Cherry Ice Cream Cake: an Impressive no-cook dessert

I was pleasantly surprised at quite how much our lunch guests liked this recipe. So long as you make it in advance, giving it time to freeze, this no cook Cherry Ice Cream Cake is a treat to make and eat. One of our guests thought that Amaretti biscuits could be an interesting replacement for the sponge fingers. Next time I make this wonderful dessert I am going to try it.

Cherry Ice Cream Cake: an Impressive no-cook dessert

Italian Ice Cream Cake

INGREDIENTS  serves 6

300g fresh cherries, stoned and quartered except for 15 or so which will be used to decorate top of cake.
2 tbsp brandy or rum or amaretto, whichever takes your fancy
5 – 6 tbsp espresso coffee
Sponge fingers
2 large egg yolks
75g golden caster sugar
225ml double cream (lightly whipped if you can be bothered, as is if you are lazy like me)
Half tbsp vanilla extract
50g chopped hazelnuts
45g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
2 tbsp icing sugar

How to prepare
Place half the cherries and brandy into a bowl, stir and leave for a few minutes.

Double line a 7″ x 2″ loose bottomed circular baking tin with clingfilm (enough so it will also cover the top of the mixture when you have put it in the tin).

Pour the espresso into a shallow dish and quickly dip each sponge finger (on the unsugared side) so they don’t go soggy/disintegrate, then put on to a board and cut in half lengthways to separate the sugary side from the base. Arrange the sponge, sugar side down, to form a layer in the bottom of the tin. Drizzle with any remaining coffee.

Place the yolks and sugar into a bowl and whisk until pale, light and fluffy. Fold in the cream, vanilla extract, hazelnuts, chocolate and chopped cherries, plus the brandy they were soaking in.

Spoon the mixture into the tin. Using the rest of the sponge fingers, cover the top cut side down. Pull over the clingfilm to cover and freeze for at least 5 hours.

Cherry Ice Cream CakeTo serve, upturn the cake on to a serving plate. Ease away the clingfilm and discard. Leave at room temperature for 20 minutes or one hour in the fridge to become half frozen, then just before serving, sift icing sugar over the top and decorate with whole cherries (and, if you are a chocolate lover, lots of grated chocolate).

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