DIY Gift: Creamsicle Marshmallows with Spicy Hot Cocoa Mix

Spicy hot cocoa mix with creamsicle marshmallows #holidays #diygift #foodgifts

Marshmallows feel like such a wintery food for me.  I know that a lot of you might immediately think “s’mores” when you consider marshmallows, but I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan.  I’m not sure why…I love marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers individually, and I like s’mores flavored desserts, but the actual s’mores? Meh.

So for the most part, I make marshmallows exclusively in the winter. They were the first candy recipe I mastered, and I love playing with different flavor variations.

Creamsicle marshmallows #holidays #diygift #foodgifts

Heather and I were discussing what goes well with citrus the other night (we’re both on a quest to eat all the citrus this winter!) and the orange-chili combo came up.  It seemed like the perfect twist for my hot cocoa mix + homemade marshmallows gift.

Now, who wants to come over for a spicy hot cocoa with creamsicle marshmallows? I have plenty!

Creamsicle marshmallows #holidays #diygift #foodgifts… 

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Double Chocolate Cranberry Biscotti

Double Chocolate Cranberry Biscotti #cookies #holiday

I made biscotti! And not just any biscotti, but double chocolate & cranberry biscotti.  Because it is the holidays and all.

I originally crafted this recipe to use up the rest of a bag of fresh cranberries, but…no. Fresh cranberries don’t work here. But dried cranberries totally do!

I’ve been wanting to make biscotti for months, but had been putting it off because I assumed it was difficult or took forever (both false). Now I’m never turning back, and think I’ll be making biscotti on a regular basis. I can’t wait to try some new variations, like dark chocolate cherry biscotti, gingerbread biscotti, pumpkin biscotti, pistachio white chocolate biscotti…basically, I want to make (and eat!) all of the biscotti.  All of it!

I mean, they make for perfect afternoon tea dippers or morning coffee dunkers. They last for weeks, so there is no rush to eat them all before they get stale, and just one is plenty to satisfy a sweet tooth. Also, aren’t cookies more fun when there is dunking involved?


Double Chocolate Cranberry Biscotti #cookies #holiday

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2013

I developed this recipe as part of The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. I sent biscotti to Kimberly, Amanda and Alyson, and received three dozen unique and delicious cookies from Joan, Dianna and The Seaside Baker! As usual, it was a ton of fun to get connected to some new-to-me bloggers and send out some cookie love. Plus, it gave me an excuse to try a new biscotti recipe, which I had been meaning to do for ages!

Double Chocolate Cranberry Biscotti #cookies #holiday


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Pumpkin Butterscotch Pudding


So….I’ve developed a bit of a pudding problem.  And I blame it on this recipe, right here.

I first made this pumpkin butterscotch pudding about two weeks ago.  It was my first homemade pudding attempt, and the end result was gloppy and runny.  Not in a necessarily unappetizing way, but it was definitely more like melted ice cream than pudding.

After that first too-thin, un-set batch, I realized I had never actually eaten homemade pudding.  Maybe, I thought, this is the right consistency for homemade pudding, and it is supposed to be thinner than the store-bought kind.  I made a second batch of pudding a few days later, chocolate-flavored this time, using a recipe from The Joy of Cooking, just to get a feel for the method and appropriate consistency.

I made the pumpkin butterscotch pudding again, successfully this time, on Sunday for a dinner party.  And then I made it again this Tuesday.

All told, I’ve made pudding four times in the past two weeks.  And it is quickly becoming my favorite dessert, especially when layered with a little homemade whipped cream and cookie crumbles.  I’m already dreaming up other flavors, and ideas for pudding pie. If I’m not careful, I’m going to need a pudding intervention soon. Maybe the coming holiday baking rush will calm the pudding obsession?

Until then, send help. Or pudding.



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The State of the U-Pick 2013 (+ Recipe)

Strawberry-Canning.jpg STRAWBERRIES

I went strawberry picking a few times, gathering a total of 22.88 pounds. I had a canning party with two girlfriends, and froze the rest:

  • 3- 1/2 pint jars of strawberry butter
  • 4 pint  jars strawberry lemonade concentrate
  • 2 – 3/4 pint jars strawberry lemonade concentrate
  • 1- 1/2 pint jar strawberry chamomile syrup
  • 18 1/2 pints frozen
  • 2 quarts strawberry vodka


We harvested about 12 cups of black raspberries from the backyard, but none made it to the freezer– we ate them too fast!



