BABY CAKE #6: NEAPOLITAN ICE CREAM CAKE
When half birthdays collide with first days of summer, there's really just one thing to do in my book: Neapolitan ice cream cake.
For Lucy James's six month milestone and cake number six in my #projectbabycake series, I made a double-stacked Neapolitan ice cream cake combining one of my favorite go-to chocolate buttermilk cake recipes, some homemade buttermilk ice cream from Smitten Kitchen and a freshly-scooped pint of Watmaugh Strawberry ice cream from our beloved ice cream shop here in Sonoma, Sweet Scoops.
I did a poll on instagram to choose the ice cream flavor (which I was secretly gunning for the whole time), and Neapolitan Ice Cream Cake won. The finished cake had the prettiest pale pink-creamy white-chocolate interior. Of course you could experiment with other flavors, but I can confirm this particular combo will be part of my July Fourth party and maybe yours, too?
The beauty of this Neapolitan Ice Cream cake is that it's extremely variable. For instance, I had some leftover chocolate buttermilk cake from a recent custom cake order, and I had time to churn exactly one batch of ice cream, so I bought the rest:) Also, like all of my baby cakes, I made a 4" diameter cake, composed of two cake batches stacked on top of one another, for a little extra height and to double the neapolitan effect.
Beyond simply switching up flavors, you could make/purchase any or all of the components, depending on what time and energy allows. Also, you could increase the quantities for a larger diameter and skip the double-stack altogether.
Like all of my baby cake creations, this Neapolitan Ice Cream Cake is simply meant to be a fun project for other mamas, home bakers and experimental types to enjoy in warm weather months, as a smash cake, a birthday cake or just because.
Give it a go this Fourth of July and be sure to tag #cakebloom on instagram so I can see!
NEAPOLITAN ICE CREAM CAKE COMPONENTS
First, gather all of the following:
- Buttermilk ice cream*
- Chocolate Buttermilk cake*
- Strawberry ice cream (store bought)
- 1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
- optional - 3 freeze dried strawberries, crushed in a mini food processor or mortar and pestle
- optional - 1 small waffle cone
*full recipes at bottom of post
NEAPOLITAN ICE CREAM CAKE ASSEMBLY
- First, set ice creams out to soften at room temperature about 20 minutes. (Time will vary depending on temperature of your kitchen.)
- Prep two 4" round cake pans by lining each with a large square of saran wrap making sure plastic wrap hangs over edges by at least 3 inches on opposite sides.
- Once ice cream is soft, add 2/3 cup buttermilk ice cream in each of two lined 4" cake pans.
- Set pans in freezer to chill until firm at least 30 minutes.
- Next, repeat step 3 and 4 with softened strawberry ice cream.
- Finally, top ice cream layers in each of two pans with chocolate cake layers and pull plastic liner over cakes to wrap entire cakes.
- Return both cakes to freezer and chill a minimum of 1 hour to let cakes set firmly.
TO MAKE FROSTING + GARNISHES
- Combine 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream with 1/2 cup confectioners sugar and whip until soft peaks form.
- When you're ready to frost cakes, working quickly, remove one ice cream cake from freezer and pull out of cake pan with plastic wrap.
- Pull back plastic wrap and place cake on a 6" cake board, chocolate cake side down.
- Next, repeat steps 9-10 stacking the second cake on top of the first cake, chocolate side down.
- Using an offset spatula, frost double stacked cake with a thin layer of whipped cream to seal top and bottom layers and return to freezer for 30 minutes.
- Once set, add another layer of whipped cream and smooth over entire cake until fully covered and return to freezer for a minimum of one hour.
- Put remaining whipped cream in a small tupperware and freeze until set. (NOTE: I added 2 tablespoons raspberry puree to tint mine pink, but that extra step is optional).
- When ready to decorate cake, use a mini ice cream scoop to create two to three mini "ice cream" scoops for top of cake.
- Top with ice cream cone and crushed freeze dried strawberry "sprinkles."
- Return to freezer until ready to serve.
KEY TO SUCCESSFUL SLICING:
To serve, heat a sturdy chef's knife in a large glass of very hot water. Wipe dry and slice. Return knife to hot water before each slice for clean servings.
BUTTERMILK ICE CREAM RECIPE
(BAKER'S NOTE: I halved the original recipe to make just enough for my ice cream cake and with a small bowl leftover just for me:)
- 1 cups heavy cream
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1 cups buttermilk
- 1 teaspoons vanilla or half a vanilla bean, scraped and simmered with the cream
- Pinch of salt
- In a large, heavy saucepan, combine the heavy cream and 1/3 cup of sugar and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and remaining 1/3 cup of sugar.
- Remove the cream mixture from the heat and drizzle a small amount into the yolks, slowly, and whisking constantly to keep the eggs from curdling. Do this a few more times to warm up the yolks before pouring the yolk mixture back into the cream, whisking constantly.
- Cook over low heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain the mixture and whisk in the buttermilk, vanilla, and salt. Cool completely and freeze according manufacturer’s directions.
BUTTERMILK CHOCOLATE CAKE RECIPE
- 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1/4 cups Dutch process cocoa powder
- 1 1/4 cup cake flour, sifted
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp baking soda
- Butter two 4" round cake pans and dust with cocoa powder.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In standing mixer, fitted with whisk attachment, combine eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla until thoroughly combined.
- Sift cocoa powder, cake flour, baking soda and salt together in a separate bowl.
- Next, add dry ingredients to egg and sugar mixture, alternating with buttermilk, until all ingredients are combined.
- Pour into prepared pans and bake 20-25 minutes until knife inserted in center of cake comes out clean.
- Once baked, let cool completely before removing from pan and slicing to 1" thick tall rounds.