So, a while back, it seemed like “no-churn ice cream” was popping up all over my Pinterest feed. And then, Food52 did a post on making an ice cream cake with a meringue crust. And THEN it just kept getting hotter and hotter. So I did it. I made a no-churn ice cream cake.
I realized that I’d actually already done this before, when I made Frozen Honey Cream from a Martha Stewart recipe. I like our ice cream maker (and ice cream made with it definitely yields a different texture from this no-churn stuff) but even on fairly mild days, it’s so hot in our apartment that the ice cream never really quite sets while it’s in the machine. I have to be certain that I’ll have at least overnight to freeze the ice cream before serving it, otherwise it’s pretty much soft-serve.
So the idea of making some refreshingly cool ice cream without running the noisy machine and watching it remain soupy was rather exciting. Now, the Food52 recipe called for a meringue crust (I ditched that idea, although I think it’s a good one for when I have too many egg whites lying around) and also to split the batch in half so that the pie would be layered and swirled with two different flavors. Ooh!
I actually ended up halving half of the batch because I wanted to try two different cakes: a strawberries and honey cream (which I’m sharing here) and a sesame-honey cream, a sort of take on sesame peanut candy, which I love. That one didn’t come out so well because I ran out of cream and then all sorts of other disasters ensued. So I’m going to try doing that one again and see if I can get it to turn out right before I share.
Because I had a smaller amount of each flavor to work with, I made cute, little four-inch layer cakes, each with three layers of ice cream and a nice, thick speculoos cookie (what Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter is made from) crust, based on Christina Tosi’s Momofuku Milk Bar Graham Cracker Crust recipe, which I think is the best graham crust EVER. If you follow the recipe below, you’ll end up with four six-inch cakes, or you could make a bigger single cake. Whatever floats your boat. You could also just eat the ice cream and forget mucking about with all the layering.
I highly recommend getting some good-quality honey for this, not the generic bear bottle stuff. During the recent hurricane scare, I did some kitchen cabinet cleaning (in part to determine if we actually had any food to eat if we really did end up stuck in the house without power) and discovered all kinds of crazy stuff. Like no fewer than six bottles of Hawaiian honey. So I had plenty of the good stuff to work with.
I picked up a pound of Kula strawberries for just $6 when we were at Kā‘anapali Fresh with the intention of making this cake when we got back. But I knew I wouldn’t be able to get to it before the strawberries got ugly, so I went ahead and puréed and froze them as soon as we got home. I kept a few in the fridge hoping they’d look halfway decent for photos and garnish and was pleasantly surprised that they did mostly hold out. (They definitely looked MUCH nicer when I first brought them home.) If you can’t get your hands on fresh strawberries, frozen are totally fine since you’ll be working with purée anyway.
Strawberries & Honey No-Churn Ice Cream Cake
Ice creams adapted from Food52 and Martha Stewart; crust adapted from Momofuku Milk Bar
This recipe will make four individual four-inch triple layer cakes (make sure to do two that start and end with strawberry and two that start and end with honey, otherwise you will end up short on one of your flavors). You can also make fewer cakes in larger pans. I recommend making the honey cream first, as it takes longer. By the way, if you make this complete recipe, you will use exactly one quart of whipping cream.
Special equipment: four-inch (or larger) springform pans or cake pans with removable bottoms; acetate (can be obtained at art supply stores)
For the Crust
- 1 box (7 ounces) Trader Joe’s (or other brand) Speculoos cookies
- ¼ cup milk powder
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter, melted
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
Crush cookies (a mortar and pestle work great, but otherwise, a rolling pin will do) and mix together with other dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Add butter and cream and combine to moisten. The mixture should stay clumped together when you squeeze it in your fist. Divide evenly among pans and use your fingers to press flat in the bottom. Set aside while you make the ice creams.
For the Honey Ice Cream
- 14 ounces heavy whipping cream
- ⅔ cup Hawaiian honey
- 4 egg yolks
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip cream using the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Transfer cream to a large clean bowl, cover and refrigerate. (Electric hand mixer works great too, or if you’re a bad ass, go ahead and whip it by hand.) Heat honey to a boil. Remove from heat. Clean out your mixing bowl and beat egg yolks thoroughly. While the mixer is running, VERY slowly stream honey into the bowl. (If you add it too quickly, your eggs will turn into scrambled eggs.) Once all the honey has been added, turn the mixer speed to high and continue to whisk until the mixture has cooled to room temperature. Gently fold in chilled whipped cream and return the entire mixture to the whipped cream bowl, cover and refrigerate while you make the strawberry ice cream.
For the Strawberry Ice Cream
- 16 ounces heavy whipping cream
- 1 14-ounce can condensed milk
- ⅛ teaspoon Maui Preserved vanilla powder (substitute ¼ teaspoon vanilla paste or extract, preferably paste)
- 1 cup fresh strawberry purée
Combine cream and condensed milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and whip into stiff peaks using the whisk attachment. Gently fold in the strawberry purée.
To Assemble the Cakes
Line each pan with a strip of acetate so you are able to build the ice cream layers up. Each strip should be about four inches high.
Use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to layer ice cream, alternating between flavors, three layers for each cake. Each layer should be about an inch high. Start with strawberry in two pans and honey in the other two so that you end up using equal amounts of each flavor.
Wrap each cake well with plastic wrap and freeze overnight. When frozen and ready to serve, release the springform and remove the acetate. Slice into wedges and serve.