Mini Ice Cream Cakes

by Lauren Matthies


My husband was awaiting some big news so I decided to surprise him with some ice cream cakes.  I figured it would either be a celebration or a drown your sorrows treat, but either way, in my opinion, dessert makes all situations better.  Derek isn't a big cake fan (it's too dry for him and he definitely doesn't have as big a sweet tooth as I do).  He does, however, enjoy ice cream cake.  I've made him ice cream cake in the past, but this time I decided to spice it up and make mini ice cream cakes.  It was a bit more tedious, but it allowed me to play with different styles and variations.  

In this post I want to focus on the assembling of the cakes.  I will give you the recipe I used, but you can use any cake recipe, including a box mix.  I always like making my desserts from scratch and can be picky about the ingredients (e.g., I try to avoid recipes that call for oil).  However, I will say that a box mix would simplify things, though, so feel free to use it, especially if you're short on time.

First steps: Making the cake and melting the ice cream.

I had to rush the process some because I was baking between classes so I lost a little cake by not giving them enough time to cool in the pans.  Don't worry if that happens to you.  You can make due with most "problems."  As you'll see, my process for melting the ice cream looks a little make shift, but it's okay to use what you have.  You don't need professional tools and it doesn't always have to look pretty.  

 

Second steps: Sizing the cake and ice cream.

Once I made the cakes I cut them into smaller cakes using round cutters.  I then cut each round in half (my husband prefers a greater ice cream to cake ratio), wrapped the individual rounds in plastic wrap and put them in the freezer.  My melted ice cream was already in the freezer and I kept it there until I was ready to assemble the cakes.  After letting the cakes freeze a little bit (I probably would have waited a little longer if I wasn't in a rush, but don't worry about how long you freeze them for before assembly.  Longer freezing time will make the cakes a little easier to work with because you don't have to worry about crumbs, but you will refreeze everything once assembled.), I took them out and worked on sizing the ice cream using the same round cutters.

Notice that I removed the extra cake around the rounds rather than lifting the cut pieces out.  In a later post I will show you what I did with the cake leftovers (other than snacking on them), so, don't throw them away!  As you can see, the ice cream can be a bit messy, but don't worry.  As long as your layer is fairly even, you should be good.  I used a knife to help me remove the ice cream rounds from the rest of the block.

Next steps: Assembling the cakes.

Here is where I was able to get creative.  I had more chocolate chip ice cream than chocolate chocolate chip ice cream so I used that more frequently.  You can try any or all of the variations I made or make up your own.  The first ones you'll see are "naked," and in the next section I'll show you the "iced" ones.

Now for the "iced" ones.  I "frosted" these with ice cream.  You'll want decently melted ice cream for the outside layer and the more frozen your assembled cake is, the better.  First, I top the cake with some ice cream and them use a knife to bring it down the sides.  Don't worry about how messy you get here.  I "frosted" it on a plate and then froze it on the plate.  After it was frozen, I used a knife to remove the cake from a plate.

I used the same process for this one, but, because I had extra chocolate chip ice cream, I made a thicker layer on top rather than a consistent layer like the above chocolate chocolate chip one.  In order to keep it thicker, I applied it when the ice cream was less melted.

Here's a shot of the inside of the two "iced" cakes.

To store the cakes, I wrapped them in plastic wrap and put them in the freezer.  As you can see in the pictures, I put a layer of plastic wrap on the plates when I was assembling them.  That made it really easy to wrap them post-assembly.  Enjoy!

Here's the cake recipe I used.  It is really yummy, moist, and wonderful for the creation I made with the scraps, but feel free to use any recipe or box mix you like.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 6 tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 2 eggs

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare two 8 x 1 1/2 inch round cake pans.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt (technically you should sift them together, but I usually skip this step).
  3. Boil water and sugar over high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
  4. Pour the sugar water mixture into a large bowl and add the chocolate and butter.  Let sit, stirring occasionally, until melted and slightly cooled.
  5. Stir in the vanilla.
  6. Beat in the eggs at medium speed, until combined.
  7. Add the dry ingredients and beat at a medium speed until smooth.
  8. Divide the batter evenly and bake for 20-25 minutes until done (toothpick should come out clean).
  9. Cool the cakes in their cake pans for about 25 minutes (again, I rushed this process because I needed to leave.  If you have the time, I would let them cool).
  10. Invert them onto a rack and let them cool completely.