The cherry crop at most of the local farms took a hit this summer, and most of them weren’t offering U-Pick. Grisamore’s was, though, but warned us the season would be short. So when we had an opportunity to U-Pick sweet cherries, we went all out and I came home with 14.4 pounds of what I believe are Bings and maybe Rainiers (?). This was just a few days before our long weekend in Ohio for the family reunion, so I had a few late nights of pitting and freezing cherries- there was no time for canning! I ended up with:

  • 4 1/2 pints frozen Bings
  • 1 1/2 pints of the maybe-Rainiers
  • 9- 2 cup bags of mixed cherries (and 1- 1/2 cup bag)
As for sour cherries, I picked 5.5 pounds, which I oven-dried and turned into maraschino cherries:


I had some extra that needed to be used, so we have 1 jar of scape pesto frozen for later.



This was another “we’ll only have these for a few days” U-Pick purchase, this time at Indian Creek. I expect we will eat most of these fresh or as a grilled cobbler (recipe below!), but I saved a bunch of the pits and have started making this liquour.


Since my own zucchini growing was a bust, I picked up a ton of squash at the market this weekend. I’m planning on grilling some tomorrow, letting it cool and then package it up for freezing!

Pickles.jpg … 

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Happy Birthday German Chocolate Cake

Tomorrow, I’ll turn 26. My twenty-fifth year was interesting one. While I was often sick, plagued by headaches and nausea, the year was still overall positive. We took some big trips: a 10-day jaunt to Oregon and Washington, a fun yet exhausting weekend in Massachusetts for the Healthy Living Summit. I made a short visit to Minnesota for a friend’s wedding. Two weeks ago, Dan, Max and I road tripped to Virginia.

Ruby Beach 7

In the summer, I spent my weekends cheering on Dan’s baseball team. After the first double header, a 90-degree day with no shelter from the sun that led to us all going home with heat exhaustion, I volunteered to keep score for the team. Thereafter, I basked in the shade provided by the dugout while keeping book and sipping on iced chai.


In the winter, we hosted our first big New Year’s Eve games party. I made homemade pasta, beef in Barolo and cookie dough egg rolls. And then I mixed countless drinks while we all played Thunderstone, Dixit, Cards Against Humanity and Power Grid. At midnight, we rattled our noisemakers and blew our horns, which Max promptly attempted to shred to bits.

In the spring, I started making some career decisions. I began a recipe development partnership with our favorite farmer, pursued freelance work and started on a cookbook proposal.

Max Before and After

Interspersed and scattered among all the big happenings of the year were a plethora of wonderful little things. Max was incredibly fluffy all winter long, until his spring haircut shrunk him to half his size. I started painting my nails to help my cuticles heal, and each season was marked by a new nail color (this spring is robin’s egg blue!).


I finally learned to make pasta, cranking out ribbons of fettucini, pockets of ravioli and sheets of lasagna. I started a book club and established weekly craft/girl’s nights with my friend Megan.

Dan and I played countless board games and started playing tennis again. I planted garlic in the Savvy Garden for the first time, and have been rewarded with 25 green garlic shoots already.

So tomorrow, I’ll be excited to embark on my twenty-sixth year. I can’t wait to see what’s in store.

German Chocolate Cake… 

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Chai Spice Butter Cookies

Sometimes, unexpected results in the kitchen end up creating the greatest foods.  An attempt at making chocolate cookies in the 1930s led to the first batch of chocolate chip cookies. A temperamental chef tries to get back at a picky customer and creates potato chips. A forgetful child accidentally makes the first Popsicle.

I tried to keep these things in mind as I tried to shape my chai-spiced spritz cookies. I don’t have a cookie press, but figured that a pastry tip fitted into a large plastic bag would do the trick. But the dough was far too thick, and the tip ripped through the bag before I could pipe any cookies.  Three bags later, I gave in to my frustration and decided to just roll the cookies into balls and cover them with cinnamon sugar.

I wasn’t ready to quit entirely, though.  I made another batch, cutting back on the flour, and rolled them out for cutting and baking.  I ended up with chai-spiced butter cookies cut to fit right on the edge of a mug. They’re not the spritz cookies I was going for, but they are pretty darn tasty regardless!

