We welcomed summer this year with a crafty birthday party for our 7-year-old in our back yard, topped off with a delectable homemade ice cream cake — gluten free, of course.
At the party, the kids enjoyed making bottlecap magnets, sock puppets and pet rocks. They also enjoyed eating the ice cream cake, a gluten-free adaptation of my mom’s recipe. With a crushed cookie crust, Heath bars, ice cream and chocolate sauce, it’s a dessert that’s easy to make and even easier to devour.
My mom makes the cake with a combo of chocolate and coffee ice cream, but for the kids I went with chocolate and chocolate chip. Feel free to use your favorite flavors. I buy Breyers ice cream, as the company says it labels if gluten is present. For the cookie base, I use Mi-Del’s Gluten-Free Arrowroot Cookies, which are staples in our house. (Mom uses Nilla wafers, but those are NOT gluten-free.) Please be aware that Heath bars contain almonds, so if a guest has a nut allergy, skip the Heath bars and simply use a cookie base.
The cake can easily be made a week ahead of time (and definitely needs to be made at least one day ahead of time), saving you pre-party prep. Decorations can be kept simple, with some candles on a stick and themed cake toppers.
Gluten-Free Ice Cream Cake
2 (1.5-quart) containers of ice cream (preferably two different flavors)
16 ounces (about 4 cups) gluten-free animal cookies
1 (12-ounce) jar chocolate fudge sauce
6 (1.4 ounce) Heath toffee bars
1. Take ice cream containers out of the freezer and place on the counter to soften for about 10 minutes.
2. In a food processor, chop animal cookies until crumbs are about pea-sized; transfer to a large bowl. Using a large chef’s knife, cut Heath bars into small dice. Add Heath bars to animal cookies and toss to combine.
3. Place one-third of the animal cookie-Heath bar mixture into the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan with removable sides. Drizzle 4 to 5 tablespoons of chocolate fudge sauce over the cookie mixture.
4. Spoon one softened container of ice cream into springform pan. Smush ice cream with a spoon to form an even layer.
5. Evenly spread another third of cookie-Heath bar mixture on top of the ice cream. Drizzle another 4 to 5 tablespoons of chocolate fudge sauce over the cookie mixture.
6. Spoon second softened container of ice cream into the pan, and smush it to form an even layer. Place last third of cookie-Heath bar mixture on top of ice cream. Do not drizzle with chocolate sauce yet — wait until just prior to serving.
7. Place waxed paper on top of ice cream cake, wrap pan well in tin foil, put it into a plastic bag and place in the freezer. Freeze for at least 24 hours.
8. Ten minutes prior to serving time, remove the ice cream cake from the freezer. Let it sit on a countertop for 10 minutes to soften slightly. Remove the sides of the springform pan and place the cake (still on the springform base) onto a serving plate. (I put a damp, folded paper towel between the serving plate and the pan base to keep the base from slipping around.) With a fork, drizzle chocolate fudge sauce over the top and sides of the ice cream cake. Cut into slices and serve.
Yield: About 16 servings