Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Daring Bakers July Challenge--Swiss Swirl Ice Cream Cake

I didn't think I was going to have time to complete this month's challenge, dear readers, both because of the overwhelming amount of crazy in my personal life and because of the marked complexity of this particular challenge. First, the crazy. I was spent the first couple weeks of this month with my sister and family in Virginia and North Carolina. There was much delightful bonding and lazing about on sunny beaches. After, I returned to a veritable storm of backed up work obligations, and just barely managed to find my way to clearer metaphorical skies when our friend Matt arrived from Brooklyn for a visit. Lucky for me, and C and Matt and my brother, I finagled a few days to put this month's challenge together. As with the other DB challenges, I had never before heard of this particular (and decidedly decadent) confection. What made it a particular challenge, was that I had to make five separate components to combine into the finished product. Further complicating matters was the extravagant amount of down-time built into this challenge because this frozen cake is composed of several layers, and each must be frozen before the next is added.

The Swiss Swirl Ice Cream Cake is built upside down in bowl, frozen in its totality, and then inverted on a plate for the striking presentation you see in my included photos. The bottom (or top, depending on which way you're looking at it) is a sliced Swiss Swirl cake, followed by one flavor of ice cream, a layer of fudge sauce, and then a second flavor of ice cream. The host of this challenge allowed for a lot of flexibility in terms of variations and flavors, so I took just a few liberties. Because C is always gushing about how much he likes the combination of lemon and chocolate (largely, I believe, due to the Rugelach Rolls I made a few months ago--though perhaps I overestimate my culinary influence in this regard), the Swiss Swirl cake is dark chocolate, filled with lemon buttercream frosting. For the cake recipe, I used Bryanna Clark Grogan's recipe for chocolate swiss roll cake. I was really worried about the cake, and after reading some of the other DBer's results, I find that my anxiety was justified. At least one person who typically cooks without eggs had a terrible time producing a rolled cake with the right texture and taste. I'm extremely grateful to the unquestioned greatness of Grogan in this regard. Her cake was just perfect. The recipe came together easily, and I had no trouble rolling, filling, and re-rolling it after baking. Hurray!

For the first ice cream, I made a blueberry frozen soy yogurt. The comparative lightness of the frozen yogurt proved a welcome reprieve from the richness of the cake, the fudge sauce, and the final ice cream layer. For the latter, I used a rich chocolate ice cream with coconut undertones. Of course, I don't have an ice cream maker, which has always made me steer clear of attempting homemade ice creams. The vigilance required to produce a result that is never quite smooth enough in texture makes me reluctant. For this cake, I did what the challenge host suggested and removed the ice creams from the freezer every two hours and beat them with and electric hand-mixer. This seemed to work fine even though the ice cream never got to quite the texture I would want for serving to people who don't already love me, if you know what I mean.

The resulting cake is something beyond decadent, though I'm happy to report that it is much easier to slice than I thought it would be. I can definitely see making this again for a very special birthday, should I ever have a friend with a penchant for ice cream cakes. This was my favorite Daring Bakers challenge to date, hands down.

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