Chai Spice Butter Cookies

Yield: About 4 dozen cut-out cookies or 6 dozen drop cookies

Like biscotti, these cookies are best when paired with a hot beverage: coffee, cocoa or even tea. If you'd like, dip them in melted white chocolate and allow them to set for at least 30 minutes. The chocolate will melt into your hot drink as you dip the cookies for a little extra deliciousness.


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • For the drop cookies:
  • 1/4 cup ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar.


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a cookie sheet.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy and smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until blended.
  3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and spices in a large mixing bowl. Add the flour to the butter in three parts, beating well after each addition.
  4. For the cut-out cookies.
  5. Divide the dough in half. Dust a cutting board liberally with flour, and place half the dough on the board. Sprinkle with flour and roll out to 1/2" thick. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
  6. Cut the dough into shapes using your favorite cookie cutters. If you want these to fit on the edge of your mug, either use a cookie cutter especially designed for this purpose or cut a 1/2" wide slit into the edge of each cookie. Space the cookies 1" apart on the greased cookie sheet and bake at 350F for 12-14 minutes, or until the bottoms begin to turn golden. Allow to rest for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. If you'd like, dip the cooled cookies into melted white chocolate.
  7. For the drop cookies:
  8. Roll the dough into 1" balls. Whisk the 1/4 cup cinnamon and 1/2 cup sugar together, and roll each dough ball in the cinnamon-sugar. Space the cookies 2" apart on the greased baking sheet and bake at 350F for 13-15 minutes, or until the cookies begin to firm up. Allow to rest for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make Ahead and Storage

Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012 These cookies were made for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.  I hope Sara, Kara and Erin enjoyed their Chai Spice Butter Cookies.  Thank you to Natalie, Sarah and Ali for sending me some delicious treats!

DIY Gift: Hot Cocoa, Hot Chocolate, and Maple Marshmallows

Candy-making is a tricky thing to master.  Every time I attempt to make some sort of caramel or fruit jellies, something goes wrong: I stir when I’m not supposed to, or I get nervous that it is taking too long and decide my thermometer must be broken, so I pull it off the heat before I should. Note to self: all of the thermometers are not broken.  Except for the one where the digital screen is cracked and therefore illegible.  That one should be tossed.

Someday, I’ll master it: I’ll go in with a little more confidence and a little more preparation, and end up with perfect fudge. My first step towards that is mastering the art of making marshmallows.  They seem a little less finicky than most candy recipes, and I’ve successfully made three different marshmallow recipes… chai, plain and now maple.  Next step?  Mastering those fruit jellies I’ve been trying to make for months.  In the meantime, I’ll be gifting jars of hot cocoa mix, hot chocolate mix and homemade marshmallows for the holidays.

Whether they are a hot chocolate or hot cocoa person, your family and friends will certainly appreciate an instant mix they can use on the snowiest evenings or on Christmas morning, especially when it is paired with fluffy, homemade maple marshmallows . If you don’t know which they prefer, give them one of each and let them decide for themselves.

Hot Cocoa Mix

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Yield: About 5 1/2 cups (fills 5-6 half-pint jars)

Hot Cocoa Mix

Pour 1 cup of hot milk or water (hot milk will give you creamier and, in my opinion, tastier cocoa) over 2-3 tablespoons of cocoa mix. Whisk until all the powder is dissolved, and enjoy!


  • 2 cups nonfat instant dry milk
  • 2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch


  1. Pulse all ingredients together in a food processor and package into jars. If you don't have a food processor, you can also whisk it by hand, but be sure to break up any clumps that may form.

Hot Chocolate Mix

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: About 2 cups (fills 2-3 half-pint jars)

Hot Chocolate Mix

To prepare hot chocolate: Pour 1 cup of hot milk over 2-3 tablespoons of mix. Whisk until all the chocolate is melted. The milk will give you a creamier and, in my opinion, a tastier hot chocolate, but you could also use hot water as a substitute.


  • 8 ounce chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Whisk together all ingredients and package into jars or other food-safe containers.

Maple Marshmallows

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: About 36 regular marshmallows or 100 mini marshmallows

These marshmallows will add a sweet maple flavor to your hot cocoa and hot chocolate. Pack them into an airtight bag and pair with a jar of hot cocoa or hot chocolate mix for an easy holiday gift.


