butter
4 oz. good-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. vanilla

Combine the cream, sugar, and butter in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Once it's boiling, remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Let stand for a minute, then whisk until smooth. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Serve warm.


Paulita said...

Looks like something us Floridians could enjoy year round..yummy

Daniel said...

Those Famous Chocolate Wafers deserve their fame! In fact, they deserve far greater fame. I had never heard of them.

On another note, great new banner! Good work, Colin!

Lisa said...

Hi Paula!

You could do an actual Florida version of this with Key lime pie gelato, with vanilla and mango sorbet. Or a twist on a Creamsicle with orange sherbert between two layers of vanilla...

Unknown said...

im just wondering do have to use those cookies or can u use anyother cookies just wondering.

Lisa said...

Hi Althea! I haven't tried it, but I bet you can use other cookies as long as they are plain. Maybe vanilla wafers, or something else like that?


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