A little over 7 years ago, I was staring into my baby’s wide open eyes, wondering what on Earth she’d look like and what she’d be like once she grew up. Wondering what sort of things she’d be interested in and what sort of conversations we might have one day. It seems like only a few months ago I was wondering these sorts of things about her.
Now she’s bringing homework home from school that she needs to do research on using the internet, or even making her own PowerPoint presentation. Yes, it’s true, and she’s only in year 1 (1st grade, in other words)! It’s insane. She has friends over, she goes to her friends’ houses, she’s very artistic and funny. That’s my girl, all grown up now.
And she wanted her 7th birthday party to be all about ice cream. Coincidentally, just a few weeks before she told me this, I had found this ice cream cake via One Charming Party. I had bookmarked it because it just simply looked awesome. When my daughter told me about her ice cream party, I knew exactly what her cake would look like. She didn’t want me to tell her about her cake, so I had to keep it a surprise until the morning of her birthday party (that was so hard!).
The original cake from One Charming Party was a real ice cream cake with a real melting ice cream cone on top. I didn’t want to take it that far, so this is a real cake and the recipe (cake, frosting and ganache) is based off the cake I made for my own birthday; the only difference is that I didn’t add strawberry flavoring to the frosting. And just fyi, I used Americolor “Soft Pink” gel for the pink in the frosting. The ice cream in the ice cream cone is actually a chocolate muffin, which was a brilliant idea for an alternative to real ice cream from my friend Kell, at Blackcurrant Photography. I froze the muffin in the freezer, then used a sharp, serrated knife to shape the muffin into a shape that resembled a scoop of ice cream. The melting ice cream look was achieved by using Ice Magic, or Magic Shell. It froze quickly on the muffin, but took longer to freeze for the pool on top of the ganache!
I assembled this cake from about 4:30am on the morning of my daughter’s party. And I was only up that early because my 3-month-old baby woke me up! At about 7am, I went up to my daughter’s room to find her awake and already dressed! She was excited to see her cake, so I walked down with her and held her eyes closed until she was standing just in front of it. I removed my hands from her eyes, and her eyes lit up with amazement! It was great to see her reaction to it, she loved it! Even my husband, who is usually not supportive of my baking, said it looked “like something off of MasterChef”. The verdict on the cake was unanimous – everyone who saw it (and tasted it), loved it. Awesome!
I don’t have any photos of the inside of the cake. It has two layers, and it looks (and tastes) pretty much exactly my own birthday cake did. Each party guest got a slice of cake and a scoop of ice cream that they could add their own toppings to. The kids loved this and one claimed that it was the best party she had ever been to!? Well, I’m pretty sure there have been better parties than this one, but it was nice to see the kids having such a great time!
This cake can easily be made with any flavor of cake and frosting you wish. To make it exactly like mine, follow the recipe below. I’ve included basic assembly instructions, which actually make it sound a little more difficult than it really is. If you make this cake, please let me know and share a photo!
- For the cake:
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1⅓ cups sugar
- ½ cup dark cocoa powder (I use Valrhona)
- 1¼ teaspoons baking soda
- 1¼ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 75ml (2.5oz) vegetable oil
- 140ml (5oz) buttermilk
- 130ml (4.5oz) espresso or strong, hot brewed coffee
- 2 eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- For the frosting:
- 250g unsalted butter, softened
- 3 cups icing sugar, sifted
- 2-4 tablespoons milk
- Pink food coloring
- For the ganache:
- 115g (4oz) good quality bittersweet or dark chocolate, chopped (I used Lindt 70%)
- 76g unsalted butter, chopped
- For assembly:
- 1 frozen chocolate muffin
- 1 waffle cone
- Magic Shell or Ice Magic, or homemade quick shell
- For the cake: Preheat oven to 350° F (180°C). Prepare 2 8-inch round cake pans with butter, parchment paper rounds, and dust with cocoa powder. Tap out excess.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, sift all dry ingredients. Add all remaining ingredients to bowl with the dry ingredients and with the paddle attachment, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed (you may need the plastic splash-guard that comes with mixer) and pour into prepared pans. Batter will be liquidy. If possible, use digital kitchen scale and weigh pans for even layers.
- Bake for 30 minutes and rotate pans in oven. Cakes are done when toothpick or skewer comes clean. Try not to over bake.
- Cool on wire racks for 20 minutes then gently invert onto racks until completely cool.
- For the frosting: Beat butter in an electric mixer for 10-15 minutes until very light and creamy in colour.
- Beat in half the icing sugar for 2 minutes until well incorporated. Add 2 tablespoons milk and beat for a further 2 minutes, then beat in remaining icing sugar for a further 2 minutes. Add food coloring, and more milk if needed and beat until the coloring is uniform. The icing should be fluffy and smooth.
- For the ganache: Place the chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water; do not let bowl touch the simmering water. Stir the mixture until melted and smooth. Let cool to room temperature before glazing the cake, otherwise the glaze will melt the buttercream.
- For assembly: Assemble as per a 2-layer cake, leveling the cake with a sharp, serrated knife if necessary. Fill and frost the layers with buttercream. Glaze with ganache when the ganache is cool, using the back of a spoon or knife to make some ganache drip down the sides of the cake. With a sharp, serrated knife, carefully shape a frozen chocolate muffin into a sort-of ball resembling a scoop of ice cream and chop a bit off the bottom of the ball so that it’ll sit flat on top of the cake. Be sure it’ll fit and look right in the waffle cone. Place the muffin on top of the cake and the waffle cone on top of the muffin. Carefully pour Magic Shell over the muffin first and make sure it’s completely coated. Then carefully outline a pool of melted “ice cream” with the Magic Shell and fill it in with more Magic Shell – you may need to use the back of a spoon to spread it around. When the shell has almost hardened, add sprinkles; if you do it too soon, the sprinkles will sink into the Magic Shell and if you do it too late, the sprinkles won’t stick at all. It kind of sounds more difficult than it really is! It’s actually quite easy to assemble and will definitely impress everyone!