Wednesday was my dear C.’s birthday and this is all he wanted… a Carvel style ice cream cake. No presents, no birthday party, no crowds, just an ice cream cake. He is a man of simple needs. C. and I are what people refer to as an “unexpected couple”. I suppose at first glance, we do not match. He is very private and would kill me if I revealed too much personal information, but I do want to say that he lifted me and carried me through some of the worst times in my life. He has a character that I admire, strong as I would like to be, an independent spirit.
So back to the cake… In case you are not familiar with Carvel, it is a franchise of ice cream shops mostly located in the East Coast. I never knew about them until I moved to Florida and never saw one in Colorado where we lived before. They are known for the ice cream cakes that are decorated with bright colors (most popular is a whale design) and have layers of ice cream, chocolate cake and “chocolate crunchies”. The chocolate crunchies are essential. I have never seen a list of the ingredients they use in their ice creams and cakes, but judging by looks, I presume they have many ingredients in them that I cannot even pronounce (and I hope the Carvel Corporation does not suit me for saying this). Guilty pleasure.
Since this was C.’s only request, I gladly made him two ice cream cakes. I built them in individual ring molds so there was no need to cut and it was easier to eat. The first cake had a chocolate buttermilk cake base, vanilla bean ice cream and chocolate streusel to emulate the Carvel crunchies. The other cake had the same chocolate buttermilk cake base, double chocolate chip ice cream and chocolate meringues.
Chocolate Buttermilk Cake
Makes quarter sheet pan
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
Cream the butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract. Add the eggs one at a time. Scrape the bowl so all ingredients are well mixed. Add the flour with the baking soda and while the mixer is mixing these, add the buttermilk. Mix until all ingredients are combined.
Spread batter on a quarter sheetpan and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Let the cake cool. Cut 3 inch circles with a cookie cutter. We will build the cake in a ring mold that size.
Vanilla Ice Cream
500 grams whole milk
130 grams heavy cream
40 grams glucose or corn syrup
150 grams of sugar
1 vanilla bean, scraped
180 grams egg yolks
In a saucepan, combine the whole milk, cream, vanilla bean, glucose and sugar together. Bring to a boil. Have the egg yolks lightly whipped on a bowl and when the milk comes to a boil, temper it into the egg yolks. Whisk. Add the custard back to the saucepan and cook stirring constantly to 84 degrees Celsius.
Strain the custard through a fine sieve into a clean bowl and chill it over an ice bath. When it has cooled, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Let it cool overnight and the next day churn in the ice cream machine. Freeze.
When ready to build the cake, take the ice cream out of the freezer and place it in the refrigerator to soften a bit and until it is pliable.
50 grams unsalted butter
50 grams sugar
50 grams almond flour
40 grams flour
10 grams cocoa powder
pinch of salt
Cream all ingredients together until a ball forms. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze until it hardens. When it is solid, grate it with a large grater or even through a food grinder. You will get little pieces of streusel. Refrigerate right away.
When the pieces of streusel are hard again, spread them on a sheetpan and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 12 minutes. Let the streusel cool and store in an airtight container until ready to use.
Double Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
750 grams half and half
150 grams egg yolks
150 grams sugar
225 grams bittersweet chocolate (58%), chopped
50 grams bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
In a saucepan, bring the half and half and the sugar to a boil. Place the egg yolks in a bowl and when the half and half is boiling, temper it into the egg yolks. Bring this mixture back to the saucepan and cook to 84 degrees Celcius. Pour this over the chopped chocolate (225 grams) and whisk until the chocolate melts. Strain the custard through a fine sieve and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, churn it in the ice cream machine and at the end of the churning, fold in the finely chopped chocolate. Freeze.
150 grams organic egg whites
150 grams sugar
150 grams powdered sugar, sifted
25 grams good quality cocoa powder, sifted
Whip the egg whites until they are almost fully whipped. Slowly start adding the granulated sugar while the mixer is still running. Whip until we obtain a shiny, stiff meringue but make sure not to overwhip or it will dry out.
Sprinkle a third of the sifted powdered sugar and cocoa powder and fold with a spatula. Repeat until all the powdered sugar and cocoa powder have been folded in.
Place meringue into a pastry bag with number 4 pastry tip and pipe lines onto a sheetpan lined with parchment paper. Bake in a 200 degree oven for an hour. Let the meringues cool and then, store them in an airtight container until ready to use.