ice cream cake, a dissertation.

this is a long-winded post about the intricacies of ice cream cake.  and there are no pretty pictures.  no pictures at all, as a matter of fact.  so if this isn't your cup of tea, feel free to move along.  i won't be bothered.  for real.

this was not my finest ice cream cake.  

i realize that i wrote a good bit about the making of the ice cream cake yesterday, but apparently i wasn't finished discussing it.  or maybe it's the mediocre slice i just ate while sitting here on the sofa catching up on emails.  i didn't even want a piece of ice cream cake tonight.  i didn't want anything, really.  but dave was having a slice and it looked so inviting on his plate.  so he went back down to the basement freezer and cut me a slice, too. 

it was so not worth it.  which brings me to the reality that this wasn't my finest ice cream cake.  because my ice cream cake is always worth it.

bennett has been requesting the ice cream cake for his birthday celebration since he was five.  for his birthday celebration and for cub scout picnics.  for just about any occasion when i'm to make a cake for his friends, he asks for the ice cream cake.  i've come to be quite good at this tasty frozen treat - perfecting the technique, the proportions - for our family, at least.  i can make it just the way we like it without a whole lot of trouble.

there's the crushed oreos.  (sometimes it's oreos, most of the time it's these - turns out my kids didn't realize that those weren't actually oreos.  is this a parenting fail?  i'm not sure.)  the double bagging and the releasing of air from said bags and the smashing to just the right consistency.

there's the cake.  i use this one.  every time.  without fail.  (except that i use plain creme-top yogurt instead of buttermilk, which might not surprise you now that you know that i use impostor oreos.)  there's the crushed oreos and the cake, and there's the ice cream: breyer's chocolate.  always breyer's chocolate, softened.  and there's the frosting: chocolate buttercream made with unsalted butter, confectioner's sugar, and unsweetened cocoa powder, whipped together in the kitchen aid mixer.

(incidentally, an outstanding side-effect of the rotten-luck of the recently-broken kitchen aid mixer and the subsequent replacement of said expensive mixer, is that i now own two kitchen aid mixer bowls, and two sets of kitchen aid mixer attachments.  which makes the making of the ice cream cake about 100 times less complicated, now that i can whip the frosting and soften the ice cream practically simultaneously without washing the equipment in between.  it feels awfully indulgent, but i pretty much love it.)

so i bake the cake in a half-sheet pan and, after it's fully cooled, i slice it through the middle to create two thin layers.  after the slicing i - and here's the key - place those two thin layers into the freezer for a couple of hours to make a cold, hard foundation for the softened ice cream and the crushed oreos and the cake-slice-top, and finally the frosting.  and herein lies the problem.  

this week i thought i'd make a round ice cream cake for the first time.  there were only 10 kids coming to the party, and i thought it'd make less cake this way.  (ok, i'll admit that a tiny piece of me was perfectly happy to skip the nerve-wracking slice-the-layer-cake-through-the-middle step.  and all of me was happy at the prospect of not having 3/4 of a ginormous ice cream cake in my freezer for a week.)  but the round layers were too thick, and i might have (ahem) neglected to freeze them.  yeah.

so the proportions were all off - too much cake to ice cream in the equation.  and because the cake wasn't frozen, the ice cream sort of sank into the bottom cake layer instead of sitting on top of the cake like its supposed to.  even though that might seem like small potatoes, it's the key to the a good ice cream cake, don't you think?  the ice cream layer?  yeah.  the ice cream layer, and the proportion of cake-to-crushed-cookie-to-ice cream?  i'd say so.

but i do make a mighty fine chocolate buttercream frosting.  and i've learned my lessons and won't forget to freeze my cake layers next time.  that, and i'll forevermore slice my cake through the middle - nerves be damned - to get the best proportions.  believe me, if i could come up with the teensiest inkling of a reason, i'd make another one tomorrow, just to redeem my less-than-stellar performance.  but i can't come up with anything at all that would justify the making of a second ice cream cake in less than three days.  so for the moment, i think i'll stick to pumpkin bread.  with chocolate chips.  because i'm pretty sure i can't mess that up, no matter how hard i try.