It's summertime! The kids are done with school (thank goodness - the last couple of weeks are exhausting for moms!) and we are in full summer mode around here. My oldest daughter is now finished with elementary school (I will be crying about this come August when school starts) and we decided to celebrate with a party for her & her friends, celebrating the end of 5th grade.
The girls baked individual pizzas, crafted some fun fabric-wrapped flip-flops, did some beading, and watched a movie in our new camping trailer (for some reason the trailer made it much more fun than our family room). To top off the evening, we needed a good summer cake. When I got my latest copy of "Cook's Country" (which is my favorite cooking magazine) and saw the cake inside the back cover, we knew we had to make it.
Some of my family likes cakes and some do not. (Me - I am not so picky about treats. But I humor them.) Ice cream cakes are a great compromise. Plus a cake like this, that looks complicated, makes me look - for a few minutes - like some kind of amazing mom. Rest assured that it's really very easy - no amazing-ness is needed. In fact that is one reason that we like ice cream cakes. It's also cheap and fun.
Naturally I waited too long to start and had to take pictures late at night. One of the quirks of making ice cream cakes is that you have to plan ahead a little. You should really make them the day before. I started at 9:00 pm, but that is better than not starting the day before at all.
The first step is the graham cracker crust. Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 9" springform pan with vegetable oil spray and line the sides with parchment paper. Crush 8 whole graham crackers into crumbs (1 cup) and combine with 4 tablespoons melted butter and 1 tablespoon sugar. Mix until it resembles wet sand. Press into the prepared pan bottom. Bake about 12 minutes, until it's fragrant and beginning to brown.
For the fudge layer (I love how that sounds): Combine 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, 1/2 cup heavy cream, and 1/4 cup light corn syrup in a medium bowl and microwave until melted and smooth, about 1 minute, stirring halfway through. I recommend melting chocolate at 50% power only. Cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. The fudge layer will be a delicious liquid, and hardens to the perfect consistency when frozen. Pour the cooled chocolate mixture over the crust and smooth into an even layer; freeze until firm (at least 15 minutes). Spread 1 cup marshmallow creme over the fudge in an even layer; again freeze until firm.
Now the fun part - spreading the ice cream. You need to soften the ice cream for a few minutes before you start to try to spread it. I had some help with this part.
When you do get the ice cream layer smooth, cover it with plastic wrap and freeze until very firm, at least 4 hours.
Adjust the oven rack to 6 inches from the broiler element and heat the
broiler. Place the cake on a baking sheet, take off the plastic wrap,
and arrange 22-26 large marshmallows, cut in half, on top of the cake.
Broil until the marshmallows are lightly browned, 30 to 60 seconds,
rotating the cake halfway through.
May I add that you should watch this
step very carefully. I have been known to light marshmallows on fire under the broiler, burning them completely to charcoal. (Fortunately you can cleanly peel the black mess off in the back yard and just start over - and yes, if you're wondering, I have done this. It wasn't with s'mores cake though, it was with sweet potatoes one Thanksgiving. Twice. With flames.)
Refreeze the cake if it's too soft, and it's ready to serve. The girls at our party enjoyed the s'mores cake very much! The little bit left didn't last long in the freezer either.
If you haven't tried making an ice cream cake, this is a really fun one to start with!