Ever since we were little, my brother has loved the cotton candy ice cream at Maggie Moo’s (which closed down). His mouth and tongue would be bright blue, made worse by the bubblegum candies he liked to add to his ice cream. I came across a post on Buzzfeed, listing the best ice cream places in each state. Arizona’s is a small ice cream parlor in the West Valley called Mighty Moo’s. Mighty Moo’s makes homemade, hand-churned ice cream, shakes, and floats with unique flavors. The flavors are often changed depending on the season. (I was dying to try their Octoberfest pretzel & beer flavor).
This local place is small with great charm. You can tell it’s a hit with the locals, who wait outside the doors before opening. One sweet older lady said she came every week for her praline ice cream. Buy a cone, a cup, a pint, or other special treats. Next on the list is the “reverse” root-beer float – cream soda with root-beer flavored ice cream! Though it may be a bit of a drive for many, the ice cream is worth it. There’s a greater variety than Phoenix favorites such as Churn.
It turns out Mighty Moo’s carried a flavor called “Elsa,” a bright blue cotton candy flavored ice cream. Naturally, I thought of my brother. It’s a sickeningly sweet flavor for my tastes, but it made a perfect birthday cake for him.
To make an ice cream cake, you do not have to use cotton candy ice cream. Pick a favorite ice cream, hand-churned like Mighty Moo’s or your favorite store bought brand. My only recommendation is to make it the day before hand so that the ice cream can really freeze! (Seriously, save yourself the mess.)
Now the ice cream cake recipe actually has a cake recipe of it’s own, but I have had bad experiences with cakes that involve boiled water, so I chose to use this chocolate cake recipe instead. It’s up to you which recipe you use (or your own!) but my instruction will be for a different chocolate cake recipe.
For the Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
- 1cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
Filling and Decoration
- 4 cups ice cream
- 2 cups chocolate frosting
- Chocolate sprinkles, for decorating
You can line it with parchment paper, but I usually choose to use butter or pam and flour. Since my springform pan is a bit tricky to butter, I used pam. Sprinkle in a few tbsp. of flour and then coat the pan. Turn it sideways and turn it like you would a steering wheel to coat the sides. Shake out the excess flour.
2) In a small bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
3) In large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat butter and brown and granulated sugars until blended. Increase speed to high; beat 5 minutes or until pale and fluffy, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula.
It’s really important that your ingredients be room temperature. They’ll blend easier, especially butter.
4) Reduce speed to medium-low; add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla until blended. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat just until batter is smooth, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula.
5) Spoon batter into pan. Bake 30-40 min. or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.
I’m not as clear as the baking time because I tried the original bake time, forgetting that a 10 in. pan takes longer to cook than a few 8 in. pans. Put it in for 30 min. and keep an eye on it.
6) Let the cake cool for 10 min. Once cool enough to handle, take the cake out and let it cool on wire racks.
7) Once cool, cut the cake into two halves. Wrap the layers in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 2 hours.
8) Place one layer of frozen cake into the (clean) springform pan.
Here’s where it gets messy!! I made such a mess that I’ve made some suggestions on how to make it easier.
9) Remove your ice cream from the freezer. Thaw for about 10 min. Once softer, spread the ice cream on top of the cake layer in the springform pan.
It may not take very long to melt the ice cream. Since I live in Arizona and this was hand-churned, the ice cream melted quickly. I might consider melting the ice cream completely for a more smooth surface.
10) Place the other cake layer over the top of the ice cream. Place the plastic wrap over the top to seal. Freeze again for at least 2 hours.
Two hours was not enough to keep everything from melting and falling apart. I would suggest freezing overnight.
12. Remove the cake from the pan and frost fast! Otherwise your ice cream will melt.
13. Decorate as desired and then wrap with plastic wrap. Use toothpicks to keep it from touching the frosting if you want.
14. Remove from the freezer about 10-15 min. before serving to thaw a little.
Final Thoughts: In hindsight, hand-churned ice cream may not have been a good choice, but my little brother was happy with it. If I ever do this again, I’ve got some strategies to make the ice cream part less frantic and messy. Even though I disliked the ice cream by itself, in the cake it was super delicious!
If you’d like, stop in at Mighty Moo for a tasty treat!