Chocolate-coffee ice cream and cake squares put all good things together


Cake and ice cream make a good couple. They balance each other out. One’s churned cold, the other’s baked hot. One’s creamy, the other crumbles. One loves cold weather, the other resents it.

 Blistering marital bliss. Ice cream insists on arctic temperatures; show it a cupboard or countertop, and it goes all drippy. Give cake a shelf in the freezer, and it turns frosty, brittle and dry. 

 The pair could retreat to separate homes. But a little counseling, some willingness to change can help. If cake can focus on its best features — chocolate, sugar and eggs — and forgo its old habits — like butter and flour — it can live in pliant, delicious comfort alongside ice cream. 

 Win-win for them. Win-win for the rest of us. 

 ——— 

 ICE CUBES 

 Prep: 20 minutes plus time to freeze 

 Bake: 13 minutes 

 Makes: 9 squares 

 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened, for pan 

 9 tablespoons sugar 

 2 eggs, separated 

 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate 

 2 tablespoons brewed coffee 

 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

 1/2 teaspoon salt 

 1/4 cup ground almonds (sold as meal or flour) 

 2 quarts coffee chip ice cream 

 Whipped cream, to serve, optional 

 Chocolate sauce, to serve, optional 

 1. Prep: Butter an 8-by-8-by-2-inch baking pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper, leaving some overhang. Butter parchment and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. 

 2. Whip: Whip egg whites and 2 tablespoons sugar to glossy peaks with an electric mixer. 

 3. Mix: In a large bowl set over simmering water, melt chocolate with coffee into a paste. Still working over simmering water, stir in yolks, vanilla, salt and remaining 6 tablespoons sugar. Remove bowl from heat. Stir in one-third of the egg whites. Fold in remaining whites, then the ground almonds. 

 4. Bake: Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees until just set, about 15 minutes. Cool. Grasp parchment overhang and lift out the cake. 

 5. Pack: Line the same pan with plastic wrap, with several inches overhang. Scoop in slightly softened ice cream, pressing firmly and smoothing the top. Set cooled cake on top, sugar-side up. Cover with overhanging plastic wrap. Freeze firm, at least 8 hours. 

 6. Stack: Unmold and unwrap frozen cake-and-ice-cream square. Set cake-side down on a cutting board. Dip a heavy knife into hot water, wipe dry and slice into 9 squares. Serve with whipped cream and/or chocolate sauce.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Cooking and Recipes

4 Atlanta tiki bars that offer an exotic escape from reality
4 Atlanta tiki bars that offer an exotic escape from reality

Tiki bars are serious about not being serious. The palm-thatched divey haunts are filled with random totems of Polynesia, and offer potent, overly garnished (and mostly rum-based) drinks that help transport us to an exotic getaway that is native to nowhere. The hideaways, a mishmash of flotsam from a mythical South Seas, originated in California. Just...
Revealed: The secret to all cooking
Revealed: The secret to all cooking

The single most important secret in all of cooking is just three words: mise en place. It is apparently one of the first things you are taught in culinary school, and the structure on which all other cooking stands. Mise en place is French for “put in place,” and on a very basic level it means to have all of your ingredients ready and measured...
Let this glorious ingredient simply shine
Let this glorious ingredient simply shine

My father, who was born in Italy and left it at the age of 5, never shook off the nation’s famous minimalism in the kitchen. When I was growing up, he cooked zucchini blossoms for me by doing very little to them: He lightly dipped them in beaten egg and Parmesan and then shallow-fried them in olive oil. That’s it. This restraint is a beautiful...
This simple sauce is summer's best burger hack, and other tips
This simple sauce is summer's best burger hack, and other tips

The beginning of the summer isn't the only time to get creative with your burgers. I appreciate the home cooks who hold back a trick or two to keep the rest of grilling season interesting. If you're like me, here's a secret weapon to upgrade midsummer burgers, courtesy of chef Chris Kronner: a cheese mayonnaise, which combines the rich creaminess of...
Central State’s Table lives up to the easy-drinking style
Central State’s Table lives up to the easy-drinking style

The beer: Table by Central State Brewing (Indianapolis). What it is: Central State calls Table a “rustic blonde ale,” though in beer speak it is a “table beer” — a bright, earthy, low-alcohol ale popular in the Belgian and French traditions meant to appeal to a broad swath of drinkers and pair well with a meal. It&rsquo...
More Stories