When someone asks you if you would like a bowl of coconut cake batter ice cream, the answer should always be a resounding yes. It’s creamy and filled with ripples of cake batter but doesn’t have any dairy—a win-win situation for those who live in an area like Silicon Valley, where it seems like all the food has to be accommodating and politically correct for as many interest groups as possible.
Cake batter flavors in ice cream and other desserts have been around for a while, and while I’ve tasted them in ice cream shops, I have always shied away from making anything myself that was cake batter themed. The reason being that I absolutely refuse to make anything from a mix (go ahead, roll your eyes), and yellow cake mix is almost always used as the basis for the cake flavor. I spent many years only being able to have cake batter ice cream or cookies when it was available in a store until I realized that cake batter was easily attainable with a few calculations and modifications from my usual yellow cake recipe.
One spreadsheet later, I whipped up a homemade dry mix of cake batter and cooked some of it into a coconut milk ice cream base for a slight cake flavor that permeates throughout the whole dessert, then used the remainder to create a thick cake batter which was swirled into the churned ice cream.
With another can of coconut milk (chilled, this time), I whipped up a batch of coconut milk whipped cream, also known as my favorite party trick. The richest part of the coconut milk rises to the top of the can and solidifies when chilled, and its fat content is similar to that of heavy cream. After a few minutes of whipping, it transforms into soft peaks with a deep coconut aroma. I always stir in some vanilla bean powder or some vanilla extract for another dimension of flavor, and then spoon it on the ice cream, sometimes with fresh berries. It’s an excellent summer dish, perfect for vegan friends, lactose intolerant relatives, coconut lovers, and cake fiends.
Coconut Cake Batter Ice Cream
Makes 1 quart
5/8 cup (1/2 cup +2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup plus 7 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch baking soda
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1, 15 oz. can full fat coconut cream, unsweetened (do not use cream of coconut, which is sweetened and used for piña coladas)
1 ¾ cup plus 3 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk, divided
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla, divided
1 ½ tablespoons canola oil
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, 7 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, baking soda and table salt. Set aside.
- In a small (at least 2 quart) saucepan over medium heat, combine the 1/3 cup sugar, coconut cream, and almond milk. Whisk until the sugar dissolves, about 2-3 minutes, then stir in ½ cup of the flour mixture from step 1. Reserve the remainder of the flour mixture for later in the recipe. Whisk until the flour mixture is thoroughly combined, then take the pan off the heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of the vanilla.
- Transfer 1 cup of the base to a freezer safe container and the remainder of the base into a large metal bowl. Place the large bowl in the refrigerator and the small container in the freezer and let them remain there for at least 4 hours. Once they have chilled, scrape the small container into the large bowl and stir until all of the frozen container’s contents have dissolved into the large bowl. Transfer the base to an ice cream maker and churn for 20-30 minutes until it has the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. Meanwhile, whisk the remainder of the flour mixture with the remaining 3 tablespoons almond milk, ½ teaspoon vanilla, and canola oil. Stir until smooth. Once the ice cream has been churned, place half of it in a freezer safe container. Spread the cake batter you just made over the top and swirl together gently with a chopstick or butter knife. Spread the second half of the ice cream on to the top of that and transfer the container to the freezer to freeze for an additional 2-4 hours. Portion into bowls and serve with coconut whipped cream (recipe follows).
Note: I use coconut cream from Trader Joe’s, which is extra rich coconut milk. If you do not have access to that, use 1 can full fat coconut milk and replace the 1 ¾ cups almond milk with 1 can of light coconut milk. Like most homemade ice creams, this should be eaten on the day that it is made.
Coconut Whipped Cream
Makes 1 ½ – 2 cups
1, 15 oz. can full fat coconut milk or coconut cream, chilled in the refrigerator overnight (do not shake or invert)
½ teaspoon vanilla or ¼ teaspoon vanilla bean powder
- Open the can of chilled coconut milk and spoon out the top section of cream in a large bowl of the bowl of a standing mixer. Discard the thin liquid in the bottom of the can. Either using electric beaters or the whisk attachment, whip the coconut cream on medium speed for 2-4 minutes until soft peaks have formed. Serve on top of the coconut ice cream.
Note: If you have whipped cream leftover, it will keep for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.