First, it's my husband's birthday next week. For all that I love to bake, I don't usually do much for either of us in the way of birthday cakes--we go out with my parents for a combined birthday-bash dinner, since mine is in a few weeks as well.
Second, he's actually away right now, I've had the place to myself for over a week, and he doesn't get back until Monday. While I'd rather have him here, this does mean that I have time and privacy to whip up a surprise for him. (I made him promise on the phone yesterday to avoid my blog until he gets back, so I could post for this challenge but not spoil the surprise. He also gave me permission to have a piece early for tasting and picture purposes. Can't serve him a bad cake, right? That would ruin his birthday!)
Third, the challenge itself had me scratching my head for a little while, but I had wanted to do an ice cream cake for his birthday anyway, and starting with the knowledge that mint chocolate chip is one of his favorite flavors, it naturally led to pairing with chocolate cake for a Grasshopper-inspired dessert.
I didn't make my own ice cream--I could have, in theory, but I haven't made a real ice cream yet, just sorbets and frozen yogurt. Using store-bought in this case made more sense, one less thing to go wrong! I used most, but not all, of a half-gallon carton to make the ice cream layers.
Recipes first; assembly, with pictures, after.
(from The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook, 1980)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup cocoa
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 3/4 cup shortening
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
In a large bowl, measure all ingredients. With a mixer at low speed, beat until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Increase speed to high and beat 5 minutes, scraping down the sides occasionally.
Divide the batter evenly between the pans, and bake 30-35 minutes, until cake springs back when touched lightly. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; turn out of pans to cool completely.
Frosting for Ice Cream Cake/Cupcakes
(from Ai Bake Cake)
- 1 cup cold milk
- 1 4-serving-size package instant pudding mix, any flavor (chocolate in this case)
- 1 16-oz. tub whipped topping, thawed
homemade cake strips. This is the first time I've tried using them, and they made a huge difference in the final cake--no hard crusty edges, and no domed top. Super pleased with that.
Instructional videos abound, if it's new to you.) Set the top aside for a moment...
...which I didn't take any pictures of making, or doing. I wanted to, but since it's important to keep the cake cold for the frosting to stick and the ice cream not to melt through the sides, I really didn't have time to stop and grab the camera. Also, I'm still not the best at frosting cakes neatly anyway. We're very much in the tasty-is-better-than-pretty camp here at Avrienne's House of Baking. That's why I seem to do poorly on the cutesy challenges.
To me, it's just a reason to eat more of that delicious frosting. Enjoy!