I am a sucker for nostalgic desserts. I was raised on Hoodsie Cups and can never turn down a generous scoop of Neapolitan ice cream, but it wasn't until I met my husband that I first tried Spumoni. Spumoni is a classic Italian dessert made with layers of gelato or ice cream. Usually spumoni features layers of chocolate, cherry and pistachio gelato and may include a few additional delicious mix-ins like sponge cake, chopped nuts or fruit like Maraschino cherries. Whenever I see this dessert on a restaurant menu, there is a 1000% chance I'm ordering it.
Alas, one pandemic and one newborn later, we don't get out much so I dreamed up this Ice Cream Cake inspired by classic Spumoni to enjoy at home instead. You can get creative with the flavors of ice cream you use. I couldn't seem to find cherry ice cream anywhere, so I went with strawberry instead. Also, the mix-ins you add between layers are totally up to you. I used chocolate cookie crumbs for one layer and chopped pistachios for another, but crushed graham crackers, chocolate chips or even coconut would all work well. As for the crust, I went with a good old fashioned cookies and cream base. Far from traditional, but oh so delicious. Want to keep it slightly more classic? Use amaretti biscuits instead!
The best part about this cake is that if you do not have a crowd to feed, it will keep for months in the freezer. Apologies in advance for your new nightly ice cream habit!
Recipe and Headnote Molly Adams
- 1 (7 ounce) package crispy double chocolate chip cookies, I used Tate's
- 1/ 2 cup shelled raw pistachios
- 1 (13 ounce) package chocolate sandwich cookies, I used Newman's O's
- 4 tablepoons melted butter
- 2 pints chocolate ice cream
- 2 pints pistachio ice cream
- 2 pints strawberry ice cream
- Fresh cherries, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350˚F and line the bottom of a deep springform pan with parchment paper. Prepare a space in the freezer that can accommodate the prepared pan.
Add double chocolate chip cookies to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until fine crumbs form. Remove from food processor and set aside.
Add pistachios to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until fine crumbs form. Remove from food processor and set aside.
Add chocolate sandwich cookies to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until fine crumbs form, then stream in butter until all crumbs are moistened. Remove from food processor and dump crumbs into prepared springform pan. Use a measuring cup to press the crumbs into an even and neat layer. Place in preheated oven and bake for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely, about 30 minutes.
After 15 minutes of cooling, remove both pints of chocolate ice cream from the freezer and let soften at room temperature. You do not want the ice cream to be soupy, but you should be able to easily scoop the ice cream.
Once the crust is cool, scoop the chocolate ice cream into the prepared pan. Use an offset spatula to smooth into an even layer, then top with double chocolate cookie crumbs and use a measuring cup to press into an even layer.
Set in the freezer for about 1 hour. After 45 minutes of chill time, remove the pistachio ice cream from the freezer.
When the chocolate layer feels set, scoop the softened pistachio ice cream on top of the chocolate layer. Use an offset spatula to smooth into an even layer, then top with chopped pistachios (save about 1 tablespoon for garnish) and use a measuring cup to press into an even layer.
Set in the freezer for about 1 hour. After 45 minutes of chill time, remove the strawberry ice cream from the freezer.
When the pistachio layer feels set, scoop the softened strawberry ice cream on top of the pistachio layer. Use an offset spatula to smooth into an even layer, then cover with plastic wrap or beeswax wrap and place in the freezer for at least 6 hours, but preferably overnight.
When ready to serve, use a sharp knife to loosen the cake from the pan, then open to springform ring and remove. Garnish with remaining chopped pistachios and fresh cherries. To slice, use a sharp, warm knife to cut the cake into slices.
To store leftovers, pop the cake back into the springform pan and remove fresh cherries. Cover well with plastic wrap or beeswax wrap and store in the freezer for up to 1 month.