If you're wondering why I'm making ice cream cakes in January it is because the sunshine state is an annoying 80 degrees in the middle of winter. Bah. I will not be offended if you just and save this for later.
To make an ice cream cake you will need:
- one box of cake mix (or one original recipe, but I'm going to show you how to make your cake mix taste home made below)
- eggs, butter, milk
- ice cream, I used about half a gallon
- cool whip
- food coloring (optional)
I used all three of my round cake pans today because I finally have more than one. For years I had just one round cake pan and I would bake half of the cake at a time (yes, I'm crazy) and then do the ice cream.
Anyhow, so I'm definitely a woman of convenience (like I haven't said that before) and so although I have some great recipes for from-scratch cakes I tend to go box for most occasions. But I learned how to doctor my cakes from Fabulously Frugal. It was almost necessary because my mother would always call me out on it after taking her first bite... "Oh you used a box. Duncan Hines or Pillsbury?" Not anymore! Here's how to trick them:
- add 1 extra egg than the directions on the box say to use
- double the oil amount, but use melted butter instead
- use milk instead of water
So make your cake. Original from-scratch recipe or box... doesn't matter. Use two round cake pans. Bake, and let cool. (Also don't open your oven to take pictures, because then they wind up with ugly bubbles on them.)
While the cakes are baking I like to set my ice cream out on the counter. Not close to the stove - I don't want it to melt. Just out somewhere hanging out getting all soft and mushy.
When I pull the cakes out I set them on my electric stove burners to cool because I don't have a cooling rack. Do the "cool in pan for 15 then remove" thing. At this point I have to move them to plates because no rack. If you have a rack, use it! You want them to cool completely.
While the cakes do their thing, take the same size round cake pan and line it with saran wrap. Then take your softened ice cream and smush it into the pan. Really get it in there and fill in all the gaps. Try to get the finished product as level as possible. It's okay if some of it's melty.
Take any excess saran wrap and gently fold it over to cover the top. Use more saran wrap to cover the top if necessary. Place the whole thing back into the freezer.
Take a break from your kitchen. It's okay to check on the cakes and ice cream if you're impatient. I just played video games and checked the ice cream between matches. I check by gently palpating the covered ice cream. If it's mushy, it's not ready. Once firm, you're good to go!
Note: If you can do the ice cream the night before I highly suggest it. Depending on how melty your ice cream gets, it could take a long time to firm up!
Once everything is all cooled down and solidified, level off your cakes. (I actually level just the bottom layer because I like the top of my cakes to be rounded slightly. I feel it's the natural order of things...)
Then layer the ice cream on top of one cake, and balance the second cake on top of that. The longer the ice cream is in the freezer before you do this step, the better. Mine could have used a little more time.
You can see above how the top layer is sliding off? It's because I'm taking pictures and I'm taking too long and my ice cream is melting. I put mine back in the freezer to fix it. I added the saran wrap to make sure it doesn't slide completely off.
When that didn't work, I manhandled that cake into being the shape I wanted and put saran wrap around the outside. And I left it alone overnight.
(See how nice it is to be making this cake early?)
When you take out your cake, it should look like a prettier version of this:
It's okay if it looks ugly. You've won if it's even remotely shaped like a cake. You can trim excess ice cream from the middle layer with a knife. Move the cake to a carrying container if needed. Then you frost the cake using cool whip.
You can dye the cool whip if you'd like. I didn't dye mine because I used German Chocolate cake mix and French Vanilla ice cream. (There's a joke in there somewhere...) Using anything other than white would be weird.
Anyhow, just store your finished cake in the freezer until it's time to eat it. Enjoy! And celebrate because you just saved like $30!!!