Does anyone out there (besides me) remember staring longingly into the freezer section at the grocery store, wondering how to persuade your mom to buy the massive tub of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream (delightfully called “Neapolitan”) even though it was maybe a tad too big for your family of four and maybe a tad less interesting than some of the other flavors on offer (and by “less interesting” I mean no chips or swirls of fudge or peppermint candies – this was the mid-70s, after all, so salty caramel and cookie dough ice cream were merely what dreams were made of . . . and adult dreams, at that).Anyway, that was me, and it was a stroke of pure genius (in my opinion) when I thought to build an icebox cake around the flavors of my younger self’s most coveted ice cream flavor (or combo of flavors, as the case maybe). Here, we have three different flavors of whipped cream layered with store bought graham crackers in a 9x5x2-inch loaf pan. With each bite, you get a forkful of each flavor, and a bit of graham-y goodness to boot. I have simplified the assembly process of this baby by instructing that you make one large batch of whipped cream, divide it in three, leave one as is (vanilla), add cocoa powder to the second and an easy-peasy strawberry puree to the third. This is a winner, peeps, and should not be missed – good for spring and summer in strawberry season, but mighty fine in the dead of winter with decidedly un-seasonal fresh berries, or frozen ones. The recipe for this delightful cake is on the food52 website (my most fave, if you must know) and you can find it right here. Oh, and if you’d like to actually see me make and assemble this treat, check this out.
Blackberry Lime is a tasty, tasty combo, if I do say so myself and it makes for the yummiest, just this side of tropical, pie filling. In fact it is SO yummy, that I included a recipe for it in my upcoming book, The Vintage Baker (Chronicle Books, April 2018). But because I love it almost too much, I also developed a recipe for a slab pie version, that I shared over on the TASTE website.At this point, it’s almost too late to be posting a pie recipe calling for blackberries, but I’m going to go out on a limb here, and suggest you make this in the dead of winter with frozen blackberries. The cooking time might be a tad longer, and you may need to tent the top of the pie with foil, as the longer bake-time will cause the crust to brown more than you’d like, but the pie will still be spectacular none the less, and perhaps the perfect antidote to the cold dreary days ahead. The recipe can be found here.
So, besides the fact that making and eating sweets and then talking and writing about them is my favorite thing ever, there is also this other thing I’m fond of: meeting like-minded folks via social-media who feel EXACTLY the same way I do. The ladies of Sweet Potato Chronicles are two such peeps. They wrote a cookbook, The School Year Survival Cookbook, and it is all that, and then some.
Full disclosure, peeps: although I’ve had a collection of cast iron skillets for kind of a while now, this is the first time I have ever baked a cake in one. Crazy, right? It’s like baking a single-layer cake in a 9 or 10-inch cake pan, but looks about a billion times more gorgeous. I had high expectations for this cake: I wanted it to be super easy to throw together (it is), super moist and deeply vanilla-flavored (check), as yummy for breakfast, as it is for a snack, or a dessert after dinner (triple check) and as tasty for an adult as it is for a picky kid (not that I know anything about picky kids . . .).