Make Ahead

The Diplomat, Reimagined

June  4, 2013
0 Ratings
  • Serves 8 - 10
Author Notes

Two recipes from my youth join to create a party-worthy frozen terrine. A diplomat pudding traditionally is a terrine made with pound cake, madelaines, lady fingers or other plain cookies, nestled in a long rectangular pan and layered with a custard, usually vanilla or almond (along with some fruits and nuts) or, in the case of Marcella Hazan’s “Il Diplomatico,” chocolate flavored with coffee and rum. I use the latter combination, but in an ice cream filling, to create a dessert inspired by the ice cream cakes I had so much fun making at Baskin Robbins, where I worked as a teenager. Make whatever loaf-shaped pound cake you like, or buy one from a good bakery. Just be sure to make this the night before, as it does need time to freeze up good and hard before you “frost” it with the softened ice cream, and then freeze it again. Enjoy!! ;o) —AntoniaJames

What You'll Need
  • 1 medium pound cake (loaf)
  • 1 quart + 1 pint of chocolate ice cream
  • ½ cup good rum
  • ½ cup strong espresso
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons high quality vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract (optional but recommended)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped almonds, toasted
  1. Cut, using a horizontal stroke, the round top off the pound cake and reserve it for another use. (See note, below.) Then, slice what’s left of the pound cake in half, horizontally.
  2. Combine the rum, espresso, hot water, brown sugar and vanilla extract and stir gently to dissolve the sugar.
  3. Drizzle that over the two halves of pound cake, taking care to drizzle it on the cut side of the bottom half. Don’t get too much on the outer edges of the cake, as you may be trimming some of that off, once the layers are frozen.
  4. Loosely wrap the halves in parchment and put them in a tightly closed plastic bag and then in the freezer. Freeze for at least 2 hours.
  5. While the cake is freezing, take out one quart of ice cream. Using a scoop, pull off large chunks and put them in a large bowl (preferably metal). Use the back of a large, sturdy spoon to smash down the ice cream. Work quickly, as you don’t want it to melt too much. You just want to make it soft enough so that you can spread it without too much difficulty. Sprinkle it with the almond extract and give it a good stir. If the cake halves are not fairly well frozen, put the bowl in the freezer until they are.
  6. Using parchment or wax paper, make a sling across the long sides and bottom of a loaf pan that’s at least the size of the pound cake.
  7. Spread about half of the ice cream in the bottom of the loaf pan. Take the top half of the soaked pound cake and put it on top of the ice cream. Cover with the remaining ice cream from the first quart and then layer on the bottom half of doused cake, with the bottom side up.
  8. Cover tightly and put back in the freezer. Allow it to freeze nice and hard, for at least four hours. Overnight is better.
  9. When ready to “frost” it, remove the loaf pan from the freezer and turn the cake over onto your serving plate. If the sides are uneven, use a sharp knife to true them up.
  10. Pop the whole thing back into the freezer while you soften the remaining pint of ice cream.
  11. Take the cake out of the freezer and spread the softened ice cream over it like icing, filling in any holes between the layers. Put it back in the freezer, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove it and press the toasted almond pieces into the top.. Cover gently with a larger loaf pan if you have one, or very lightly with plastic wrap. When the ice cream has hardened a bit (which takes about 45 minutes in my freezer), wrap it a bit more firmly with plastic wrap if not eating right away.
  12. Let it sit at room temperature for no more than 10 minutes (or 5 minutes if it’s a hot day) before slicing and serving immediately.
  13. Enjoy! ;o)
  14. NB: I freeze odd bits of pound cake, then defrost and toast and break into crumbs to sprinkle on the bottom of fruit pies, to keep them from making the crust soggy. They can also be combined in a Devonshire pudding, a recipe for which I've posted here on Food52.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • dymnyno
  • drbabs
  • Kukla
  • AntoniaJames

Recipe by: AntoniaJames

See problem, solve problem. Ask questions; question answers. Disrupt, with kindness, courtesy and respect. ;o)

6 Reviews

dymnyno June 5, 2013
All my favorite flavors(like RUM) in a easy to make recipe!
AntoniaJames June 5, 2013
Thanks, dymnyno! I love the rum, too. I've done all sorts of variations with this, including layering Rum Raisin ice cream with a "chocolate pound cake" from Piedmont Grocery, "frosted" with chocolate ice cream. I do a "Neapolitan" for summer birthday parties, too, with layers of strawberry and vanilla ice cream (with a layer of finely chopped macerated strawberries layered with the French vanilla ice cream), frosted in chocolate ice cream and then served with whipped cream topped with toasted almonds, sort of like an ice cream sundae cake. Most people don't realize how utterly perfect soft (but not melted!) ice cream is as a frosting. The possibilities are endless. ;o) P.S. I've found that rum raisin ice cream tends to be seasonal (not summer), so I make my own by soaking raisins in rum, reducing a bit more rum into a syrup, and then stirring them gently into the softened plain vanilla ice cream. You should try it!
drbabs June 5, 2013
AntoniaJames June 5, 2013
Thanks, drbabs. Glad you think so! ;o)
Kukla June 4, 2013
I love easy but delicious desserts like this AJ, especially in the summer! Who wants to turn on the oven when it is above 90 degrees outside?
AntoniaJames June 5, 2013
Thank you, Kukla. Yes, the ice cream cake has been my secret weapon in summer since I started making them at age 16 at B-R. They are incredibly easy, and everyone loves them. The comment I hear most is, "Wow, ice cream and cake on the same plate! I feel like a kid at a birthday party." ;o)