A Frozen Fourth of July

Our Independence Day, the most patriotic of national holidays here in the US, typically fails to stir up much enthusiasm from me. The backyard barbecues are a welcome excuse to grill some easy entrees and catch up with old friends, but that could happen on any summer day, too. Plus, that red, white, and blue color scheme is a bit uninspiring… Most of the time. Inexplicably and without warning, it just hit me the right way this time around. Without plans or any party to attend, I still couldn’t resist the bait- I went all out to make a festive fourth of July dessert. In fact, now I want to throw my own little fete because of this impromptu project…

This cake is the key to turning the holiday into a real celebration. Fluffy billows of snow-white whipped coconut creme obscure a sweet surprise within. Though plainly ordinary from the outside, just remove a slice and watch guests’ faces light up…

To cool off a sweltering summer day in the sun, ice cream cake is just what the doctor ordered. Trust me on this one, it’s the only prescription suitable to combat exhaustion, hunger, heat, and dessert cravings all at once. Red velvet cake, one of my unexpectedly most popular recipes, has been given new life as the base of this icy layered treat. Revised and tweaked to perfection, it now practically glows with a crimson-red hue, all from a little can of cooked beets. For anyone who complained about an overtly lemon flavor, that issue is now a thing of the past. All you can taste is cake, sweet, moist, lightly cocoa-flavored cake.

Blue Moon Ice Cream lends a subtly fruity, mysterious yet comfortingly familiar flavor to the assembly. The real inspiration for this whole frozen dessert, it’s rare to find such a bright blue food, and so I seized the opportunity as soon as I could. Never mind dusty blue corn chips or purplish-blue potatoes– This ice cream is really blue!

If you didn’t plan ahead and pre-order a copy of Vegan a la Mode, then you’re in luck- Sarah of The Sweet Life is generously hosting a giveaway, which she put together without any prompting and paid for out of her own pocket. There’s still time to get in on the action and see this recipe for yourself, so don’t delay and enter the contest now!

Putting together this ice cream cake is much easier than it looks. Simply prepare the red velvet cake according to the instructions, but transfer the batter into a 9-inch round springform pan lined with a round of parchment paper on the bottom and lightly greased. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center pulls out clean, with perhaps a few moist crumbs clinging to it (but absolutely no wet batter.) Let cool completely, and chill before proceeding. Meanwhile, prepare the Blue Moon Ice Cream from Vegan a la Mode (page 8) according to those directions, and after churning, transfer the still soft ice cream to the same springform pan, smoothing it over the baked cake evenly, leveling out the top with a spatula. Let the whole thing harden in the freezer overnight before attempting to unmold.

Once firmly frozen, remove the sides from the pan, peel the parchment off the bottom of the cake, and transfer the two layers to a serving platter, cake plate, or cake stand (remember that you’ll have to fit it back into the freezer though, so double-check that there will be enough space to accommodate your dish!) Frost with coconut whipped creme, and top with edible star glitter, if desired. Store in the freezer until ready to serve, and then…


Have a Happy Fourth of July!

47 thoughts on “A Frozen Fourth of July

  1. Um….this is freaking AMAZING Hannah. I wonder why I didn’t think to add IC. and your pictures…absolutely stunning. I thought to add sparklers for a shot and scared myself away and hid, lol.

  2. I’m not usually a big fan of the 4th either…even though there’s a ton of food, very little of it is veg friendly! But…I’ll just eat a whole ice cream cake. That should fill me up. This is so pretty!

  3. Wow! That sparkler photo is off the chain! You had me thinking about making this for the 4th, too, but I don’t have a copy yet. Oops!

    1. It really is an easy shot, though! You just need to have the camera set to take multiple exposures, set a fast shutter speed so that the sparks aren’t blurred, and have someone else help you light the sparklers so you can keep your finger on the trigger. :)

  4. You are a brave woman to take the sparkler picture! Don’t know why, sparklers still make me uneasy, but the photo is beautiful and the cake sounds great!

  5. I absolutely must make this cake! This is such a great cake for a patriotic treat and i was won­der­ing how you get your cake to slice so nicely?

    1. You just need to run the knife under hot water and it will slice easily through the frozen layers. Rinse it off between each slice again in hot water, to keep the pieces clean and warm it back up.

  6. So, so beautiful, Hannah! I’ve been known to pass up a slice of regular cake, but no way could I pass up ice cream cake! Yours looks absolutely perfect, and perfect for the occasion. Happy 4th, my friend!

  7. As always beautiful Hannah…what a lovely way to celebrate the 4th of July…hope you had a great one!
    Enjoy your weekend :)

  8. I saw it on my dash on tumblr and thought … how great all these colors look, I wonder who made it. Well I think I should not have wondered it was almost obvious that such a perfectly handled colored frozen dessert would come from you !
    Congrats for the picture with the magic candle, was it hard to take ? Did you use a specific mode on your camera to take it ?

    1. Thank you, Lou. It’s all about timing to get a shot like this- I had an assistant light the sparklers so that I could keep my finger on the trigger, and then shot as many frames as possible until the sparks stopped flying, using a fast shutter speed to freeze the action. The trick is getting both the cake and sparklers in focus, though! The cake didn’t turn out quite as sharp as I would have liked, but that would just take a smaller aperture. Unfortunately, that would have made it too dark in this case, so I did what I could.

      1. Oh yes, I see. I think it is called rafale mode (not sure about the name in English though)
        Fast shutter speed and as small an aperture as possible making sure the light is okay. Hop small note.
        I re-looked at the picture to notice the not so sharp aspect of the slice, and actually I think the important part of the picture is this sparkling thing, so …
        Anyway, great job ! An thanks for the response

  9. Oh my goodness, this is incredible! Everytime I think you’ve taken something above and beyond, you still manange to surprise me with something more amazing! This look delicious! Your pictures are flawless and the cake looks beautiful! I’m sorry I didn’t see this until now, but I will save this for next year. Thanks for sharing such beautiful creations!

  10. That looks incredibly beautiful and yes perfect for the 4th of July which we obviously don’t celebrate here… ;) still this would be a pretty awesome cake any day!

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