Ice Cream Cake

Summer is here!! For all you students and year 13s out there, that means you’re finished with exams- congrats! Take advantage of your time off to go and do fun stuff (maybe even bake something new…) I feel like I actually have a right to say that now that I’m working on my dissertation through summer. And yes I know, I brought that upon myself by doing a Masters degree, but that doesn’t mean I can’t sit here and feel sorry for myself, ok? But anyway,from the midst of my pity-party came a great idea- a combination of my favourite thing (cake) and summer (represented here by ice cream).

Although summer seems to be manifesting itself largely in the liquid sunshine form here in the UK so far, I feel that it’s summer-y enough to start consuming large quantities of ice cream.  I briefly toyed with the idea of making a baked alaska for my first summer post, but quickly realised that a) although it’s impressive, it seems like far too much effort and b) I don’t have the freezer space for a cake like that. Also, we all know how making baked alaska in the summer goes- especially if you’re in a very warm tent with other bakers… (too soon?!) The idea behind my ice cream cake seems to me to be much simpler, and also fit better in my shared freezer shelf! It has a brownie base, ice cream middle and chocolate ganache topping, which makes for a nice combination and isn’t too rich.

Ice Cream Cake

Baking time: 20 mins

Preparation time: 30 mins (not including cooking time)

Ingredients

200g Dark Chocolate
100g Butter
250g Caster Sugar
4 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
60g Plain Flour
60g Cocoa Powder
900ml tub of Vanilla Ice Cream
100g Milk Chocolate
200ml Double Cream

I baked this in my 23cm diameter springform tin.

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Break up the dark chocolate and melt in the microwave until smooth. Set to one side.
2. Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, mixing a little after each one, then add the vanilla essence and mix until the eggs are fully combined.
3. Add the melted dark chocolate to the mixture and stir until combined. Next, add the flour and cocoa powder and mix until all the ingredients are well combined.
4. Spoon the mixture into a greaseproof paper-lined cake tin and spread evenly. Cook in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
5. Remove the brownie base from the oven and set aside to cool. Once it is cool, take the ice cream out of the freezer to melt slightly.
6. Once the brownie base has cooled completely, spread the slightly melted ice cream onto the brownie base, spreading as evenly as possible and making sure to cover the brownie base. Once the ice cream has spread, place the cake tin in the freezer.
7. Whilst the ice cream re-sets in the freezer, make the chocolate ganache. To do this, first break the milk chocolate into pieces, then heat up the cream in a saucepan until boiling.
8. As soon as the cream reaches boiling point, add the cream to the broken up milk chocolate and stir until the chocolate melts and combines with the cream.
9. Once the cream and chocolate are combined, take the cake from the freezer and pour on the ganache. Spread the ganache evenly over the ice cream layer. It is important to do this quickly as the ice cream will start to melt due to the heat of the ganache, so as soon as it is spread, place the cake back in the freezer.
10. Store in the freezer until you’re ready to enjoy it!

Handy Hints
Ice Cream- Although I made this with vanilla ice cream, I think it would also be great with other flavours, such as mint or cherry (two of my favourites!) I would avoid anything too sweet though as it may make it too rich overall!
Cooking- These brownies are quite fudgy, but should still pass the knife/ cake tester test (i.e. the knife should come out clean after sticking it in the brownie)
Spreading Ice Cream- This process can be a little tricky. You want the ice cream to have melted enough so that you can (roughly) spread it, but not so much that it becomes soup! If it’s easier, cut chunks of ice cream and fit them together like a jigsaw on the brownie base!
Ganache- When making the ganache, keep stirring the cream and chocolate at all time until they’re combined. If you let it cool too much, it’s still fine but it will have a thicker consistency, if you want a smooth, glossy finish then you’ll have to add the ganache whilst it’s still quite warm.
Serving- If you are serving the whole thing at once, then defrost for 5-10 minutes before serving. If you want to cut a slice or two, this is more difficult but I found that for the most part it cut ok, even when I’d just taken it out of the freezer. Don’t leave it too long or the ice cream will melt everywhere!

