Posted on

Ice Cream Cakes

baking104_cakes_12062-652x756

An ice cream cake is the ultimate showstopping dessert for any summer party. It combines everyone’s favorite things — rich, melting ice cream and soft, fluffy cake — in one perfect package, and it’s easy to customize with your favorite flavors. Here, Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen cook Melissa Stewart shares her tips for making it at home. (Scroll down for recipes — 4th of July inspiration!)


Bake your cake
. You can use whatever cake you like as your base. “I’ve even used brownies,” says Melissa. Since you’re freezing the cake, pretty much any recipe will have enough structure to stand up to the weight of the ice cream. To save time, use a store-bought cake or a mix.

Very Berry Ice Cream CakeBake and assemble in the same pan. For easy assembly, use the pan you baked the cake in to build the finished masterpiece.

Mind your cake-to-ice cream ratio. For the best bites, create thin layers of cake — that way the cake won’t overwhelm the ice cream. You can freeze the cake layers before assembling, but it’s not necessary.

Soften your ice cream. Let your ice cream sit at room temperature for 10 minutes or so before you start spreading it on the cake layers. You can also let it thaw for a few minutes, then beat it in a mixer with a paddle to create a pliable texture. Or, put it in a large bowl and beat it with a wooden spoon. Once it’s soft, pour it onto the cake and use an ovset spatula to spread it.

Avoid sticking. Ice cream melts quickly, so you shouldn’t have too many issues with the cake sticking to the pan. If you like, you can put a piece of parchment paper or a big piece of plastic wrap on the bottom of the pan to insure it doesn’t stick.

 

Freeze the assembled cake overnight. “You want it to be nice and solid and to make sure the ice cream really adheres to the cake layers,” says Melissa.

Serve! Let the cake sit for two or three minutes before serving. “I like to heat a big slicing knife under hot running water, and wipe it with a towel to cut through and get clean slices,” says Melissa. Don’t frost the cake with a buttercream, which will seize up against the cold cake. If you do want to frost it, use a pourable topping like a ganache or caramel.

 

Cookies and Cream-Mocha Chip Ice Cream Cake

 

Cookies and Cream-Mocha Chip Ice Cream Cake

20 Tbs. (2 1/2 sticks) (10 oz./315 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Cookies & Cream Cake Mix (includes sugar and cake mix packets)

5 egg whites, at room temperature

3/4 cup milk (6 fl. oz./185 ml) milk, at room temperature

2 pints (28 oz./875 g) mocha chip ice cream, slightly softened

6 oz. (185 g) bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./185 ml) heavy cream

1/2 cup (3 oz./90 g) finely crushed chocolate sandwich cookies

Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease and flour two 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pans.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Reduce the speed to low, add the sugar packet and beat until just blended, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

In a bowl, whisk together the egg whites and milk until blended. With the mixer on low speed, add the cake mix packet in 4 additions, alternating with the egg white mixture and beginning and ending with the cake mix. Beat just until the batter is well blended, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the bowl.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake until the cakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 26 to 28 minutes.

Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes, then invert the pans onto the rack and let the cakes cool completely. Using a serrated knife, split each cake in half horizontally.

Cut out a 9-inch (23-cm) circle of parchment paper and place in the bottom of a clean 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pan.  Place 1 cake layer, top side down, in the pan. Spoon half of the mocha chip ice cream into the pan and, using an offset spatula, spread it evenly to the edges of the pan.

Top with a second cake layer, then spoon the remaining mocha chip ice cream on top and spread evenly. Top with a third layer of the cake, setting aside the fourth layer for snacking or another use. Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the freezer until frozen solid, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.

Place the chocolate in a heat-safe bowl. Set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, warm cream until small bubbles form at the edge of the pan. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit for 1 minute. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

Remove the plastic wrap from the cake and carefully turn out onto a wire rack. Place the rack on a baking sheet and remove the parchment paper. Pour the chocolate mixture over the cake, allowing the chocolate to cover the entire top and drizzle down the sides. Sprinkle the cake with the crushed cookies. Return to the freezer for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serves 12.

