Vegan Rocky Road Ice Cream Cake
Creamy vegan chocolate ice cream loaded up with mini marshmallows, chopped almonds and plenty of chocolate chunks. Features an easy chocolate almond crust and coconut whipped cream. Makes 4 mini cakes or 1 large cake. Vegan & Gluten Free. <jump to recipe>
It's the blog's birthday! Natural Girl Modern World is officially one year old. Wow does time fly. When I hit 'post' on the very first recipe last year, I had no idea about what we were getting into. At the time, I was just pumped that I'd figured out how to sign up for a website and written 693 words that the internet might read. Looking back I can't believe I actually went through with it. I’m a pretty private person, so the thought of publicly sharing recipes and stories about our life definitely made me a bit nervous. A lot, actually. Thankfully, there was a little voice telling me I should just do it. Encouraging me that it would be a lot of fun. That we would learn some things, and heck, maybe even build something beautiful. And no, this wasn't a conversation with an imaginary voice in my head. Nope, it was a real one – courtesy of Anguel, my best bud and my biggest cheerleader. Anguel, thanks for the not-so-subtle shove last summer. I'm so glad we did it.
One year in, I can confidently say we definitely do not know everything. Not even all that much. But we are having fun and learning lots along the way. We've managed to make time for the blog and balance it with our other careers at the same time. We've explored the magic of arrowroot powder, the versatility of white beans, and discovered that we're not the only ones that think ice cream and pizza is a marriage made in heaven. But best of all, we've learned to work together. Recipe testing, cooking, food styling, photography, freelance work. We're a team through it all. Because nothing tests a relationship quite like racing to photograph a batch of ice cream while it threatens to melt into a puddle under the quickly disappearing daylight (seriously).
But enough about us. What we're most grateful for is YOU. Thank you for visiting our site. Thank you for sending e-mails to let us know how much you loved a recipe. Thank you for trusting us when it comes to feeding your friends and family for birthday celebrations, graduation dinners, and regular weeknight meals. Thank you for engaging, supporting and appreciating. The late nights, the endless grocery store runs, the constant recipe testing…it's all worth it because of you. Your stories inspire us day-in and day-out. So from the bottom of our cat-loving hearts, THANK YOU!
And with that, we're celebrating with cake. Ice cream cake of course. Summer’s last hurrah is here, and besides, who doesn't love ice cream cake?! Given it's a special occasion, I wanted to base the recipe off an ice cream flavor that screams "indulgence". Rocky road was the perfect fit. I don't know about you, but I can't resist an oh-so-creamy chocolate ice cream loaded up with marshmallows, chopped almonds and plenty of dark chocolate. Could it get any better?
The ice cream alone is amazing. The texture is super creamy thanks to coconut milk, cashews and arrowroot powder. And the extra mix-ins provide the perfect amount of chewy, crunchy and sweet. If you're just craving straight-up ice cream scoops, you could totally stop there. But if you want to go all out (like we did), then the rest of this 'cake' features a chocolate-y almond crust and whipped coconut cream on top. For extra garnish, I recommend sprinkling the top with shaved chocolate, chopped almonds and some extra marshmallows. If you're feeling extra fancy you could even toast the marshmallows on top! I used our candle lighter for a bit of impromptu “torching” action, but feel free to skip this step.
Since it's just the two of us, I went with mini ice cream cakes. They're super cute and the perfect size for serving 2-3. The recipe makes enough for 4 x 4" cakes, but if you'd prefer to make a single big cake, then I'd suggest an 8" pan. Store any extras either tightly wrapped or in a sealed container in your freezer.
VEGAN ROCKY ROAD ICE CREAM CAKE
MAKES 4 (4-INCH) CAKES, SERVES 8-12 (VEGAN, GLUTEN FREE)
1 cup cashews
1 can full-fat coconut milk
2 1/2 teaspoons arrowroot powder
2/3 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup mini marshmallows*
1/2 cup chopped chocolate (2.1 oz / 60 g)
1/3 cup chopped nuts
For garnish: Chocolate, Almonds, Mini Marshmallows
Chocolate almond crust:
2/3 cup almond flour
2/3 cup oat flour**
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt
Vanilla bean coconut whipped cream:
1 can full-fat coconut milk
1-2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 vanilla bean, seeds only
The night before:
Put 1 can of coconut milk in the fridge to chill overnight (so solid cream separates from liquid). If your ice cream maker isn't already frozen, place the base in the freezer. Place cashews into a medium sized bowl and cover with water. Leave the nuts on your counter overnight to soak.
Open the second can of coconut milk and pour half into a saucepan over medium heat. Add arrowroot powder to the remaining coconut milk in the can. Whisk well to remove all clumps. Once the saucepan is simmering, whisk in the coconut and arrowroot slurry. Reduce heat to low and whisk vigorously until the mixture has thickened (~5 minutes). Transfer the mixture to a container and refrigerate to cool overnight.
The next day:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Set aside 4 (4") mini spring-form pans (or an 8" spring-form). In a medium sized bowl, stir together almond flour, oat flour, cocoa powder, maple syrup, coconut oil, and salt. Mix until well incorporated. Use your hands to press an equal amount of crust into each of the tins. If the mixture is sticky, wet your fingers to keep crust from sticking. Poke each base ~5 times with a fork to allow air to escape when baking. Bake for 10-12 minutes (until crust is slightly firm to the touch), then set aside to cool.
Transfer the coconut and arrowroot mixture to a blender. Rinse the soaked cashews thoroughly. Add the cashews, maple syrup, cocoa powder and vanilla extract to a blender. Blend until smooth and airy. Pour the ice cream base into your ice cream maker and churn until it achieves a soft serve texture. Incorporate the mini marshmallows, chopped chocolate and nuts either by adding to the ice cream maker or folding in by hand. Add the ice cream to the spring-form pans, smoothing it out evenly over the cooled crust. Place pans into the freezer until the ice-cream becomes solid (~2 hours).
To make the coconut whipped cream, open the refrigerated can of coconut. Scoop out the white solids and add to a large bowl. Add maple syrup and vanilla beans. Whisk until light and fluffy. Just before serving, top the ice cream cakes with whipped coconut cream and sprinkle with extra chocolate, nuts and mini marshmallows for garnish.
*Look for vegan marshmallow brands such as Dandies. Typically available at Whole Foods or specialty health stores.
**To make your own oat flour, add rolled oats (regular, not instant) to a food processor. Process until oats resemble a fine flour, then measure accordingly.
Coconut whipped cream has the best texture when fresh. For best results, garnish the ice cream cake with whipped cream immediately before serving.
Crust adapted from my "Vegan Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie" recipe