I bloody loved Neapolitan ice cream when I was little. We always bought tubs when we went on summer holidays to the beach. By the end of the week there’d always be an empty hole in the middle where the chocolate had been, a half depleted strawberry and a barely touched vanilla.
It’s funny remembering now because I don’t know why we always bought the Neapolitan tub for so many families and so many kids, when the only flavour anybody wanted was chocolate. Every time at the end of the week we’d have to throw out two or three containers of ice cream with only one third eaten. Why not just buy the plain chocolate? Were vanilla and strawberry ice creams somehow better for you?
I made this ice cream for my boyfriend’s birthday. And I just have to tell you, I’m not really bragging, but it’s the most incredibly amazing combination of ice creams in the entire world. My boyfriend is mildly lactose intolerant, but he loves ice cream and sorbet (and frozen yogurt, and milk…and cheese). I didn’t want to make three layers of cream-based ice creams and then have to watch him eat it and get sick, so two of the layers are sorbet! And the third is optionally vegan made with almond milk.
The base is a rich brownie layer made from a Woman’s Weekly cheesecake brownie base recipe. You can sub in a natural nut and date base for a vegan option too. On top of this is a strawberry, raspberry and vanilla sorbet that is soo fresh and summery. The next layer is the richest dark chocolate sorbet in the world. Do you even have to ask where I got that recipe? Of course it’s David Lebovitz. I have never tasted a more delicious chocolate sorbet, even in a gelato shop, than this recipe. It’s so creamy considering there’s no milk! The real star of the show though, is the top layer. It was a little bit of a guess, informed by some reading here and there, but it was the most delicious ice cream flavour I’ve ever tried.
It’s basically a cinnamon ice, because there’s no custard involved. It sure freezes harder than ice cream but in an ice cream cake that’s a good thing, because by the time you come to cut it it’s soft and creamy. The two whole cinnamon sticks crushed in to the milk are so fragrant and really change this cake, so don’t leave out this flavour! Please!!!! A good tip for making homemade ice cream and using it for a cake, or just for plain eating- if you want it smooth and perfect consistency without the wait, just cut it up with a fork or knife and blend it for 30 seconds, return it to the freezer until ready to eat and enjoy smooth and creamy ice cream.
Want to see some more great ice cream cake recipes?
If you want to construct a masterpiece from the ground up
For extra brownie layers
If the phrase “candied cocoa nibs” makes you drool
Cinnamon, Chocolate and Berry Ice Cream Cake:
Brownie base:Adapted from Women’s Weekly
120g (1 scant cup) dark chocolate, broken into chunks
100g (7 tbsp) butter, cut into chunks
200g (3/4 cup + 1 tbsp) white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
120g (1 cup) plain flour
Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 23cm cake tin with baking paper, right up the sides of the pan. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water, and stir to combine. Stir in the sugar and vanilla over a low heat and leave to cool. Sift the flour well. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs with the vanilla extract. Mix the eggs into the slightly cooled chocolate mixture, and then sift over the flour. Pour into tin and bake for about 10-12 minutes, until crispy on top. Allow to cool completely before adding any ice cream.
OR: blend 1.5 cups walnuts with 1.5 cups medjool dates and 2 tablespoons cocoa powder for a raw and vegan base.
Strawberry and Raspberry Sorbet: Adapted from David Lebovitz
500g (around 3 cups, 1 pound) cut up strawberries
200g (1 cup) raspberries
150g 3/4 cup) sugar
1 tbs lemon juice
1.5 tsp vanilla paste
Cut up the berries and stir in all the ingredients. Leave to macerate for about an hour until all the sugar is dissolved. Chill for at least 8 hours and than freeze in an ice cream maker according to instructions. Once frozen, spread in an even layer over the brownie base and put back in the freezer. Chocolate Sorbet: From David Lebovitz
170g (1 3/4 cups) dark chocolate
550ml (2 +1/3 cups) water split into 375 ml (1.5 cups) and 125ml (1/2 cup) bowls
200g (3/4 cup + 1 tbsp) sugar
75g (2/3 cup) cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Whisk 375ml (1.5) cups of water with the sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Bring to a boil and whisk frequently. Boil for about 1 minute until completely combined and glossy
Break up the chocolate in a bowl and set aside. Pour over the hot chocolate mixture and leave to melt. Stir together until completely incorporated, then stir in the rest of the water and the vanilla. Cool in the fridge over night then churn in ice cream machine. Spread in an even layer over the strawberry layer.
Cinnamon Sherbet:Guided by this recipe
1 litre (1 + 1/3 quarts) full-fat almond or regular milk
150g (3/4 cup) sugar
2 cinnamon sticks, crushed
Heat the milk with the sugar and cinnamon until boiling. Leave to steep for about an hour. Strain out the cinnamon and chill for at least 8 hours. Freeze in ice cream machine and spread on the top layer. Freeze for at least 8 hours before cutting.