Ice cream is my catch-all, cheer-up indulgence, eaten by the pint in front of light comedic television or crime-scene dramas, depending on my mood. One Saturday evening, alone, I found myself partway down a tub of Ben & Jerry’s, wondering if I could use it as a substitute for the majority of ingredients in a traditional cake recipe. Ice cream is, after all, made from eggs, fat and sugar, all key building blocks in a standard sponge. I pottered to the kitchen with it in hand and set it on the worktop to melt – an act of extraordinary willpower, if I may congratulate myself briefly for it, as I have been known to eat two tubs back to back. A little maths and some crossed fingers later, and I was tucking into an atrociously light chocolate loaf cake, made with just two ingredients and a dash of incredulity. I added the baking powder to a later edition, and it was even better, so I’m including it here.
I later learned that I was not the first person to try this; readers sent me their own ideas for Smarties ice-cream cake, and I made a slightly complicated Neapolitan traybake after Emily Leary, who writes the award-winning food and parenting blog ‘A Mummy Too’, suggested it in the late hours of the evening. Flavours I have experimented with so far have included Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked, cheap vanilla, raspberry ripple and mint choc chip – the latter is my son’s favourite, especially drenched in squeezy chocolate sauce.
Remove your ice cream from the freezer and leave it to melt completely, which usually takes around an hour. Don’t be tempted to speed up this process by heating it up, as that changes how it reacts in the recipe and your cake may not work as well. This is a great use for ice cream that has melted beyond redemption, accidentally left out of the freezer, as well.
Add the remaining flour a heaped tablespoon at a time, mixing it in well until it is all incorporated into the mixture. The batter may be unusually thick, depending on the ice cream used; this is completely normal at this stage.
Spoon and scrape every last drop of the cake mixture into the loaf tin, and smooth the top. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but the mixture is so thick it may need a gentle nudge into the corners!
Place the loaf tin in the oven and
When your cake is cooked, remove it from the oven and cool in the tin for 15 minutes. Gently turn out to serve hot or cold.
This cake will keep for 3 days, tightly wrapped in cling film or tin foil and stored in an airtight container. To freeze it, slice it thickly and place each piece in a food storage bag. Defrost thoroughly, then warm through to serve.
© Jack Monroe, 2020