  • 1 cup cold water, divided
  • 3 1/4-ounce envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup Grade B maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch


  1. Line a 9"×9″ baking pan with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper.
  2. Whisk the powdered sugar and cornstarch together, and spread half over the parchment paper.
  3. Pour gelatin over 1/2 cup of cold water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Allow to rest, undisturbed, until the gelatin absorbs much of the water.
  4. In the meantime, combine the remaining 1/2 cup of water with the maple syrup, sugar, corn syrup and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium-low, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Allow the liquid to boil undisturbed (no stirring!) until a candy thermometer says it is 240F, about 7-10 minutes. Immediately remove the syrup from the heat.
  5. Turn the stand mixer on low and gradually pour the syrup into the gelatin. Increase the speed to high and beat until the marshmallow is thick, lukewarm and beginning to lose its shine. Add vanilla in the last minute.
  6. Pour the marshmallow into the lined baking pan and dust with the remaining powdered sugar and cornstarch. Allow to rest uncovered at room temperature for 3-4 hours, or until firm.
  7. Lift the parchment paper out of the pan and use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut the marshmallows into squares. Dip the sticky uncoated edges into powdered sugar as you cut.

Maple Syrup from Vermont sent me product and compensated me for this post, but all opinions within this post are my own.  I really do love maple syrup!

Bluephies: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Egg Rolls


The Taste of Madison was held the weekend before classes started my sophomore year of college. In a desire to escape the endless “welcome, freshmen” activities at the dorms, I rounded up my roommate Nicole, boyfriend Dan and classmate Cordelia. I preferred the idea of tasting dishes from restaurants around the city than watching all the “kids” pointing to their palm to show where in the slightly-hand-shaped state of Wisconsin they hailed from.

Capitol Square was closed off to traffic to make way for the event. Within minutes of our walk up State Street towards the tent-lined square, I had pulled my long hair into a ponytail in an attempt to stay cool. Under the tents, vendors were using chest freezers, coolers and an endless number of fans to protect their offerings from the hot early September sun. To maximize our tasting opportunities, Dan and I decided to share every small plate we ordered. What this really meant was that we now had twice as many decisions to make, something that neither of us excel at.

We walked around the square once, paralyzed by all the options to choose from. We stood between two tents: one for a popular off-campus Thai restaurant, the other for an on-campus Indian place, looking back and forth between the two menus, unable to decide. Finally, we ordered a creamy, coconut milk-filled yellow curry from the Thai stand. We skipped the Wisconsin favorite, cheese curds, opting instead to try foods from new-to-us restaurants. I nibbled on an Italian beef sandwich, which I didn’t love and passed on to Dan.

And then we saw it. A blue and white tent, just like all the others, except this one had a sign proclaiming: “Bluephies: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Egg Rolls.” This was one purchase that took very little contemplation.

We carried our little paper tray away from the tent, settling in cross-legged on the grass in front of the Capitol building. It looked like an egg roll that you’d get from any cheap Chinese delivery, but it smelled of butter and sugar and chocolate, with an undertone of frying oil.

I was granted the honor of the first bite. By which I mean I didn’t give Dan the chance to taste first. I bit in, shattering the crunchy fried egg roll wrapping. Warm, gooey cookie dough oozed out from the cracks in the shell and onto my hand. I passed the tray to Dan, licking the stray cookie dough from my fingers.

IMG 2562

After that first bite, Bluephies held a special place in our hearts. Parent visits always included a brunch at the funky modern restaurant.  Countless dinner dates found us seated in a cozy booth in front of plates of spinach enchiladas, crab cake salads, shrimp jambalaya quesadillas or baked macaroni and cheese. But while our dinner orders often varied, our dessert choice rarely did. Nearly every Bluephies dinner date ended with an order of chocolate chip cookie dough egg rolls. Two rolls drizzled with chocolate sauce were served a la mode in hopes that the sweet vanilla ice cream would help balance out the richness of the cookie dough. For the record, it worked.

One night when we were planning our wedding, Dan and I were more than a little overwhelmed with all there was to do. We had just come home from visiting a potential venue that we loved but weren’t sure we could afford. Being surrounded by the clutter of our text books and class notes wasn’t helping the situation, so we decided to get out of the apartment to talk over all the information. Off to Bluephies we went.

While Dan ate his enchilada combination platter and I slurped up my “ooey gooey pasta,” we flipped through the contracts, brochures and catering menus the museum had given us. When our table was cleared and the waitress asked if we were interested in dessert, we wasted no time in ordered the chocolate chip cookie dough egg rolls.

