Triple- Layer Ice Cream Cake

I know I have been posting lots of ice cream posts lately, but exactly a week after my nephew's, Toby, turned one, it was his brother's turn, Nathaniel (although we call him by his Chinese name). It is definitely one of the busiest weeks full of family's birthday, two more was coming just a little over a week after that. His birthday was actually a month ago and yes it took me this long to post it.
Children are usually sold on the cake based on the decoration, they need to be colorful, cute, or has a theme according to the child's liking, but not for this nephew. While he definitely would appreciate well-done decorated cake, he would care more about how it tastes. Yup, he's definitely a foodie, he's been trained well :D.

When I asked him what he would like for his birthday, without thinking, he replied "ice cream cake!" "Why?", I asked. "I love ice cream and I want pineapple!". Well, he surely knows what he wants and good for me too as I don't have to think so hard on the cake :). Pineapple is his absolute favorite flavor of anything, even when it is made with pineapple flavoring, he still loves it. Since the sound of pineapple ice cream cake sounds a bit boring to me, I proposed to him to make a three-layer ice cream cake instead and he agreed as long as there's pineapple flavor in it :). He picked blueberry for the next layer and anything up to me for the third one, easy peasy.

Making ice cream is easy, but it is very time consuming, mostly on the waiting for the ice cream bowl to be frozen. I need to freeze the bowl for 24hrs before using it for the next batch so that it's completely frozen. I bought the pineapple a few days earlier to let the fruit to fully ripen before making it into a delicious sorbet. The birthday dinner was supposed to be on Saturday night, but when making the last batch of ice cream, I ran out of time and just use the ice cream bowl only after 12 hours freezing it. I guess it wasn't so good of an idea because the bowl was not frozen enough, causing the ice cream batter to never thicken. So I had to start all over again, and freeze the bowl for another day, the dinner had to be postponed to the following Sunday.

This cake has a layer of vanilla sponge cake as a base, blueberry ice cream, pineapple sorbet, and black raspberry vanilla ice cream. The last layer sounds fancy, but it wasn't really. I had a tub of vanilla ice cream ready in the freezer and since I ran out of time, I decided to melt it and re-churn it, then swirl the black raspberry jam into it. It didn't turn quite like a swirl, instead it's just mixed all together, oh well.

I learn some things while making this cake. To be honest, I've never pureed fresh blueberries before and when I did that and strained it, the puree becomes like a jello with unappetizing color. I didn't know what went wrong as I was expecting a bright purple hue, but what I got was far from that, so I froze it expecting that the texture and the color will get better. After a few days, I strained it again and it wasn't much difference than before freezing, but I only used the purple liquid coming out. I bought a bag of frozen blueberries after that and cooked it with a little sugar and lemon juice before pureeing it all together. The color was much much better, it was actually what I was looking for! the texture wasn't jello-y anymore. So, no more pureeing fresh blueberries for me in the future. Same thing happened with black cherry a few months ago though but that's different story :). Oh well, you learn something new everyday and I'm glad I learned this.

Since I've always have difficulty decorating ice cream cake, chocolate is always the best option and that's what I used. The original idea was to wrap the whole thing in white chocolate while forming some sort of "flower" in the middle. It looked pretty in my head, but of course it's different in reality. I used parchment paper to wrap the whole thing and I wish I had an extra hand or two to help me do it, since the parchment paper is pretty flimsy. The resulting finish looked like it has "plastic bag" look to it. I filled the middle with raspberries for the color to pop and dust some powdered sugar.

The cake certainly doesn't look like a child's birthday, it looked like an adult cake instead of children cake, but this nephew is a bit different anyway. He might turn eight this year but he's a lot more mature than his age. I can talk to him seriously as if he's an adult, I can ask his opinion, I can ask him to accompany me. He LOVES reading and math is his hobby, yeah go figure. Of course he's still a kid too at heart, he can be a pain sometimes, but he's a good kid. The parents (a.k.a my brother and his wife) let him pick which restaurant he wanted to go. We weren't going all out, it was just a simple family dinner with my other brother's family. And guess what he picked? He picked Texas Roadhouse steakhouse! I'm not complaining with his decision though, in fact I'm very pleased, hehehe.....

We cut the cake near midnight on Sunday after we came back from the restaurant. We were so full, there wasn't any desire to eat a cake but for some reason, everyone had a slice. I guess ice cream cake is not so filling or rich afterall, it was like a palate cleanser or some sort. I take it that my nephew loves his cake so much (and the other family member) as the cake disappears the next night and there weren't many of us in the house. We don't usually finish a cake in a short period of time, heck we barely have an appetite for cake when we finished dinner at 10pm and that happens quite frequently. So, Happy 8th Birthday my beloved nephew!

Pineapple Sorbet
adapted from Grand Livre de Cuisine by Alain Ducasse's Desserts and Pastries

1000 g pineapple pulp
240 ml water
240 g sugar
30 g atomized glucose
6 g (1 1/2 tsp.) sorbet stabilizer
  • Cook water, sugar, stabilizer, and glucose to make a sugar syrup. Let cool.
  • Stir in pineapple pulp
  • Cool to 39 F (4C), let sit and process in the ice cream maker
  • My pineapple was really sweet so I don't really need much sugar, adjust the sweetness to your liking.
Blueberry Ice Cream

250 ml heavy cream
125 ml whole milk
75 g sugar (see note)
3 egg yolks
350 g blueberry puree (cook the blueberry slightly with lemon juice and some sugar if the blueberries are not sweet)
  • Combine the cream, milk and sugar in a saucepan and bring it to a gentle boil
  • Meanwhile, break the egg yolks and whisk it until it blends well
  • Temper the egg yolk and the milk mixture, and put it back in the saucepan.
  • Bring the mixture to 84C over low-medium heat, stirring all the time
  • Remove it from the heat and strain it to avoid any lumps
  • Cool it until it reaches room temperature
  • Add the blueberry puree, mix well. You can use more or less puree, suit your taste.
  • Refrigerate overnight, and process in an ice cream maker
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
I'll post it on another post since I'm planning to make another simple dessert using this ice cream :)


WendyinKK said...

Oh yes, you must cook the blueberries before making them into ice cream, as cooking releases the pigments from the skin and lemon juice(acid) will help to make it turn reddish sort of purple, rather than bluish purple.
I love ideas given by my nieces for their cakes, but sometimes, it feels restricted when it has to be exact.

round wall mirror said...

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Chi Chi said...

Maybe I'm partial to plastic bags, but I LOVE the look of this! Very creative.

Sylvia said...

There´s nothing wrong with the decoration , I love it.Your nephew must be proud having a aunt like you

Za said...

Hi, was a little confused with the instructions for the blueberry ice cream. Did you mean cook the blueberries instead of the raspberried? Thanks

Bertha said...

Za: Yes, it's supposed to be blueberry, thanks for pointing that out! It's been corrected now :)

linked here said...

Wow that looks awesome!