Chocolate peanut butter ice cream cake: To me this is the stuff of dreams.
I made this fantastic ice cream cake for my niece Chana’s Sheva Brachot this week. I had plotted the layers the flavors the textures the this the that over and over, taking this out, adding that, sprinkling with the other. All in my mind’s eye, as meticulously and obsessively as if I was preparing to go on some expedition. I jumbled all my favorite flavors in my head, wondering how they would coexist harmoniously in one single – ice cream – environment, without causing any clutter or overkill.
I was unwilling to part with any of the flavors I had assembled, and kept rattling them off for size: Chocolate ganache, coffee, peanut butter, apricot, coconut. Likewise I wanted to keep all the texture contrasts between the crunchy crust, the ice cream and the cake, and give them all equal time. And the morning before the party, as if I hadn’t exhausted the subject just yet (sheesh!), I called some foodie friends excitedly, right from the supermarket, and ran my project by them. Yup, this is what food professionals do, they are a little nutty, but what can you do? They bring you some real good stuff, so I guess this is the trade-off.
Here’s the best part:
a. the hard work of developing the recipe is done, once it’s all figured out it’s a snap, and
b. by all accounts, the cake was outrageous, so all worth it.
A late comer seeing all the commotion raced to the kitchen before the empty mold got a chance to land in the sink, and ran his finger all around the edges and the bottom of the mold, licking it repeatedly and delightedly. What Nachas!
In prevision of this ice cream cake being a huge hit, (earlier plotting) I bought myself a real nifty and capacious pan, with very straight sides (no curves, so easy layering), 10 inches by 14 dishes, 4 inches deep, and I got a little over 50 servings from it. It sounds like a lot of patchka, but this is a party cake, and you know what, you need very little else for dessert. Besides, for a smaller guest count you could easily freeze the unused portion. I used exactly the same Rice Crispies crust and the same top ganache layer as for my Frozen Coconut Crunch Chocolate Cake, and pretty much the same plan for layering, and it took me a little over 30 minutes from beginning to end, so I think, not too bad!
Needless to say, you can play endlessly with the flavors:
For example, if you don’t like or would rather not use peanut butter, leave it out. Use coffee, vanilla, or chocolate ice cream instead. I used low grade and overly sweet pareve ice cream, which is all there is available in dairy-free, and mitigated the sweetness and the nondescript flavors by building it up and adding unsweetened stuff (cocoa powder, peanut butter etc), and really took it places. But of course for a dairy meal you can use dairy premium ice cream and go all out: in this case no reason to mix peanut butter or coffee or chocolate into plain vanilla ice cream. You can buy these flavors all ready and delicious. This includes all our Chalav Israel friends: Zisselicks being the best Chalav Israel brand (available at Sweet Expressions in Crown Heights too)
Just keep layering and layering, and bingo, here’s your ice cream cake. So, here comes:
Smaller ice cream cake: Halve the mold and all ingredients. But I hope you don’t divide the recipe: It freezes very well (duh!)
Rice Crispies Crust
- 4 cups crisp rice cereal
- 2 tablespoons instant coffee powder, diluted in a few drops water
- 1 cup unsweetened grated coconut (health food stores)
- 1/2 cup pure cocoa powder
- 1 cup agave or maple syrup
First Ice Cream Layer
- 6 cups vegan vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
- 2 cups crunchy peanut butter
8 cups dairy premium peanut butter ice cream
- 2 pounds plain sponge cake, store-bought OK, sliced 1/2 inch thick, and toasted in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20 minutes
- 1 cup good quality apricot jam
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup apricot liqueur, Kirsch or Triple Sec (liquor stores)
- 1 cup unsweetened grated coconut
Second Ice Cream Layer
- 6 cups dairy-free vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
- 2/3 cup pure cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons instant coffee powder, mixed with a few drops water
6 cups dairy premium chocolate ice cream
Top Layer (Ganache)
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, best quality please
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon agave or maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons oil
- ¼ cup white or dark rum (do not skimp on this amount, as this is what will keep your topping from freezing solid)
- 1 cup toasted chopped nuts, or crushed candy bar such as Viennese crunch
- Mix the crust ingredients thoroughly, and press firmly into the bottom of a 10'"x 14" or 11 x 14 with straight sides
- Mix the first ice cream layer ingredients, and spread over the crust.
- Working fast so as not to give a chance to the ice cream to soften too much, place the cake slices tightly over the ice cream, making sure you leave no gaps.
- In a food processor, mix the jam, juice and liqueur until smooth, and pour slowly and uniformly over the cake. Sprinkle the coconut over the cake.
- Mix the second ice cream layer ingredients, and spread evenly over the cake. Place the cake in the freezer to give a chance to the ice cream to firm up before pouring on the ganache, and hour or so
- Make the ganache: melt all ganache ingredients over very low flame (or microwave 2 minutes). Stir until very smooth and thoroughly blended. Let the mixture cool (throw it in the freezer to cool it faster), then spread it slowly and uniformly over the top.
- Sprinkle with the topping, if using. Freeze the cake until serving time. Serve small slices