I cut off the first bite of an egg roll, dipped my fork into the ice cream and speared the crispy shell. As I savored that first bite of hot contrasted with cold and rich contrasted with sweet, I had a flash of inspiration. I turned to Dan and said, “You know how we aren’t huge fans of wedding cake? What if we had these instead?”

At first, not everyone was on board with our new wedding dessert plan. “But everyone will be expecting cake,” my mom protested. “Wouldn’t it be so much easier to get a cake?” a friend asked. We held firm. This was our wedding and we wanted it to represent us and our lives as much as possible. We were already having Cordelia perform the ceremony and Dan’s a cappella group was going to sing our song in place of a reading, so what was one more off-the-beaten path decision?


A few hours into our reception at that very same museum, the waitstaff packed up the made-to-order salmon and gnocchi stations. Fewer and fewer trays of hors d’oeuvres were making the rounds. Then and only then did the chef begin to fry cookie dough egg rolls. One at a time, the frozen egg rolls were dropped into the hot oil, emerging brown and crisp mere minutes later. Slowly, the pile on the dessert platters grew into mountains of wrapped, fried cookie dough.


We didn’t smash our “cake” into each other’s faces, as many couples do. The egg rolls, in all their dripping cookie dough glory, were messy enough already.

Bluephies' Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Egg Rolls

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 24 egg rolls (though I usually get closer to 12)

Bluephies' Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Egg Rolls

Reprinted with permission from Bluephies' New American Cooking. The Showstopper, Crowd Pleaser, World Famous, One and Only: Bluephies Original Cookie Dough Egg Roll. Taaaaa daaaaaaaaa!


  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/8 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 24 egg roll wrappers, thawed
  • 1/2 gallon of vegetable oil for frying


  1. Blend the butter and sugars in an upright mixer on low speed until it is light and fluffy. Add the water, vanilla, and salt; mix until well blended. Add the flour a little at a time. (If you add it all at once, you'll spend the next half-hour cleaning up the flour dust.) Blend the flour in completely. Finally, add the chocolate chips and just mix to combine.
  2. Put a small scoop of filling near one corner of an egg roll wrapper. Flatten the dough a bit and fold 1/3 of the wrap over it. Roll the egg roll toward the middle. Moisten with a bit of water and fold one side toward middle. Fold other side toward middle to make an envelope. Finish rolling. Moisten end-flap with a small amount of water, and seal egg roll.
  3. Be sure to freeze them before you fry them-- that way they'll hold together.
  4. Heat vegetable oil to 350 degrees in a stockpot or large saucepan. Drop the egg rolls in gently, and fry them in batches for about 2 minutes. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.

Make Ahead and Storage

Freeze unfried egg rolls in airtight containers for up to 3 months.

Maple Ice Cream Sandwiches

Maple Ice Cream Sandwiches

I find my recipe inspiration everywhere.  A magazine mentions a hard cider sangria, which I spin off into a fall fruit sangria.  A friend raves about the creamy tomato soup she made last weekend, inspiring me to turn my leftovers into a soup. We have vegetables sautéed in brown butter with pecans and Romano cheese at a restaurant,  and it inspires me to simmer some butternut squash in brown butter with oregano for Thanksgiving.  I realize that I have a gallon of cider in the refrigerator that needs to be used soon, so I make cider scones and slow cook some ham in the cider.

And sometimes the inspiration comes from somewhere unexpected. A shiny copper pot from the antique store drives me to make some caramel, for instance .  Or in this case, an ice cream cone shaped cookie cutter inspires me to make some maple ice cream sandwiches.

Maple Ice Cream Sandwiches2

There isn’t exactly a “recipe” for these sandwiches.  Just some maple nut ice cream, softened a little bit on the counter for better sandwich-ability, smushed between 2 maple sugar cookies.  Line a cookie sheet with wax paper, and lay the ice cream sandwiches on top to freeze until hard.  Enjoy and savor the fall flavors.

Neopolitan Ice Cream Cake

Neopolitan Cake title

I’ll admit it: I’m afraid of baking layer cakes.  My decorating skills are lacking, and though I am a trained scientist, in the science of layer cakes I seem doomed to uneven layers and fillings that weep and ooze.  I hate the feeling of failure, so I typically just avoid baking layer cakes at all costs.

But today is my 25th birthday, which my mother tells me is a Big Deal.  So I made a cake.  An ice cream cake.  A Neopolitan ice cream cake.

