Sunday, July 01, 2007

Let Them Eat Ice Cream Cake?

Banana and Date Ice Cream Cake

My first experience with ice cream cake was when I was at a birthday party; I must have been around 5 or 6 years old. And since then I never really gave ice creams cakes anymore thought. To me they are just part of those juvenile whims that you try to shed once you reach a certain age along with say, wetting your bed and running barefoot around the neighbourhood in your PJs. Okay, so it might be a bit of a stretch to mention ice cream cake in the same sentence as wetting your bed, but you get what I mean.

So you might be glad to know that I’m way past those childhood dilemmas but I think that it’s time to resurrect the ice cream cake. I’ve only ever seen the ice cream cake come out for two types of birthday parties- they are usually reserved for children’s birthdays and for those over the age of 60. Is it because we revert back to that child-like state when we get older and thus requires the presence of an ice cream cake? Well, I say enough of having it merely at the polar end of our life. Why not have it in the birthdays in between childhood and, well the other end.

Banana and Date Ice Cream Cake

And since I needed a birthday excuse to make an ice cream cake, it was perfect timing that this weekend is G’s birthday. I won’t tell you how old he is, but let me say, we won’t be putting any candles on the cake. And so, with the making of this cake returned my affections for the long forgotten ice cream cake. I don’t know why I never caught hold of its appeal past childhood; I mean ice cream that you can slice into? It’s novelty at it’s best. And I’m all for that.

The cake is the perfect merging of two extremely enjoyable things- cake and ice cream. What’s even better is that you can be as creative as you can with the flavours, the layering and the ingredients. This particular one is a Banana and Date Ice Cream Cake. The dates are first soaked in Marsala and when you come across them in the cake they become gooey bursts of sweetness. The marsala adds a nice depth to the dates which I really love, but if you are serving this to children then you can certainly leave it out.

melting away

It not only happened that it was G’s birthday weekend, but this month’s Monthly Mingle is all about ice cream. While people in the northern half of the globe are sweating away in their own seasonal sauna, we down here are freezing. Two of our heaters broke so our house has become a refrigerator and I have been baking to compensate for the seemingly lack of heat in our house. Also, it appears that the only functioning heater in the house only heats up to a radius of two feet around and it seems like the dog has already laid claim to that one.

So you can see why I wasn’t really the disposition to make my own ice cream, so I opted to cheat and buy some from the shop. I know what you’re probably thinking, shock, horror, she bought the ice cream? Didn’t the theme require “your best ice cream creation”? Well the ice cream may not be homemade but the cake definitely is. And if it’s any consolation I did make the sponge cake from scratch myself in the hope that the entire cake didn’t seem like one half-assed effort at making ice cream cake. Hopefully this submission still qualifies for this month’s mingle. My laziness aside, this recipe is a winner.


I remember having dates with vanilla ice cream when I dined at Tetsuya’s last year and that combination was superb, so adding banana into the mix made it triple threat. And the dusting of cocoa powder at end makes every layer of the cake one to remember. No matter what, in each spoonful there are at least two or three different flavours, but the great thing is that it doesn’t attack your palate. The tastes integrate seemingly well together and I guess that is what ice cream flavours do. Just think rum and raisin, choc hazelnut, rocky road, individual ingredients that create a flavour of their very own.

So I hope you give this recipe a try, and make sure you mosey on down to Meeta’s blog to see the final round up of icy treats for July’s Monthly Mingle.

Banana and Date Ice Cream Cake
adapted from the Australian Good Taste Magazine (Oct 2004)
serves 8

Banana and Date Ice Cream Cake Slice

2 large ripe bananas, sliced into discs 1.5 cm thick
vanilla sponge cake (recipe below)
10 fresh dates, pitted and coarsely chopped
2 tbsp Marsala
1 litre vanilla ice cream, softened slightly
3 tbsp cocoa powder

Combine chopped dates and Marsala in a bowl and allow to macerate for 20 minutes, until the dates have soaked up all of the Marsala.
In a large bowl, combine the ice cream and dates and stir.
Spoon a thin layer of ice cream mixture onto the cooled sponge, evening out with the back of a spoon.
Line with the bananas, cut side up until the whole tin is covered.
Spoon the remaining ice cream, mixture over the bananas and smooth the surface.
Tap the tin onto the work bench a couple of times for trapped air bubbles to escape.
Fold over the excess parchment paper on each side to over the ice cream.
Place in the freezer for 8 hours or overnight to firm up.
When firm, peel off the parchment paper and use it to lift the cake out of the tin.
Transfer to a serving platter.
Dust with cocoa powder to cover the top.
Cut into slices and serve.

Vanilla Sponge Cake (Base)
*this batter makes a little bit more than required for the ice cream cake. You can choose to store the left-over batter overnight or alternatively bake the remainder in a smaller mould and make a smaller cake our of that.

Banana and Date Ice Cream Slice

¼ cup plain all-purpose flour, sifted
¼ cup cornflour (cornstarch), sifted
2 large eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of cream of tartar
¼ cup, plus 2 tbsp caster sugar

Preheat oven to 180°C.
Line a 22cm loaf tin with parchment paper and have a 5cm overhang on each side
In a small bowl, sift together the flour and corn flour, set aside.
In a large bowl, beat egg yolks, half of the sugar and vanilla until the mixture becomes thick and pale.
In another bowl, whisk egg whites and cream of tartar together until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining sugar and whisk until whites are stiff and glossy.
Using a wide metal spoon, fold the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture.
Then, in three additions fold in the flour just until the flour is incorporated into the wet mixture.
Transfer the batter into the prepared tin to just fill 1.5cm of the way up. Smooth the top with a spatula.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted.
Let stand in the tin until it is time to make ice cream cake.

Vanilla Ice Cream up close


Stepmom said...

i still love ice cream cake, especially the ones with chocolatey crumbles in the middle, and this one looks incredible!

ayseyaman said...

Dear JenJen,
Your ice cream cake is beautiful.
I like vanilla very much.
Your last post pictures are lovely,too.
Gook luck at the conference.:)

Brilynn said...

This sounds fabulous, I've been wanting to make an ice cream cake for some time now.

Cheryl said...

Oh my. I so so love ice cream cake. I have still not attempted to make one, since they don't travel well. I would have to keep it home and then I would eat it all and then my pants wouldn't fit.....well you get the idea.

The cake is awesome.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

That ice cream cake looks ever so gorgeous! I really like the idea....

Helene said...

Beautiful recipe! I know I would eat more than my share!

Suganya said...

I like the idea of using sponge cake. I can even buy one from store and assemble them. Gr8!

chemcookit said...

Wow, this looks wonderful! I love ice cream cakes too :)

Anonymous said...

I tried to make it last weekend but my cake was a disaster, I will be trying again this weekend :)

Anonymous said...

This bears no relation to the kids' ice cream cakes my son and I know and hate. Sounds awesome!
Can you tell me if your tablespoon is 3 or 4 teaspoons, I know Australian measures vary from English/American/Cdn. ones?

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