by Stephanie Zonis
8 to 10 servings
Two thin layers of chewy brownie enclose a thick layer of ice cream; in the middle of the ice cream layer, there are softly-frozen truffles. Slices of this dessert are served with ice cream toppings and whipped cream. Sign me up! A great advantage of this ice cream cake is that it must be made ahead of serving time. The components are made individually, and can be frozen until you're ready to assemble the dessert; the completed dessert is then frozen at least 8 hours before serving, but it can be made up to a week in advance. You'll need a springform pan for this, 8-1/2" in diameter and 3" tall.
While you can use many ice cream flavors for this cake, choose a good-quality ice cream that isn't rock-hard directly out of the freezer. I like to use a basic flavor---vanilla or coffee, for example--- as either allows for a nice visual and flavor contrast with the chocolate truffles. You can use an ice cream that is all-chocolate, but you won't get the nice contrasts described above. I prefer to work with two pint containers as opposed to one quart container, as I find it easier for this recipe.
4 squares (4 ozs.) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
4 Tbsp. (1/4 cup or
1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 Tbsp. light corn syrup,
preferably at room temperature
3 eggs, graded "large"
1-1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 ozs. good-quality
semisweet chocolate, chopped
Few grains salt
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
1-1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into
small pieces, at room temperature
1 Tbsp. pure vanilla OR dark rum OR
a combination of the two
1 quart good-quality ice cream
of your choice (see introduction to recipe)
Toppings that complement
your ice cream selection
Lightly sweetened whipped cream
Tear off four sheets of regular-weight aluminum foil, each about 13" long. Line each of two 9-inch round layer pans with a double thickness of the foil (the pans can be shallow), pressing out as many creases as possible and folding any overhanging foil over the pan edges. Lightly grease the pan bottoms with vegetable shortening, being careful not to tear the foil. Set aside.
In medium heatproof bowl, combine chopped chocolate and butter. Place over simmering water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl); stir often until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and hot water, stir in corn syrup, and set aside to cool for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In separate medium bowl, combine eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt. With large spoon, beat until well-combined and quite foamy, about 1 minute. Add chocolate mixture, which may still be warm (but not hot) and stir in. Stir in flour only until combined.
Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and spread level. Bake in preheated oven 16 to 19 minutes, or until toothpick inserted near center emerges with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Because these brownie layers are so thin, it helps to insert the toothpick on an angle. Do not overbake. Allow to cool completely in pans. Store airtight.
Combine chopped chocolate and salt in small heatproof bowl. In small saucepan over low heat, heat cream until very hot, stirring occasionally. Pour about half of hot cream over chocolate (reserve remainder). Allow chocolate to stand for a minute or two, then stir or whisk gently until smooth. Gradually stir in remaining cream. (If necessary, place bowl of chocolate over simmering water on low heat--water should not touch bottom of bowl--and stir until melted and smooth, then remove from heat and hot water.) Stir in butter pieces, a few at a time. Gradually add vanilla or rum (mixture will be thin). Turn into small bowl, then chill. When cold, cover with a layer of paper towels across the top of the bowl, then cover tightly with plastic wrap (the paper towel prevents any condensation that forms from dripping back into the truffle mixture). Chill at least 8 hours, or overnight.
First, clear a large open space in your freezer. Next, gently remove the brownies from their pans, but keep them in the foil pan-linings. Be gentle here; the thin brownie layers are fragile. If it isn't too much like work, try to peel off the outer layer of the foil lining (the outer layer ONLY) of each brownie layer. Freeze the layers for at least one hour, though they can be frozen for much longer if you wish. Make sure they are in airtight wrappings if you're going to freeze them for any length of time.
Line a 13" by 9" pan with foil. Remove the truffle mixture from the fridge. Scoop out portions of truffle equivalent to a well-rounded half-teaspoonful, and place these individual portions on the foil; you'll have about 35 or 40 (the exact number doesn't matter). Cover the top of the 13" by 9" pan lightly with plastic wrap; freeze the truffles for at least one hour. Have your ice cream to hand, but leave it in the freezer.
Meanwhile, trace around the bottom of the springform pan on two sheets of wax paper to form two circles, each 8-1/2" in diameter. Assemble the springform pan. Place one wax paper circle in the bottom of the pan (reserve the other). No more than 2" up from the bottom of the pan, grease the sides ONLY with solid vegetable shortening.
