Ice cream cake is one of those treats that evokes the halcyon days of childhood. I mean, really, who hasn’t celebrated with a Fudgie the Whale ice cream cake on some landmark festive occasion? This cake may not have the charm of Fudgie, but I promise it’s more delicious (mostly because it’s homemade with real ingredients). The base is a light chocolate chiffon cake, which is topped with a homemade fudge sauce, chocolate cookie crumbles, and a layer of dulce de leche ice cream. Finally, the cake is frosted with sweetened whipped cream and garnished with cookie crumbs, making for an eye-catching presentation. If you’re pressed for time, you can substitute crumbled Oreos or Nabisco Famous Wafers for the Chocolate Crumbles and store-bought fudge sauce for the homemade version. But please use real whipped cream, not that chemical stuff that shall remain nameless.
Ice Cream Layer:
- 3 pints dulce de leche ice cream (preferably a premium brand)
Chocolate Chiffon Cake:
- 1/2 cup (57 grams) cake flour
- 1/4 cup (24 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3 large (150 grams) eggs, separated and at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons (40 grams) vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons (45 grams) whole milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2/3 cup (155 grams) heavy cream
- 2 ounces (57 grams) bittersweet chocolate (70%), finely chopped
- 1 ½ tablespoons (22 g) unsalted butter
- 1 ½ tablespoons (31 g) light corn syrup
- 1/3 cup (71 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons (49 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup (32 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3 tablespoons (42 grams) unsalted butter, melted
Whipped Cream Frosting:
- 1 ¾ cups (406 grams) heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
- ¼ cup (29 grams) confectioners’ sugar
Prepare the ice cream layer:
- Fifteen to 20 minutes before starting the cake, put the ice cream in the refrigerator to soften slightly. Spray the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray. Line the pan with a large piece of plastic wrap.
- Scoop all the softened ice cream into the pan. Top with another piece of plastic wrap and press and smooth the ice cream into an even layer. Freeze for at least 2 hours, or until firm.
Make the cake:
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325˚ Grease the bottom only (not the sides) of a 9-inch springform pan and line it with a parchment round.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, cocoa powder, 1/4 cup of the sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk gently to combine well.
- Whisk the egg yolks, oil, milk and vanilla into the flour mixture until smooth.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar at medium-low speed. Gradually increase the speed to medium speed, and beat until the whites just begin to form soft peaks. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup of the sugar over and beat at medium-high speed until the whites form stiff peaks. Gently fold the meringue into the batter, one-third at a time. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Once cool, run a knife around the edge of the pan and release the side of the pan. Invert the cake onto a rack and remove the parchment paper. Reinvert the cake.
Make the Fudge Sauce:
- In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the cream, chocolate, butter and corn syrup and place over medium-low heat. Heat, whisking frequently, until the chocolate is melted. Whisk in the sugar and increase the heat to medium-high; bring the sauce to a boil, and allow to boil, whisking occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Transfer the sauce to a heatproof glass measure and stir in the vanilla and salt. Set aside at room temperature until completely cooled, about 1 hour. (The fudge sauce can be made up to a week ahead and refrigerated, covered. Reheat the sauce in the microwave at 50 percent power for about 30 seconds, until it is spreadable.)
Make the Chocolate Crumble:
- Preheat oven to 300˚F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or piece of parchment paper.
- Put the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, cornstarch and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix at low speed until well blended. With the mixer running, add the melted butter and mix until crumbly. Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until dry and fragrant. Place the sheet on a wire rack and cool completely.
- Set aside about 1 cup of the crumbles to use for the middle of the cake. Place the remaining crumbles in a food processor and process until finely ground; these crumbs will be used to garnish the top of the cake.
Assemble the cake:
- Place the cake layer on a cardboard cake round. Spoon the Fudge Sauce on top, smoothing it into an even layer. Sprinkle 1 cup of the Chocolate Crumble on top. Remove the ice cream layer from the freezer. Remove the side of the pan and peel off the plastic wrap on top. Invert the ice cream layer onto the cake, then peel off the plastic wrap. Cover with another piece of plastic wrap and freeze for at least 1 hour.
Make the Whipped Cream Topping:
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, begin whipping the cream and vanilla at medium speed. When the cream begins to form soft mounds, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high and whip until firm peaks just start to form.
Finish the cake:
- Put the whipped cream in a pastry bag fitted with a medium, plain tip. Working quickly, pipe the cream in bands over the top and sides of the cake (reserve some of the cream in the bag to garnish the top). Using an offset metal spatula, immediately smooth the whipped cream into an even layer that covers the top and sides of the cake. Freeze the cake for 30 minutes. Place the remaining whipped cream in the refrigerator.
- Remove the cake from the freezer and pipe dollops or shells of the remaining whipped cream around the edge on top of the cake. Sprinkle with some of the reserved Chocolate Crumbles. Freeze the cake until ready to serve.