Choc-Banana Ice-Cream Cake

A few days ago Alex celebrated his 9th birthday. We’ve stumbled upon a plan in our family that the kids get a big birthday party hoo-ha every second year, and on the alternate years we have a family dinner AND they get to choose the cake they want.

In past years the older kids have pored over my birthday cake books to choose things like blue dinosaurs or cupcakes ‘posies’.

This year when I asked Alex what kind of cake he wanted, there was no reaching for a cake book, no umming and ahhing, no hesitation whatsoever.

“A chocolate banana ice cream cake please”.

Okay mate, no worries. Such a specific request needs the utmost commitment and careful research, so I was on the case quick smart. Thanks to Mr Google I stumbled across this magnificent creation at Sweetapolita and decided to use it as my inspiration.

This cake had a chocolate biscuit base, a chocolate glaze, and two layers of banana ice cream with a brownie layer in the middle. Oh.Em.Gee. That’s a whole lotta chocolate and icecream for one little family dinner!

I modified it, spent quite a few hours on each step, and somehow got it all together in the end. It was actually quite an unattractive cake – but it’s all about what’s on the inside, right!

It’s quite a time consuming cake – there are lots of ‘waiting periods’ in between steps. I was in the kitchen making a ton of other things the day I made it so it didn’t bother me, but it’s something to be aware of if you’re pushed for time.

Choc-Banana Ice Cream Cake

Adapted from Sweetapolita‘s recipe here

Chocolate Crust

  • 115g butter
  • 220g dark chocolate
  • 380g chocolate cookie (eg Oreo) crumbs

Ice-Cream filling

  • 7 cups vanilla ice-cream (just under 2L)
  • 3 large frozen bananas

Glaze

  • 1/2 cup thickened cream
  • 1/4 cup liquid glucose
  • 170g dark chocolate
  1. Crust: Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, or in the microwave if you feel game. Stir until smooth.
  2. Whizz the biscuits in a food processor until they are reduced to fine crumbs, then gently mix them with the chocolate mixture until just combined. Put 1 cup aside for later. Press remaining crumbs onto base and sides of a round springform pan (mine is 23cm across & 6cm deep), and place in freezer until firm.
  3. Glaze: Melt cream and glucose in a small saucepan over medium heat until just bubbling, then add chopped chocolate and stir through until smooth. Allow to cool fr around 45 minutes.
  4. Ice-Cream filling: Wait for your ice-cream to soften slightly, then add to a large bowl. Allow frozen bananas to thaw on the bench for around 30 minutes, then process in food processor until smooth. Mix banana puree into ice-cream.
  5. Assembly: Spoon half of your ice-cream over the frozen crust and spread out evenly. Gently press your reserved crumb mixture over the ice-cream, then pour on the cup of cooled chocolate glaze. Level gently with a palette knife, then return to freezer for around an hour.
  6. Spread remaining ice-cream over glaze, then freeze again – for 4 hours at the least.
  7. Warm glaze gently over simmering water until slightly runny, then spread over top of ice-cream (I spread mine over the sides in lieu of the crumb crust, but this was difficult and didn’t look too pretty!).
  8. Sprinkle with decorations, then freeze overnight.
  9. When ready to serve, remove gently from springform pan then carefully transfer to serving plate. Use a large knife rinsed under hot water to slice.

Notes

  • This American recipe uses wafer biscuits for the crust…I’m only now realising that US wafer biscuits must differ from Aussie ones. The ones I bought were ‘Chocolte Cream Wafers’ and when mixed as directed, resulted in a thick and sludgy mixture quite unlike the biscuit crumb bases that I make for cheesecakes (which is what I’m assuming was required here!). There was no way my sludge was going to stick all the way up the sides of my springform pan, but I didn’t realise this until too late! I made the decision to use the entire mixture on the base and coat the sides with the glaze at the end. Not a good move – the base was very thick and although tasty, was just too overpowering. I would suggest using oreo cookies for the base to get the crumb consistency.
  • My springform pan has a slight incontinence problem, so I line it with baking paper to prevent leaks. Because I didn’t have a nice crumbed side, my ice-cream set straight into the folds of the baking paper leaving uneven surfaces. This made it even harder to frost – now I have a really good excuse to buy a new springform pan!
  • I omitted the brownie layer that featured in Sweetapolita’s cake, and just used a thin layer of chocolate crumb and then glaze instead. This gave a nice crunchy layer inside the ice-cream, but a soft brownie layer would have been nice too.
  • I had to put the chocolate glaze on over several sessions, freezing in between. I did this on a mild Autumn day, and still found melting was a problem – I wouldn’t attempt this on a QLD Summer day unless I had fantastic Air-Conditioning!

