So as you know last week, I made a giant icebox cake for my wife’s surprise birthday party. It’s her favorite cake, and since I knew it would get devoured at the party, I wanted to make her another one so she could enjoy it. And, as I mentioned, I wanted to kick it up a notch.
I had recently discovered this no-churn ice cream recipe. So I thought, what about making an ice cream icebox cake? That is, replace the whipped cream with ice cream. Surely, I thought, someone would have done it before. But when I looked, all I found were some vague references along the lines of “wouldn’t that be an interesting idea?”. So I plunged ahead into the unknown. I couldn’t get any clear info on whether or not it would work the same, but I figured it would.
I made a double recipe of the ice cream, as I didn’t know how much I would need. I had made a bunch of cookies for the first icebox cake, and this one. I figured I would use about 3/4 of the cookies for the first cake, and use the rest for this one.
Because the ice cream needed a while to set, I made it the night before. I waited until my wife went to sleep, and then gathered the ingredients I had secretly assembled. In this case, I had just hidden the ingredients in another room.
The ice cream recipe, as I mentioned when I made it the first time, is pretty straightforward. It was complicated a little bit by wanting to do it secretly, but it was still pretty easy. I used our immersion blender with the whisk attachment as that was easier to clean after the fact. It was also easier to transport into another room. The kitchen is not far from our bedroom, and even with my wife asleep and the door closed, I didn’t want to risk it.
I followed the instructions for making the ice cream. I added a little bit of vanilla, as I thought that vanilla ice cream would be a good choice, and it would mirror the vanilla that gets added to the whipped cream in the regular icebox cake.
So I made ice cream, and buried it under some other things in the freezer, betting that she wouldn’t go digging through it in the morning. I also sealed the ice cream in containers with lids, as opposed to using wax paper. (It was the cleanest way to bury them.) I cleaned up and let the ice cream
set work its magic overnight.
The next day I made the chocolate wafer cookies, as I described last week. I made the regular icebox cake first, as that was going to be used first, and I wanted to give it the longest time possible to set. Once that was done, I went to work making this.
First things first, what to put it in? I needed something big enough, and that could go in the freezer. I ended up using a 9″ round cake pan. Since it was going to be a cake anyway, this seemed appropriate. I lined it with foil. I figured that would make cleanup easier. I also thought it might let me pull the cake out of the cake pan.
So then how to make it? I was kinda making it all up here. So I just started building it like I would a regular icebox cake. I grabbed some cookies and started filling in between them with ice cream. I laid down a stack of those and started on another. One thing soon became clear to me. It’s hard to build an icebox cake in a circle. A square or rectangular dish would have probably been better.
So I soon had a few stacks filling up part of the space, but because it was a circle, I then had to fill in here and there to get all the in between spaces. Eventually I got it reasonably filled. I then had to make another decision. Should the outer layer be cookies or ice cream? If it were a cookie cake, and maybe for structural reasons, you’d want cookies on the outside. But for an icebox cake you wouldn’t. I ended up going for the full icebox and filled in the outside layer with ice cream. I also filled in the rest of the spaces with ice cream. And covered the top with ice cream.
After that, I covered it in plastic wrap and buried it in the freezer for secrecy purposes. I didn’t end up using as many cookies as I thought I might. Maybe 30 or so? I ended up using about one and a half recipes worth of the ice cream, so I’m very glad I made a double recipe.
With the second cake done, I did all the cleanup, and all the major preparation was now done. I sat down for a couple of minutes to relax before the evening’s festivities.
Last week’s post detailed what happened next. One thing I’ll say is that at the party I let my wife know that there was a second dessert waiting at home. When we got home, there was no way we were going to eat another dessert, but I gave her a sneak peek at what was to come. She was very excited and still kinda flabbergasted from the whole surprise party. I won’t say that this was the icing on the cake, but it was very well received.
We waited until the next evening to try it. The way it had frozen made it challenging to remove, so I decided to cut it right in the pan. But it’s a non-stick pan, so I had to tread carefully. A large spatula ended up being the tool of choice. And letting it sit on the counter to warm up a little bit didn’t hurt either.
Once a slice was freed from the pan, you could see it was clearly a good-looking cake. It actually looked a bit like icebox cake. A sea of white surrounding some layers of chocolate.
And how was it? Wow. It was an ice cream cake. And it was an icebox cake. It totally worked! I’m not sure exactly why, but it only partially softened the cookies. (It had over a day by the time we ate it.) But this was actually a good thing. It tasted like a Carvel ice cream cake.
I’m sure not everyone is familiar with Carvel, but it’s a chain of ice cream shops. They have these pretty awesome ice cream cakes. And the way the cookies softened in this cake made them taste just like the chocolate cookie/cookie crumb they used in theirs.
It was a nice soft vanilla ice cream with these great, mostly softened, but slightly crunchy chocolate bits throughout. They went perfectly together and made for a delicious cake. A slight change from the regular icebox cake, but a good change nonetheless.
I would highly recommend trying this out. The ice cream is super easy. The cookies are just mix, slice, and bake. The cake assembly is easy. And all in all, it’s greater than the sum of its parts. And for me, it checked off all the boxes I needed. Second birthday dessert, check. Keeping true to my wife’s favorite dessert, check. Kicking it up a notch, check. Trying something new, check. And “inventing” a new recipe, also check.
So when summer hits, and you’re looking for an easy, yummy, totally homemade and totally knock your socks off dessert, you’ll be glad you remembered this. And when you want to wow them a second or a third time, you’ll also remember that the ice cream is easily modified into many, many, different flavors. So go forth and enjoy. I’d love to know how it all turns out!