I hedged my bets by baking a three layer cake that is, in fact, only one layer of actual cake that is stacked with a layer of vanilla ice cream, then one of strawberry sorbet.  I’m confident in my abilities with frozen desserts, so 2 of the 3 layers were easy-peasy.  And thanks to a trick I figured out, I am now a 25-year-old with a stack of perfectly level cake layers.

To keep the cake layer level and even: when the baked  cake has completely cooled, remove it from the springform pan and place the cake on a rimmed baking sheet.  Rest a long bread or other serrated knife on the edge of the tray.  Slowly saw back and forth across the cake horizontally, keeping the knife level on the edge of the rim, until you’ve sliced all the way through.  Ta-da!  A cake layer of uniform thickness.  The engineer in me is proud.

Bonus: the layers are pretty enough that the cake needs no decoration, other than a few birthday candles.  For an ice cream cake, 25 candles seems risky, so I think I’ll stick with our family tradition of three.

Neopolitan Cake 3

Chocolate Cake

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 1- 9″ round cake

Slightly adapted from the Flour cookbook


  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 packed cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup low-fat milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9" springform pan.
  2. Whisk the cocoa powder and chocolate in a small heat-proof bowl. Pour the boiling water over the chocolate and stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Refrigerate.
  3. Whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Add the butter and blend with a hand or stand mixer until well-mixed.
  4. Add the eggs and milk and beat until fluffy and light. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything gets mixed well.
  5. While still beating the batter, slowly add the chocolate. Scrape the sides of the bowl once more and beat for another minute or so.
  6. Pour into the prepared springform pan and bake at 350F for 75-90 minutes. If when you poke the center of the cake, it springs back, the cake is done. Allow to cool completely before slicing into an even 1/2" layer.

Make Ahead and Storage

The cake can be prepared a day in advance. Leave the cake in the pan and cover with plastic wrap until the next day.

Vanilla Ice Cream

Prep Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 1 quart

Slightly adapted from Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones


  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or seeds from 2 vanilla beans (optional)


  1. Whisk together the yolks and 1/4 cup sugar.
  2. Stir the cream, milk, salt and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar together in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high. Bring to a simmer. When bubbles start to form on the edges, reduce the heat to medium.
  3. Whisking the yolks continuously, slowly add 1/2 cup of the hot cream to the egg yolks. Repeat with another 1/2 cup of cream. This will keep the eggs from scrambling and over-cooking.
  4. Stir the cream as you slowly add the eggs to the saucepan.
  5. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium until the cream thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 5-8 minutes.
  6. Immediately move the hot cream to the ice bath to cool. Using a clean spatula, stir constantly until cool to the touch. Refrigerate for 2 hours, until completely cooled.
  7. Pour the cooled cream into your ice cream maker, and process according to the manufacturer's instructions. Slowly add the vanilla as the machine runs.
Neopolitan Cake 2



Strawberry Sorbet

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 1 quart


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 cups frozen strawberries, defrosted and with their juices


  1. Heat the water and sugar over medium, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Refrigerate the simple syrup until cool to the touch.
  2. Puree the strawberries and measure out 2 cups of puree. Stir in 3/4 cup of the simple syrup, adding more to taste. It should be slightly sweeter than you want the final sorbet to be.
  3. Process the sorbet in the ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.

Neopolitan Ice Cream Cake

Prep Time: 12 hours

Yield: 1- 9″ round cake

Neopolitan Ice Cream Cake


  • 1 - 9" round chocolate cake, cut into an even 1/2" thick layer
  • 1 batch vanilla ice cream, before processing in the ice cream maker
  • 1 batch strawberry sorbet, before processing in the ice cream maker


  1. After you've cut the cake into a level 1/2"-thick layer, return it to the springform pan.
  2. Process the vanilla ice cream according to the ice cream maker's instructions. Spread the ice cream over the cake in the springform pan. Use a rubber spatula to smooth the layer as much as possible. Freeze at least four hours or overnight.
  3. Process the strawberry sorbet according to the ice cream maker's instructions. Spread the sorbet over the top of the vanilla ice cream and freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  4. If you won't be eating the cake that day, cover the springform pan with plastic wrap.
  5. Set the cake on the counter for 20-30 minutes to soften before serving. Remove the ring of the pan from around the cake and dip a sharp knife in warm water to help you slice the cake. Dip in warm water between every cut to keep the layers clean and smooth.