Ice cream cake, I finally made an ice cream cake! It's a delicious endeavor quite worthy of cake month, but sufficiently nontrivial that I should probably save my many other ice cream cake ideas for future special occasions (hopefully happier ones than housemates moving out). This time I started baking on Monday evening for a Thursday evening dinner, but the schedule could have been drastically compressed--you could even do it all in one weekend day to serve that evening if you really wanted to. On the other hand, if you have plans in the evenings and maybe feel like you should get some non-food-production work done during work hours, all the steps (besides the eating part) can be spread over several days ahead of time.
That said, this wasn't *actually* that complicated, and I say that as a first-time tort-er. I used the cake slicer that came in Toni's cake decorating kit and it worked as well as I could have hoped. The cake is pretty much this, and the ice cream is based on one from the booklet that came with my ice cream maker (Lebowitz's is also similar).
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
1/3 c canola oil
1.5 c flour
1.5 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1 t allspice
1/2 t cloves
2 c finely grated carrots, packed (4 medium carrots)
3/4 c walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 T peeled grated ginger
Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare a 9" round pan by buttering the bottom and sides, lining the bottom with parchment, buttering the parchment, and dusting it all with flour. Grate the carrots and ginger, and chop the walnuts (you might want to chop them a bit even if they're "pieces"); stir those together and set aside.
Time for the actual cake part: in a large bowl, stir together the sugar, applesauce, and oil. Add the eggs and stir until well combined. Stir together the dry ingredients (flour through cloves) in a 2-c pyrex, then stir into the batter until just combined. Stir in the carrots, ginger, and nuts. Pour the batter into the pan and bake in the middle of the oven for 40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 15 minutes. Carefully turn the cake out onto a second cooling rack and peel off the parchment. When the cake is completely cool, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, place back in the pan for stability, and stick in the freezer until ready for assembly.
1 c sour cream
4 oz cream cheese
8 oz mascarpone
3/4 c sugar
1/4 c Drambuie
1/2 t salt
zest of 2 Meyer lemons
3/4 c half-and-half
Whip everything together until smooth, cover, and put in the fridge for a couple hours. Churn the ice cream maker for 25 minutes and put in the freezer in a wide flat tupperware (maximal surface area now means more uniform softening later).
6 cubes crystallized ginger
1 c walnuts
8 cinnamon graham crackers
Remove cake from the freezer, unwrap the plastic wrap, and let defrost about half an hour. When the cake seems soft enough to cut, carefully tort it aka slice in half horizontally (with a fancy tool if you have one). This worked well as a two-person job, with one person using the two-handed cake slicer and the other person holding the cake so it didn't slide all over the cutting board. Grind the ginger in the food processor, then add the walnuts, then the graham crackers, processing into uniformly small chunks. Remove the ice cream from the freezer and check for spreadability; defrost on the counter if it's too hard.
Line the base of a 9" springform pan with plastic wrap, leaving enough hanging off the sides that you'll be able to cover the whole thing when you're ready. Transfer the whole cake in just-cut geometry onto the pan base, flat side down. Carefully transfer the top layer onto a cutting board and set aside. Attach the sides of the springform pan and drape the plastic wrap over the sides. Spread about 1/3 of the ice cream (1.5-2 c) in an even layer on the cake. Transfer the other cake layer onto the first ice cream layer, and spread on another layer of the ice cream (leaving you with the rest for another occasion). Cover with the topping and press as if you were forming a graham cracker crust. Fold the ends of the plastic wrap over the top of the cake, cover the whole pan with another layer of plastic wrap, and put the package in the freezer.
Remove the cake from the freezer 15 minutes before serving, remove the sides of the springform pan, and peel the plastic wrap from the top and sides of the cake. Serve as a grand finale to Lizzy's last house dinner :(.