White Chocolate Ice Cream Cake

This recipe is an absolute sparkler – although there are a few fiddly stages to it, it’s not actually as tricky as it might look, and if you need something impressive for a dinner party, this will definitely do the job. It comes out looking like an elegant homemade version of a Viennetta, with rich layers of white chocolate ice cream interspersed with thin sheets of dark chocolate to counteract the sweetness.  It’s inspired by a recipe from Green & Black’s Ultimate Chocolate Recipes, a must-have for any dedicated chocoholic – click here to find out more about the book.

200g dark chocolate
300g white chocolate
450ml double cream
2 eggs
25g icing sugar

Serves 10 (depending on how generous your slices are)

First of all, line two big baking trays with greaseproof paper, and line a loaf tin with two layers of clingfilm. Pop the loaf tin into the freezer while you do the rest (this will eventually be your ‘mould’ for the finished ice-cream cake). Bear in mind that the finished article will need to go in the freezer for at least 6 hours – more if you want to be absolutely sure that it’ll come out with no problems – so you need to leave plenty of time before you want to serve this.

Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave, but take it out before it’s become completely liquid, while there are still a few solid pieces in the middle. Stir well until these last bits have melted – this is a cheat’s way of ‘tempering’ the chocolate, which doesn’t affect the taste, but makes it shinier and gives it more of a snap once it’s been cooled and re-formed.  Divide the chocolate between the two baking trays and spread it out well with a spatula, to make a thin layer with no holes – do this as quickly as you can, so that it doesn’t start cooling while you’re spreading, otherwise you can end up with lumps. Pop the baking trays in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Bear in mind that chocolate is quite prone to taking on flavours from other things so if you have any strong cheese, for example, in the fridge, it might be a good idea to take it out while the chocolate’s cooling.

Next, make the white chocolate ice cream – this is a pretty simple method, and if you don’t have an ice cream maker, this is a great way to do it. You can add other flavours such as peppermint if you want to experiment. First, melt the white chocolate with 150ml of the cream. Set this aside to cool, and whip all the rest of the cream until it’s just holding its shape – in other words, until you can create a soft peak with a spoon which doesn’t melt away. If you’re using an electric mixer, keep a close eye on the state of the cream because it will very suddenly pass this point and become really stiff. Once the white chocolate mixture is cool, mix in the whipped cream.

Finally, separate the eggs – you only need the whites for this recipe (if you want to use up the yolks, how about carbonara for dinner?). Be very careful not to get any yolk into the whites, because this will stop them whipping properly. Add the icing sugar to the whites and then whisk thoroughly until you have a fluffy mass that is light enough not to fall out when you turn the bowl upside down. This can be a scary thing to do for the first time – so tip the bowl slowly, and see if the whites move at all. You should eventually be able to turn the bowl completely upside down – when you get to this point, stir it into the cream and white chocolate mixture. Make sure that you don’t stir it all too much, just enough to combine it all, so that you don’t stir all of the air out of the whipped cream and beaten egg whites.

Once your dark chocolate has completely solidified, take the baking trays out of the fridge and carefully peel the chocolate off the grease-proof paper. You need to break it into pieces, so don’t worry about cracking it, but try not to handle it too much because you’ll leave fingerprints!

Take your lined loaf tin out of the freezer, and spoon a quarter of the white chocolate mixture into the bottom of the tin, spreading it out into an even layer. Cover with pieces of dark chocolate, and repeat until you’ve run out. Once you’re finished, cover the whole thing with more clingfilm and pop it into the freezer, making sure that the tin is level while freezing.

When you’re ready to serve, peel the clingfilm off the top of the tin, and then tug gently on the clingfilm lining until you can feel the ice cream cake loosening. Lay a plate upside down on top, and then carefully turn the whole thing upside down so that the cake pops out onto the plate. There are a few quick & fabulous ways to present it so that it looks really sensational - in the summer, you could decorate it with raspberries or strawberries. For my version, I kept back a few of the dark chocolate shards and stuck them in the top, then dusted with cocoa powder.