Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Birthday Cake Ice Cream

My sister is the best at picking unconventional birthday treats (stay tuned for her pick, next!).  As excited and ready to take on her birthday request as I was, I wanted to make something else too.  Something that combined my sister's favorite things all in one.  I wanted to make Birthday Cake Ice Cream. My sister loves nothing more than a simple, classic yellow cake with sprinkles, and because birthdays and ice cream go hand in hand, the combination is a winner.  It's obviously been done before, but I wanted to make the ice cream for myself, because ice cream is one of those treats that is always better when it's made at home. And really...is there anything happier than cake flavored ice cream with sprinkles? It's the happiest treat imaginable. 

I used Jeni's cream cheese ice cream base in my homemade version.  It really has become my favorite way to make ice cream, and my favorite ice cream to eat as well.  I find that her ice cream base is not only foolproof (the risk of scrambling the egg yolks is completely eliminated!), but produces an ice cream with a wonderful chew and a luxurious creaminess on a consistent basis.  I have yet to make an ice cream that I haven't liked with her method.  In fact, I only make traditional custard ice creams on the rare occasion that I have a lot of egg yolks left over from a different recipe.  Jeni's method is generally the same.  Milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup (for texture) are heated over medium heat, and then a corn starch slurry is stirred in, for thickening.  This hot mixture is then whisked into cream cheese instead of egg yolks, and the whole mixture is cooked until it thickens. Submerging the hot custard in an ice bath is the final step in preparing the custard for freezing. Adding some yellow cake mix to the hot cream mixture and rainbow sprinkles during the last few moments of churning transform this frozen dessert from a sweet cream ice cream to a birthday cake ice cream. 

My sister may have just turned 20, but this ice cream brought out the kids in both of us.  The ice cream really does taste like cake, and every spoonful is full of colorful little jimmies. A few scoops topped with soft whipped cream, more sprinkles, and a cherry on top makes for a delightful little sundae, one fit for a birthday no matter your age.  Enjoy!

Birthday Cake Ice Cream 
recipe adapted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home


2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1/2 cup yellow cake mix
about 1 cup rainbow sprinkles


In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch.  Whisk together to make a smooth slurry, and set aside.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the cream cheese and salt until smooth.  In a large saucepan set over medium-high heat, combine the remaining milk, heavy cream, sugar, cake mix, and corn syrup and bring to a rolling boil.  Boil for 4 minutes, then take the mixture off the heat.  Slowly whisk in the cornstarch slurry.  Bring the mixture back to a boil, and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture has thickened, about 1 minute. 

Pour the hot milk mixture through a fine mesh sieve into the cream cheese and whisk until smooth.  Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc bag and submerge the bag in an ice bath.  Let the mixture stand in the ice bath until very cold, about 30 minutes.  

Pour the ice cream base into your ice cream maker, and begin to freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. When the ice cream is thick and creamy and just about finished churning, add the sprinkles through the opening of the ice cream maker.  

Pack the ice cream into a freezer-safe storage container, and press a sheet of parchment paper directly against the surface, sealing with an airtight lid.  Freeze the ice cream until solid, about 4 hours.  Enjoy!

Makes about 1 quart


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