Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream Cake
Gone, gone, so far gone are the Carvel ice cream cakes of youth. A homemade ice cream cake, like the pretty pink beauty above, is a head and shoulders above anything you could buy. Besides the fact that there are endless variations you can make — just choose your cookie crumb type and ice cream flavor — there’s something I find so gratifying about unmolding one from its springform pan and seeing all the different layers. Sure, they require a bit of planning ahead, but much of the time required to make them is just the freezing steps in between. You can make your own ice cream for the filling, or use your favorite store-bought kind.
This latest ice cream cake creation has an all-natural chocolate cookie crumb crust, homemade raspberry ice cream (from David Lebovitz’s wonderful ice cream book The Perfect Scoop — and, I have to say, it’s the best raspberry ice cream I’ve ever had), and a chocolate ganache on top that I gently set fresh whole raspberries into. I admit, I’m big fan of the chocolate cookie crust and chocolate ganache on top — I used the same approach with my chocolate peanut butter cup ice cream cake.
I’ve also been referring to this particular cake as “the cake that did not want to be made.” This was the dessert I was planning to serve on Valentine’s Day, but after a serious of false starts with my ice cream maker, it wasn’t until the end of the weekend that I actually had success making it. We have the Cuisinart ice cream maker, whose bowl you have to freeze at least 24 hours before you plan on making your ice cream. I tried cutting this a little short, and by the time I realized my custard wasn’t freezing because the bowl hadn’t been cold enough, the bowl had completely thawed. Back to the freezer it went, but the next day I was (again) too impatient and tried freezing the custard before I realized the bowl wasn’t completely frozen. Arrgh! So back to the freezer again. This time I left it in 48 hours, and turned the temp on my freezer down a bit — that did the trick, but just to be sure the third time was a charm and no more bowl thawing occurred, I actually ended up churning the ice cream in my (uninsulated) garage. I know, the things I do for dessert! Luckily we have outlets in there, so I just brought out a little card table, set the ice cream maker on it by the outlet, and let it churn in the 40 degree temperatures.
One last thing to note — as I do with our baked cakes, I use a smaller springform pan to make our ice cream cakes. A cake made in a 7×2-inch springform is a good size for 2 people to share over a few nights. In the recipe below, I’ve given amounts for both a 7-inch springform and a larger 9- or 10-inch springform pan.
What flavors do you think would make a good ice cream cake? I’d like to try a mint chocolate chip cake, a fresh peach ice cream cake with graham cracker crust, a lemon ice cream cake with gingersnap crust…mmm. But for now, off to get another slice of the chocolatey pink beauty…
Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream Cake
Raspberry Ice Cream recipe from The Perfect Scoop
Ingredients (crust and ganache ingredients listed for 7-inch / 10-inch pan)
For the cookie crust:
4 oz / 6 oz chocolate wafer cookies — I like Newman’s Organic Tops & Bottoms
3 tbsp / 5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
For the raspberry ice cream (or, use 1 quart storebought ice cream):
1 1/2 cups half and half
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups strained raspberry puree (you’ll need to start with about 6 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen)
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the chocolate ganache:
4 oz / 6 oz good quality bittersweet chocolate (I usually use Ghirardelli 60% chips or bar chocolate), cut into pieces
4 oz / 6 oz heavy cream
For the garnish:
1/2 pint fresh organic raspberries
Make the chocolate cookie crust:
Process the cookies in a food processor until they’re fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse it in until the cookie crumbs are moistened thoroughly. Pour the crumbs out into the bottom of your springform pan and firmly pat them down to make an even layer for the crust. Cover the crust with plastic wrap and place in the freezer to set, about 1 hour.
Make the ice cream layer — two ways:
If you’re using ice cream that’s already made, you can just soften it a bit at room temperature and then beat it in an electric mixer until it’s more the consistency of soft serve. Spread it evenly over the cookie crust, gently pressing down with a spatula to fill in any holes. You want to use enough ice cream to come almost all the way to the top of the springform pan; leave about 1/2 inch room at the top (where the ganache will go. Place the plastic wrap back on over the ice cream layer, smoothing it down directly on the ice cream’s surface so there are no air bubbles. Freeze for at least 2 hours.
If you’re making the raspberry ice cream, have the raspberry puree ready, and the heavy cream in a large bowl with a strainer set over it. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. In a medium saucepan, heat the half and half and sugar until warm, then gradually add this mixture to the bowl with the egg yolks, pouring it in a slow stream to temper the egg yolks, so they don’t curdle. Whisk constantly while you’re adding the warm half and half mixture, then scrape the warmed egg and half and half mixture back into the saucepan.
Heat this mixture over medium heat, stirring with a heatproof spatula or a wooden spoon, until it thickens enough to coat the spatula (when you draw a finger across the back of the spatula, it should leave a mark without the liquid filling it in.) Pour the custard through the strainer into the bowl with the heavy cream, and stir to combine. Mix in the raspberry puree and lemon juice. Cover and chill this mixture thoroughly.
Once cool, churn the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. When it’s finished churning, spread enough ice cream over the cookie crust in the springform pan so there’s about 1/2-inch of room at the top of the pan. Place plastic wrap over the ice cream, pressing it gently down all over the surface of the ice cream so there are no air bubbles. Freeze for at least 2 hours.
To make the chocolate ganache:
Place the chocolate and cream in a large heatproof bowl, and set the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Take it off the water and cool at room temperature until it’s lukewarm.
Take the ice cream cake out of the freezer and remove the plastic wrap. Spread the chocolate ganache over the top, smoothing with a spatula. It should just about come to the top of the springform pan. If you’re using the raspberries for garnish, place them around the edge of the cake top.
Replace the plastic wrap over the cake, smoothing it directly onto the layer of ganache, and place it back in the freezer for another 2 hours.