Yesterday I celebrated my sixth square number birthday. I went to lunch with Thomas and Anna, after which Anna and I took a long walk near where Thomas works, through a nature preserve. We visited the information center at the preserve, which is located at a refurbished Fachwerk house and barn in the woods, and we spent some time conversing with and petting a couple of large brown/black and white cows who were grazing in a field nearby. We snacked on wild blackberries on our way back through the woods and were able to make it home in time for dinner and for me to construct this “cake”. I typically don’t like traditional baked cakes so on my birthdays when I was a kid I would always opt for an ice cream cake or a pie instead. I have been more open to cake lately but still prefer a scoop of ice cream over a slice of cake any day.
A couple of weeks ago Anna and I were in the process of making ice cream in our ice cream maker when, looking for an add in, I accidentally stumbled upon this fabulous combination of frozen berries with just a bit of sugar, cream and milk. I knew right away that I wanted to make a frozen confection based on it.
Originally I had wanted to add some frozen strawberries to a batch of vanilla ice cream that Anna and I had made. In a food processor I combined the frozen berries with just enough cream and milk to allow the blender to puree them smoothly… then as an after though I added a little bit of raw sugar to balance out any tartness from the berries and voila! This extremely thick (and scoopable!) berry concoction was way better than any fruit ice cream I had ever eaten and it was nearly just blended frozen berries! With this experimental slurry of frozen fruit and cream my dream birthday ice cream cake was born…
Four Layer Frozen Berry “Ice Cream” Cake
For the Berry Layers
3 cups frozen Strawberries
3 cups frozen Blueberries
3 cups frozen Raspberries
1+ cups Whole Milk
1+ cups Heavy Cream
1+ cups Turbinado Sugar/ Raw Cane Sugar
For the Whipped Cream Layer
1 1/4 cups Heavy Cream
2 Tablespoons of Sugar
1 Packet Dr. Oetker’s Bourbon Vanilla Extract or 1-2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
Prepare a spring form pan by lining the bottom with parchment paper or with plastic wrap. In a blender or food processor add the strawberries, 1/3 of a cup milk, 1/3 of a cup heavy cream and 1/6-1/3 of a cup of sugar. Add less sugar at first and increase the amount to 1/3 of a cup if the blended berry mixture is too tart (the overall amount will depend on how sweet/tart your berries are). If the berries aren’t blending smoothly and are getting stuck in the blender then add a little more milk+cream, just enough so that they will blend into a smooth, thick mixture. Quickly spread the berry mixture evenly in the bottom of the spring form pan with a rubber spatula and press a piece of plastic wrap over the top with your hands and put directly into the freezer.
Blend the next two berries in the same way, adding just enough liquid so that it will blend smoothly. After each additional batch of berries has been blended quickly transfer the mixture to the pan, removing the plastic wrap first, smoothing with a spoon or spatula and then replacing the plastic wrap on top and pressing in place. When all the berry layers are done return the cake to the freezer while preparing the whipped cream.
For the cream, blend the heavy cream, vanilla extract and sugar in a bowl with a hand blender until it reaches the desired stiffness. Take the cake from the freezer, remove the plastic wrap and smooth the cream over the top of the cake. Place the plastic wrap back on top but don’t press it down this time! Allow the cake to freeze and firm up for at least 3 hours or more before cutting it (I ran my knife under hot water for a minute before cutting each slice and this helped to make clean, easy cuts).
*You can use any mixture of frozen berries for this cake or choose just one.