With a few family members who eat gluten-free, birthday cakes can be a bit of a challenge - we often come up with not-quite-cake alternatives, and luckily everyone in the family loves an ice cream cake.
The trick about gluten-free baking is that it’s not simply a matter of swapping one flour for another; gluten free blends, which often incorporate a couple kinds of flour along with some starch to help with stability, tend to work better than a single flour (such as rice or quinoa) when used cup for cup for the traditional all-purpose wheat flour in a recipe. But if you don’t do a lot of baking, you may not have learned the nuances of each particular blend, or may not have the pricey bags on hand in your kitchen cupboard. Further, if you’re an occasional gluten-free baker, your kitchen may be tainted with wheat flour - in your cupboards or measuring cups - which makes opening a package of gluten-free mix all the more safe for those eating it.
And here’s another thing: kids, particularly on their birthday and amid the excitement of a party, are not going to notice (nor care) whether or not you made the dough for their cake from scratch. A giant ice cream sandwich cake is thrilling enough, and if you can bypass some of the work (and dishes) to get it made on an otherwise hectic day, all the better.
This enormous ice cream sandwich cake is essentially two cookies, sandwiched with soft ice cream. The cookies can be baked in advance, of course - and in fact benefit from some time in the freezer to firm up a bit before spreading with softened ice cream.
Chocolate chip cookie dough is classic, and pairs well with all kinds of ice creams - vanilla, chocolate, peanut butter - or pick up a couple and alternate scoops. If you like, drizzle some chocolate or caramel sauce between the ice cream layers as you go. This really is the ultimate sandwich.
Once it’s filled and frozen, it can hang out in the freezer until you’re ready for it, and as a (huge) bonus doesn’t require frosting. Since cookies aren’t as soft as cake, pick up sparklers to stick in the top instead of candles. (Or use those candles with little plastic holders that poke right into the surface of the cookie.)
If you’re not celebrating anything other than the weekend or want individual sandwiches for your soiree, simply bake the cookies as-is - the proportioned balls ensure they will be about the same size - and then freeze, spread with softened ice cream and sandwich with a second cookie. Wrap each individually in plastic wrap and freeze until you’re ready for them. For extra bling, roll the edge in sprinkles before serving. Let the cake stand on the counter for 10 minutes or so to make it easier to slice.
Giant Gluten-free Ice Cream Sandwich Cake
1 pkg Betty Crocker Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 L ice cream (your choice of flavours)
sprinkles, for decorating (optional)
chocolate sauce, for serving (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350F. In a large bowl, beat the cookie mix, butter, egg and vanilla until the dough comes together. Press half into the bottom of two 8 or 9-inch cake pans that have been buttered or sprayed with nonstick spray.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden. Cool in the pans, and if you have time, freeze until firm. Remove the ice cream from the freezer for about 20 minutes to soften. Scoop onto one cookie and spread evenly to the edge; top with the second cookie. (You can leave the first cookie in the pan while you work.) Cover the cake with plastic wrap or a plastic bag and return to the freezer for at least a couple hours, or until firm.
Let stand for 5-10 minutes before cutting (just enough time to sing happy birthday!) and cut into wedges with a sharp or serrated knife. Serves 8 or more.
* Thanks to Life Made Delicious for sponsoring this post, and helping us make life more delicious!