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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Chocolate Ganache Ice cream Cake

One of the best combination's on the planet? Cake and ice cream! Why not put the two together in one irresistible layered ice cream cake. Underneath the utterly divine chocolate ganache coating there is a rich buttermilk chocolate cake with vanilla caramel ice cream and top with chopped pecans and caramel sauce...need I go on??
First, the ganache. What's ganache? Well, it's a fancy word meaning melted chocolate and cream blended together to create a smooth coating or filling for cakes, muffins, tarts...etc.

Chocolate Ganache

8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (make sure to use unsalted)
2 tablespoons of corn syrup (Karo syrup)

Heat the cream and butter over medium heat in a saucepan just until boiling point is reached. Then, pour the cream and butter over the chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl. Let it sit before stirring for about 5 minutes, then go ahead and stir in the chocolate chips. Add the corn syrup and whisk until you simply cannot whisk anymore! You will want a smooth, silky consistency. Let the ganache cool at room temperature, although it can be stored in the fridge. 
* When the ganache gets stiff, simply fill a larger bowl with very hot water from your tap and place the bowl of ganache in to the bowl of hot water, but do not allow water to get into the ganache. Let it stand for about 10 minutes, and then start to whisk again. Repeat process with hot water until the desired, smooth consistency is reached again.

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake
I like this recipe because there is no egg in it, so the cake does not rise very much, which is perfect for ice cream cake. It is a sturdy cake that can hold up to ice cream being scraped on to it, and it does not add much height to the already layered, rich ice cream cake.

Preheat to 350 degrees.

1 1/2 cups flour                              
1 cup sugar                                    

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa        
1 teaspoon baking soda                
1/2 teaspoon salt
I cup buttermilk
* or use 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar and 1 cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Mix all of the above dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add the buttermilk ( or substitute), vanilla and oil and beat until smooth. Pour the batter into two 8-inch round cake pans. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until clean knife or toothpick is inserted and comes out clean as a whistle!

How to Assembly the Ice Cream Cake

Make sure your cakes are completely cooled.  TIP - place the cakes in plastic wrap and put them in the freezer for a spell to get them nice and cold, so as not to melt the ice cream!
Take your ice cream and spoon out portions until half of the carton is used, and smooth onto one of the chocolate cake layers. Then, drizzle on caramel sauce ( or another flavor) and sprinkle with chopped pecans. Now, working quickly, top theother chocolate cake with the remaining ice cream and then place on top of the other cake. Place the ice cream cake on a plate and back in the freezer to harden!
Once the ice cream on the cake is hardened, it's time to pour on the ganache. * TIP- Don't buy the cheap $1.19 ice cream, it won't freeze all the way and will only cause problems. I found this out the hard way! 
Ok, to pour the ganache, we first have to get the cake set up. Place a jelly roll pan, or a 9 x 13 casserole pan underneath the cake. This will catch the ganache that pours off the cake.  Place the cake on top of a large wide mouth mason jar or a small mixing bowl in order to raise up the cake off the pan, and so you can pick it up after the ganache is on!
Pour the ganache onto the center of the ice cream cake quickly, using all that is in the bowl. Then, with a spatula, lightly spread the ganache from the middle to the edges in order to cover all sides of the cake. If a place didn't get covered, no worries, just use your spatula to scoop up some more ganache from the pan below and pat it into place. 
Another way to spread the ganache is to carefully shake the pan underneath. This will spread the ganache from the middle to the outer edges without having to carefully use a spatula. However, be gentle when shaking, you don't want to shake your cake right off it's stand!

Once you are satisfied with your ganache, place it back into the freezer to cool down. After about 5 minutes, take it out and decorate it! Here I have coated the side with chopped pecans, and made a puddle of caramel sauce secured by some ganache and surrounded by pecans and drizzled on more caramel sauce.


The fun part about ice cream cake is there are endless variations! Try white cake and chocolate ice cream, or frost with a buttercream frosting instead of ganache. I think the next cake I will try will be a cookies and cream cake. White frosting,chocolate cake and cookies and cream ice cream with crumbled Oreos on the side and cookies on top!  Or maybe mint chocolate chip.....

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