This…… is……DIVINE! It has to be the best dessert I have made in ages. It takes a little work to pull together, but it is SO worth it.
‘A little work’ does not mean that it is difficult however…… The chocolate sponge is pretty basic and the very minty chocolate-chip ice-cream sandwiched in-between is a straight forward no-churn blend.
Inspired by this month’s Treat Petite challenge which invites entries linked with ‘favourite sweets, chocolates and biscuits’, these amazing Chocolate-Mint Ice Cream Cake Sandwiches are a dessert version of one of my best-loved sweetie treasures….. the After Eight.
For anyone out there reading this who has not eaten an After Eight before, they are a delicate mint chocolate consisting of a thin layer of very minty white fondant, coated in a layer of dark chocolate. Simple but very very moreish…..
These Chocolate-Mint ‘After Eight’ Ice Cream Cake Sandwiches are made to mimic the fundamental flavours of the said confection….. Two layers of dense, deeply-flavoured and slightly chewy chocolate cake, wrapped around a thick layer of intensely cool, minty white ice-cream, shot through with little fragments of chopped minty dark chocolate for added texture and then topped with a creamy chocolate layer for extra decadence. Heaven!
When making this cake, I wanted to make sure it packed a vivid minty punch. I had made a no churn mint ice cream previously (simply not good enough to share) which seriously lacked the required coolness. For this ice cream, I have not only ensured a good dose of natural peppermint extract in the mix, but also used a dark mint chocolate for the chocolate chips within.
The sponge gains extra depth of flavour from the inclusion of a strong Espresso infusion alongside the use of melted dark chocolate blended in the bake. The consistency is such that when frozen, it is firm enough to be held, yet soft enough to bite into the cool, exhilarating taste-bud awakening, minty interior.
To make these sandwiches extra special, they are topped with a layer of ‘magic’ chocolate…… A blend of more melted dark mint chocolate and a little coconut oil, the liquid chocolate created by this combination hardens on contact with the cold cake, ensuring a crisp, smooth, but melt-in-the-mouth layer of loveliness.
The heart-shapes of After Eight made using a small cookie cutter tie the whole experience together, along with a sprinkle of crystallised mint leaves that add an optional additional curious crunch. I had never eaten crystallised mint leaves before, but found some on-line at Sous Chef when I was buying some Christmas presents….. Crispy, sweet, nobbles of mintyness, they are fantastic as a side-sprinkle. Don’t you just love trying new things?
I am sharing these amazing Chocolate-Mint ‘After Eight’ Ice Cream Cake Sandwiches with the following linkies :
Cook Blog Share with Hijacked by Twins.
Gluten Free Fridays with Vegetarian Mamma.
Free From Fridays with the Free From Farmhouse.
Chocolate-Mint ‘After Eight’ Ice Cream Cake Sandwiches
Ingredients (for one 9 x 9 inch (23 x 23 cm) sponge (16 mini sandwiches)
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
1½ teaspoons GF baking powder
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
130g soft light brown sugar
100g golden caster sugar
20g cocoa powder
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
80 ml plain yoghurt
Mint-Choc-Chip Ice Cream
1 tin (397g) sweetened condensed milk – chilled
450 ml double cream
90g mint dark chocolate (Green & Blacks is gluten free) – finely chopped
4 teaspoons natural peppermint extract
150g dark mint chocolate – chopped
2 tablespoons coconut oil
Decoration – optional
After-Eight chocolates – cut with a heart-shaped cutter
crystallised mint leaves
- Cake : Pre-heat the oven to 170 C/325 F/Gas 3 and base-line a square 9 x 9 inch (23 x 23 cm) loose-bottomed baking tin with baking paper.
- Place the can of condensed milk for the ice cream into the fridge to chill for later. You may wish to set the freezer to ‘fast-freeze’ also, to get the temperature as low as possible ready for the ice cream.
- In a glass heat-proof bowl, melt the chocolate (135g) and butter together, either over a pan of simmering water or in a microwave on 30 second bursts (medium setting) stirring between each. Stir until thoroughly combined and smooth and set aside.
- Mix the boiling water with the instant coffee in a small bowl/cup, to dissolve and set aside.
- In a bowl, weigh and mix together the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt, sugars and cocoa powder, making sure any lumps are completely broken down. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until thickened and pale and lifting the whisk leaves a trail.
- Add the vanilla extract, chocolate and coffee mixtures, and yoghurt and beat again until smooth and combined.
- Add the dry ingredients and fold in thoroughly.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tin and bake for about 50 minutes until the cake is cooked and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- When the cake is cold, slice horizontally through the middle so that you have two even layers (you may find this easier if you have refrigerated the cake for about an hour first).
- Take the same (now clean) cake tin that you used for baking and line the base and sides with baking paper.
- Place the base half of the sponge into the cake tin and put in the fridge to cool.
- Whilst cooling, you can make the Ice Cream : In a large bowl, whisk the cream until it forms soft peaks (be careful not to over-whisk). When the cream is starting to thicken slightly (and before it reaches soft-peak stage), add the peppermint extract and continue to whisk.
- Add the chilled condensed milk and finely chopped mint chocolate and gently fold through, being careful to maintain as much air as possible.
- Pour the ice cream mixture onto the chilled chocolate cake and spread to make an even layer.
- Place this base ice cream layer (without the top sponge) into the freezer to start the freezing process.
- When the ice cream is beginning to firm up (but still tacky), carefully place the top sponge layer on top of the ice cream and gently push down to help it fuse with the ice cream.
- Place back into the freezer to fully harden.
- Meanwhile, make the Mint Chocolate Topping : melt the chopped mint dark chocolate in a glass heat-proof bowl (either over a pan of lightly simmering water or in a microwave on medium setting (30 second bursts), stirring frequently until melted and smooth.
- Add the coconut oil and stir through to melt, until smooth. The mixture will become a looser liquid as the coconut oil melts into the chocolate.
- Set aside until the cake is almost fully frozen and then spoon and spread the chocolate topping over the top of the cake (still in the cake tin) evenly. The topping will set as it comes into contact with the cold sponge.
- Place back into the freezer until fully set and frozen.
- Once frozen, you can carefully remove the whole cake from the baking tin, peeling back the baking paper. Trim off the sides to make tidy and then slice into squares. Place the slices back into the freezer (at usual temperature) to store until ready to eat. If you are going to decorate with After-Eight hearts, you can add these before storing in the freezer.
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