Chocolate Pistachio Ice Cream Cake

Wow! It’s been over a month since I’ve posted. I’m so sorry about that! I didn’t intend to take a month-long hiatus from the blogging world. I have been so ridiculously busy, that I haven’t been able to take a breath in a while. I appreciate my readers, and you all deserve to know why I haven’t posted in a while.

In April, we were racing towards Easter break in school. There were so many things going on: I was getting kids ready to write exams, I went on our Grad Retreat for the 2019 graduating class, I got baptized, Paul and I had a visit from his mother, we took day trips to Lethbridge and Calgary, and there were a few rehearsals for the play I’m directing thrown in, as if I didn’t have enough to do.

After coming back from Easter break, it’s been a sprint to two events: My play, and Graduation. We had our performances Friday and yesterday, and I am so proud of those kids!! I am so humbled and grateful to have the job I do, and every day I am reminded about how lucky I am.

Now it’s the countdown to Graduation, and I can breathe, for at least a week or two, so I figured I would update the blog after long last.

I made this ice cream cake back in April, when a dear friend came over for a girl’s night. It was an extremely belated birthday cake, and I’m so glad I attempted it!

To be completely honest, I kind-of Frankenstein-ed this cake together. I had a vision, and I figured out how to accomplish it. I made a single-layer chocolate cake, then (because I didn’t have time to make my own ice cream) used store-bought chocolate and vanilla ice cream to create the layers. No matter where I looked, I could not find pistachio ice cream (even though I know it exists, and you can easily substitute it here), so I took vanilla ice cream, and mixed in pistachio extract and green food colouring to get the pistachio vibe. It worked perfectly!

Okay. Let’s get to cake!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9-inch cake

For the ice cream layers:

4 c. softened chocolate ice cream
4 c. softened pistachio ice cream OR 4 c. softened vanilla ice cream with 5 drops green food colouring and 1 tsp. pistachio extract

For the cake:

1½ c. flour
¼ c. cocoa powder
1 c. sugar
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. espresso powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. brewed coffee
1/3 c. olive oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar or white vinegar

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Use some Miracle Cake Release (a 1:1:1 ratio of flour, vegetable shortening, and vegetable oil) and brush the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, espresso powder, and baking powder. Pour in all the wet ingredients: coffee, oil, vanilla, and vinegar. Whisk together into a smooth batter, being careful not to overmix.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 28-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cake cool completely before assembling.

To assemble, take cooled cake, still in pan, and spread softened pistachio ice cream in an even layer over top of cake. Transfer to the freezer, and freeze for 45 minutes to an hour, until the ice cream has firmed up.

Once the pistachio ice cream layer has firmed up, spread softened chocolate ice cream over the pistachio layer. Transfer to the freezer and freeze for 45 minutes to an hour, until the ice cream has firmed up.

To serve, remove from freezer about 10 minutes before serving. Run a knife under hot water, pat dry, and slice. Serve immediately.

Fresh Mint Ice Cream

So, on the subject of lots of leftovers from the wedding, we also had TONS of mint leftover from our Blackberry Mojitos. I made pie with the blackberries, but Paul and I had so much mint left over that we were struggling to figure out what to do with it.
We chopped some of it up fresh, and Paul made us some lamb burgers with mint. We dried some of it out, so we have a store of dried mint if we ever need it. Paul also pureed some with oil, so we have a stash of mint oil in our cupboard now. Finally, I made him save me some fresh mint, and I went on the hunt for another recipe. When the idea of ice cream came to me with fresh mint, I immediately turned to Annie’s Eats, then to Pinterest.

I didn’t have to look far on the Annie’s Eats website, and ended up not using Pinterest at all. Annie’s recipe is absolutely fantastic! It is simple, uses mostly ingredients you should have on hand (I had to run out for some cream cheese and cream, but I usually have those things with me), but it does take some time.

Once you create the ice cream base, you add the mint in, and let it steep. The longer you steep it, the more intense the mint flavour. Annie recommends steeping for 4-12 hours. We steeped the mint in the ice cream base for about 12-16 hours, and as a result, the base smelled so wonderfully minty.

One final note – Paul and I have been experimenting with ice cream for a while now. Most recipes call for heavy cream. The recipes we first tried we used heavy cream, and we found the ice cream left a bit of a film in our mouths. Not the worst thing, but it just made it slightly weird to eat it. We have found, however, that using half-and-half cream solves that problem. This change is reflected in my ingredients below, but the link for Annie’s original recipe is above. Enjoy this ice cream!

Ingredients

Yield: Approx. 1 quart

2 c. milk, divided
4 tsp. cornstarch
1¼ c. half-and-half cream
Pinch of fine sea salt
2/3 c. sugar
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
1½ oz. (3 tbsp.) cream cheese, softened
Large handful of mint leaves, roughly torn

In a medium, heatproof mixing bowl, tear the mint roughly and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tbsp. milk and the cornstarch into a slurry. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the remainder of the milk, the cream, salt, sugar, and corn syrup. Bring the mixture to a boil and let boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, and whisk in the cornstarch slurry until smooth. Return the pan to the heat, then continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and thickens, about 1 minute.

