The art and logic of ice cream cake

Ice cream cakes are not just the province of Dairy Queen. You can make your own showstopping dessert if you know the right tips and tricks, says food writer Tara O’Brady. She provides a handy primer that lays out the potential pitfalls and shows you how to make your own magnificent, cold, creamy ice cream cake that puts the store-bought versions to shame.

Like any construction project, a successful ice cream cake starts with the right base. A regular layer cake is not the best option, according to O’Brady, who opts for either a thick sponge cake that will absorb the melting ice cream without getting mushy, or brownies or blondies, whose high fat and sugar content means they stay fudgy and soft in the freezer.

The real beauty of making your own ice cream cakes is that you are not constrained by the limited flavors offered by stores. You just can’t go overboard with the amount, says O’Brady. “Too many chunks will give your jaw an unnecessary workout and make slicing difficult,” she notes. She provides a ratio for ice cream to add-ins. Another tip that O’Brady offers is to reconsider the swirl. Trying to swirl throughout the ice cream can lead to uneven smears. For the best visual and flavor impact, she advocates layering the sauce. “Imagine the scoops as bricks and the sauce as mortar between them,” she advises.

O’Brady provides other tricks for optimal ice cream cake results. She offers options for covering the exterior that will maintain piped designs without becoming rock hard and shattering as you cut the cake. Another way to ensure great results is to make sure you have a spot in the freezer large enough to accommodate the work in progress, as you will have to take it in and out a few times before you’re finished.

Photo of Pistachio chocolate chip ice cream cake from Delicious Magazine (Aus) by Phoebe Wood

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