Talk about summer lovin’…. this ice cream cake is layers upon layers of goodness: a rich and fudgy brownie and a no-churn coffee-infused ice cream that’s as easy as it is delicious. The cherry on top (icing on the cake, rather) is the mountain of brownie chunks, chocolate covered espresso beans, and a hot fudge drizzle.
Making your own no-churn coffee ice cream (instead of using a store bought ice cream) gives you the flexibility to use decaf coffee beans for less of a buzz (while I love coffee flavor, caffeine is not my friend). Granted, there still is espresso powder in the brownies and chocolate covered espresso beans studded through out, but the effect is milder.
Also an option if you are not a coffee fan at all is to skip it entirely. The basic no-churn ice cream base can be made into just about any flavor you can imagine… I’m thinking folded in chunks of fresh sweet cherries, a splash of bourbon and vanilla bean, or even infusing the cream with fresh mint in place of the coffee beans (follow the exact same process for a lovely fresh mint flavor).
My go-to brownie recipe is so dense and fudgy that, when frozen, it becomes somewhat tricky to cut and eat. So for these, instead of melted butter, I whipped the butter with sugar as if I was making a cake, with the goal to produce a slightly lighter and less dense brownie that’s more manageable when frozen.
You’ll also notice this brownie is baked in a half sheet pan instead of a normal 13×9. This solves the main conundrum faced when making an ice cream cake: the fact that 9″ cake pans and 9″ springform pans are never exactly the same size. A sheet pan is the perfect size for two 9” round, cut to fit your springform pan exactly, each layer the perfect thickness to compliment but not overpower the ice cream, and still have some scraps leftover for a glorious mountain-of-brownie to top it all off… and maybe a few snacks for the chef while you’re putting it all together (shhh, it’s our secret).
The ice cream base is lightly infused with the coffee beans by simply warming and steeping it for about 30 minutes, infusing a surprising amount of coffee flavor into the cream. To finish out the no-churn ice cream, the cream is whipped (hello, coffee whipped cream that might be my new favorite thing!) and then folded into a can of sweetened condensed milk. That’s it. No eggs to separate, no custard to thicken, no special equipment necessary. Just spread the light and airy mixture into your springform pan and then freeze overnight until firm.