An Ice Cream Cake that Isn’t An Ice Cream Cake

Thing One seems to have a knack for requesting birthday cakes that look like things, but aren’t things. Twice she’s requested “donut cakes,” including specific instructions last year that it should look like a donut, but not actually BE a donut. That’s why it didn’t come as a huge surprise this year when she requested an “ice cream cake that wasn’t really ice cream.”

There was a lot of potential for this. I could have gone crazy three dimensional and tried to make an ice cream cone. (Too much work!) I could have gone old school and made cupcakes in cake cones with frosting on top (too boring) or I could get creative. Per usual when the need to be creative arises these days I turned to Pinterest.

I curate a pinboard tiled “Birthday and Event Cake Ideas” where I collect interesting ideas, tips and tutorials throughout the year. This tends to work pretty well as I can often narrow it down to a few cakes or cupcakes I’m willing to make and just give the kids a choice. (This come in especially handy for cupakes…)

I’d run across a couple of cake ideas so far this year that were pretty simple in execution, but super cute. I was fully prepared to offer her any of these:

An adorable sprinkle stencil cake I saw on Flickr.

A number 8 version of this adorable M&M cake from Enchanted Mommy:

I was even willing to be brave and try this fairly labor intensive rainbow cake from Crafty Momma.

But what actually caught her eye as we were scrolling through Pinterest was this melting ice cream cone cake from One Charming Party.

Unfortunately, this was a cake made of actual ice cream…and Thing One simply does not like ice cream enough to be willing to have (or eat an ice cream cake.) I thought about trying to make it a regular cake with just the ice cream on top at the last minute, but couldn’t see any way for that not to end badly.

So I kept hunting. Finally, I came across a cake that used cake style cones cut in half and attached to the side of a frosted quadruple layer cake on a blog written in a language I can’t identify.

This recipe required baking cupakes in the cake cones, then cutting them in half and “gluing” the cupcakes to the side of a four layer cake. It also involved both chocolate and lemon frosting, plus a fruit flavored cake filling, which to be honest, didn’t sound even remotely tasty to me.

So I changed it up a bit to make it faster, easier and more to our tastebuds.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take any assembly pictures while putting this cake together. On the plus side, it was probably the simplest cake I’ve ever made for any of the kid’s birthdays. It really didn’t take any longer than a plain old layer cake would have.

I used a 10″ springform pan to bake 70% of the batter from a double fudge cake and then did the same thing with a yellow cake. (I used the other 30% in a 6″ cake pan to make two layers to pop in the freezer. I’ll pull these out to make a mini-cake for her slumber party on Sunday.)

While they baked, I whipped up a recipe of my favorite buttercream frosting. As the cakes cooled, I used a serated bread knife to cut cake cones in half. (Note, you MUST use cake cones, waffle cones and sugar cones will simply shatter.) The key to cutting the cake cones seemed to be to simply accept that you wouldn’t be able to use both sides and to cut about 1/8th of an inch off center. This gave me a really nice, usable cone half. (I simply tossed the other halves.)

Once the cakes were cooled, I used a long knife to level the chocolate cake layer, saving what I cut off the top and setting it aside. Then I applied a crumb coat, my middle layer, stacked the cakes and frosted it in plain white buttercream.

From there, I simply pressed the cones into the frosting. They stuck perfectly.

Once they were all secured, I crumbled up the cake I’d removed from the chocolate layer and carefully push it down into each cone. (I mostly did this to keep it from going to waste and to keep the cones from having too much frosting in them.)

Then I divided up my remaining frosting and used food coloring to dye it purple and green. I used a Wilton Star 21 frosting tip to pipe the “soft serve” frosting into the cones, alternating colors as I went around the cake. Then I took one last cone and pressed it onto the top, slightly below the center so that when I added the frosting, it would all even out.

Once I was done, the cake still looked a little plain…so I used the same tip and the frosting still in the bags to pipe a small star border in alternating colors around the bottom and top of the cake.

That seemed to brighten it up significantly.

Overall, the cake only took me about 20 minutes to frost and decorate once I got the layers baked and the frosting made. That’s pretty darn good compared to the hours I spent on Thing Two’s campfire cake a few months back.

And how did Thing One feel about it?

She adored it. As demonstrated by the fact that she dragged every last person who came through the door over to see it.

Mission accomplished.