Growing up, my mom would make me ice cream cakes for my birthday sometimes, and I wanted to try recreating that in a vegan version. I often make my own vegan ice cream and I have a really yummy chocolate cake recipe, but I wanted to try making a yellow cake. I’m so partial to chocolate cake, that I had actually never made a vegan yellow cake. I started hunting around for recipes and one in particular popped up in a few different places. I’m not exactly sure where it originated, but I followed the recipe from the blog The Ramblings and Recipes of a Vegan Goddess. It baked perfectly, rising up nicely, but not too high so it was still easily stack-able. This will definitely become my go-to recipe when I want to make a yellow cake.
I also followed the butter-cream icing recipe from that blog post. I added in some lemon extract and it tasted good and did the job, but it came out more like a thick glaze or thin icing than I was expecting. I probably need to adjust the ratio of powdered sugar to vegan butter next time, or I’ll use the chocolate peanut butter frosting that I make for the Moosewood Chocolate Cake. If you have a good vegan icing recipe that you like, feel free to post it in the comments. I haven’t found a basic vanilla one that I love yet.
For the ice cream filling, I made a basic vegan ice cream base and added in fresh strawberries and chocolate. The fresh strawberries made the texture of the ice cream a little too icy, but fresh fruit tends to do that. It was still yummy though! I would recommend using my Mint Chocolate Chip, Coffee Chocolate Chip, or Almond Pistachio recipes, or invent your own flavor! You could also use a store bought vegan ice cream.
Ingredients for Ice Cream Layer:
2 cups soy creamer
1 cup soy milk divided
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
3/4 cup of sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla
Any extracts or add-ins you choose
Directions for Ice Cream Layer:
- Note that the ice cream needs to be made the day before so it can be frozen into the same shape as the cakes over night.
- Mix 1/4 cup of soy milk with 2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder and set aside.
- Heat up the remaining soy milk, soy creamer, and sugar over medium heat until boiling.
- Remove from heat and add the vanilla and any other extracts you choose. Then add the soy milk and arrowroot powder mixture. The liquid will thicken because of the arrowroot powder.
- Put the mixture in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours to fully cool. Freeze according to your ice cream maker directions. The bowl for the ice cream maker usually has to freeze over night before churning.
- In the last few minutes of churning, add anything else you choose to create the flavor you want – for example chocolate chips, cookie dough, nuts, candy, etc. Line an 8 or 9 inch cake pan with parchment paper, and pour the mixture into the pan. Place it into the fridge overnight to firm up.
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups cold water
1 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp vanilla extract
4 Tbsp lemon juice
- This recipe makes two 8 or 9 inch cakes for layering. Preheat oven to 375°. Line the bottom of two 8 inch or 9 inch cake pans with parchment paper. Lightly oil or grease the top of the parchment paper and sides of the pans.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, combine the water, oil, and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
- Once the batter is mixed, add the freshly squeezed lemon juice. The lemon juice won’t make the cake taste lemony. The acidity of the lemon juice interacts with the baking soda to help the cake rise. Give the batter a quick stir to combine the lemon juice and then immediately pour the batter evenly into the two pans.
- Bake the cakes for 25-30 minutes. They are done when a toothpick or skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes. Then, gently turn the pans over, supporting the cake with your hand, until the cake comes loose from the bottom of the pan. Flip it over onto the surface you want to ice the cake on. Gently remove the other cake from the pan and place it onto a plate or cooling rack with the bottom facing up. This will make it easier to layer the cakes once they’re cool.
- Allow the cakes to fully cool. You can put them in the fridge to speed up the process. You don’t want them to be warm since you will be layering ice cream in the middle and it will melt.
Assembling the Ice Cream Cake:
- While your cake layers are cooling, make your icing. Choose your own favorite icing recipe, try The Vegan Goddess’ recipe, or if you want a chocolate frosting try the Moosewood recipe.
- Once the layers are completely cool, you are ready to start assembling. Your first cake layer should be on the tray or surface that you want to use to ice and serve the cake. If the cake top is very rounded and puffy, you might want to slice the top off to make it flat. When I made this recipe, however, this wasn’t necessary. Pop the ice cream layer out of the cake pan, using the parchment paper to help you pry it out if needed. Place the ice cream layer centered on top of the bottom cake layer. Place the top cake layer on top of the ice cream layer.
- Ice the top and sides of the cake. You can decorate the top however you like. I decided to keep it simple, and I dusted some cocoa powder over the top and placed a strawberry in the middle. Keep the cake in the freezer until you’re ready to serve it. If it melts, the ice cream and frosting will run down the sides, so you don’t want to leave it out too long.
