Originally, J thought I was making a "blueberry brown sugar plane cake" for TWD this week, which, while awesome, wasn't really on the docket. Me + sculpting cakes? Yeah, um no. Not when my favorite desserts can only be characterized as "rustic." I am definitely no Ace of Cakes-style baker. I'll leave that to others, thankyouverymuch. (And really, someone should seriously make this and then shape it into a plane. How awesome would that be???) ((But instead, I baked the cake, forgot to take pictures, and instead give you a birthday cake.))
My love of rustic desserts is why I'm not too embarrassed by this year's birthday cake for J. The last two years have been showstoppers - a massive chocolate malted cake from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book and an orange-grand marnier chiffon cake from Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes. So when J requested the plainest of plain birthday cakes (chocolate with chocolate frosting, natch), I revolted. BORING! I wanted something more excited. So chocolate cake was okay, but I wanted to make ice cream to have with it. What kind? Cookies'n'cream, one of his favorites. So frosting could be oreo cream cheese frosting. And that's when he dropped it on me - "Can you make an ice cream cake?" Which, of course, meant that I spent this past weekend making custard, churning ice cream, baking cake layers, making frosting, and swearing a lot as ice cream melted while I tried to spread it on the first cake layer. Because people? Ice cream melts in two seconds flat when it's homemade. Especially since I didn't want to break a tooth on it, so I had put in a nice amount (2-3 Tablespoons) of vodka. And our freezer is jam-packed, so the cake was on a plate that wasn't level, which caused the melted ice cream to ooze all over our freezer contents. Oops?
So yes. Rustic it was. The cream cheese frosting was hella tasty, but had to go only on the top to prevent epic ice cream meltage. The ice cream couldn't get spread to the edge so it wouldn't ooze out even more onto our frozen goods. And I really really wish I had a tall 9" cake ring to assemble this sucker in, because it would have been so much easier. Except that our kitchen is full to the brim, so getting more baking toys is completely out of the question. Hmph.
But you know what? I sliced into this puppy, and it was probably one of my prettier cakes. For serious. And I'm pretty sure I killed J with sugar and awesome and Oreos.
Oreo Ice Cream Cake
For the cake (adapted from Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes):
1 1/3 cups flour
1 2/3 cups sugar
½ cup dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/3 tsp baking soda
2/3 tsp salt
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup sour cream
1 cup water
4 tsp distilled white vinegar
½ tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350*F. Butter the bottoms and sides of two 8- or 9-inch cake pans (layers will just be taller if you use an 8-inch pan). Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper, then butter the parchment.
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend (this will be very thick). Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed. Divide among the two prepared cake pans.
Bake for 25-35 minutes (less for the 9-inch pans, more for the 8-inch), or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes, invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely.
For the ice cream (adapted from Perfect Scoop):
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup sugar
½ cup malt powder
2 cups heavy cream
pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
6 large egg yolks
¾ tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp vodka
20 Oreos, coarsely crushed
Warm the milk, sugar, malt powder, 1 cup of heavy cream , and salt in a medium saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the warm milk and add the bean as well. Cover, remove from the heat, and let steep at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Pour the remaining 1 cup cream into a large bowl. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard into the large bowl of heavy cream. Add the vanilla extract and mix well.
Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator. When ready to churn, remove the vanilla bean, rinsing and reserving it for another use. Add the vodka then freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once the ice cream is done churning, mix in the crushed Oreos with a spatula before transferring to a container. Chill in the freezer for at least 3 hours before using.
For the frosting:
4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 lb powdered sugar
2-4 Tbsp milk
pinch of salt
5 Oreos, pulverized in a food processor
Using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese with the salt until smooth. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk until you reach your desired consistency. Mix in the Oreo crumbs. Use immediately, or refrigerate and let come to room temperature before using.
To assemble:Make sure that your cake is cooled completely, your ice cream is solid, and you have a level place in the freezer to stash the cake as you assemble. Place one cake layer on a nice plate (you can chill the cake layers in the freezer as well, for extra insurance). Use a large cookie scoop to scoop 1-2 cups of ice cream on top of the cake layer. Quickly spread the ice cream evenly around the cake. Freeze for at least one hour, preferably two. Once the ice cream has hardened back up again, take the cake out of the freezer and place the second cake layer on top. Frost with cream cheese frosting. Freeze again, but now for at least 2-3 hours. If you want to cover the cake with foil or plastic wrap, do so at this point. It’s sliceable and not too hard to eat directly out of the freezer given the vodka in the ice cream and that the cake is oil-based rather than butter-based. That will also keep the cake from drying out too quickly, even in the freezer.