Remove from heat and whisk in the softened cream cheese until smooth. Pour the ice cream base into the mixing bowl with the mint, stir to cover the mint with the mixture.

Place in the refrigerator and let the mint steep between 4-16 hours. The longer you let the mint steep, the stronger the mint flavour.

After the mixture has steeped, strain the mixture through a sieve to remove the mint leaves. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker, then freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Once frozen, transfer to a container and transfer to the freezer.

Strawberry Ice Cream

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Well, it’s been a while since we’ve made any ice cream around these parts. Entirely too long, in my opinion. I have had my eyes on this ice cream recipe since before Paul and I even got our ice cream maker. I have always had a love/hate relationship with strawberry ice cream, because for me, I love the flavour of strawberries, real strawberries. Some ice creams have too much of a fake strawberry flavour.

Now, I have said it before, and I’ll say it again. Annie knows what she’s doing. I got the recipe for this ice cream from her, and it really is everything she says it is: dreamy, creamy, and very strawberry!

This ice cream, however, is packed with strawberry flavour, because it is full of real strawberries. Now, the recipe calls for fresh strawberries, but I used frozen. I think next time I make this (because there will definitely be a next time) I am going to try it with fresh strawberries and see which one I like better. But for now, I am so pumped about this ice cream.
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It is creamy, and there are two ingredients you would never guess to be in a strawberry ice cream: sour cream, and vodka. Now, before you get all skeptical, don’t worry. The sour cream adds to the creaminess of the ice cream, and the vodka helps the ice cream not get as hard in the freezer. You can’t even taste the vodka, either. It’s only a tablespoon in the entire recipe. I also didn’t have regular vodka, so I substituted marshmallow vodka instead, and like I said, you really can’t even taste the vodka.

If you are a fan of strawberry ice cream, go make this now! It is absolutely fantastic.

Ingredients

Yield: About 1 quart, or 1 litre

1 lb. (16 oz.) fresh or frozen sliced strawberries
¾ c. sugar
1 tbsp. vodka (optional)
1 c. sour cream
1 c. heavy cream (I used half and half)
½ tsp. lemon juice

Combine the strawberries, sugar and vodka in a medium bowl. Stir until the sugar is starting to dissolve. Cover and leave for 1 hour at room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Transfer the strawberry mixture to a blender or food processor. Add the sour cream, heavy cream, and lemon juice. Blend until you reach your preferred texture – slightly chunky, or smooth. I prefer smooth strawberry ice cream. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Transfer to ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a container and leave in the freezer before serving.

Chai Tea Ice Cream

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For Christmas, Paul got us an ice cream maker! I was incredibly excited. We have been wanting an ice cream maker for a long time, and have been contemplating buying the ice cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid. However, Paul took the liberty to pick us out a huge independent ice cream maker instead of an attachment, and it can make up to four litres of ice cream.

Now, we can explore the entire world of ice cream making! For the first creation, Paul made a cookies and cream flavour while I was at work. It was a good first attempt, but we agreed I could choose the next flavour to make. I found this chai tea ice cream here, and was immediately drawn to it.

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This recipe was fairly simple and straightforward. The only item needed that you may not already have is the ice cream maker itself. However, there are only a few ingredients, and, one more upside of the recipe is that it does not contain sugar! How is that for sweet? Instead of sugar, it uses honey to sweeten the mixture.

If any of my dear readers ever decide to invest in an ice cream maker (and you should!), make this ice cream! Tea, and ice cream? Sounds like a fabulous combination to me!

Ingredients

Yield: About 2L ice cream

2 c. whole (homogenized) milk
2 c. heavy cream
¾ c. honey
1 tsp. vanilla
Pinch of salt
5 chai tea bags (I used Tetley Vanilla Chai)
5 egg yolks

In a medium saucepan, bring the milk, 1 c. of cream, honey, vanilla and salt to a simmer until the honey is dissolved. Remove from the heat and let the tea bags steep in the warm milk mixture, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Remove the tea bags and let the mixture cool for 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks together. Whisking constantly, pour about half a cup of the cream mixture into the eggs to temper them. Add the tempered eggs back into the cream mixture.

Heat the cream mixture on low until the mixture reaches about 170°, or until the mixture thickens. The mixture should be thick enough that when a spoon is dipped in the mixture, a line drawn across the back of the spoon with your finger stays. Place a strainer over a bowl, and strain the mixture for any cooked egg pieces, then stir in the remaining cup of cream.

Once strained, refrigerate until very cold. Churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturers’ instructions, then transfer to an ice cream pail and freeze until solid.