Very Berry Ice Cream Cake

 

Very Berry Ice Cream Cake

1 8-by-4-inch (20-by-10-cm) pound cake

1 pint (14 oz./440 g) strawberry ice cream, softened

1 pint (14 oz./440 g) strawberry or raspberry sorbet, softened

1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) heavy cream

2 Tbs. confectioners’ sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups (8 oz./250 g) mixed berries, such as raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and quartered strawberries

Line the bottom and sides of an 8-by-4-inch (20-by-10-cm) loaf pan with plastic wrap or parchment paper, allowing it to overhang the edges by 2 inches (5 cm).

Using a serrated knife and starting from the bottom of the cake, cut the pound cake horizontally into two layers, each 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) thick. Set aside the extra layer for snacking or another use.

Scoop the ice cream and sorbet into a large, wide bowl, alternating scoops of the ice cream and the sorbet to make them easier to combine. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold and swirl the ice cream and sorbet together until they are mostly combined but some swirls are still visible.

To assemble the cake, spoon half of the swirled ice cream into the prepared loaf pan and, using an offset spatula, smooth it in an even layer. Top the ice cream with the bottom layer of pound cake. Spoon the remaining ice cream into the pan and spread it evenly over the cake layer. Top the ice cream with the second cake layer. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours and up to 2 days.

When ready to serve, remove the ice cream cake from the freezer and, using the overhanging plastic wrap to help remove the cake from the pan, invert the cake onto a serving platter. Remove the plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes.

While the cake is resting, in a large bowl combine the cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Using a whisk, whip until stiff peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Using an offset spatula, spread the whipped cream over the top of cake, then scatter the berries on top of the whipped cream. Slice and serve immediately. Serves 10 to 12.

Posted on

Blueberry Hand Pies

Blueberry

Happy Blueberry Pie Day! You may have memories of finding small, individually wrapped pies tucked into your school lunch box. And while everyone has his or her favorite pie, surely blueberry is at or near the top of most lists. Be sure to have plenty of napkins ready, as part of the appeal is the delicious fruit juice that runs down your hands.

Blueberry Hand Pies

For the crust:

2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 oz./390 g) all-purpose flour

2 Tbs. sugar

1/2 tsp. fine sea salt

8 Tbs. (1 stick) (4 oz./125 g) plus 2 Tbs. chilled unsalted butter

2 Tbs. chilled vegetable shortening

About 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) ice water

 

For the filling:

2 cups (8 oz./250 g) blueberries

1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) plus 1 Tbs. sugar

1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

2 tsp. cornstarch

1 egg

 

To make the crust, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Cut the butter and shortening into chunks and scatter over the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut the butter and shortening into the flour mixture just until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs the size of peas.

Drizzle the ice water over the flour mixture and toss with a fork until the dough forms moist clumps. If the dough seems too crumbly, add a little more ice water.

Form the dough into a disk (some flat flakes of butter should be visible), wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.

In a saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups (6 oz./180 g) of the blueberries, the 1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) sugar and lemon juice over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the berries begin to give off their juices. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until all of the berries have burst, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and 2 Tbs. water. Add the cornstarch mixture to the blueberry mixture and cook until the juices come to a boil and thicken. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) berries. Place the saucepan in a bowl of ice water and let the mixture cool, stirring frequently.

 

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Have ready an ungreased rimmed baking sheet.

 

Place the unwrapped dough on a lightly floured work surface and dust the top with flour. (If the dough is chilled hard, let it stand at room temperature for a few minutes until it begins to soften before rolling it out.) Roll it out into a rectangle about 20 by 13 inches (50 cm by 33 cm) and 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick. Using a 6-inch (15-cm) saucer as a template, use a paring knife to cut out 6 rounds.

