Blackberry Swirl Ice Cream

Last week my friend Krystal mentioned that she was going to make ice cream on her day off. You should check out her blog The Dessert Shop if you have some time. I thought ice cream sounded like a great idea considering it is supposed to get in the hundreds this weekend, Yikes! And it’s a good reason to finally use my The Perfect Scoop cook book by David Lebovitz.

So after flipping through the book and a trip to the farmers market I decided on Blackberry swirl ice cream. I really like this recipe because the blackberries are crushed and rustically swirled into the vanilla ice cream creating a refreshingly bright tasting ice cream. It’s like topping vanilla ice cream with fresh crushed berries.

Blackberry Swirl Ice Cream

Makes about 1 1/2 quarts

Ice Cream

1 cup whole milk

2/3 sugar

pinch of salt

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

5 large egg yolks

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Blackberry swirl

1 1/2 cups blackberries, fresh or frozen

3 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp *Vodka

1 tsp Lemon juice

Directions

  1. To make the ice cream, warm the milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan.
  2. Pour the cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer over the top.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
  4. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Add the vanilla and over and ice bath stir until cool. Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator.
  5. An hour or so before churning the ice cream, make the blackberry swirl by mashing the blackberries together with the sugar, vodka, and lemon juice with a fork (if using frozen blackberries, let them thaw a bit first) until they are juicy but with nice-sized chunks of blackberries remaining. Chill until ready to use.
  6. Freeze the ice cream custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. As you remove it from the machine, layer it in the container with spoonfuls of the chilled blackberry swirl mixture.

Variation

Raspberry-Remove the lemon juice from the swirl ingredients.

Tips and Tricks

  1. The vodka is to prevent the swirl from freezing solid. Just like when you put vodka or other hard alcohols in the freezer, adding vodka to the swirl will improve the mouth feel and make it easier to scoop.
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Chocolate Cake with Caramel buttercream

I really love the combo of chocolate and caramel, especially these recipes.

I took the cake out of my apartment to take pictures of it and was immediately mobbed by every kid within eyesight. Of course they all begged me for a piece. And I gave in, I mean who can resist a bunch of kids who ❤ cake.

They loved it!!!

I think I made some new friends!

And they have signed me up to make all of their birthday cakes, whether I or their parents want me too. Now whenever I see them they tell me what kind of cake they want for their birthday, and guess what, it’s different every time.

I used Hershey’s chocolate cake recipe but I changed a couple of things: I used buttermilk instead of milk and I used coffee instead of boiling water.

If you are going to use milk instead of buttermilk I would recommend using whole milk not 2%. I like using coffee instead of boiling water because coffee enhances the chocolate flavor of the cake without making it taste like a mocha. It really makes a big difference.

Hershey’s Chocolate Cake recipe

Makes 1 8 in cake

Ingredients

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup hot coffee

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. Set aside.
  2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; With a mixer, beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Carefully, stir in boiling water. The batter will be very thin. Pour batter into prepared cake pans.
  3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

Swiss Caramel Buttercream

Makes enough to frost and decorate 1 8 in cake.
Make the caramel sauce at least 1 hr before adding  the buttercream.

Ingredients

5 large egg whites
pinch salt
1 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
1 pound (4 sticks) room temp unsalted butter, cut into tbsp
 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon juice (makes caramel brighter)
1/4 salt
*caramel sauce recipe

Directions

  1. Place sugar and egg whites in the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer. Set bowl over a pan of gently simmering water (water should be able to touch the bottom of the bowl), and whisk until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. Test by rubbing the mixture between your fingers; it should feel completely smooth. (kind of like snot, gross I know but still)
  2. Transfer bowl to mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until mixture has cooled completely and formed stiff and glossy peaks, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated after each addition. Don’t worry if the buttercream appears curdled after all the butter has been added; it will become smooth again with continued beating. Add vanilla, and beat just until combined. Mix in caramel sauce.
  4. Switch to the paddle attachment, and beat on the lowest speed to eliminate any air pockets, about 5 minutes. If using buttercream within several hours, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature in a cool environment. Or transfer to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator, up to 3 days. Before using, bring buttercream to room temperature, and beat on the lowest speed with the paddle attachment until smooth, about 5 minutes.

If you are like me and never remember to set out your buttercream a head of time, you can soften a portion (less than a third) in the microwave and add it back in as you re-whip the buttercream. Re-whip using the whisk attachment not the paddle attachment.

I know there is a lot to this caramel recipe but I tried to make it as idiot proof as possible. In theory anyone should be able to make it and not crystallize or burn it. Oh and keep in mind the temp range I listed is just the level of darkness that I like. Caramel temps range from 320- 350 degrees.

Caramel Sauce

For my caramel buttercream I used 1 1/2 times this recipe. But add as much or as little caramel as you’d like.

You can dbl this recipe

Ingredients

1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup (dark or light)
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream, heated until warm
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt

*1/8 tsp lemon juice (optional)

*1 tsp vanilla (optional)

Directions

  1.  In a *clean heavy saucepan (at least 5 cup capacity), stir together the sugar, syrup, lemon juice, and water until the sugar is completely moistened. It should look like wet sand. If you got any sugar on the sides of the pan while stirring either use your fingers or a very clean pastry brush dipped in hot water to “wash” down the sides. You don’t want any sugar on the sides. Warm your cream and have an oven mitt near by because you wont have time to do it once your caramel gets close to temp/the darkness you like.
  2. At this point you can do one of two things: You can put your candy thermometer into the pot and cook on medium heat, *stirring or swirling the pot occasionally until the sugar dissolves and is completely clear. Or you can put a *lid on your sugar mixture and cook on medium heat until the sugar mixture is dissolved and completely clear. Stir or swirl occasionally. Once clear put in your candy thermometer.
  3. Once sugar mixture is clear, allow it to boil undisturbed until it starts to darken, *swirl the pot every once in a while. The caramel will be done at about 340-342 degrees fahrenheit (I find it easier to watch the caramel temp in celsius; so it should be 172-174 degrees celsius). It may take a while at first but trust me, the last 10 degrees happens fast! Immediately remove it from the heat and slowly and carefully whisk in the warm cream into the caramel. It will bubble up furiously. This is where I use the oven mitt. I have gotten many a steam burn from making caramel.
  4. Lightly whisk the mixture until smooth. If any lumps develop, return the pan to the heat and stir until they dissolve. Stir in the butter, salt and vanilla.
  5. Allow caramel to cool completely before adding to buttercream. It should also be *stirred or emersion blended before adding.

Tips and tricks

  1. When I say clean I mean really clean. You don’t want anything that could come loose and cause crystallization. In fact everything you are putting in the caramel should be very clean. Caramel doesn’t start to darken or turn into caramel until all of the liquid has evaporated out of the sugar mixture. So technically you can make caramel without water, you just have to know what you are doing. Corn syrup is an invert sugar meaning it will resist crystallization. Lemon juice (in small amounts) will also help prevent crystallization.
  2. Too much stirring can sometimes cause crystallization, so I prefer a gentle swirl. If you do stir occasionally keep your spoon in a cup or bowl of hot water so that you don’t introduce crystals. The reason for putting the lid on is because as the sugar mixture warms up, water will condensate on the lid and wash away any potential crystals that form.
  3. Swirl more often than you did before. If you don’t swirl the pot, one spot may get too dark. If one area of the caramel burns then all of it will be burnt. Ie. the darkest spot in your caramel is the color your caramel will end up being.
  4. I have noticed the caramel sauce has a tendency to separate as it cools but once it is re-mixed it wont happen again.