I’ve been making ice cream cakes for my sons’ birthdays for the past 4 years. Each year I learn something new, and this post represents my cumulative knowledge. This year I incorporated cookie dough into the cake, not only including chunks of cookie dough into the ice cream, but also including an entire layer of solid cookie dough sandwiched between two layers of ice cream. The theory of the cake was genius, lol, but the theory turned out to be better than the execution. I now realize that regular cookie dough turns much too hard when frozen. This post does not contain the secret to retained dough-like consistency at ice cream temperatures. I suspect it is a combination of, (1) reducing the flour, (2) adding heavy cream, (3) switching some of the butter for oil. I will keep you posted when I find the answer.
While the details are below in the recipe section, I also wanted to give a high-level overview to help plan the multi-day project. A two-level cake takes at least 3-to-4 days, and a three-level cake takes between 6-to-7 days. This is because most modern home ice cream machines require 2-to-3 days between batches. The sleeve needs to freeze-solid, which recharges the machines ability to freeze the custard into ice cream.
- Day #1, is certainly the longest day, requiring about 3 hours. First make the cookie dough, and pat out into a thick 9″-to-10″ disk; wrap in plastic and refrigerate. After washing your bowls, make the first batch of ice cream. Prepare you custard and while it is chilling, use a rolling-pin to flatten your cookie dough, then invert your springform pan and press down to mark the required shape, and cut using a paring knife. Freeze the cookie dough disk, and break the trimmings into small chunks; freezing the chunks as well. Process the custard in your ice cream machine, adding half the frozen cookie dough chunks in the last 5 minutes of processing.
- Day #3 also takes about 3 hours, but requires much less work. This is just a straight ice cream day. Prepare you custard, chill it down, process, adding the frozen cookie dough chunks in the last 5 minutes of processing.
- Day #4 or 5. Frost the cake using 1 bottle of Magic Shell.
Lessons learned about making ice cream cakes:
- The secret to making spectacular ice cream is two-fold: (1) reduce the amount of water as much as possible; e.g. only egg yolks, never egg whites, and (2) increase the fat content. That’s the “secret” of Haagan-Dazs. Really, it’s no secret. Just look at the nutritional information on the side of the package; 18 grams of fat per 1/2 cup serving, compared to an industry standard closer to 7 to 8 grams.
- Leave your cake uncovered in the freezer for no more that 2 minutes. Any longer and you run the risk of ice particles marring your week-long project. The plastic wrap should be right up against the cake with as little air as possible between the cake and plastic wrap. By the way, the more you open your freezer door the more moisture will enter your freezer and the more protection your cake will need.
- Complete the illusion of a real cake by making a slight dome of the final layer.
- Use a spring-form pan to shape the cake. Layering each batch of ice cream by lightly pressing into an even layer. Run a paring knife along the sides to make it easier to remove.
- If you plan to move the cake from the spring-form-pan-disk, then put a disc of parchment at the bottom of the pan before the first layer of ice cream. I put the disk in this time. but ended up keeping in on the spring-form-pan-disk.
- While the cake cost me just $10, that’s because quarts of heavy cream went on sale for 1/2 price. I was able to buy 1/2 gallon of heavy cream for just $4.80 of which I used 1-1/2 quarts for this cake.
- I topped the cake with Magic Shell to simulate the icing. Next time I want to work out an improved version that will provide a nicer finish. Plus the magic shell is rather expensive ($5.50 for two bottles) and the finished coating is too thin.
- If using Magic Shell be sure to warm and shake exceptionally well. The trick to applying icing to the sides is to hold your rubber spatula against the side of the cake, squeeze a little Magic Shell between the cake and the spatula and work it upwards to form an even coating. It takes a little practice.
- As written, Chris Kimball’s instructions require 1 large and 3 medium mixing bowls. I’ve reworked the logistics of making the chocolate ice cream because I only have 1 large and 1 medium mixing bowl; the small bowl in step 4 can be any small bowl.
Rating: 3-1/2 stars.
How much work? Medium
How big of a mess? Large but spread over many days.
Started: Monday. Ready: Saturday.
2-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (11-1/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons unsalted butter (1-3/4 sticks)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (3-3/4 ounces)
3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar (5-1/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1-1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks (8 ounces)
- To reduce the risk of salmonella, bring a pan of water up to a boil. Add cold eggs to boiling water for a scant 30 seconds.
- Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
- Add 14 tablespoons butter to large heatproof bowl and melt/soften in microwave for 1m25s.
- Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg and the extra yolk, then whisk for 30 seconds until smooth until no limps of sugar remain. Allow mixture to sit for 3 minutes, then whisk again for another 30 seconds. Repeat the resting/whisking two times more.
- Use a wooden spoon to combine flour mixture for 1 minute until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips ensuring that no pockets of flour remain.
- Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes so that dough becomes stiffer.
- Empty dough out onto a large cutting board. Use a rolling-pin to flatten into a large 10″-to-11″ circle. Overturn your springform pan and push into cookie dough, which will mark the correct circumference. Use a paring knife to cut away the extra dough, leaving a perfect circle.
- Use a large knife to separate the dough from the cutting board. Break the cookie dough trimmings into at least 40 pieces.
- Cover both disk and trimmings with plastic wrap and freeze until ready to use.
Chocolate Cookie Dough Ice Cream (Layer 1):
8-oz dark chocolate
1-1/4 cups whole milk (10 oz)
1-1/2 cups heavy cream (11-1/2 oz)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Prepare a large bowl of ice water; to be used as an ice bath after removing from stove-top in step 8. Put your springform pan into the freezer. If you don’t want to serve the final cake on the bottom disk of your springform pan, then cut a piece of parchment and line the bottom of your pan.
- Put a medium heat-proof bowl over a pan of nearly-simmering water. Break your chocolate into large chunks and melt completely while occasionally stirring. Allow to partially cool.
- Add milk, heavy cream, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar to medium saucepan. Warm over medium heat for 5 minutes until the mixture reaches 160°; stir occasionally to ensure that the sugar completely dissolves. Remove pan from heat until Step 6 to prevent the milk from boiling.
- Meanwhile in a small bowl, beat the yolks together with 1/4 cup sugar. Add the eggs to the melted chocolate and mix until well combined.
- Temper the yolks by whisking in 1/2 cup of the warmed milk/cream. Then whisk in a second 1/2 cup to further temper.
- Add the milk/yolk/chocolate mixture back in with the milk in the saucepan. Cook over medium burner until the mixture reaches180°; stir constantly with heat-proof spatula. Cooking too long will scramble your eggs.
- While the mixture heats up, wash your medium bowl and place it in ice batch, and get your strainer handy.
- When the mixture reaches 180°, immediately strain your mixture into the medium bowl. The ice batch will allow the mixture to cool to room temperature quickly; stirring occasionally will help it cool. Add vanilla extract, cover, and freeze for 1 hour. Be sure the mixture is below 38°.
- Add mix into the ice cream machine’s canister. Churn for 35 minutes, or per manufacturer’s instruction. With about 5 minutes remaining, add half your froze cookie dough chunks so that they become evenly distributed.
- Empty finished ice cream in springform pan. Scrape out as much as possible using a rubber spatula. Work to evenly smooth out ice cream. Cover with plastic wrap and use the bottom of a metal 1-cup measuring cup to work into a smooth, even layer.
- Add frozen cookie dough disk on top of ice cream. Cover with a clean sheet of plastic wrap and gently press dough into ice cream. Freeze for 3 days until ready to add the next layer.
Cookie Dough Ice Cream:
2 Cup heavy cream (1 pint)
1-1/2 whole milk
1/2 cup ground coffee or espresso beans.
1-1/4 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
2 teaspoon vanilla.
- Prepare a large bowl of ice water; to be used as an ice bath after removing cream from stove-top.
- Add heavy cream, milk, coffee grounds and 1 cup sugar to medium saucepan. Warm over medium heat for 5 minutes until the mixture reaches 160°; stir occasionally to ensure that the sugar completely dissolves. Temporarily remove pan from heat to prevent the milk from boiling.
- Meanwhile in a small bowl, beat the yolks together with 1/4 cup sugar. Be sure not to let the egg yolks and sugar sit for any length of time; after 5 minutes the combination will get hard. Temper the yolks by whisking in 1/2 cup of the 160° cream. Then whisk in a second 1/2 cup to further temper.
- Add the yolk mixture back in with the cream/coffee in the saucepan. Cook over medium burner until the mixture reaches180°; stir constantly with heat-proof spatula. Cooking too long will scramble your eggs.
- While the mixture heats up, wash your medium bowl and place it in ice batch, and get your strainer handy.
- When the mixture reaches 180°, immediately strain your mixture into the medium bowl. Wash the strainer and then strain the mixture two more times to remove as much of the grounds as possible.
- The ice batch will allow the mixture to cool to room temperature quickly; stirring occasionally will help it cool. Add vanilla extract, cover, refrigerate for 3 hours. Alternatively freeze for 1 hour; just be sure it’s below 40°.
- Add mix into the ice cream machine’s canister. Churn for 30 minutes or how ever long your ice cream machine recommends. If this were not part of a cake recipe, while ice cream churns, I would normally pre-freeze a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and the ice cream’s final container/bowl.
- Empty into spring-form pan (or spread in thin, even layer of pre-chilled baking sheet). Cover with plastic wrap, making sure to leave as little air as possible, and freeze for 2 to 2-1/2 hours before serving.