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Cool Cakes

 Chill out about dessert this summer

As the Central Oregon summer reaches its peak, the weather hits a sweet spot for barbecuing and socializing in the sun. To balance out the warm weather and sizzling steaks, there is nothing better than a cool dessert like an ice cream cake. Making one yourself for your next family celebration can be challenging and rewarding. Alena Wrought, a five-year veteran at Baskin Robbins in Bend, offers advice on keeping these cakes looking and tasting cool.

The most important thing to remember when building an ice cream cake is to keep everything chilled throughout the process. Baskin Robbins keeps the cake they use as the base in a walk-in freezer at -15 degrees Fahrenheit. “It comes in a full sheet and we cut it to whatever size we’re going to use. It is a delicious sponge cake–very tempting not to dig in there myself,” says Wrought with a laugh. If you’re going to bake your own cake, make sure you get it really cold in your freezer before tackling the ice cream layer.

For both cake and ice cream flavors, the choice is yours and your imagination the limit. “We always do mint chocolate chip with chocolate because that’s the most popular. But, for me personally, my favorites are chocolate fudge with chocolate and our Oreo cake,” says Wrought.

While your cake is cooling off in the freezer, prep the ice cream by molding it in a cake pan lined with wax paper, and refreezing it to your desired shape. Once cake and ice cream are fully chilled, place the ice cream on top of the cake and “trim all the excess ice cream off,” says Wrought, until the cake is shaped and level. Using your cake foundation as a template ensures a perfect fit, which keeps the cake from becoming structurally unsound. After that, Wrought does a crumb coat and sticks the cake back in the freezer.

“We freeze it up and then our next step is frosting,” she says. Baskin Robbins offers two varieties: ice cream and Pastry Pride. “Pastry Pride is kind of like a whipped cream. I really like it. It’s a lot more forgiving than melting ice cream, which gives you a time limit.” Using whipped cream or cool whip frosting is definitely the best method for homemade ice cream cakes. After coating your cake, it’s time for another chill session. How long it sets depends on your freezer. “If you were doing it at home, in a regular freezer, it would have to sit much longer than in our walk-in,” says Wrought. “Instead of ten minutes, it would have to sit there for more like two hours.”

Finally, you are ready to decorate. This phase is all about customization. Wrought recalls once creating a “splatter paint cake” to give a fireworks effect for one customer’s Fourth of July order. “I melted vanilla ice cream, stirred in some food coloring, dipped in a paint brush and splattered the cake. It made a mess on the walls, but it turned out rad-looking.” If you need something beyond your skill-level, Wrought is eager to help. “I get excited when customers come in wanting stuff that’s not out of our cake book. I love when they want me to try something out of the norm.” Wrought has gotten some interesting requests over the years. Her favorite was a “world map” cake, which challenged her, but turned out spectacular in the end.

For storage Wrought recommends using a special cake box, such as the ones that Baskin Robbins uses. “Our cakes are good outside of a box for about a week, but when your put them into the cake box then they’re good up to three weeks.” Follow these tips and have some fun! Impress your friends with a delicious homemade ice cream cake.

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