We need more hope. With all the loss, worry, loneliness, and inconvenience that riddles this new world we’re in, we need something of substance to set our hearts on. What are those positive truths, the bits of foundational goodness, swishing around your brain? What are the gentle reminders you can post at the forefront of your mind and hold onto when things feel uncertain?. I’ll be honest- I’m really grasping for straws here lately.
I’ve discovered so much sweetness while sifting through the unfamiliar minutes of this time, but I also find myself intensely ready for a change of scenery. I want time to create and be still and to absorb the sound of my own thoughts. This is hard stuff we’re working through. I’ve seen so many blessings and rich opportunities coming out from the ashes of what was, but I also feel the weight of it all. It’s uncomfortable and foreign, and whether you’re celebrating the beauty of it all or seriously struggling, I want you to know that I hear you. Solidarity, y’all.
So here’s my social distanced hug- a smidge of love from one human to another. A reminder that we haven’t shared our last meal with friends or hired our last babysitter for a night out with our spouses. We haven’t walked into an office or stadium or church for the last time, and it won’t be long until we shake hands with colleagues or bump shoulders with strangers. We’ll soon be reminded of the smell of our best friend’s hair and our child’s classroom.
My word to you this morning is the same one I hound myself with daily: this is all going to be okay. Our hope isn’t in a vaccine or a can of Lysol- we have so much more to set our sights on. Be gentle with yourself in the coming days and know you’ve got a friend here. And this friend just so happens to want to serve you mocha brownie ice cream cake.
Mocha Brownie Ice Cream Cake
I made this cake forever ago and have been waiting for warmer weather in which to share it. It stays ice cream weather in Alabama, but I totally get that my friends in Canada, Michigan, and wherever else are maybe not so keen on frozen desserts when it’s frozen outside. So here it is finally: a no-churn ice cream cake layered with brownies, sweet espresso-flavored cream, and a simple make-ahead method that literally anyone can do. It’s super easy, and I can’t wait for you to try it for yourself.
To make this mocha brownie ice cream cake, we start with our brownies. Eggs and sugar combine with butter, cocoa, and flour and are baked in a pan. Once cooled, prep your no-churn ice creams. Start by whipping cream and sweetened condensed milk together. Add cocoa powder to the chocolate and espresso powder is dissolved into the coffee ice cream. Chocolate chips or bits are folded into the coffee ice cream and then the cake gets assembled. I decided to make my cake in a loaf pan. This means I ended up with an extra batch of brownies to save for later. I’ve also provided instructions for making a larger cake in a 9″ springform pan. Either works great!
This mocha brownie ice cream cake is a great treat for these warming days. Aren’t you so excited for a new season, like, in every sense of the phrase? Hang in there, keep calm, and make cake, okay? Happy Thursday, friends!
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Mocha Brownie Ice Cream Cake
This mocha brownie ice cream cake is layered with homemade brownies and two flavors of no-churn ice cream!
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 45
- Total Time: 360
- Yield: 9 Servings
- Category: Dessert
For the brownie (Adapted from Alton Brown- see notes for shortcut):
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar, sifted
- 1 cup brown sugar, sifted
- 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 1/4 cups cocoa, sifted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup flour, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
For the ice cream:
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2–1/2 teaspoons espresso powder or instant coffee
- 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 ounces finely chopped semisweet chocolate or mini chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cake topping (see notes for shortcut):
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup crushed chocolate sandwich cookies
To prepare the brownies:
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees (300 for dark nonstick pans) and spray your light pan with baking spray. This cake can be prepared in an 9” springform pan, or, to prepare a loaf-shaped ice cream cake as I did in my photos, bake the brownie batter in two 9×5″ bread loaf pans. You’ll only use one pan worth of brownies if you opt for the loaf cake, so you can save the rest for later. 🙂
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar and brown sugar and beat to combine. Add the remaining ingredients and stir on low just until combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s) and bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Bake time is about 45 minutes but will differ depending on the size of pan. Once a toothpick comes out clean, you’re done! Allow the brownies to cool completely before assembling the cake. You can speed up this process by cooling them in the fridge, or by preparing the day before.
To prepare the coffee ice cream:
- Pour 1 cup of the heavy cream into a large bowl and sprinkle in the espresso powder. Stir and allow to dissolve, about 5 minutes. Add half (7 ounces) of the sweetened condensed milk to the mixing bowl beat the mixture until stiff peaks form. Fold in the chocolate and set aside in the fridge while you make the remaining elements.
To prepare the chocolate ice cream:
- Pour half (7 ounces) of the sweetened condensed milk to a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the cocoa powder and vanilla and beat until well combined and no lumps remain. Add the remaining one cup of the heavy whipping cream and beat the mixture until stiff peaks form. Set aside in the fridge while you prepare the remaining elements.
To assemble the cake:
- Line a loaf pan or an 8” springform pan with plastic wrap, leaving several inches worth of wrap extending over the sides. This will make the removal process easier.
- If preparing in a loaf pan, spread the coffee ice cream evenly over the bottom of the pan. Top with a layer of brownie (see notes). Spread the chocolate ice cream over top and smooth out. Cover with a layer of plastic wrap and freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight, if possible. When ready to frost, prepare your topping by whipping the cream on medium speed until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and extract and whip until stiff. Remove the cake from the pan to a serving dish. Peel off all the plastic wrap and cover with whipped cream.
- If you want to prepare the cake in a round springform pan, I recommend layering as follows: brownies, coffee ice cream, chocolate ice cream. Then freeze your cake and frost with whipped cream as desired. Really you can assemble the cake in any manner you like, but the cake is easiest to cut when the brownies are toward the bottom.
- Feel free to use boxed brownies or store-bought prepared brownies. I prefer Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate Brownie mix when using boxed brownies. Just remove the big chocolate chips from the powder mix before stirring together as the chocolate chips can make the brownie hard to cut once frozen.
- I recommend preparing your brownies in the pan you plan to assemble the cake in so that the brownie is the same size as the cake. However, you can also crumble your prepared brownies into the cake. It won’t make a difference on the final outcome of the cake.
- Feel free to use an 8 ounce tub of non-dairy whipped topping in lieu of the homemade whipped cream topping.