Friday, April 04, 2008

Birthday cake

I know most people have visions of buttercream dancing in their heads when they think of birthday cakes.

In my family, we dream of ice cream, chocolate crunches and plastic roses.

Yep, We are Carvel people.

Oh, my sister and I and even my brother... How we fought over those plastic roses.

They don't make them that way anymore. And that is ok. Eventually we outgrew the need to have an ice cream cake for our birthday every year.

But my Dad? Not so, much.

He still loves an ice cream cake. So that is what I try to find for his birthday every year. The pickings are slim here in Chicago. Although the Jewel does have a cooler with Carvel cakes in it, it just isn't the same. So this year, I decided to try my own hand at making one.

I bought four pints of gelato from Whole Foods in three different flavors and came home to get cracking.

Not having the chocolate sprinkles I used graham cracker crumbs. I would take softened gelato and spread it in a lined cake pan. (I lined my with tin foil, which I wouldn't do again, but I didn't have enough cling film). The order of was chocolate, cherry, chocolate and almond cappacino. Each layer was separated by the graham cracker crumbs and each layer was allowed to freeze before the next was added.

oh! And as the extra added surprise, I decided to make a cherry compote. Frozen cherries and sugar, cooked until jammy. Except, there was a distraction. Haha... yeah. I know. Who would have guessed. Family dinner coming up, who'd guessed I was distracted. Well the compote over-cooked. How much? Let's just say instead of a nice simmer, it went to hard ball stage. So... now instead of cherry compote, I now have created cherry crunch. Not what I wanted originally, but yummy.

Afterward I removed the cake from the pan and peeled back the foil. The cakes of my childhood were always frosted in some way. So I considered a coating of whipped cream. In the end I went with a richer option. Ganache.

Poor Imelda and MonAnge. They panicked as they watched me spreading still slightly warm chocolate (it has to be... or it just won't spread!) over slowly melting ice cream. MonAnge wanted to help... but as time was of the essence, I didn't feel this was a moment for a cooking lesson. We will practice ganache spreading with a cake that stays solid at room temperature.

The cake oozed a bit as I was frosting the sides and the chocolate began to harden quickly. I got everything covered and popped it back into the freezer to save the day. It solidified nicely and kinda pretty too, if I think so myself.

And what did Dad think? Well, he seemed touched that I would MAKE an ice cream cake. It was certainly more rich and luxurious than the ice cream cakes of old. And best of all? Not hard to make.

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

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