Jamaican ice cream cake is more like a heavy swiss roll cake, but is filled with ice cream instead of whipped cream. Unlike a swiss roll cake, they also only have 1 roll instead of the double roll of the classic dessert. The ice cream cake can be filled with either vanilla or grape nut ice cream. The definitive characteristic of this dessert is the cake itself. It is a flat and dense cake that is spiced with nutmeg, cinnamon, ground allspice, ground ginger and ground cloves. The cake gets its color from the added molasses and brown sugar. There is only a small amount of each spice so the flavor of the cake is not overpowering, but it does end up tasting like a typical island flavored baked treat. It definitely reminds me of a flat lunch cake in Jamaica called Bulla Cake. With just a few ingredients and a short baking time, this treat comes together in no time.
Here are a few things you need to know before you start making this:
Once you have gathered all of the ingredients you will first combine the wet ingredients. I made a wet sugar base similar to what I do when making bulla cakes. You will need to combine the eggs, melted butter, vanilla, rum, molasses and brown sugar and whisk to dissolve the sugar.
The dry ingredients should be whisked together in a separate bowl. Along with the spices, you will need 1 cup of flour, baking powder and salt.
The cake needs to be as flat as possible so I chose a large 10 x 15 baking tray. Grease and line the tray with parchment paper.
The cake cooks in 12 minutes at 350 degrees.
Rolling and cooling the cake:
The cake needs to be rolled while it is still hot so it can hold the rolled shape when cooled. The ice cream cake needs one complete roll so you can cut away the excess cake once you have achieved that roll. There is no need to double roll and the cake may actually break with a forced double roll. Once the cake is rolled, cool it completely while it is still rolled, about 1 hour and up to overnight.
Filling the cake:
The cake can be filled with vanilla or grape nut ice cream. Once the cake is cooled, unroll the cake and fill with 1.5 quarts of ice cream. It’s important to keep a thick layer of slightly softened ice cream on the cake to fill the center of the roll. Re-roll the cake, wiping away any excess ice cream that may spill out. Wrap in parchment paper and freeze overnight.
Freezing and Slicing:
The cake should be set in the freezer for at least 4 hours and up to overnight. The cake will need to sit out about 5 or so minutes before attempting to cut it. Slice the cake in the desired slices, about 2-3 inches thick, and wrap them individually in parchment paper. Store in the freezer until needed.
- ⅓ cup melted unsalted butter
- 4 eggs
- 1 ½ tablespoons rum
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder
- ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1.5 quart vanilla or grapenut ice cream
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease a 10x 15 baking tray/sheet pan and line it with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, combine melted butter, eggs, rum, vanilla, molasses and brown sugar. Gently whisk to dissolve the sugar and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, ground allspice and ground cloves.Whisk well to combine.
- Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisk to form a batter. Do not overmix.
- Pour the mixture onto the lined baking tray and spread with a spatula to the 4 corners of the tray. Bang the sheet pan against the counter to remove any air bubbles. The batter will look very thin on the tray. This is the goal.
- Place the cake in the oven and cook for 12 minutes. While the cake is cooking, place a tea towel on a flat workspace and cover the tea towel with a sheet of parchment paper. Dust the cocoa powder on the parchment paper using a sieve. Once the cake is cooked you will place it here for rolling.
- Remove the cake from the oven and turn it out onto the cocoa covered parchment paper while still hot. Remove the parchment paper from the back of the cake if it is baked on. Use the tea towel to prevent your hands from burning while gently rolling the cake into a cylinder from one of the shortest ends. Be sure that you have at least one full roll before setting the cake aside to fully cool while still rolled. It will cool quickly, in about an hour.
- Once the cake is cooled, unroll it onto a clean work surface and fill with slightly softened ice cream. Use a spatula to spread the ice cream evenly. It may not be fully even but this is okay. Re-roll the cake, doing one complete turn. If after one full roll there is excess cake, cut it away with a sharp knife. Clean up any ice cream that may have oozed out of the ends of the cylinder during rolling. Wrap in parchment paper and freeze for at least 4 hours.
- To serve, cut both ends of the cake away for a clean and even cut. Cut ice cream cakes into 2-3 inch thick rounds. To store uneaten cakes, individually wrap them in parchment paper and return to the freezer.