May is unofficially birthday month in my family and my mom leads off the celebrations. As a tribute to her love of ice cream, I surprised her with a Neapolitan ice cream cake (she’s not a birthday cake person and actually insisted that I not bake her a cake). While I respected her wishes, I couldn’t resist shaping the ice cream cake like a petite layer cake to set a celebratory mood – I think that’s what known as compromise!

Neapolitan Ice Cream Cake | Tutti Dolci

The cake is simpler than it first appears. I baked the fudgy brownie base in a 5-inch round cake pan, and froze my ice cream layers in the same size pans for easy stacking. Most of this dessert is hands-off chilling time, so you’ll want to begin two days before you plan to serve. Topped with sweet chocolate dipped strawberries, this scrumptious ice cream cake is an absolute delight for birthdays, Mother’s Day, or any occasion!

Neapolitan Ice Cream Cake | Tutti DolciNeapolitan Ice Cream Cake | Tutti Dolci

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Neapolitan Ice Cream Cake

  • Yield: 10 servings

Ingredients

Brownie Layer

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 6 Tbsp flour

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 Tbsp vodka

Strawberry Ice Cream

  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 6 Tbsp sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 Tbsp vodka

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup strawberries

Instructions

  1. For the brownie layer, preheat oven to 325°F and line a 5-inch cake pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang. Combine melted butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium bowl and stir the mixture until combined – the texture will appear granular at this point. Stir in vanilla and egg. When the batter is thick and shiny, add the flour and stir until completely incorporated, then beat briskly for 40 more strokes.
  2. Scrape batter into prepared cake pan and smooth with an offset spatula; tap pan once to remove air bubbles. Bake for 33 to 34 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out slightly moist with batter. Cool completely on a wire rack. Use parchment overhang to lift brownie layer from pan. Wrap brownie layer well and freeze overnight.
  3. For the vanilla bean ice cream, combine heavy cream, sugar, salt, vanilla bean paste, and vodka in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. Cover and chill mixture in the refrigerator for one hour. Pour chilled ice cream mixture into frozen cylinder of ice cream maker; freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Line a 5-inch cake pan with plastic wrap, leaving an overhang. Scrape ice cream into pan and smooth top with an offset spatula; cover with plastic wrap and freeze overnight.
  4. For the strawberry ice cream, combine strawberries, heavy cream, sugar, salt, vanilla, and vodka in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. Cover and chill mixture in the refrigerator for one hour. Pour chilled ice cream mixture into frozen cylinder of ice cream maker; freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Line a 5-inch cake pan with plastic wrap, leaving an overhang. Scrape ice cream into pan and smooth top with an offset spatula; cover with plastic wrap and freeze overnight.
  5. To assemble, place brownie layer upside down in a pie tin. Use plastic overhang to lift frozen ice cream layers from cake pans; stack layers on top of brownie base. Dip an offset metal spatula in warm water and wipe dry; use to smooth top and sides of cake. Freeze assembled cake overnight.
  6. For the chocolate dipped strawberries, combine chocolate chips and coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Remove and stir. Continue microwaving and stirring in 15 second intervals until melted and smooth. Let cool to room temperature. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Dip strawberries in chocolate mixture and place on prepared baking sheet; chill for 20 minutes in the refrigerator to set chocolate.
  7. To serve, let ice cream cake stand at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes. Dip a sharp knife in hot water and wipe dry before slicing cake. Serve with chocolate dipped strawberries.

Notes

The vodka prevents the ice cream from freezing too firmly.

If you don’t have an ice cream maker, substitute 2 cups store-bought vanilla bean ice cream and 2 cups strawberry ice cream. Let ice cream soften for 10 minutes, then spoon into prepared pans and freeze as directed.


Nutrition

  • Calories: 330
  • Carbohydrates: 40

25 comments

  1. Exquisite!! This ice cream cake is almost too beautiful to slice. Of course, it’s also much too tempting to resist. Lovely work! I imagine your mom was more than pleasantly surprised.

  2. Oh GORGEOUS cake Laura! My older son never much cared for traditional birthday cake, so I was always trying to do something interesting with ice cream. This cake, with the brownie layer, would knock his socks off! Hope you enjoy your month of celebrations! : )

  3. Um, swoon times infinity!? This is one beautiful cake (and also brings me back to my childhood of birthday ice cream cakes–my favorite dessert)! This is the perfect compromise 🙂

  4. Hi Laura,
    Is there anything (besides rum or something with alcoholic content) that can be used to substitute vodka? Or can I just skip it?

    1. Hi Dara, the vodka keeps the ice cream for freezing too firmly. You can skip it, or substitute a liquid sugar like corn syrup or honey. Hope that helps!

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