Chocolate-Date Cake Topped with Roasted Banana Ice Cream

July 10, 2015
2 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Serves so many
Author Notes

In this ice cream cake, 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.

Cake recipe adapted from Mast Brothers Chocolate: A Family Cookbook(Little, Brown and Company, 2013). Ice cream from Max Falkowitz at Serious Eats. —Sarah Jampel

What You'll Need
  • 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 banana ice cream, the chocolate drizzle, and the cake assembly:
  • 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
  • 3 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 50 grams coconut oil
  1. For the cake:
  2. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Line a 9- by 13-inch pan with parchment paper, making sure the parchment hangs over the sides. You'll need to use it as handles later in order to remove the cake from the pan.
  3. Remove the pits from the dates and discard them. In a medium saucepan, combine water and baking soda and bring to a boil. Add the dates to the water, remove from heat, and let soak for 30 minutes.
  4. As the dates soak (and you do want to do this next step as the dates soak, as they should still be warm when they're needed next), use an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment to cream the butter and the sugar until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the egg and mix until fully incorporated. Add the salt and mix. Add the flour 1/2 cup at a time, mixing until just incorporated.
  5. Drain the dates and add them to the mixture. Add the chocolate and mix until evenly distributed. It will begin to melt into the warm dates—that's good. Transfer the batter (which will be very thick) to the cake pan and spread it with a rubber spatula.
  6. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, until the center is still gooey and wobbly but the edges are set. Let the cake cool completely in the pan, then wrap it very well with plastic wrap and stick it in the freezer until it is completely frozen.
  1. For the banana ice cream, the chocolate drizzle, and the cake assembly:
  2. When the cake is in the freezer, lower the oven temperature to 350° F. In a baking dish, toss the bananas with raw sugar. Bake until the bananas are very tender and the sugar is bubbling dramatically all around them.
  3. Transfer the bananas to a blender and add the salt, lemon juice, cream, and milk. Blend on high until very well combined.
  4. Chill the mixture until it is very cold, at least 3 hours. I recommend chilling the mixture as your cake freezes.
  5. When the cake is frozen, churn the ice cream according to the manufacturer's instructions. When the ice cream has been churned, spread it onto the frozen cake. Wrap the whole pan very, very well in plastic wrap and send it back into the freezer for at least 3 to 4 hours or, preferably, overnight.
  6. When you're ready to eat the cake, make the magic shell. Add the chocolate to a microwave-safe container with the coconut oil. Melt in 30-second intervals until liquid. Drizzle over the cake and let harden.
  7. Remove the whole cake from the pan using the parchment handles. Let it sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes, until it is soft enough that you can slice it with a knife. Serve with forks.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Kristy Robledo
    Kristy Robledo
  • Jamie Macphail
    Jamie Macphail
  • Jane Katz
    Jane Katz
  • Sarah Jampel
    Sarah Jampel

14 Reviews

Kristy R. May 17, 2016
How do you think it would go using those 'churn by hand' methods? I dont have an icecream maker.
Jamie M. September 2, 2015
Sorry, with the ice cream you say churn to manufacturers instructions. I don't understand this!
Sarah J. September 3, 2015
When you buy an ice cream maker, it comes with a manual that gives instructions for that particular machine!
Jamie M. September 3, 2015
Ahh, thanks for that! I don't own one!
Beth100 July 24, 2015
I so want to make this! It's a big batch for 1-2 people to work through, though. If I whisk the egg and divide it in half by weight, do you think this recipe would divide in half successfully?
Sarah J. August 12, 2015
Sorry for my delayed response—I do think that will work!
Beth100 August 12, 2015
Thanks! I will let you know how it goes.
allisonverak July 16, 2015
Do you use fresh or dried dates?
Sarah J. July 16, 2015
Dried dates!
Meghan July 16, 2015
Also, I've never used dates in anything before so this might be obvious to most people on here but, do you mix the dates into the cake whole or do you mash them a bit first? Or are they already mashed a bit from removing the pits? This cake looks awesome :)
Sarah J. July 16, 2015
You don't need to mash them! They'll melt into the cake; some chunks will remain, but the majority of the dates will dissolve into paste.
Jane K. July 16, 2015
I rarely say a cake can compete with the crunchies in a Carvel ice cream cake but this one is miles ahead. I went back for thirds.
Meghan July 16, 2015
How long does this "cake" keep for in the freezer?
Sarah J. July 16, 2015
Covered with multiple layers of plastic wrap, this cake should keep for at least 2 weeks!