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Monday, May 24, 2010

Brownie-Bottomed Ice Cream Cake with Fudge Sauce

Ice cream cakes. They are, hand's down, one of the most versatile cakes imaginable. A home-made ice cream cake is a blank slate of endless possibilities for crust, ice cream flavors, fillings, and toppings.

This year, for my mom's birthday, I decided to make her an ice cream birthday cake, according to her specifications: brownie-bottomed, and filled with Turkey Hill Moose Tracks Frozen Yogurt. She left the rest up to my discretion.

After perusing some literature online, I decided that a springform pan would be the easiest. All of the following directions are for an 8 1/2" springform pan, but anything from 8"-10" should work fine, the larger pans will just yield a slightly thinner cake, and have shorter cooking time for the brownies.

Doing it again, I would make the cake with full-fat ice cream, not low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt. I found that the low-fat stuff doesn't thaw or spread as easily. I only used the Moose Tracks at my mom's insistence. However, part of the problem might be the freezer in my apartment, which is old and doesn't keep things quite cool enough. Actually, doing it again, I think I'd bust out my ice cream maker and customize home-made ice cream, but let your taste buds and instincts be your guide. All good things are going into the pan, something yummy will come out.

Brownie Bottom Ice Cream Cake 

  • 8X8" brownie mix
  • Ingredients listed on the box to make the brownies (oil, water, egg, etc)
  • Additional mix-ins if you wish (i.e. chocolate chips, nuts, etc)
  • Springform pan (8" - 10")
  • Package of Oreo cookies, crushed (optional)
  • Ice Cream in a flavor of your choice (1/2 gallon)
  • Fudge Sauce (recipe below)
  • Whipped Cream or Cool Whip (optional)

I chose an 8X8" Ghirardelli brownie mix in the "caramel turtle" flavor, meaning that it already contained walnuts, and came with a caramel topping packet. Keep in mind that an 8" square pan (which the mix is intended for) has a larger capacity than an 8" round pan, so the brownies will be thicker if you use an 8" springform pan, and thus will take longer to cook.

1.  Make the mix according to the instructions on the box, adding additional mix-ins in desired. This depends on the brownie variety you choose to buy. I added about 6 oz of semi-sweet chips to mine, and swirled the caramel packet on top.

2.  Bake the brownies, keeping in  mind the size of your pan. Mine took about 40 minutes to bake in an 8 1/2" springform. Personally, I never mind undercooked brownies, because they are fudge-like. When in doubt, pull them out -- you don't want to over-bake. Besides, the brownies are going to be frozen, which will firm them up even if they are slightly underdone. It's all good.

A little fuzzy, but the cooked brownies with caramel swirled on top

3.  When the brownies come out, cool them completely. For me, this meant 30 minutes at room temp, 30 minutes in the fridge, and about an hour in the freezer.

4.  When the brownies have been in the freezer for about 30 minutes, this is a good time to start thinking about thawing the ice cream. If it isn't soft enough by the time the brownies have been in the freezer an hour, that's fine. The brownies can stay in the freezer longer until the ice cream is spreadable (but not melted).

5.  As an option (although I can't really see anyone opting out of this unless your ice cream flavor just does not go with Oreos), sprinkle a layer of Oreo crumbs on top of the brownies. If you have an ice cream flavor that you don't think will pair well, just leave them out -- or use the vanilla Oreos! Or ginger snaps! You get the could also use fruit sauce and/or puree if you want.

6.  When the ice cream is ready, spread it out evenly over the brownie layer. Freeze the whole thing for at least an hour before putting on a topping, if not longer.

7.  Top with a topping of your choice. I went with a nice fudge sauce (recipe below) and then Cool Whip, but there are tons of possibilities: caramel sauce, peanut butter sauce, fruit sauce, just whipped cream, etc etc.

Fudge Sauce

  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 6 oz chocolate (this is 2/3 C if you are using chips) -  I used bittersweet, but the choice is yours
  • 2-5oz cans of evaporated milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Place everything but the vanilla in a saucepan
  2. Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat until thickened, about 5-10 minutes, stirring constantly
  3. Take off heat, add vanilla, and let cool
It might seem, during cooking, that this separates a bit, but it will gel when it cools. just give it an occasional stir while cooling.

When it is done, it will almost have pudding consistency

When it is cooled, spread it on top of your ice cream layer, and pop the whole thing in the freezer for several hours or, better yet, overnight. When you are ready to serve, you can de-pan it from the springform. You might have to fidget for a minute or two opening and tightening the latch, to loosen the cake from the sides.

Here is the cake de-panned!

At this point, you can garnish with whipped cream -- I used mine as an all-over frosting, but it was hard to handle the cake to cut it, so I'd recommend maybe putting it on the top only.

Then, you can cut and serve! I'd recommend letting the cake come to at room temp for 5-10 minutes before serving, to make it easier to cut.

Don't want a brownie-bottomed ice cream cake (what's wrong with you - j/k)? What about a blondie or congo bar-bottomed one? Or sugar cookie? Shortbread? Cake would work wonderfully as well -- just split the batter between a 9" springform and a 9" round pan (or a cupcake pan!). Use the cake in the springform as the base for the ice cream cake, and you get the added bonus of some cupcakes when you are done!

Don't want oreos? Any kind of cookie should work!

You want to make this with a fruity ice cream like peach? Use yellow cake/sugar cookie/shortbread for the crust, golden oreos for the crushed cookies, peach reduction sauce and whipped cream on top.

Have someone with special dietary requirements? The bottom can be made using Betty Crocker's Gluten-Free Mixes, and you can crush up some gluten-free cookies. Use lactose-free or sugar-free ice cream if needs be (Breyers is an excellent brand, and their All-Natural line is also gluten-free). I'm not sure if the sauce I made can be classified as gluten-free, but here's a definite gluten-free fudge sauce recipe, and here's a non-dairy recipe. Cool Whip is already gluten-free, and a list of whipped toppings that do not contain casein can be found here.

Don't want an ice cream cake at all? Well, then, you're just a weirdie and I can't help you.

Happy creating!!

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