Friday, September 30, 2011

September Roundup

Thanks to everyone that participated in this challenge. I think we successfully ushered in fall in NY. Hope it has arrived where you are! Looking forward to next month's challenge. Colleen is stepping in to pick our dessert.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Chocolate Coffee Icebox Cake

Posted by - Kyleen.

Hi, I'm Kyleen, from sixteenbeans. and I'm so excited to join this month's Have the Cake Challenge! It seems that I joined at a perfect time, since I've had my eye on this icebox cake for a while.

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Whipped cream is a saving grace. It can be used to make rich, creamy sauces, or replace a failed ganache, or to revive stale cake. In this month’s Have the Cake challenge, icebox cakes took center stage, with whipped cream as the star of the show. As much as I like cookies, whipped cream is definitely the best part of this Chocolate Coffee Icebox Cake.

Coffee and chocolate are such a natural combination that I had to add some coffee flavour in the chocolate cookies as well as the cream. The dark notes of coffee bring out the rich hues in chocolate, complimenting them oh so subtly. I used decaf instant coffee powder in this recipe, although in retrospect, I probably could have replaced some of the milk with coffee or espresso.

The cookies themselves are almost too delicious to be made into a cake. As soon as they came out of the oven, I was salivating. I picked one up while still hot and ate it. Someone has to do quality control, right? Well, it seems that the rest of my family agreed, because one by one, they trickled into the kitchen, following the alluring scent of chocolate and coffee. With my back turned, they grabbed the cookies and I tried to shoo them away. My icebox cake would have been two inches taller if not for the sneaky hands of my younger brother who has a penchant for cookies.

I didn’t bake my chocolate cookies to be quite as crisp as advised because I like that soft and chewy texture. So I figured that the cake would be suitable to eat a couple hours after I had assembled it. The cookie layers were sufficiently softened and the cake was deliciously moist and rich. The next day, I cut myself another slice and to my slight surprise, the cake had transformed completely into a rich, dense, almost fudgy brownie with thin layers of cream in between. The coffee cream was more subdued and the two components blended seamlessly. Obviously, this is one of those cakes that just get better and better with time.

Click below for the recipe.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Icebox Cake Redux

Posted by - Dorrie

For a long time when I was a child my favorite birthday cake was an icebox cake that my mother would make with chocolate wafers and whipping cream. Using the whipping cream as glue between the wafers she would stand them up on their sides, form them into a loaf and then slather the whole thing with whipping cream and keep it in the refrigerator for 24 hours. By the time the birthday celebration rolled around the wafers were as soft as cake and so delicious!

Then a few weeks ago my mother called me all excited about an episode of The Barefoot Contessa that she had just watched. Apparently Ina Garten makes a delicious Mocha Icebox Cake, and uses a spring form pan - hooray! - no more delicate loaf making! Ina, who is not afraid of fat (yay!) also adds marscapone, kahlua, cocoa powder, etc. to her whipping cream - yum!

So when this month's Have the Cake challenge turned out to be Icebox Cake I jumped at the chance to make my own version of Ina Garten's icebox cake. As much as I love the sound of it, I skipped the marscapone, and because I was taking the cake to a dinner party with kids (including my own) I also skipped the espresso powder and kahlua.

My version goes like this:

In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer mix until it forms stiff peaks:

3 cups of heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup of sugar

2 Tablespoons of cocoa powder (I used the really nice Dutch stuff)

1 tsp vanilla extract

I lined the side of my spring form pan with butter and then parchment paper. On the bottom of the pan I made a layer of chocolate wafers (the Nabisco "Famous Chocolate Wafers"), filling in any holes between the round cookies with broken cookies. I then spread 1/5th of the whipping cream mixture on top and continued layering until there were 5 layers of cookies, each covered with whipping cream.

Layering the ice box cake
Layering the icebox cake

After the cake had spent 24 hours in the refrigerator I grated dark chocolate and white chocolate on top for a finishing touch. Here's the finished product, ready for devouring:

Finished cake
Finished cake

The cake was pretty on the outside and on the inside and tasted absolutely delicious:


We completely decimated the cake, several people going back for seconds (including myself). I love my new version of icebox cake and may never go back to the old loaf again. So delicious!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

As Ice Box as it is going to get!!!

Posted by - Vivian Thiele
I had never heard of an Ice Box Cake and the process certainly was intriguing!  I didn't really follow any set recipe and I didn't exactly use cookies either.  During our last vacation, Neil and I went to a Russian grocery store.  They had these thin wafers packaged together. about 10 all together, and so we bought some with the intent on figuring out how exactly it was used in their recipes.  Well, I haven't figured that part out yet but we did have success with using it in our version of the Ice Box Cake.

These are the wafer layers.... if you have any idea how they are supposed to be used please do tell!
My layers were homemade whipped cream with cream cheese, and chocolate ganache.

I "iced" the cake with the cream cheese and whipped cream mixture then sprinkled on mini chocolate chips.
We were too impatient to let it set over night, but we did wait a good eight hours!  Turned out to be super yummy!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Strawberry Icebox Cake

Posted by - Rena

This was my second attempt at an icebox cake this week. I decided to get creative and make a lemon vanilla icebox cake with layers of non-fat vanilla pudding, low-fat graham crackers with lemon curd spread on the crackers. I layered everything but the color of the pudding was so unappetizing that I couldn't even eat it. It was a very artificial shade of yellow. Gross.

I have made the chocolate wafer icebox cake twice before so I wanted to try the strawberry cake from The Kitchn next. What could be bad about strawberries and cream? Nothing.

These cakes are so easy to make and so, so delicious. I made two layers of low-fat graham crackers, real whipped cream (with a dollop of vanilla bean paste and a very small amount of sugar) and fresh strawberries. I decided to leave out the chocolate because 1) I can't be trusted with a block of chocolate in the house and 2) I didn't think it was really necessary.

I was supposed to wait for 4 hours but I caved after 2. I'm sure it will be even better today now that the crackers have softened but it was tasty! I made a bowl of it instead of a loaf pan full because I have no will power. :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

September Challenge: Icebox Cake

photo from Smitten Kitchen

Posted by - Rena

Happy September! I am thrilled that summer is almost over. It was a lovely summer but I'm ready for fall. It's still pretty warm out so I thought an icebox cake would be perfect to usher us into the next season. No one wants cold desserts when it's snowing! I always joke (to myself) that icebox cakes are the dessert version of casseroles. You can just layer away with goodies and somehow they all settle in nicely together. I first learned about these cakes from Smitten Kitchen. The recipe is super simple. I've made it twice and I swear to you, the cake tastes like a giant Oreo cookie. There are a million versions of icebox cakes that use ingredients such as pudding, cream cheese and whipped cream so have a look around the internet and find the one that suits you. I realize there isn't any baking involved, unless you'd like to bake your own cookies, wafers, cake or graham crackers but September is always busy so we can make something delicious without even turning on the oven!

Here are a few variations I found:
Cinnamon & Cream Cheese Icebox Cake
Strawberry Icebox Cake
Raspberry Icebox Cake
Lemon Graham Cracker Icebox Cake
Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Banana Icebox Cake
Nutella Icebox Cake

Happy Layering!