When my friend Carol was entertaining her husband’s French relatives last year she knew exactly what dessert she would make for these sophisticated guests: a praline mocha ice cream cake I had served to her years before. The cake offers a masterful blending of everybody-loves-ice cream with the we’re all grown up coffee flavor and it is always a crowd pleaser. Carol asked me, the worst recipe keeper, for a copy of the recipe she had lost. So began a frenzied search well into the wee hours of the morning for my copy. You will want to add this cake to your summer entertaining repertoire. It’s a chill-in-the-freezer easy peasy recipe that emerges as a sophiticated java-ice cream layered cake. The best part? It can be made ONE MONTH AHEAD of time! That is NOT a typo! This post is for you Carol!
FROZEN COFFEE PRALINE CAKE
This cake is basically a ladyfinger charlotte-type cake filled with 3 layers of coffee ice cream, separated by 2 layers of homemade almond brittle and topped with almond whipped cream. You could take a short cut and buy the brittle but it is super easy to make and the secret to this cake’s crunchy surprise. If you are not a fan of coffee, you could use vanilla or a caramel ice cream. I favor tea over coffee yet love this cake!
1/2 c whole natural almonds with skin on, coarsely chopped
1/2 c firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 c butter
Preheat oven to 350F
Using your hands, mix the brittle ingredients and spread on a lined, rimmed cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes and cool on the cookie sheet, on a wire rack, at least 30 minutes. Peel brittle off foil and break into small irregular pieces. Divide in 2 and reserve until ready to assemble cake. The brittle can be made a few days in advance. I chopped the almonds at the same time as the finished brittle since I had forgotten to do so before hand.
3 oz package of soft lady fingers
1/4 c brewed coffee
3 pints of coffee ice cream or frozen yogurt
3/4 c heavy whipping cream
1/2 t almond extract
2 heaped tablespoons of brown sugar
chopped almonds or chocolate covered coffee beans to garnish
Coat an 8 inch springform pan with cooking spray. On a piece of wax paper, brush both sides of the ladyfinger cookies with the coffee. Place a row of ladyfingers, rounded side facing out around the sides of the pan. Roughly crumble the remainder cookies on the bottom of the pan. Place the pan in the freezer for 10 minutes. Soften your ice cream so it is spreadable. I place the additional containers in the refrigerator while I work with the first container.
Spread one pint of ice cream over the cookie layer, being careful not to mix the crumbs in the ice cream. Top with 1/2 of the almond brittle. Spread the second pint of ice cream over the brittle, smoothing evenly. Top with the second half of the almond brittle. Spread the 3rd pint of ice cream over this layer of brittle. Cover the cake with plastic film and freeze for at least 4 hours or up to 1 month. If you will prepare the cake this far in advance, hold off buying the whipping cream closer to when you plan to serve the cake.
Remove the cake from the freezer about 15-30 minutes before serving. Beat the whipping cream with the almond extract and 2 T brown sugar until stiff peaks form. Remove the sides from the springform pan, drop dollops of whipping cream around the top of the cake and garnish with chopped almonds or coffee beans and serve.
Get ready for the rave reviews!