Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake
I’m not one of those moms that easily rolls with the punches or goes with the flow. I like keeping my toddler on a schedule and if things get shaken up and he responds poorly, my stress level goes through the roof.
Last week I joined my mom and a few sisters for an impromptu road trip to Yellowstone National Park. It was beautiful (pictures here, here, and here), fun, and great being with family, but it was also stressful. I didn’t deal well with the toddler who was up 4 hours past his bedtime or who didn’t want to be in his car seat anymore. A two day trip left me very frazzled.
What is wrong with me? Is it because I’m a first-timer? Or is it just my personality? Either way, I want to be a much more easy-going mom and I’m trying to work on it.
Interestingly, the challenge of building, frosting, and photographing an ice cream cake before it melts is something I very much enjoy. This is stress that I relish. Maybe it’s because it doesn’t involve the fluctuating moods of a tiny human being, or maybe because at the end I get to eat a few pieces of ice cream cake (you can’t just throw them out).
I’ve come a long way being comfortable with baking and cooking. A few years ago I would have had no idea how to execute a layer cake with ice cream, at least not well. I know that motherhood isn’t going to get any easier, but I’m hoping that I will at least get a little more comfortable with it. That it will get better with practice.
Let’s talk about this ice cream cake real quick. It’s my favorite chocolate cake sandwiched around a layer of ice cream flavored with fresh mint and speckled with mini chocolate chips, all iced simply with whipped cream. It’s an elegant and refreshing treat for the summertime.
Stabilized Whipped Cream
Whipped cream is a foam-based solid, therefore its structure is weak and temperamental. It can collapse and weep when left at room temperature for too long or if is frozen and thawed. Stabilizing whipped cream with gelatin reinforces the structure and helps it keep its shape. It’s an easy additional step that ensures your desserts stay beautiful and fresh.
Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake
Layers of chocolate cake and mint chocolate chip ice cream, all covered with whipped cream. A beautiful summer dessert!
To make the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour 2 9-inch cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the coffee and cocoa powder until no lumps remain. In another bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda.
- In a large bowl, beat the sugar and eggs together until smooth and pale yellow in color. Stir in the sour cream, followed by the vegetable oil. Add the flour mixture in two additions, alternating with the cocoa mixture and mix until smooth.
- Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25-35 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Chill in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight.
To make the ice cream:
- In a large saucepan over medium low heat, warm the heavy cream, milk, sugar, and salt. Stir to dissolve sugar. When mixture is steaming and bubbles appear at edges, remove from heat and add the fresh mint, stirring until it is all submerged. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Remove the mint and pour into a large bowl. Stir in the green food coloring, if using, until desired color is reached. Chill completely in the fridge for several hours or overnight.
To assemble the ice cream cake:
- Freeze the ice cream in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer's instructions, adding the chocolate chips or chopped chocolate during the last 5 minutes of churning.
- Meanwhile, place one layer of the chilled chocolate cake into a 9-inch springform pan. Wrap parchment paper or wax paper around the chocolate cake, lining the inside of the springform pan.
- When the ice cream has finished churning, spread it evenly on top of the bottom layer of cake. Cover with the top layer of cake. Immediately place in the freezer, leaving it to harden for several hours.
To make the whipped cream topping:
- Place the water in a small saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let sit until thick, about 5 minutes. Warm the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin dissolves. Allow to cool to room temperature (but do not let set).
- Whip the heavy cream and sugar until it starts to thicken. While mixing on low, slowly add the gelatin to the whipped cream. Whip on high speed until stiff. Mix in the vanilla.
- Remove the sides from the springform pan and the parchment paper. Ice the cake with the whipped cream topping. Store in the freezer until ready to serve.
Note: If you wish, you may skip the step of steeping the fresh mint, and instead stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons of mint extract with the food coloring.