Not-Ice Cream Sundae Cake


You know how certain rides at the amusement park have a warning like, “Those with heart disease, high blood pressure….” Well, I think maybe this cake should have that warning. It’s a little over the top. But isn’t that what birthdays are all about?

Yep, birthdays (and in my case birthday week) are all about going over the top. Calories don’t count on your birthday (or birthday week). Lucky for me, when you have a food blog you can actually go above and beyond over the top. So we won’t talk about calories. Or the health implications of consuming a piece of a cake that contains 6 sticks of butter, a cup and a half of heavy cream, and nearly 5 cups of sugar. Birthday calories don’t count. Also I’m a firm believer of “Everything in moderation.” So don’t make this cake and plan on eating the whole thing yourself. Instead, have a small slice and invite some friends over to enjoy the rest!

This cake is what I would like to call a “Not-Ice Cream Sundae Cake.” It’s a very vanilla, fluffy, white cake, filled with chocolate ganache and vanilla bean mousse, frosted with a whipped vanilla bean buttercream, topped with more chocolate ganache, sprinkles and another nice dollop of buttercream and of course finished with a cherry on top. Happy Birthday to me!

Not-Ice Cream Sundae Cake
(Sunny Side Up original idea; Cake adapted from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody; Vanilla Bean Mousse adapted from Sugarlaws; Whipped Vanilla Buttercream adapted from Sweetapolita, Chocolate Ganache adapted from Savory Sweet Life)


1 cup whole milk, room temperature
6 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Vanilla bean, seeds scraped from pod
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter (6 oz), softened

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Grease two 8 inch cake pans with vegetable shortening, line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper, grease the parchment paper and flour the pans.

Combine milk, eggs whites, vanilla bean seeds, and extract in a small bowl with a fork. Set aside.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in an electric mixer and mix at slow speed with a paddle attachment. Add butter. Continue beating at slow speed until mixture looks like wet sand.

Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat at medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Add remaining milk mixture and beat for an additional 30 seconds, scraping the sides of the bowl if necessary. Do not overmix.

Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and gently shake to smooth batter.

Bake 30-35 minutes, until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cakes cool in the pans for 15 minutes then invert onto racks to cool completely before frosting.

Vanilla Bean Mousse

1 Vanilla bean, seeds scraped from the pod
2/3 cup sugar, divided
2 egg whites
1 cup heavy cream

Whip together heavy cream, 1/3 cup of sugar, and vanilla beans, on high speed until soft peaks form. Set aside.

In a new, clean and oil free, bowl, beat egg whites until frothy, about 1 minute. Add 1/3 cup of sugar and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form.

Add the egg whites, 1/3 at a time, to the bowl with the whipped cream and gently fold together. Cover the mousse and refrigerate until ready to use.

Chocolate Ganache

1/2 cup heavy cream
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped

Place chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Bring heavy cream to a boil. Pour the heavy cream over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate is smooth and melted. Allow the ganache to cool to room temperature before pouring over cake.

Whipped Vanilla Buttercream

3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter for 5 minutes on medium speed, until it is pale yellow and appears fluffy. Add the rest of the ingredients and (starting on low speed and working up to medium) beat for 5 more minutes.

How to Assemble Cake

Place one 8-inch cake on a 10-inch cardboard cake circle. Poke the top of the cake all over with a fork. Then, pipe a border on the top of cake all around the edge. Pour 1/3 cup of chocolate ganache onto the cake and use the back of a spoon to spread it out. Top with 1 cup of Vanilla Bean Mousse, using the piped border as a guide.

Place the second 8-inch cake on top. (Now is a good time to put it in the freezer for a few minutes to make it easier to frost.) Frost the top and sides with the Whipped Vanilla Bean Buttercream. You can pipe a border along the bottom to make it look pretty. Put the cake back in the freezer for 5-10 minutes. Pour the chocolate ganache onto the top of the cake and use a spatula to carefully spread it close to the edges. It shouldn’t need too much prompting to start to drizzle over the edges. Finish the cake by piping more buttercream on top of ganache and sprinkling with sprinkles.

This cake should be stored in the fridge because of the egg whites in the Vanilla Bean Mousse.

Frozen Raspberry Mousse Pie


A week before I left for China my parents came to town for a visit. Before I knew that I would be able to make the trip to the Far East I had decided that if Jesse was still gone in June I would take an extended trip to Ohio. I was of course so excited to learn that I would be able to make my China trip, but there was still a part of me that was bummed that I wouldn’t be able to make it home to visit family/friends. So I felt pretty lucky when my mom and dad were able to make it out to visit before I left.

In fact, I was so excited for their trip that I planned it all out weeks in advance. Right down to which meals we would have on which day. For Saturday I had a nice light breakfast planned, out for lunch (In & Out Burger – YUM), and a good sized dinner. So I wanted dessert to be on the lighter side. I sort of achieved that goal. Dessert was deceivingly light. Meaning it tasted light (and smooth and creamy) – but I wouldn’t add up the calories if I were you. Just make it, eat and enjoy it without thinking about the calorie count!

This dessert was perfect because, like the scones, I was able to prepare it ahead of time and all I needed to do on Saturday was take it out of the freezer and top with chocolate ganache (which I had also prepared ahead of time and needed only a few seconds in the microwave to become pourable).

Frozen Raspberry Mousse Pie
(Mousse recipe adapted from, Bon Appetit)

1 1/2 sleeves of Oreo Cookies (or one 8 oz bag of Mini Oreos)
5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

2 3/4 cups fresh raspberries (about 14 ounces)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoons kirsch (I used cherry flavored vodka because that’s what I had on hand)
1 1/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sour cream
Chocolate Ganache for drizzling (recipe below)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the Oreos in the bowl of a food processor (alternatively you can place them in a sealable bag and use a rolling pin to crush) pulse in 3 second increments for a total of 10-15 seconds. Stream the melted butter into the bowl and process again for 10-15 seconds (or mix with a fork if not using a food processor). Press the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of an 8 inch spring form pan. Place the springform pan in the freezer for 10 minutes then bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the pan on a cooling rack.

While the crust is cooling, clean out the bowl of the food processor then process the raspberries until smooth. Remove the berries from the bowl and press through a mesh strainer, into a large bowl, to separate out the seeds. Add the powdered sugar and kirsch and whisk until thoroughly combined.

In another large bowl whip the heavy cream until it forms stiff peaks. Add the sour cream and beat just until combined.

Carefully fold the whipped cream mixture into the raspberries, being very careful to not over mix. Pour the mousse into the spring form pan. Cover the pan with 2 layers of foil and freeze for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

Remove the pie from the freezer 30 minutes before serving. Right after removing from freeze, drizzle the top with chocolate ganache.

Chocolate Ganache
(Adapted from Savory Sweet Life)

4 ounces good quality chocolate – finely chopped(I used Ghiradelli 60% bittersweet cacao)
1/3 heavy cream

Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl.

Bring the heavy cream to a boil (I microwaved for 30 seconds the 15 second increments until it was bubbling).

Pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and stir until smooth and glossy with an even color. Allow to cool until it is the consistency you are looking for (the longer it cools the thicker it becomes. Shorter cooling time = corn syrup like consistency, good for pouring Longer cooling time – thick fudgy consistency, good for piping)