The Best Way to Eat Ice Cream with Cake

July 16, 2015

Would you like a piece of cake right now? For Goodness Cake is here for you.

Today: Cold ice cream plus warm cake equals a bowl of soggy mush. Here's a better way to eat ice cream and cake without compromising the integrity of either.

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If it seems like a good idea to encourage your two best friends to start dating, you haven’t spent enough time watching sitcoms and soap operas. Because if we can trust television, odds are that your two friends’ personalities will morph into one very boring version and you’ll be left prying open your eyelids as one person gushes to you about the other. 

You’ll only be able to tolerate so much. 

The same thing is true for the union of ice cream and cake. It seems like a good idea—a cold scoop of ice cream atop a warm piece of cake—but the reality is that in this mingling, both components are compromised: The ice cream coalesces into the cake, both succumb to mush, and all individuality is lost. What was once two distinctly valuable desserts becomes a mess of sweet, soggy drippiness. 

You’ll only be able to tolerate so much. 

With this ice cream cake, however, both parts—the ice cream (roasted banana) and the cake (chocolate-date)—maintain their identities. Because the cake is frozen completely before a layer of just-churned ice cream is spread on top and the whole pan is sent back into the freezer, you'll get two discrete layers. It's a process that involves a tolerance for delayed gratification you probably never knew you had.

But in the end it means that the cake is complemented, rather than overpowered, by the ice cream—and vice versa. The fudgy, truffle-like texture of the cake stands up to the ice cream but becomes a bit softer; the richness from the dates and the chocolate is more pronounced with the barely-bitter banana flavor as a foil. Rather than icecreamcake, you get ice cream-cake—joint yet separate.

It's as if your dating friends have refused a couple name. They are not Bennifer or Brangelina or Kimye or Icecreamcake. And maybe you'll decide it's okay for them to date after all. 

Chocolate-Date Cake Topped with Roasted Banana Ice Cream

Makes one 9- by 13-inch pan of ice cream cake; serves so many

Cake adapted from Mast Brothers Chocolate: A Family Cookbook; ice cream from Max Falkowitz at Serious Eats

For the cake:

2 cups water
2 teaspoons baking soda
14 ounces dates (I used Medjool)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
14 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (do not use chocolate chips, even if it's tempting)

For the ice cream:

3 ripe bananas, sliced into 1/2-inch coins
3/4 cup raw sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
2 cups cream
1 cup milk

For the chocolate drizzle:

3 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
50 grams coconut oil

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Mark Weinberg

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Sarah Marx
    Sarah Marx
  • AEC
  • amysarah
  • AntoniaJames
  • ChefJune
I used to work at Food52. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream.


Sarah M. August 18, 2015
How on earth did I miss eating this.
AEC July 17, 2015
The cake sounds delicious! I'm not a fan of bananas so plan to try this with coffee ice cream for the adults. Also may try a kids' version without the dates, but thinking that I cannot simply omit 14oz of something. Can anyone suggest a kid-friendly substitute?
Sarah J. August 3, 2015
You could try raisins, but the dates are really essential because they add a wonderful caramel flavor and a nice chewiness. I don't think they'd be particularly identifiable to children as dates! Especially if you find the super-sweet ones.
amysarah July 17, 2015
Definitely making this in a couple of weeks when my kids come home - but I may use cream cheese ice cream (the cake reminds me a bit of old school date and nut bread, which demands cream cheese!) Also brings back a great childhood memory of eating Sarah Lee chocolate pound cake (is that still a thing?) straight from the freezer, sometimes with ice cream. That ice cold, fudgy cake, so good.
Sarah J. August 3, 2015
Let me know how it went! The cream cheese ice cream sounds like a great idea.
AntoniaJames July 16, 2015
Do you take a thin slice off of each outer edge before serving to plate? I keep thinking that freezing the cake in the pan could result in a rough edge.
When I worked in an ice cream store as a teenager - where I made at least a couple hundred ice cream cakes -- the cakes were always cooled outside the pan, and then frozen (back in the pan, tightly wrapped with plastic wrap). The ensured a very smooth edge courtesy of the freezing process. After the cake in the pan was frozen solid, we then layered the ice cream on it while the ice cream was still very hard, packing it tightly, and then pulled up and over the edges of plastic wrap. We covered the top, and then froze it all hard. This gave the cake edges a nice smooth finish - very helpful if you want to "frost" the whole thing with barely-softened ice cream (after which of course you put it directly back into the freezer).
Yours looks amazing! ;o)
ChefJune July 16, 2015
I'm not sure why you think cake must be eaten warm. It's much better the next day. Room temp, please.
Sarah J. July 16, 2015
Yep—it tastes great room temperature as well as cold! I like it best when it's not warm—I find it's easier to taste the flavors when you're not distracted by a super-gooey texture.
Ali S. July 16, 2015
I feel like I endorse every cake in this column, but I must scream from the rooftops about this one. It is one of the best things—ice cream, cake, or anything else—I have devoured in a long, long time. Both parts are memorable on their own, but even better together as an ice cream-cake.