Mix one part ice cream with two parts fun

Everyone likes cake, right?

Wrong. My oldest daughter would rather eat brussels sprouts than chomp down on a big piece of chocolate cake.

Well, that could be a slight exaggeration, but cake is certainly not up there on her list of favorite treats.

This is no big deal — it's not like I'm in the kitchen mixing up cakes every afternoon. But it does pose a problem when her birthday comes around.

This year, we decided on an ice cream cake. At least I thought we decided. Rosa is now asking for a cake that erupts like a volcano ... long story.

A recipe for an ice cream cake came across my desk about the same time Rosa and I started to discuss the details of her birthday party. And, believe me, there are a lot of details. Gone are the days when pint-size party guests played happily in the sandbox. Rosa is turning 7 and wants a science party complete with experiments.

So, in the spirit of experimentation (it's a science party, remember), I figured we should give the cake a test run before the big day. In the name of science, of course.

The recipe came from Foster Farms, which — did you know this? — makes the Crystal brand of ice cream. It calls for rich ingredients: three half-gallons of ice cream; nine candy bars; 16 cookies. Oh, and don't forget the heavy cream.

Everything is available at the grocery store. But the ingredients are a bit pricey compared with a cake mix and a can of frosting. I spent $19.15.

Making the cake was a production, but in a good way. The kids chopped the candy (we chose Reese's peanut butter cups) with plastic knives. They crushed the cookies (generic Oreos) in freezer bags to minimize the mess.

There is no way to keep the kitchen clean when it comes time to assemble the "cake." (Actually, there's no cake in it. It's made up of layers of ice cream, drizzles of homemade fudge sauce and sprinklings of crushed candy and cookies.)

The recipe calls for pressing great quantities of ice cream (we picked chocolate and peanut-butter cup flavors) into a springform pan. The kids and I used our hands. Soon we were covered with ice cream. Pretty fun for a science project!

The worst part about this recipe was the cleanup. Oh, and waiting for the cake to chill. We couldn't wait to taste the finished product.

We weren't disappointed. It was everything a 7-year-old's birthday cake should be — ooey, gooey and good.

Too bad my soon-to-be 7-year-old doesn't want to serve it at her party. It seems she wants a cake we saw on the Internet while looking up ideas for the party — a cake shaped like a volcano with fudge for lava and "smoke" emanating from dry ice.

Oh, darn. Another cake to try out. All in the name of science.

Bee staff writer Kerry McCray can be reached at 578-2358 or at

What The Testers Had To Say

I made this recipe for my brother's birthday, and it was a hit. I modified it to two ice cream layers, as I didn't have a springform pan, but no one seemed to mind. How can you go wrong with this list of ingredients?

— Ann Griffith, Modesto

The first thing you have to get your head around is that this isn't an ice cream cake like what you get at Baskin Robbins, but rather a layered mound of ice cream with the cookies, chocolate and candy acting as the layers of frosting to this ginormous ice cream torte. Once you get past that, it's all good! It's not the prettiest thing ... the ice cream melts as you keep stacking all the layers, so perhaps layering everything in a bowl and then turning that out once frozen would produce a nicer shape. The hardest part was deciding which ice cream to use (random flavors or stick to a theme?) and which candy bars to buy (again, random or thematic flavors?). It would be a lot easier to scoop the ice cream into bowls and top with all the goodies, but not near as fun to eat!

— Karin Reenstierna, Modesto

It was a little messy to make. The grandkids loved it.

— Donna Boots, Modesto
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