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
Vegan Rocky Road Ice Cream
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1 (14 fl oz/398 ml) can full-fat coconut milk
- 2½ teaspoons arrowroot powder
- ⅔ cup maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup mini marshmallows (more for garnish, optional, see note 1)
- ½ cup chopped dark chocolate (more for garnish, optional)
- ⅓ cup chopped almonds (more for garnish, optional)
Chocolate Almond Crust
- ⅔ cup almond flour
- ⅔ cup oat flour (see note 2)
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
Vanilla Coconut Whipped Cream
- 1 (14 fl oz/398 ml) can full-fat coconut milk
- 1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 vanilla bean (seeds only)
The night before
- Chill coconut milk: Put one can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight (for the whipped cream).
- Soak cashews: Put cashews in a medium bowl and cover with water. Let soak overnight.
- Make ice cream base: Stir the remaining can of coconut milk. Pour half into a small saucepan over medium heat, bring to a simmer. Add arrowroot powder to the remaining coconut milk in the can. Whisk until smooth. Empty the can into the simmering coconut milk. Reduce heat to low and whisk until thickened, about 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to a container and refrigerate overnight. Freeze your ice cream maker, if it isn't already.
The next day:
- Preheat: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F (177°C).
- Make crust: In a medium bowl, combine almond flour, oat flour, cocoa powder, maple syrup, coconut oil, and salt. Mix well. Divide mixture into 4 (4-inch) round springform pans or 1 (8-inch) round. Use your fingertips to press it firmly into the bottom of each pan. If mixture is sticking, wet your fingertips with a bit of water.
- Bake crust: Prick bottom crust with a fork. Bake until crust is medium-firm to the touch, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely.
- Blend ice cream: Drain cashews and add to a blender. Add coconut and arrowroot ice cream base, maple syrup, cocoa powder, and vanilla. Blend until smooth and airy.
- Churn ice cream: Pour mixture into an ice cream maker, churn until soft serve consistency. Add marshmallows, chocolate, and almonds.
- Freeze: Spoon the ice cream over each cooled crust, using the back of a spoon or rubber spatula to smooth out the top. Freeze until ice cream is solid, about 2 hours (longer for large cake).
- Coconut whipped cream: Scoop out coconut solids from the refrigerated can of coconut milk and add to a large bowl. Use electric beaters to whip until fluffy. Add maple syrup and vanilla seeds. Whip until well mixed.
- Serve: Right before serving, top with whipped cream (see note 3). Garnish with more marshmallows, chocolate, almonds if you'd like (see note 4). Slice and serve (see note 5).
- Marshmallows: Look for vegan marshmallow brands such as Dandies, if you need. In my experience, vegan mini marshmallows weigh more than conventional mini marshmallows. 1 cup Dandies mini marshmallows= 50g, 1 cup conventional mini marshmallows = 100g. The volume measure is used for clarity: use 1 cup (237 ml) of whichever mini marshmallows you prefer.
- How to make oat flour: Add rolled oats (not quick oats) to a blender or food processor. Process until oats resemble a fine flour, then measure accordingly.
- Coconut whipped cream: For the coconut whipped cream to retain it's fluffy texture, add it right before serving. Coconut whipped cream will firm up if frozen.
- Garnish: Totally optional, but if you're feeling fancy, use a small kitchen torch to toast marshmallows for garnishing on top.
- Serving note: This ice cream is quite decadent. Each mini (4-inch) cake serves 2 to 3. The 8-inch cake serve 8 to 12.