One of my best friends had her birthday last week and to celebrate, I wanted to make her favorite ever dessert: ice cream cake. She does not have celiac disease and is not in any way gluten intolerant, so I decided to make her a non-gluten-free cake. On the other hand, Jarron had never had ice cream cake before, so I made a second, gluten-free version. Both had chocolate cake bases and were filled with strawberry-cookies-and-cream ice cream, but I used ganache on the first cake and a simple chocolate glaze on the second.
I tried a slice of both cakes, and I liked the gluten-free one better! Part of that is that I prefer the chocolate glaze, but also the gluten-free cake was made from scratch, adapted from a Dorie Greenspan recipe, whereas my friend’s cake was from a mix. While it seems obvious that a from-scratch cake would trump a mix, I think a lot of people would be surprised that any gluten-free cake could be beat a wheat-flour cake. I mean, before my gluten-free days, I baked cakes almost exclusively from a mix (they work every time!); to tell you the truth, I still think there is nothing better than a Duncan Hines white cake, but I am hoping to be able to make one just as good, gluten-free—someday.
Chocolate Ice Cream Cake
For the Cake (adapted from this recipe)
½ cup sweet rice flour
¼ cup brown rice flour
¼ cup cocoa
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
5 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1.5 eggs*, room temp
1 tsp vanilla
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted but not hot
1/3 cup buttermilk*, room temperature
3 oz boiling water
1 oz semisweet chocolate finely chopped
For the filling
½ quart ice cream (I used Breyers “Natural Strawberry”—about 1/3 of the carton)
8 Kinnitoos (or similar chocolate wafer cookie)
For the glaze
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp vegetable oil
¼ tsp course salt
For the ganache
I used this recipe
Make the cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, center a rack, butter a 9-inch round cake pan, and lightly flour with tapioca flour. Line bottom with parchment paper.
Combine the sweet rice flour, brown rice flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl, and whisk thoroughly to incorporate and aerate.
In a stand mixer, beat the softened butter with the brown and white sugars until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Add the eggs in two additions and beat for 1 minute after each. Add the vanilla and mix to incorporate.
With the mixer on low, spoon in the melted bittersweet chocolate. Once incorporated, add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with two batches of the buttermilk.
With the mixer on low, add the boiling water and mix just until combined. Stir in the chopped semisweet chocolate with a spoon.
Pour into prepared pan, and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a fork inserted in the center comes out clean.
*eggs: Sorry about the weird measurement: this was halved from a 3 egg recipe. Common sense suggests that you can never go wrong with one more egg (they make things more fluffy and puffy) but I can’t attest that 2 eggs work in this recipe; I did however use 1.5 eggs—crack one egg into a liquid measuring cup, whisk it, use half for the cake, the rest for scrambled eggs.
*buttermilk: I never have buttermilk on hand, so I use the standard substitution: 1 tbsp white vinegar or lemon juice with enough milk to make a full cup. For this recipe, I used 1 tsp of lemon juice and added enough milk to make 1/3 cup of buttermilk. Leave it out until it comes to room temperature before using.
Let cake sit in the pan 5 mins, then run a butter knife around the edge to loosen, and place on a rack to cool. Allow to cool to room temperature. (I like to put the cake, rack and all, on the open shelf in the freezer to come to room temp).
If using glaze (but not ganache), you can make it while the cake is cooling.
Make the glaze
Place 1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and heat at intervals of 15-30 seconds at 50% power, stirring after each interval, until chocolate is melted. (It’s important to stir after each interval because chocolate can melt while holding its shape, and if you cook it too long it will scorch).
When chocolate is melted, stir in 2 tbsp of vegetable oil and ¼ tsp course salt. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap until ready to use.
Once cake is at least to room temperature, soften ½ quart of ice cream
Place the Kinnitoos in a Ziploc bag and smash with a rolling pin or drinking glass into coarse crumbs and chunks. Fold cookie pieces into softened ice cream.
Using two large pieces of plastic wrap, line a 9 inch springform pan, with the excess plastic wrap draping over the sides, about 3 inches or more. Place a parchment circle in the bottom of the pan, over the plastic wrap (I used the same one from baking the cake).
When the cake has cooled and is easy to handle, place it (flattest side down) in the pan. Spread the ice cream over the cake in an even layer.
If using glaze, pour the glaze over the top of the ice cream now and spread quickly with the back of a spoon before it sets. (Ganache topping will be applied after the ice cream has set).
Cover the springform pan (not touching the ice cream or glaze) with plastic wrap, and freeze for about 4 hours or until ice cream is firm.
After the ice cream is firm, remove the cake from the pan and serve.
Once the ice cream is firm, prepare the ganache.
Remove the cake from the freezer and the springform pan. Place the cake on a slatted cooling rack over a cookie sheet. While the ganache is still warm, pour it over the cake. Use the back of a spoon to smooth the ganache and move it before it sets. Place the cake, rack and all, into the freezer for a few minutes, and once the ganache is no longer gooey (5-15 minutes), cover loosely with plastic wrap. Allow to freeze for 30 minutes to an hour.
Bring the cakes out of the freezer about 15-25 minutes before serving (at 25 minutes the cake is soft and the ice cream is getting melty—which is how I like it).
Cut by dipping a long serrated knife into a tall glass of hot water, wiping after each slice and dipping before the next.