It’s taken a while to get here, but this is my 100th post on The Vegan Kat! Thanks to everyone who reads my posts, and I hope you’ve enjoyed some of the recipes along the way! If you’ve been reading this blog for a while now, you’ll know that I enjoy playing with new flavors of ice cream, and have posted some of my favorite flavor combos in the past including Almond Pistachio, Coffee Chocolate Chip, Mint Chocolate Chip, and Mango Banana and Watermelon Strawberry Lime Sorbets. I recently tried out a new and more unusual flavor combo to add to this list: Cardamom Meyer Lemon.
I bought a bag of Meyer Lemons at Whole Foods without having a clear plan of what to do with them. I just really like Meyer Lemons, so I knew I’d come up with something. After searching around, I saw a recipe on the blog Fahrenbite for Cardamom Meyer Lemon Crepes, which look amazing. I haven’t made crepes before, and I don’t think I have a pan that would work to try making them. I decided to use the flavor combo in ice cream instead. It turned out really well, and it’s certainly a unique flavor! This isn’t necessarily the kind of ice cream you’d want to eat a whole bowl of because it’s a strong flavor. It’s really yummy in small amounts, and I bet it would be delicious on top of apple pie instead of vanilla ice cream. You could also try adding in toasted pecans, which I think would compliment this very well.
If you don’t already have cardamom on hand, you should get green cardamom that is still in the pod, not pre-ground cardamom. It can be a bit pricey, but I bought a decent sized bag of cardamom at an Indian grocery store near me for about $3.00. If there’s an Indian grocery store near you, I would check there, because you might get a good deal. Or if you’re near a Whole Foods, check their bulk spices. They’ve usually got some pretty good deals and you can buy exactly how much you need. You can also probably find arrowroot powder in the bulk section at Whole Foods.
1 scant tsp ground cardamom (start with green cardamom in pods and grind it yourself)
1 Meyer Lemon
1 cup soy milk (divided)
2 cups soy creamer
2 Tbs arrowroot powder
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
- The bowl of your ice cream maker needs to be frozen at least overnight before making this recipe, unless you’ve got a kind that doesn’t require pre-freezing.
- Crack open the cardamom pods, keeping the seeds and discarding the shells. You only need 1 tsp of ground cardamom. Once you have enough seeds, grind them in a spice grinder (or coffee grinder designated for spices), or using a mortar and pestle. Freshly ground cardamom is much stronger than already ground cardamom. I wouldn’t use more than 1 tsp of cardamom, and you should adjust the amount according to your taste.
- Zest the Meyer Lemon and squeeze the juice out of it. Keep these aside for later.
- In a small bowl, mix the arrowroot powder and 1/4 cup of the soymilk. Whisk until well combined and set aside.
- In a pot, mix the remaining 3/4 cup of soy milk, soy creamer, and sugar. Heat on medium until the mixture slowly comes to a boil. Stir in the arrowroot and soy milk mixture, and it will cause the liquid to thicken. Add the ground cardamom, the lemon zest, and the lemon juice. Stir until well combined.
- Refrigerate the mixture for 2-3 hours until it’s cool.
- Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the maker’s directions. Usually it has to churn about 1/2 an hour. It will still be a little soft, but ready to eat, or you can firm it up in the freezer before serving.
A little while back I had a nice (and very vegan) day in NYC, and I wanted to share a few of the places I visited. They’re all in the same neighborhood and would make a nice day out if you find yourself in NYC needing something to do. I often plan outings based on where there are vegan restaurants I want to try. This particular day started with a stop for bagels with tofu cream cheese at Russ & Daughters, which I’ve mentioned in previous posts. This is a tiny little shop with a lot of character. It was packed when we went in, so I thought it would take a while for us to get our bagels. They were so quick we were in and out in only a couple minutes. The bagels were really yummy too! Definitely a good way to start the day.
We then went to the Tenement Museum, not vegan, but very interesting! They have tenements that are still set up how they were in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s when there was a big influx of immigrants to NYC. They have various tours, and the one we went on focused on the start of the textile industry in the area. I would definitely recommend a visit to this museum if you’re interested in the history of NYC or American immigrants. After the museum, we made a stop at Moo Shoes, which is a vegan shoe store right down the street from the museum. I didn’t end up buying any shoes, but it was nice to be able to browse and not have to worry about avoiding leather and suede.
After checking out a few more shops in the area we were hungry again, so we headed over to Caravan of Dreams, which was only a few blocks away. This place has a low key, relaxed atmosphere and the food was really tasty. We tried the Seitan Taquitos and the Applewood Smoked Tofu Sandwich. Both were really yummy and I would get them again. They have a lot of raw options on their menu as well. I definitely want to go back sometime! Unfortunately I only had my phone for pictures, so sorry about the low quality. After dinner, we went to Lula’s Sweet Apothecary, a tiny little vegan ice cream shop. They have vegan ice cream cones, sundaes, rootbear floats, shakes, etc. Our ice cream looked so good, we didn’t even stop to take pictures! It was the perfect way to end a day out in New York.