To be honest, when I realized my birthday was three weeks after arriving in Huelva I thought I might not really know anyone and didn’t think I’d do anything special, but it was a really nice night and my roommates and I put together a fun little party. I was a very happy and grateful birthday girl:) We hosted a little birthday dinner shindig and invited the friends we had made so far in Huelva.We told everyone that they were more than welcome to bring a friend or any housemates, so I don’t think I actually knew about half the people who came, but we made a lot of friends and met some new neighbours, which was awesome!
To make things even more memorable, my fabulous roommates surprised me with a cake at the salsa club the next night and after they told our salsa instructors that it was my birthday I was made to dance with all the men at the club– I’m sure I looked more inept than Jennifer Grey at the beginning of Dirty Dancing, but it was so fun I really didn’t mind!
Now, my twin is visiting me in Huelva after a an awesome twin-time/sightseeing weekend in Cordoba — I couldn’t be happier.
Without a working oven, I decided to improvise and make an ice cream cake. Our kitchen set up is really basic, so I didn’t make a crust or anything. It was literally just layers of ice cream, with homemade ganache, crushed Oreos and peanuts in the middle. It was the first ice cream cake I had ever made, and after some initial issues with the free form bottom layer on the plate melting before I could get it in the freezer it worked out super well! I’d even go so far and say it was a hit, but people might have just been nice since it was my birthday…but really, ice cream, chocolate, crumbled cookies and salty nuts? It seems like a winning combo no matter what!
Basic Ice Cream Cake
I don’t feel like I can take much credit for this, since I mostly just spread store bought ice cream on a platter. But, I was still pretty excited with the result and for any other extranjeros living without an oven, this one is for you!
How much ice cream you use will just depend on how many people you want to serve and how many layers you’d like to create. Below, I’ll just tell you what I used, but it’s simple to adjust your quantities as you go.
What you’ll need:
For the ice cream part:
2L vanilla ice cream
1L chocolate ice cream
For the chocolate ganache:
8 ounces (225 g) good quality dark chocolate, chopped
8 ounces (225 g) heavy cream
Two tablespoons butter
Chocolate cookies or wafer (I used Oreos, about 20 crushed, and 20 whole/halved)
Handful of salty peanuts, chopped
Take half of your vanilla ice cream out of the freeze and let it soften until spreadable with a spatula or large spoon, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make your ganache!:
Put the cream in a medium pot on the stove until it is simmering. Take the cream off the heat and stir in the chopped chocolate. Let the mixture stand for about 5 minutes while the chocolate melts, then add in the butter and stir until smooth.
Spread the first layer of ice cream (1L of vanilla) on your serving platter into whatever shape you want your cake to be. I kept it simple and went with a circle. Because I didn’t have a crust or any kind of springform pan, I used Oreos to make a border around my bottom layer of ice cream. Spread 1/3 of the chocolate ganache on top of this first layer. Place the whole thing in the freezer for at least a half hour.
Next, you’ll spread your layer of chocolate ice cream. So when you are ready, remove the chocolate ice cream from the freezer to soften slightly, and spread over the frozen first layer. Add another layer of chocolate ganache (you might need to reheat it slightly if it is not spreading easily), and some crushed chocolate cookies if you like. Put the whole thing back into the freezer for another half hour.
Soften up that last litre of vanilla ice cream to spread over the top of your cake. Spread a little bit of chocolate ganache on the top and throw on some crushed cookies, and your salty peanuts. Drizzle the last bit of ganache on top and sprinkle some chocolate shavings.
Put the whole thing back into the freezer until ready to serve, and that’s it! Possibly one of the simplest ice cream cake recipes out there, and certainly not the most impressive, but just imagine the possibilities…
Take your cake out about 5 minutes before trying to cut it, because unless you’ve got a really sharp knife and some killer muscles, you’re going to struggle (like I did in front of all my guests, but I think everyone was happy with getting a slice of cake so my muscles were praised, not made fun of!). Buen provecho!