I was so glad this cake was all prepared the day before Alex’s birthday. It meant I could serve up dinner (Enchilada’s, as requested!), take it out of the freezer as we cleared the table, then it was ready for candles and singing.

There was some assistance needed with cutting – that centre layer slows you down, then you really need to put in some elbow grease when you get to the bottom crust – but once those slices hit the plates it was every man & child for themselves. Nom nom nom…

Banana ice-cream is amazing on it’s own…if I never bother doing this layered baby again, I will definitely be doing banana ice-cream in the future…a lot.

I tried to sway Alex into a caramel glaze…I was envisioning a banoffee pie flavour, and think the caramel would work fantastically with the banana…but he was adamant it had to be chocolate. He knows what he wants!

Kids in the Kitchen – Anzac Day Biscuits

Anzac Day is coming to a close here and the batch of Anzac Biscuits we baked this morning is also disappearing…I’ll have to put the last few remaining biscuits in one of my ‘hidey spots’ so there will be some left for lunchboxes tomorrow. It’s ironic that Anzac Biscuits were originally devised as a treat that had a long shelf life (in order to be sent overseas to our troops), yet once they are made they really don’t last long – how can one resist those crunchy, golden biscuits cooling on the tray?

It’s also quite interesting (to me anyway!) that there are so many different recipes and variations for something considered an iconic Aussie ‘classic’ – differing quantities of flour/oats/sugar, differing cook times to result in either soft & chewy or golden & crunchy, and possible additions of sultanas or choc chips.

To complicate matters further, my mum’s recipe (which I now follow) seems to be a ‘standard’, yet she often made hers as a slice. She would push her biscuit mixture into a greased slice tin, bake then drizzle the cooled slice with chocolate icing. This seemed sacrilege to me for many years – they are supposed to be biscuits Mum!

Being a parent now myself I think I understand her logic – after getting my kids to help make Anzac Biscuits today I can see how bunging it all in a pan and jazzing it up with icing was so much quicker & easier!

So Anzac Biscuits were on the cards today, of course. After Mia and Mr B. came home from the march in town, we lazed around long enough to get bedsores – at this point it was baking time. Mia donned her apron and Oliver followed…I assisted with measuring ingredients and the stove-top component, and let the kids take over. For a little while…

Mixing the dry ingredients is the easy part…Once the saucepan ingredients are ready it’s time for mum to step in.

Once that exciting chemical reaction between the bicarb and golden syrup/butter mixture occurs it’s time to combine it all…

Those lovely green laminate benchtops? Yes, straight out of the 80’s I know. They’re going one day…I’m not really attached to them you see.

So…back to our biscuits. Once combined, kids are the perfect little helpers to roll the mixture into balls for the tray. This part was quite, uh, fun. And messy. Mia lasted a few biscuits, whereas Oliver (just a tad OCD, our boy) played with one handful then wanted his hands washed. He was also very concerned about the increasing amount of crumbly mixture ending up on the floor.

Can you see our lovely malformed biscuits at this point? Charming is one word I’d use to describe them! Mia knows exactly which ones she made and hones in on them within seconds of spotting the finished product.

The kids lost interest at that point. I love that they can run off and play and leave me with the washing up – my own fault for not encouraging them in those endeavours too!

Out came our lovely crispy Anzac Biscuits – we ate, and we ate, and we ate. Then we had to walk along the beach to compensate for all that butter and sugar. Lest we Forget.

Anzac Biscuits

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 125g butter
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1 Tablespoon Golden syrup
  • 1 teaspooon bicarb soda
  1. Preheat oven to 170 °C. Combine sifted flour, oats, sugar and coconut in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre.
  2. Place butter, golden syrup and water in a small saucepan. Stir over low heat until butter has melted. Remove from heat and stir in bicarb soda.
  3. Pour mixture into dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Roll mixture into balls and bake for 12-15 minutes. Cool on trays.