 

Place about 3 Tbs. of the blueberry filling on one-half of a round, leaving a 1/2-inch (12-mm) border uncovered. Fold the dough over so the edges meet, then crimp them with a fork. Transfer to the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough rounds and filling. Refrigerate the pies for 15 minutes.

 

In a bowl, beat the egg with 1 tsp. water to make an egg wash. Lightly brush the pies with the egg wash, cut an X in the top of each pie, and sprinkle with the remaining 1 Tbs. sugar. Bake the pies until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let the pies cool on the pan on a wire rack, then serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 6 hand pies.

Posted on

Best of the Web: Summer Sendoff

Fotor0910121435-652x652

As summer fades into fall, now is the time to savor the last of the season’s best flavors! Here are recipes from some of our favorite blogs that we’ll be cooking before the leaves change and temperatures cool down for good.

 

Curry Red Pepper & Tomato SoupCurry Red Pepper & Tomato Soup by Will Frolic for Food
Vegan, gluten-free — and full of sweet, rich flavors and warm spices. This is the exact kind of soup we crave between summer and autumn.
Blueberry Crepes with Vanilla Ice CreamBlueberry Crepes with Vanilla Ice Cream by Flourishing Foodie
Crepes are delicious for breakfast or dessert (and this recipe is a good excuse to eat ice cream first thing in the morning). A simple blueberry compote is the perfect way to use up freshly picked blueberries — make a big batch to enjoy for weeks.
Harvest TacosHarvest Tacos by The Year in Food
Combining corn, cauliflower and tomatoes, these tacos highlight the best of September. We’ll be using them as a template throughout fall, substituting winter squash and brussels sprouts.
Roasted Tomato Basil Grilled CheeseRoasted Tomato Basil Grilled Cheese by A Couple Cooks
Often the simplest things are the ones that make us smile. Here, roasted tomatoes and fresh herbs take a classic grilled cheese to next-level bliss.
Spiced Plum BarsSpiced Plum Bars by 5 Second Rule
Keep this recipe on hand for your next potluck or tailgate party; it feeds a crowd easily. And soft, sweet roasted plums with a tender cookie crust are guaranteed to please them all.
Zucchini-Basil Chickpea Waffles with Tomato & Shaved Fennel SaladZucchini-Basil Chickpea Waffles with Tomato & Shaved Fennel Salad by Dolly and Oatmeal
These savory waffles get an extra kick of protein and vegetables from chickpea flour zucchini. Topped with a tomato and shaved fennel salad, they’d be beautiful for a brunch or casual dinner.
Balsamic Eggs with Peaches and ProsciuttoBalsamic Eggs with Peaches and Prosciutto by Turntable Kitchen
This is a summer meal at its finest, relying on the freshest ingredients and a just a light hand. With almost no cooking required, it’s just as satisfying at lunch and dinner as it is for breakfast.
Curried Roasted Eggplant with Smoked Cardamom and Coconut MilkCurried Roasted Eggplant with Smoked Cardamom and Coconut Milk by The Bojon Gourmet
This hearty, spiced stew stars slender eggplants, pungent spices and creamy coconut milk. Serve over rice with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt to make it a meal. (Bonus: it’s best made a day or two ahead.)
Fig & Mascarpone BruschettaFig & Mascarpone Bruschetta by My Little Expat Kitchen
It doesn’t get any simpler than these sweet-savory bites: just ripe figs, creamy mascarpone, salty ham and some crusty bread. Nibble on these while you sip of glass of crisp wine in the evening.
Vanilla Bean Brown Butter Nectarine Blackberry CrispVanilla Bean Brown Butter Nectarine Blackberry Crisp by The Amateur Gourmet
Brown butter and vanilla bean make everything better — especially late-summer fruits. We can practically smell it from here!
Quinoa & Zucchini Stuffed PeppersQuinoa & Zucchini Stuffed Peppers by Naturally Ella
This has all the makings of an weeknight meal: quick, easy and delicious (and vegetarian). Stuff peppers with tomato sauces and whatever grains you have on hand, add a layer of melty cheese, bake, and savor.