What do you get when you combine an artisan ice cream, a cake from a company that has been milling flour for two centuries, and a cookie dough recipe from a pastry wizard? This amazing dish!
Earlier this summer I had made an impulse buy of a giant tub of birthday cake ice cream; which isn’t like me at all. I generally don’t buy sweets from the grocery store because there’s usually enough dessert to feed a couple of families in my house as a result of all my baking. But heh, it was on sale and I was in one of those stressed out, I need sugar rn moods. I know you’ve been there too.
Sadly, it was not the fix I’d hoped for. What held the promise of nostalgia-laced childhood happiness was in fact, a regular vanilla ice cream with… sprinkles. That’s it. I wondered, what about this was the ‘cake’ part? The only texture I was getting came from the jimmies and I was mostly overwhelmed by the too sweet taste.
I decided to come up with a recipe that truly honored the title of ‘birthday cake ice cream’. Mine was going to have actual birthday cake in it. And, idk about you, but I love, love the promise of running into unexpected bits of yumminess in my ice cream, so I doubled down on texture with some ‘birthday’ cookie dough nuggets.
And GUYS, IT’S SO GOOD. The first time I made this we gobbled it up before I could get decent photos, so I, not reluctantly at all, made it again. Again, it was gone within days.
The recipes for all parts of this dish originate from crafters who really know their stuff. I gather them with a few tweaks, and altogether it’s an absolute explosion of that happy-inducing feeling I was initially after. You’ve got the cake, you’ve got the ice cream, and as you dig in thinking this is the best combination ever, those nuggets suddenly show up full of chewy sweetness and, you’ll wonder if a dish could ever get any better. It’s the middle of summer y’all, let’s waste no more time not making this dish!
Birthday Cake Ice Cream with Birthday Cookie Dough
Make the cake, ice cream base and dough nuggets. Recipes follow.
Once the chunks and nuggets are frozen, and your base is completely cool, churn your ice cream according to your machine’s manufacturer's instructions.
Place your empty ice cream container in the freezer.
Cut the frozen cake into half inch cubes.
Once ice cream base is churned, mix in the cookie nuggets and cake chunks and put it into your now cold container.
Birthday Cake Chunks
Note: I adapted KAF’s ‘Tender White Cake’ recipe for the cake chunks. Essentially I quartered it, as that is what you’ll need for the amount of ice cream we’re making (about 4 cups). But, if you wanted to use the cake for something else (cupcakes or a smaller cake?) make as much of the recipe as you like, reserving ¼ of it to be made into chunks for the ice cream.
81.5g cake flour
83g granulated sugar
¾ teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 egg white
¼ cup full fat yogurt (vanilla or plain)
1 teaspoon imitation vanilla
⅛ cup sprinkles
Preheat oven to 325. Butter and flour a loaf pan or a 8-9” square pan.
Whisk together the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of your mixer.
Add the butter and beat until mixture turns sandy.
Add the egg white and beat for about 3-5 minutes. Add the yogurt and vanilla, and beat to combine.
Fold in the sprinkles.
Pour batter into pan and bake: for a loaf pan bake for 20 minutes, for the square pan check it at 12-15 minutes. Bake until skewer comes out clean.
Once the cake is cool, cut the ‘crusts’ off and put it in an airtight container (I use a gallon ziplock bag) in the freezer.
Birthday Vanilla Ice Cream
Note: Recipe adapted from Jeni’s vanilla ice cream. Jeni uses cornstarch and some cream cheese to thicken her ice cream base, thereby avoiding egg yolks which really can alter the flavor. This is especially important for our purposes here, where the delicate vanilla flavor is our goal. I made Jeni’s version the first time almost to a T, (but without the corn syrup), and loved it but thought it just a tad too sweet with all the add-ins this recipe requires. When I made it again, I reduced the sugar and increased the salt just a bit, I think this way we bring more balance to the overall dish. Of course, we are also using artificial vanilla for that iconic ‘birthday’ flavor.
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup sugar
Scant ¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons artificial vanilla
In a small bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the cream cheese until smooth.
In a large pot, add the rest of the milk, the heavy cream, sugar and salt. Cook on medium-low until the sugar dissolves.
Add the cornstarch/milk mixture to the pot and whisk to combine. Cook on medium until it thickens slightly.
Whisk the hot mixture into the bowl with the cream cheese until smooth.
Add the vanilla and whisk to combine. If you see little lumps in your mixture, sieve it before pouring it into an airtight container. Chill the base for at least six hours.
Birthday Cookie Dough Nuggets
Note: this is adapted from BraveTart, Iconic American Desserts. Stella notes her recipe makes enough for 1 quart of ice cream. The batch we are making is a little less than that but that just means more yummy nuggets of dough to run into! Also, she recommends dropping the nuggets in ¼ teaspoons. I did ½ teaspoons (mainly because my ¼ teaspoons were all dirty at the time...lol) and did not mind the larger dough bits.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons imitation vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons corn syrup
¼ cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sprinkles
Beat together the butter, salt and sugar until soft and creamy.
Add the vanilla and corn syrup and beat until well-combined.
Add flour, beat to just combine.
Stir in sprinkles.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper that will fit in your freezer (or a small chopping board) and drop ½ teaspoonsful of the batter onto the pan. Freeze.