 

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P.S. The apples totally offset the huge slice of cake, right?!

Eton Mess Cupcakes

This bake was inspired by the British summer, which seems ironic as while I’m writing this, it’s tipping it down outside. It may be my ignorance here, but I was thinking about the fact that there doesn’t seem to be many British puddings that are summery. I feel like, as a nation, we do winter puddings very well- sticky toffee pudding, Christmas cake and, best of all, custard. The only one that really sprung to mind is Eton Mess, which is why I had the idea to combine this classic with cupcakes and see how it turned out!

Eton Mess is traditionally made with whipped cream, strawberries and meringue- ingredients that I’ve loosely incorporated into this bake. I don’t think they went too badly- I think it’s always a good sign when you take something you’ve baked to a gathering of people and find that it disappears quite quickly. I took these to my grandparents’ where they followed a main of meat, veg, gravy and Yorkshire puddings. How very British.

The other reason I was excited to try this bake was because I’d recently bought myself a duo piping nozzle (Lakeland sell them for a good price) which I really wanted to try out. I think the whole concept of ‘duo piping’ sounds very fancy, so I was quite excited at doing something very easy which would look (I hoped) quite posh! However, those of you who don’t find the concept of duo piping so enthralling, a normal piping bag will do the job just as well!

Eton Mess Cupcakes
Preparation Time: 10 mins (cupcakes) 5 mins (meringue)
Cooking Time: 10-15mins (cupcakes) 45 mins- 1 hour (meringue)

Ingredients
110g/4oz Butter
110g/4oz Caster Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
110g/4oz Self-raising Flour
1-2 tbsp Milk
For the icing:
140g/ 5oz Butter
Icing Sugar
Dash of milk
1/2 tsp Vanilla Essence
3-4 tsp Strawberry Milkshake Powder
For the Meringue:
2 Egg Whites
100g/ 3 1/2 oz Caster Sugar
Raspberries to decorate

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line a cupcake tray with cases (makes 12).
2. Cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract.
3. Add the flour and fold in, adding a bit of milk to reach the right consistency. Fill the cases until they are about half full.
4. Bake for 10-15 mins, until golden and the sponge springs back. Put the cupcakes aside to cool.
5. Turn the oven down to 140C.
6. To make the meringue, place the egg whites in a bowl and whisk with a hand mixer on full speed until it reaches a thick consistency with peaks.
7. Add the sugar a bit at a time, whisking until the mixture is glossy.
8. Place a dessertspoon of mixture at a time on to a baking tray covered in baking parchment, then place in the oven and bake for 45 mins- 1 hour until firm and crisp.
9. While the meringues are in the oven, make the buttercream:
10. Beat the butter until soft. Add 5oz of icing sugar and mix until combined, then add a dash of milk and keep adding icing sugar until you reach a pipe-able but not too runny consistency.
11. Split the buttercream in half and add vanilla essence to one half and strawberry milkshake powder to the other.
13. Fill a duo piping bag with the different types of buttercream in different halves, then pipe onto the cupcakes, if they have cooled enough.
14. When the meringues have finished cooking, take them out of the oven and leave them to cool. When they’ve cooled, break them into pieces and sprinkle/ arrange the meringues on top of the buttercream (depending on how fancy you feel!)
15. Add a raspberry to the top of each cupcake.

Handy Hints
Turning the oven down- the meringues need to be in at a low heat, so make sure the oven has cooled down to the right temperature before putting them in.
Meringue mixture- If you’re feeling confident, a meringue mix is the right consistency if you can tip the bowl upside-down over your head and none falls out (go on, I dare you!)
Baking meringues- they are done when they’re firm and crisp, and when they lift off the baking parchment easily. If they don’t come away from the paper, they’re not cooked yet.
Buttercream- If you don’t have a duo piping bag, you could always pipe one half for each flavour!
Raspberries- I would only add fruit to the cupcakes if you’re eating them that day- if not save the fruit to put on before you serve them, as they may go soggy or go off- not a good look when your cupcakes have mouldy fruit on top of them!

Eton Mess Cupcakes