“Birthdays are nature's way of telling us to eat more cake.”-Anonymous
My philosophy exactly! So, on that note…
I haven’t written in a while because I knew I had to make something worthy of a post. Well, after much anticipation and planning I did it-I hope you weren’t doubting me! I baked the most monstrously delectable birthday cake for one of my very best friends, Rebekah who is celebrating her 20th birthday today. Happy birthday Bekah! When I bake I like to keep that person’s personality in mind, and when I think about Bekah I immediately think sweet, smart, and extremely rational. Ok, I also think chronically late, but that’s irrelevant! I knew I had to bake her something special, totally unique, and entirely Bekahfied. Inspired by an ice cream binge we had last year after a long, bad day of Plan II math I knew what I needed to make her: ice cream cake-BINGO!
The idea started out simple enough-I’d make a chocolate cake, layer it with ice cream and pipe a happy birthday message on it with ganache. That was the initial plan…but as you should be aware of by now, I have the tendency to get carried away. Bored in philosophy a few days later, I was sketching the cake and decided to up the ante by piping whipped cream rosettes around the perimeter of creation. Flash forward another few days: found an impeccable sounding fudge frosting recipe. How could I say no?! So, ok-I decided those would be my elements, no more and certainly no less!
The party was planned for Saturday so I got to work Friday after class. I started with the cake-after endless research and numerous reviews I decided on using Ina Garten’s Beatty’s Chocolate Cake recipe. The cakes baked up flawlessly, they weren’t peaked or cracked on top and were nice and moist. I baked one in a 10 inch springform pan and one in a 12 inch so that I could build the cake easily, have it maintain the shape, and have easy removal of it despite the numerous fragile layers. About 3 hours after cooling I ventured to do the ice cream layer. I bought 1.5 quart of cookie dough ice cream, but for some reason it just didn’t go on as I wanted it to. Immediately after placing it on the cake, despite the cake being stone cold, it started melting. I tried to do the job quickly to salvage the cake and placed them both back in the freezer within 10 minutes-but I had a sinking feeling that it just was not going to turn out well. I knew I’d need more ice cream so after getting Indian food with Louis we continued our date with a stop at HEB (romantic, right) to stock up. When I got home I immediately went to work. This time the ice cream went on perfectly, in a nice firm thick layer and looked exquisite. Saturday morning I tackled the fudge frosting, whipped cream, and ganache - all very simple aspects that made the cake incredible. The fudge and whipped cream both went on smoothly; I let each layer freeze before placing a layer of something else over it. However, the ganache caused issues. Despite making it earlier that afternoon, and attempting to pipe it 5 hours later it would not thicken up well enough to proper piping consistency. I tried to make rosettes, but they failed to hold their shape so I gave up. Because I already had limp ganache all over the cake I just decided to change the plan and make a design.
Though it wasn’t the prettiest cake, it was well appreciated and absolutely delicious. It had everything and the varying textures of the soft cake, cream, cookie dough chunks, fudge, and whipped cream combined for an excellent taste experience. I’ve included the link for the recipe of the cake and fudge, but I’ll also show you how to make the sweetened whipped cream and ganache, because they are simple things that really liven up a dessert and take no time at all! There were some rough patches in the creative process, but this cake definitely goes on my list as one of the best things I’ve ever baked.
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (would also be awesome with real vanilla bean)
Using a hand mixer (or a stand mixer if you're lucky enough to not be a poor college student) beat only the cream until it has soft peaks. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until stiff peaks form. Voila-delicious homemade whipped cream!!! Many more calories than cool whip, but so worth it.
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (I used Hershey's dark chocolate chips)
Boil cream, not just a rolling boil, but an on-the verge-of-boiling-over-the-pot boil. Got it? While that's boiling up place the chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl. Once the cream has threatened to flow all over your kitchen pour it over the chocolate chips. Just tap the bowl so the chips and cream really come together-let it sit like this for about a minute. After sitting mix with a spatula until the chocolate and cream are completely blended (about 2 minutes). You can pour it over a cake warm as a glaze or you can place i in the refrigerator and let it set up for piping (I'd do this about a day before if that's the case).