One of my favorite things about summer is ice cream. Don’t get me wrong… I eat ice cream all year round, but I think it’s especially refreshing in the summer. I worked in an old fashioned ice cream parlor during the summers when I was in school and I definitely have a soft spot for summer ice cream treats! (I also blame them for my love of decorating since that’s where I learned to fill a pastry bag with meringue for Baked Alaskas.) So, when I was challenged to make a video of my favorite summer dessert for a TLC Cake Crew challenge, I knew exactly what I wanted to make – homemade ice cream!
I knew that my competition would be tough since there are so many amazing bakers in the TLC Cake Crew… Just a plain old recipe for homemade ice cream wouldn’t cut it! A rich and decadent ice cream cake with layers of chewy chocolate brownies, Nutella, homemade caramel, and espresso flavored ice cream? Now, that’s more like it!
Decadent Brownie Ice Cream Cake
For the brownies (adapted from Hershey’s Kitchens)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
For the homemade caramel:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Pinch of Kosher salt
For the espresso ice cream:
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
- 1 vanilla bean
- 4 large egg yolks
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
To finish the ice cream cake:
- 2 tablespoons Nutella
- Chocolate syrup (optional)
Start by making the brownies. Preheat the oven to 350°F and spray a 9-inch springform pan lightly with baking spray.
Combine the melted butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a batter bowl. Add in the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder. Stir to combine. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20 – 25 minutes. Allow the brownies to cool completely.
Meanwhile, prepare the caramel by combining the sugar and water in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Cook the mixture, swirling occasionally, until it has turned to an amber color. Gradually stir in the heavy cream and the Kosher salt. Stir until smooth and then set aside to cool.
To prepare the ice cream base, combine the milk and heavy cream in a heavy sauce pan over medium heat. Add the espresso powder. Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds. Add both the seeds and the pod to the pan. Stir to combine and cook over medium heat until the mixture comes to a simmer. Do not boil.
Meanwhile, beat together the egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl with a hand mixer. Beat the mixture until it is a light color (similar to mayonnaise) and it falls back in ribbons into the bowl. Then, temper the egg mixture with 1 cup of the hot liquid, adding it gradually while mixing with the hand mixer. Transfer the egg mixture to the sauce pan and cook until it coats the back of a wooden spoon. Strain out the vanilla bean, cover with plastic wrap (pressing the plastic wrap to the surface of the custard), and refrigerate until thoroughly cooled.
Once the custard has cooled, freeze it in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Once the ice cream is almost done, add the caramel and allow it to swirl in the frozen espresso ice cream.
To assemble the cake, spread the two tablespoons of Nutella spread on top of the cooled pan of brownies. Pour the frozen ice cream mixture on top of the brownies and Nutella. Smooth with a spatula and allow to freeze for 4 hours.
When ready to serve, use a knife to loosen the frozen cake from the sides of the springform pan. Slice into wedges and drizzle with chocolate syrup. Enjoy!