Solstice Ice Cream Cake

Rob and I like to celebrate the change of the seasons and the winter solstice is one of my favorites.  It is a quiet time built for reflection, a moment to pause before the chaos of the rest of the holiday season. photo 1This year we are gathering with friends on this long winter’s night for a good meal and I am in charge of dessert. My friend Erin adores pumpkin (and served up some amazing pumpkin enchiladas) and that got me thinking about an ice cream cake suggestion I saw, a gingerbread crust with pumpkin pie ice cream.  What a perfect kiss goodbye to autumn and gentle hug of welcome to winter.  Flagstaff also obliged with a snowfall for ambiance.  Erin is gluten-free, and if high altitude baking scares me, well gluten-free high altitude baking leaves me paralyzed in terror!  Luckily Erin is genius at such things and steered me over to a recipe at the Gluten Free Goddess that I modified just a bit as for once chocolate was not part of my plan! I topped it all off with some spiced nuts, caramel sauce, and a failed meringue that turned out to be just what the cake needed.  Happy Winter! 🙂

Gingerbread Cake

  • 1 8 inch cake pan
  • 1 1/4 cups sorghum flour
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarchphoto 2
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 heaping teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 4 tablespoons nondairy milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 350, rack in the middle
  2. Prep cake pan – cut out a circle of parchment to line the bottom and 2 strips of parchment to line the sides
  3. Grease the pan, press in parchment and lightly grease again
  4. Whisk together all the dry ingredients in a bowl ( the base of a standing mixer if you are using)
  5. Add remaining wet ingredients and beat well to combine
  6. Scrape batter into prepared cake pan
  7. Bake for 55-65 minutes until toothpick comes out clean
  8. Cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes
  9. Gently invert pan onto plate
  10. Remove parchment pieces then place back onto rack to cool completely

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream (adapted from Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones)

  • 12 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 cups heavy creamphoto 1
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  1. Whisk together egg yolks in a heatproof bowl to break them up
  2. Add spices and half the brown sugar and whisk to combine
  3. In a saucepan combine the cream, milk, salt and remaining sugar
  4. Put pan on medium-high heat until edges begin to bubble
  5. Turn heat down to medium and ladle 1/2 cup hot liquid into eggs, whisk to combine and repeat 3 more times
  6. Slowly pour egg mixture back into cream, cook until thickened, the cream coats a spatula, and you can run your finger down the spatula and leave a clear path
  7. Pour base through a fine mesh sieve and place in a water bath
  8. When cool cover and refrigerate for a few hours
  9. Before churning whisk in the last three ingredients:  pumpkin puree, vanilla, & maple syrup
  10. Pour into ice cream maker and freeze according to machine directions

Spiced Pecans

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamonphoto 1
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 scant teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • a small pinch of cloves
  • 1 cup pecan pieces
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Mix all of the ingredients except the pecans in a small bowl, add the pecan pieces and stir to coat
  3. Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat in a single layer and bake for 12-15 minutes, stirring halfway
  4. Cool on sheet, stirring occasionally

Caramel Sauce

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  1. photo 3Put about 2 tablespoons of sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat
  2. When sugar starts to melt around the edges and turns amber stir and add the same amount of sugar
  3. Repeat this process stirring frequently
  4. When all the sugar is melted and is a dark caramel color, remove pan from heat and slowly pour in cream
  5. When bubbling dies down stir gently until combined
  6. Stir in salt  and let cool
  7. When mixture is just warm transfer into a container and refrigerate
  8. Reheat before using

The meringue was a fail this time, that’s how it goes sometimes.  It was sugary and reminiscent of marshmallow fluff so it topped the cake anyway.  What’s not to love?

Assembling the Cake

Use a cake pan or a springform, at least 3 inches tall.

Step 1:  Line the pan with parchment, a circle for the bottom and two overlapping strips ( 3×14) for the edges

Step 2:  Cut cake to ensure it has a flat top and is about 1 inch in height

Step 3:  Take freshly churned ice cream and spread it evenly over the cake, smooth out the top photo 2

Step 4:  Top with nuts and drizzles of caramel – go wild!

Step 5:  Optional:  Add meringue, then another layer of nuts and caramel

Step 6:  Freeze at least overnight

Step 7:  At least 1 hour before serving:  invert cake on a plate or disk the same size or smaller than cake(If using a springform tightly seal the bottom with foil to prevent water leaking in)

photo 2Step 8: Run warm water over pan to loosen cake

Step 9:  Unmold cake, remove parchment, place serving plate on top of cake layer flip cake right side up

Step 10:  Return to freezer until ready to eat (take cake out about 5 minutes before serving)

We all served up a double slice 🙂

photo 1


2 Comments Add yours

    1. clbauer says:

      Thanks! I think it will become a new holiday tradition 🙂

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