Our tradition for M Fox’s birthday is that I make him whatever kind of cake he wants. This sounds really boring except that M Fox has the cake taste of an eleven-year-old. Usually the cake comes with a lesson for me. One year it was chocolate chip cake with Oreo frosting: the lesson was if you don’t want all the chocolate chips to sink to the bottom of the cake, drudge them in flour before adding to the batter (also works for raisins, I’m told). The next year it was a double layer cheesecake, one chocolate, one vanilla: the lesson of this cake was that Alton Brown’s cheesecake (the vanilla) is way more delicious than Martha Stewart’s (the chocolate). Also, stacking cheesecakes is fricken scary business and also makes one slice so humongous that you want to die after eating it.
This year? He wanted a Neopolitan cheesecake ice cream cake. Bring it, said I. It actually turned out pretty good, believe it or not. I did a vanilla cheesecake bottom (thank you again, Alton), chocolate ganache middle, and strawberry ice cream layer on top, with an Oreo (or whatever the Trader Joe equivalent is) cookie crust. The moral for this one? Ganache freezes into rock. If I were ever to make this again, I’d probably do a simple brownie recipe so that you could actually cut it (shout out to my Facebook baking friends for the great advice!)
So here is the recipe for this ridiculous cake I made. What’s great about this cake is that because you have to freeze it, you don’t have to eat it all in one week — you can draw it out for as long as you want!
Warning: I am not a precise baker/cook/photographer/person/anything. I’m just not. I kinda just go with it until either I like the look of it or I ruin it. That being said, I think this cake turned out pretty damn good and I can only imagine what it might be if someone who actually read all the directions first gave it a go! Also, none of these photos are pretty. I’ll leave that to the food bloggers.
The Cookie Crust
It’s pretty simple. I food-processed the hell out of about 25 cookies, mixed in about 3 tablespoons of melted butter and pressed it to the bottom of a wax paper-lined pan. The wax paper is important — when you freeze this baby, it will make it easier to actually get it out. If you want more cookie, use more cookie. If you need more spackle (butter), add more spackle. Then I baked it in a 350 degree oven until it was more solid — not burned, but the butter wasn’t so wet.
Layer 1: Cheesecake
I pretty much followed Alton’s recipe because the man is a genius (if you haven’t ever brined a turkey Alton-style, you really really really should). The only thing different is that I made the cake in a regular brownie pan instead of a spring-form because it would be easier to deal with and would make the portions less insane. Because of this, I obviously didn’t use any of the graham cracker crumbles for the sides or the crust.
Alton Brown’s Cheesecake Recipe
1 1/4 cups sour cream
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup heavy cream
In a mixer with a paddle attachment (I don’t have a mixer, so I just did this in my food processor), beat sour cream for 10 seconds. Add the cream cheese and sugar and mix on low for 30 seconds and then turn up to medium. Scrape the bowl. In a separate container, combine vanilla, eggs, yolks, and heavy cream. With the mixer on medium, slowly pour the liquid mixture in. When half of it is incorporated, stop and scrape. Continue adding the mixture until the rest of the ingredients are incorporated.
Once completely combined, pour into the cooled crust. Lower oven temperature to 250 degrees F. Place cheesecake into a preheated water bath, in the oven for 1 hour. Turn the oven off and open the door for one minute.
Close the door for one more hour. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and place in the refrigerator for 6 hours to completely cool before serving.
No, but seriously: Watch his video about the bath thingie — it’s on the recipe link. It’s totally worth it. It seems stupid, but just do it. You can’t tell in the photo below, but there is water in that bottom pan.
Layer 3: Strawberry Ice Cream
I literally just put on layer on top of the other. You can think of a better way to do this, go nuts.
I put the whole thing back in the freezer and took it out about 15 minutes before I wanted to serve it. The first piece looked like a horrible accident, but after that it cut very nicely! I was going to experiment with putting popsicle sticks in the top so that they could be little pops, but, meh. Next time :)