“Without ice cream, there would be darkness and chaos.”
- Don Kardong, 1976 U.S. Olympic Marathoner
About two weeks ago I was standing in my grandma’s kitchen while she got dessert ready for everyone. “This is a trick I learned from Tutu*,” she said as she pushed small scoops of vanilla ice cream onto cones dipped in brightly colored candy sprinkles. “You dip the cones in sprinkles, put the ice cream on, and then sprinkle the ice cream with more sprinkles. She used to call these ‘dulces’ [the Spanish word for 'sweet'] and we loved them.”
Then she handed the cone off to one of my young cousins who happily carried it into the dining room to enjoy.
My grandma is a master when it comes to menu planning. On this particular afternoon she had dulces for the kids,
and a more sophisticated ice cream cake for the adults. I asked her about her recipe for the ice cream cake and she told me that it was one from my Aunt Mary (with a few minor changes). She then went on to describe how she had made it.
This past week my two sister-in-laws and my nephew have been staying with us. My nephew turned three the week before arriving, so we decided to throw a little belated birthday party for him. When I was trying to decide what to do for his birthday cake I kept thinking about that ice cream cake that my grandma made and decided to come up with my own version. It was delicious (though maybe not quite as good as my grandma’s), though I will definitely make a few adjustments the next time I make it. I think my nephew’s favorite part was blowing out the candle.
My version is really more of a non-recipe recipe. You’ll see after I explain the basic process, that you can add or take away any of the layers, or change the ingredients and come up with an entirely new cake, so it is easily customizable to your tastes.
(1) Cookie Crust
(2) Chocolate Layer
(3) Ice Cream Layer
(4) Caramel Layer
(5) Whipped Cream Layer
(1) Cookie Crust:
1 package regular Oreo cookies (about 45 cookies)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1. Twist the Oreos apart, scrape out the cream filling (place in separate bowl and save for layer 5). Place cookies into a large Ziploc bag and crush with a rolling pin (or throw into a food processor and pulse) until the crumbs resemble coarse sand. Pour about 3/4 of the cookie crumbs into a 13×9-inch baking pan (reserve 1/4 of crumbs for layer 5).
2. Drizzle melted butter over crumbs, mix with a fork, and then use the fork to gently press the crumbs flat into the pan. Put in freezer to set. While in freezer, make layer 2.
(2) Chocolate Layer:
12 oz. (2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter
* Next time I make this I will probably half the amount of ingredients that I used. This chocolate layer is quite thick, which makes it difficult to cut through when the cake is finished. Although it is difficult to cut through, it was yummy, but it was more like a chocolate cookie on bottom, and less an integrated part of the cake.
1. In a heavy saucepan, heat chocolate chips and butter together until melted, stirring constantly until shiny and smooth.
2. Let cool slightly and then spread quickly over crust. You’ll want to work quickly otherwise it will start to pull up the crust. Put in freezer to set (sets quickly).
(3) Ice Cream Layer:
1.5 – 2 quarts of your favorite ice cream
1. While layer 2 is setting, set ice cream out to soften. Here is one area where I would make an adjustment to what I did. I used a very soft ice cream for this cake. In the future I will use an ice cream that freezes a bit firmer, as this particular ice cream melted too quickly. You want something that will soften at a slower rate, giving the rest of the cake time to soften with it when you pull it out to cut it.
2. Scoop out large spoonfuls of ice cream and place on top of chocolate layer. Press and spread ice cream down (I found a large metal spoon to be particularly effective) into even layer. Put in freezer to set. Let set completely (this may take several hours depending on the ice cream you are using).
(5) Whipped Cream Layer:
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
cookie cream filling (saved from Oreo cookies in layer 1)
crushed Oreo cookie crumbs (reserved from layer 1)
1. In a large bowl pour 1/2 cup of the heavy whipping cream over the reserved cookie cream filling and mix until you have a smooth paste. Slowly add the rest of the cream and then whip at medium speed until soft peaks form.
2. Spread whipped cream over top of caramel layer. Sprinkle reserved cookie crumbs over whipped cream. Put in freezer to set for at least 2 hours.
*Before you serve the cake, remove it from the freezer and allow it to sit at room temperature for several minutes so that it will be easier to cut.