When its time for a party, ice cream cake is a crowd-pleaser

In our house, certain foods define occasions. Birth-days (and graduations) are marked by ice cream cake. Brunches, brit milahs, b’nai mitzvahs and open houses are celebrated with individual cheesecakes. These desserts are always appreciated and I’ve given out the recipes so often that I suspect they have become favorites of more families than just my own.

In a way, I’m just continuing tradition. The ice cream cake is based on one created by my mother-in-law, and the cheesecake cups are from a recipe given to me by Helene, the mother of a friend. Helene brought them to every possible function, always topping each one with fresh fruit at the last moment.

I rarely make these desserts the same way twice. Varying the flavorings and toppings makes them a different experience each time.

Joan’s Ice Cream Cake

Serves 8-10

1 quart of ice cream, sorbet or frozen yogurt, softened

1 quart of another flavor of ice cream, sorbet or frozen yogurt, softened

9- or 10-inch angel food cake, torn in 1- to 2-inch chunks

1⁄2 cup chocolate syrup, or to taste

1⁄2 cup caramel ice cream topping, or to taste

whipped cream (optional)


Wrap outside of 9- or 10-inch springform pan, bottom and up sides with aluminum foil. Scatter a handful or two of cake chunks in the pan. Alternate scoops of the two flavors of ice cream around them. Drizzle some of the chocolate and caramel syrup around the cake and ice cream. Press down with the back of the ice cream scoop until the cake and ice cream form a fairly level layer without air spaces. Repeat until you come within 1⁄4 inch of the top of the pan. Smooth out the top layer with the back of the scoop. Wrap well with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for fours hours or overnight. Remove from the freezer 20 minutes before serving. Just before serving remove foil and wrap, release the catch on the side of the spring form pan and remove cake (leaving the cake on the bottom section of the pan). Decorate with whipped cream. Leftovers freeze well.

Banana split variation: Double the chocolate syrup and omit the caramel, scatter in chopped banana, nuts, and maraschino cherries or strawberries.

Important note: The birthday boy or girl always gets to pick the ice cream flavors.

Marica’s Mom’s Cheesecake Cups

Makes 24

3 eggs, beaten

1 cup sugar

3 8-oz. packages regular or light cream cheese, at room temperature

11⁄2  tsp. vanilla extract

1⁄2 tsp. lemon juice

24 vanilla wafers

sliced fruit or berries for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners. (If you don’t have enough tins, use foil cupcake liners on a cookie sheet.)

In a large bowl, mix eggs and sugar until lemony in color. Add cream cheese in chunks. Mix until very smooth. Add extract and juice. Mix well. Put a vanilla wafer in the bottom of each cupcake liner. Fill each liner two-thirds full.

Bake for 20 minutes. Center of cheesecakes should be puffed up but very pale. Turn off oven. Let cheesecakes stand in oven with door open for 30 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool on rack. Refrigerate. Just before serving, remove liners if desired, and top with berries or slices of fruit.

Variation: Replace the vanilla wafer with a chocolate wafer and add chocolate chips to batter; top with chocolate shavings.

Faith Kramer is a Bay area food writer. Her columns alternate with those of Louise Fiszer. She blogs her food at www.clickblogappetit.blogspot.com. Contact her at [email protected].


Faith Kramer
Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer and the author of “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen.” Her website is faithkramer.com. Contact her at [email protected].