Friday, September 28, 2012

Mexican Mocha Bomb Ice Cream Cake

Homemade ice cream cake: put that on your bucketlist! My young sons celebrate their birthdays in the heat of July which inspires me to create a variety of ice cream cakes for their big birthday bashes every year. I refuse to buy a prefab, funky crayola colored frosted cake for them. In the baking and cooking department, I am the all out Supermom. Getting my kids to school on time every morning is a challenge, yet making stuffed french toast for their breakfast before school is incredibly simple for me. If only the public school system would understand this! 
It amazes me how the art of birthday cake making has been replaced by big box store bakery 'cakes' in the name of convenience. If a cake is not made from scratch, I simply don't want to eat it. Dessert is a special occasion and that lies at its' very core. Indulgence and celebration deserve the real thing. 
So......I took on the challenge of making my first ice cream cake for my eldest sons' 3rd birthday. It was to be a  huge event involving my dad's side of the family, who are reknowned for their baking skills. I must admit that there is a subtle competitiveness between the ladies of this family when it comes to from scratch baking creations. The dessert table at any Gordon family holiday is simply epic! My pie crusts will probably never quite compare, but I do feel I have carved my own baking niche in our family. That said, the cake was a huge success. An ice cream cake that wasn't from a commercial ice cream shop and actually made from scratch really does blow peoples' minds. I love announcing that its' going to be served and seeing the excited reactions. Adults line up like children in anticipation.  
This is the perfect cake for a birthday party or special occasion in the heat of summer. Layers of orange and cinnamon zested chocolate mocha cake, espresso fudge, and vanilla ice cream stack deliciously together and delight children and adults alike. It is important to use locally roasted fresh brewed coffee and organic cocoa powder for the richest mocha flavor. Use all organic ingredients as they are of the highest quality while imparting the best taste. Make this cake one full day ahead so it can freeze completely before serving. Let cake thaw for 20 minutes before serving.

The cake:
1c oat flour
2c unbleached white flour
2/3 cocoa powder
2t baking soda
2c unbleached cane sugar
2t cinnamon
1c expeller pressed sunflower oil
2c strong coffee
4t vanilla
1/3 c flax seed gel*
3T apple cider vinegar
fresh zest of one organic orange

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 3 9inch round cake pans. Then line them with parchment paper. In large bowl, combine flours, cocoa powder, baking soda, cane sugar, and cinnamon. In medium sized bowl, whisk together all the other ingredients except vinegar. Add wet ingredients to dry and whisk till fully incorporated. Add vinegar and combine thoroughly. Evenly distribute batter between pans and bake for 25-30 minutes. Cakes are done when the edges begin to come off of the cake pan sides and when cake bounces back after a finger is lightly pressed in center of cake. While cakes are cooling, make the espresso fudge.

Espresso Fudge:
2c Ghirardelli semisweet chocolate chips
1-2 shots espresso

Melt chocolate chips in a thick-bottomed small saucepan or double boiler. Whisk frequently to avoid burning. Add enough espresso so chocolate has a spreadable consistency. While fudge is still warm begin cake assembly.

Cake Assembly:
fresh whipped cream, recipe follows
1 quart vanilla bean ice cream, softened (Breyers’ brand works great)
3 cooled cakes
1 recipe espresso fudge, warm and spreadable (reheat if needed)

To make whipped cream: Beat on high with electric mixer 1 pint organic heavy whipping cream and ¼ cup unbleached cane sugar until peaks form and mixture is thick and able to spread like a frosting. Don’t beat too long or it will turn into butter! It helps to whip cream in a cold metal bowl. Keep whipped cream in refrigerator until ready to use in cake assembly.

1. Take one cake out of pan and place on a large flat plate. Spread half of espresso fudge onto cake evenly.
2. After fudge cools down, spread 2 cups softened ice cream on top of fudge layer on cake. Soften ice cream just enough so its’ spreadable. Melted ice cream will not work. Be careful that is doesn’t drip over sides. Use hands if needed to get ice cream to spread evenly. Warning: this step is messy!
3. Place another cake on top of ice cream fudge layer and then spread the rest of espresso fudge over it. Immediately put cake in freezer so the fudge can cool down before adding the next layer of ice cream.
4. When fudge has cooled, take cake out of freezer for the final cake assembly steps. 5. Spread 2 cups of softened ice cream over fudge on the second cake layer and then add last cake layer on top.
6. The final step is to thickly spread the fresh whipped cream on cake sides and top.
7. Place cake in freezer and let it freeze for a full 24 hours.

Cake will slice easily with a sharp Chef’s knife when it is serving time. Let cake thaw a full 20 minutes before slicing. One can run knife under hot water if having trouble slicing cake.

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