Kitra: Sometimes, most of the time, it’s really unbearably hot in DC. And nothing is okay unless it’s made of ice cream.
Jordan: However, I didn’t grow up eating (so-called) ice cream cakes. You know, the kind that are just layers of ice cream and some crumbly bits and sub-standard frosting on top. I don’t know that I’d ever had one of those before a few years ago. If so, I’ve completely erased it from my memory.
I recall a period where we had a lot of Dairy Queen ice cream cakes in the freezer, but it seems like that may have been after Jordan went to college.
I don’t believe in cakeless ice cream cake. Kitra, meanwhile, just googled pictures of DQ cakes and whispered “Yeah, these guys” to herself. But because this is a cake blog and not an “ice cream shaped like cake” blog, we went with something that involved actual cake.
And since our dad was in town, we made it gluten-free. Which, may I add, is one of the true gifts of ice cream. The cake part is harder, but not that hard.
If you do gluten-free baking with any regularity, we highly recommend the America’s Test Kitchen How Can It Be Gluten-Free cookbook, which we purchased a while after our dad was diagnosed with celiac.
That cookbook was a lifesaver. WAFFLES THAT TASTE LIKE REGULAR WAFFLES Y’ALL. It had been a long time since we had eaten regular tasting desserts. And their cakes are so genuinely good that I made them regularly for events in high school.
A lot of the time we prefer gluten-free foods that taste like an improvement on their regular counterparts—we both own a copy of Alice Medrich’s Flavor Flours for this reason. However, if you want a gluten-free chocolate cake that tastes exactly like a regular chocolate cake, ATK is where it’s at. That’s what we did here.
Also, if you’re making an ice cream cake, you should use ice cream that you actually like. We used Tillamook, since they recently started distributing in DC and as an Oregonian I feel it is my responsibility to single-handedly uphold that market.
We’ve included directions here that will make your life easier, but I want to emphasize this up front: do not let this cake break you. It will be fine. I promise.
And whatever you do, don’t think “eh, this will be fine without a mold.” Put the ice cream in the damn pan and save yourself.
(Kitra might have had to leave the room for a bit while we were assembling.)
(It was so horrifying. Be better than us.)
I feel like we’ve done a terrible job of selling this so far, but it really is a delicious cake.
It’s also ice cream cake. It sells itself.
Go, make ice cream cake and make the best of the last terrible bit of summer.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream Cake
The recipe below uses the America’s Test Kitchen gluten-free flour, which we recognize most people don’t have on hand. You can substitute another all-purpose gluten-free flour by weight. Don’t try to substitute by volume. Also, don’t skip the xanthan gum even if your flour already includes it. Finally, don’t try to substitute a regular all-purpose flour; just use your favorite chocolate cake recipe instead.
The photos of this cake show whole raspberries, but we found them awkward to eat so we’re recommending that you break them up a bit more below. You can also use a different ice cream if you like; chocolate would also work if you want a double-chocolate situation.
This cake was far easier to cut, eat, and photograph the next day, once it had some time to freeze completely. We recommend making it a day ahead—you can continue to freeze it right in the pan before turning it out.
From America’s Test Kitchen
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, broken up
- 1 oz. cocoa powder
- 3.5 oz. gluten-free flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5.25 oz. (¾ cup) sugar
- ½ cup milk
Assembly and ganache
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 ¼ cup (215g) semi-sweet chocolate (chips are fine)
- ¼ cup seedless raspberry jam
- 3 cups (400g) ice cream of your choice
- 6 oz raspberries, approximately, rinsed and dried
Preheat oven to 350° with the rack in the lower middle of the oven. Grease an 8-inch cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
Combine oil, bittersweet chocolate, and cocoa powder in a small bowl. Microwave at 50% power for about 2 minutes, stirring in the middle, until mostly melted. Stir again to combine and melt any lumps, then set aside to cool.
In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt.
In a medium-to-large bowl, whisk together eggs and vanilla. Add sugar and whisk to combine. Whisk in chocolate mixture, then add flour mixture and beat until everything is well-combined. (Since this is a gluten-free cake, no need to worry about overmixing!)
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake about 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Once done, first set cake on a wire rack to cool to room temperature, then move it to the freezer to fully cool.
Meanwhile, line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch cake pan (it’s fine to use the same one) with parchment or wax paper.
Once the cake is fairly firm and cold, remove it from the freezer and slice it in half horizontally. Place the bottom layer in the lined pan and spread a layer of raspberry jam on top. (This both adds more raspberry flavor and helps keep the ice cream from soaking into the bottom layer.) Set aside.
Set aside a handful of raspberries for decorating the cake, if you like. Put your ice cream and remaining raspberries in a medium bowl and beat it all up a bit with a spatula or electric mixer. You’re just trying to get it to a point where the ice cream soft and spreadable, not melty. Think a little stiffer than soft serve. Once you’re there, dollop it on top of the cake layer and spread it all the way to the edges of the pan. Carefully place the remaining cake layer on top put the entire thing in the freezer to chill for at least two hours, preferably overnight.
20 minutes or so before you want to top the cake, make your ganache. Heat heavy cream in a saucepan or microwave until it is hot to the touch or until steaming. Add the semi-sweet chocolate and let it melt for a few minutes, then whisk until it forms a smooth ganache. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Once the ganache is cool, remove the cake from the freezer. Turn the cake out onto a plate, then flip it right-side up onto your serving platter of choice. (You may need to run a butter knife around the edge of cake, between the paper and the pan, to make this easier. If it’s really stubborn, you can dip the base of the pan in warm water very briefly to loosen it up a bit.)
Remove the wax paper/parchment. Pour the cooled ganache over the top and gently smooth it across the top and over the sides. Freeze again for at least 30 minutes, until the ganache is firm. Top with extra raspberries if so desired, slice, and eat quickly.