Cut a sheet of wax paper that is 13-1/2" long; the wax paper should be 12" wide. Cut the sheet in half lengthwise, so that each half measures 13-1/2" long by 6" wide, then fold each half lengthwise, so that it measures 13-1/2" long by 3" wide. Place one folded length, open side down, along the sides of the assembled springform pan (the greased sides help it stick) and flush with the bottom of the pan, fitting it as neatly as possible to the pan sides so there are no "gaps" between pan and wax paper lining. Repeat with other length, fitting to unlined side of pan (there will likely be a bit of overlap--OK). You should now have a pan lined on bottom and sides with wax paper.
Line a cutting board with wax paper. Remove one brownie layer from the freezer. Gently peel foil from sides of brownie layer, then turn upside down onto wax paper on cutting board, and gently peel foil from bottom. Place reserved 8-1/2" circle of wax paper on top of frozen brownie layer. With point of small, serrated, sharp knife, trace circle onto brownie. Remove circle of wax paper. Cut just inside the traced circle on the brownie, cutting away a small portion at a time. Make sure you cut straight up-and-down, or the top of the layer will have a greater diameter than the bottom (trim the layer as necessary, if this happens). Re-invert the layer so it is top side up, and place it, still top side up, in the bottom of the lined pan.
From now on, you must work quickly. Remove both pints of ice cream and the frozen truffles from the freezer. Remove the lids from both pints of ice cream. Soften one pint by heating in the microwave at 50% (medium) power for 10 to 15 seconds, just until ice cream is softened slightly (you don't want it to melt!). By large spoonfuls, remove ice cream from container and place on brownie layer in bottom of springform pan. With back of spoon, spread to form as even a layer as possible.
Place a ring of truffles around the outer edge of the ice cream layer, touching the wax paper lining of the pan. Place the remaining truffles all over the top of the ice cream layer, as evenly as possible. Now, quickly soften the second pint of ice cream as you did the first, and place by smaller spoonfuls all over the top of the truffles. Again, spread to form as even a layer as possible; don't worry if it isn't perfect. Now, put it back into the freezer IMMEDIATELY; while doing so, remove the second frozen brownie layer.
Remove foil coverings gently and trim the second brownie layer as you did the first, to form a circle a tad less than 8-1/2" in diameter. Remove the springform pan from the freezer, and carefully maneuver the second brownie layer, top side up, onto the second ice cream layer (the wax paper on the sides of the pan might try to crumple underneath the second brownie layer as it's going in, but show it who's boss, and tug it upward gently to straighten it out). If necessary, trim the second brownie layer a bit more on the sides to make it fit). Place the wax paper circle you used for trimming the brownie layers on top of the cake, and press down gently. Replace in freezer IMMEDIATELY! Freeze for about 2 hours, then gently compact the cake again (to eliminate any air pockets) by pressing down on the top layer of wax paper. Cover the top of the pan tightly with foil, and replace in freezer for at least 6 hours longer, or overnight.
Have ready the lightly sweetened whipped cream and any toppings you like (for vanilla or coffee ice cream, I think hot fudge sauce is a natural; warm it slightly). Have ready serving plates, forks, and a large, sharp, serrated knife.
Remove the ice cream cake from the freezer, and take off the foil cover. Release the clamp that holds on the sides of the pan. Carefully and gently, peel off the wax paper from the cake sides; if it tears, don't worry, just make sure to peel it all off. Insert a flat or plastic knife between the bottom of the pan and the wax paper circle on the bottom of the pan, and lift the cake up. Quickly and carefully transfer to cutting board or serving plate (if you do put this on a serving plate, it must have a center depression or flat area at least 8-1/2" in diameter). Remove wax paper circle from top of cake.
Cut as many slices as desired; remember, the first slice out is always the toughest and looks the worst. If necessary, run knife blade under hot water and shake off. Return any unused ice cream cake to freezer promptly, covering tightly with plastic wrap.
Drizzle slices with topping, allowing some topping to pool on plate. Garnish with whipped cream. Important: Allow to stand 5 to 7 minutes at room temperature before serving, so ice cream softens just slightly. Pass more topping with the cake.
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This page originally created in 1998 and modified October 2007
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