My family loves Earl Grey tea and begged me to try and tackle an ice cream cake with that flavor. Earl Grey tea is a black tea flavored with Bergamot, a citrus fruit. I love the combination of Earl Grey and chocolate. It also works well with other citrus fruits and with nuts, particularly walnuts. So I thought a moist walnut and chocolate cake would be a nice base for the cakes. If you don’t want to make a cake and prefer something crunchy, you can make a chocolate cookie crust. Or, you can do none of the above and just scoop some in a dish and eat it plain or drizzled with sauce
Finding a chocolate cake recipe proved tricky. I didn’t want something too rich, like a brownie. I thought about using my favorite chocolate butter cake recipe but butter cakes don’t like to be cold. They get hard and dry with refrigeration and I wanted to be able to assemble the ice cream on top of the cake and freeze the whole thing. So I started trying chiffon cakes which use oil instead of butter. Oil doesn’t freeze so I figured the cake wouldn’t freeze hard. One recipe by Rose Levy Barenbaum in “The Cake Bible” caught my eye. Apparently when her mother gave her the recipe she told her the texture was perfect even right out of the freezer. So I gave it a shot but it didn’t have a deep enough chocolate flavor and the texture was too fluffy so I tried again, adding another 25 grams of cocoa powder and that seemed to do the trick. It had a deeper chocolate flavor and the texture improved as well.
This recipe makes about a pint of ice cream. The number of cakes you get depends on the size of your molds. I use molds that hold about 4 oz so I get 8 cakes.
Earl Gray Ice Cream Cake Componants
- Earl Gray Ice Cream
- Chocolate walnut chiffon cake
- 1/2 cup Caramelized walnuts ( see my post on Caramelized nuts)
- 1/4 cup chopped candied orange peel (see my post on candied fruit)
- 1 cup Bittersweet chocolate sauce
Chocolate/Walnut Chiffon Cake
- 38g (7 Tablespoons) Cocoa powder
- 88g (6 Tablespoons) water
- 87g bleached cake flour
- 187g (3/4 plus cup 2 tablespoons)superfine sugar
- 1/4 salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1tsp vanilla
- 80.5g (3 Tablespoon) walnut oil
- 27g (1 Tablespoon) Canola oil
- 3 eggs separated (55g)
- 2 additional egg whites (150g)
- 2 grams (1/2 teaspoon plus 1/4 teaspoon) cream of tartar
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a 17″x12″ aluminum jelly roll pan lined with a silpat.
- Wisk together flour, salt, baking powder and all but 2 tablespoons of sugar.
- In a separate bowl pour 6 Tablespoons of boiling water over the cocoa powder. Wisk until smooth. Wisk in the three egg yolks, oils and vanilla.
- Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the chocolate mixture in the middle
- Beat for 1 minute until smooth and glossy.
- In a clean, grease free bowl beat the 5 egg whites at medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar. When egg whites are at soft peaks add sugar in a slow stream. Raise beater speed to high and beat to whites to stiff peaks.
- With a balloon wisk fold one quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to loosen up the batter. Fold in the rest of the whites just until blended.
- Pour batter gently into the sheet pan. Keep the bowl close to the pan so your not deflating the batter by pouring from a great height. Even out batter with an off set spatula.
- Bake for 13 minutes until a tooth pick crumbs out with a few moist crumbs attached to the toothpick.
- Cool to room temperature and freeze. You get a cleaner edge when you cut it frozen.
- Cut to fit the bottoms of your molds.
- Freeze the rounds, separating each one with parchment paper.
Earl Grey Ice Cream
- 3 Tablespoons Earl Grey loose tea (I like the Earl Gray Royal from the Tea House which I buy on line. It has real pieces of dried bergamot as opposed to bergamot oil. I think it makes a difference).
- 400g (2 cups) whole milk
- 300 g (1.5 cups) cream
- 50g (1/4 cup) glucose
- 150g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
- 100g (5) egg yolks
- 1 tsp commercial stabilizer pereferably Cremodan 30 (optional but recommended)
- Wisk together stabilizer, if using, and sugar. Place milk, cream and glucose in a pot and wisk in sugar.
- Bring to a simmer and stir in tea leaves. Remove from heat, stir in loose tea and cover. Let steep three minutes
- Strain dairy through a fine mesh sieve into a clean pot. Press firmly on tea to release as much flavor as possible. Discard tea leaves.
- Wisk egg yolks in a heat proof bowl. Stir about 1/4 cup of the base into the egg yolks to temper them and gradually wisk in the rest of the base.
- Place mixture in a clean pot and stir constantly on a medium low flame. Cook the mixture at least until 145 degrees to pasturized the yolks. When the mixture coats the back of a spoon and you can draw a line down the center of the spoon’s back and the edges don’t flow back together, the base is done. I’ve seen a lot of ice cream books say you need to cook the mixture until 180 degrees but I don’t think that’s necessary.
- Strain once again through a fine mesh sieve to get rid of any particles of yolk.
- Chill overnight in a covered container.
Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce
I have other hot fudge and chocolate sauces but this one is good for this dessert because it’s a little thinner and has a more delicate chocolate flavor
- 8 oz fine bittersweet chocolate ( not chips but callets are fine. For this sauce I like Callebaut semi sweet chocolate callets)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup glucose or corn syrup (I prefer glucose as it’s not as sweet and is more viscous)
- Chop chocolate into fine pieces and place in a heat proof container.
- Place glucose and cream in a pot and bring to a simmer.
- Pour hot cream over chocolate. Cover and let sit about five minutes. With a wisk, start from the center of the bowl and gently mix together the chocolate and cream, widening the circle as the mixture begins to amalgamate. The purpose is to get a smooth mixture without air bubbles.
- Refrigerate until needed but warm it up before using.
- Freeze whatever molds you are using whether it’s silicone or a stainless steel loaf pan or ring. I love, love, love silicone as the ice cream pops right out. If I use a loaf pan, I line it with parchment paper. I prefer it to plastic wrap, which wrinkles. Of course, you can go commando and not use a liner but then, in order to unfold, you need to blast the mold with a blow torch or dip it in hot water. Too messy!
- Churn the ice cream and fill the molds.
- Take the cake and presss it gently on top of the mold. When you unfold, the cake will be your base.
- Freeze at least 6 hours
- Unfold and plate. Garnish with toasted walnuts and candied orange peel.
- You can garnish with other sauces as well: fresh oranges poached in orange marmalade and fresh juice, rhubarb compote perfumed with lemon or orange zest. Anything with citrus will work. Just don’t use too much or it will overwhelm the flavor of the tea. In the top photo I used some pink grapefruit which I poached for a minute in some of my blood orange marmalade and a bit of fresh orange juice. If you don’t have blood orange marmalade hanging around strain some Seville orange marmalade, thin it with a bit of fresh juice until you have a saucy consistency and throw in some supremed orange segments. Easy, peasy.