What’s better than German chocolate cake? German chocolate cake in ice cream form! This decadent chocolate ice cream with homemade German chocolate cake frosting folded in is everything you love about cake without having to bake one.
Even though I have plenty of ice cream recipes, I’ve always “churned” the ice cream by hand. What you do is put the ice cream in the freezer and beat with a whisk every 30-45 minutes or until it freezes solid. The problem was I would often forget about it or I would freeze it shortly before going to bed (since I was working a full time job during the day and had to get my ice cream ready to shoot that upcoming weekend). Although the ice cream was fine, the texture was a bit icier because nothing was breaking up the ice crystals that formed. This year I finally broke down and bought an ice cream maker. It’s not that I didn’t want one; I just wasn’t sure if I had the room (which is ironic because this apartment is smaller than my last one). Considering how much use I would get out of it (unlike the bread maker I finally gave to a friend before I moved), I decided to go for it. Kohl’s had it on sale plus a $10 off coupon plus 30 percent off. The only downfall is that Kohl’s only sold it in red, which at least matches my red stand mixer and my out of order red espresso machine (which I also bought both as red by default). Red is not my favorite color, despite what my kitchen looks like.
Of course with a brand new machine, I need to break it in with an awesome ice cream flavor. Technically the first thing I ever churned in it was watermelon sorbet used in my watermelon sorbet floats. Second flavor was a watermelon ice cream which I had mixed feelings on taste wise. Third flavor was this German Chocolate Cake Ice Cream, which is rich, decadent chocolate ice cream with German chocolate frosting. Yes, actual frosting folded in (which is the best part of the cake)! Not just toasted pecans and coconut like most recipes I saw. This ice cream is everything you love about German chocolate cake without turning on the oven to bake one.
If you’ve never used an ice cream maker before, it only takes 20-30 minutes to churn the ice cream. The downfall is remembering to freeze the bowl for at least 24 hours. For now, I’m just storing it in my freezer to be prepared at all times, but if my freezer starts getting full, it’ll be stored back in its box and hope that I remember to plan ahead. Once it’s churned, you need to store the ice cream in the freezer for another 4-8 hours to harden (or you can eat it straight from the machine as really soft soft-serve ice cream). I do find the texture much smoother and easier to scoop than freezing ice cream by hand. If you don’t own machine, don’t worry – read this guide on how to freeze ice cream without one.
To keep this German chocolate cake ice cream authentic with its name, I used Baker’s German chocolate, which is 48 percent cacao. Because semisweet chocolate is 56 percent cacao, you can easily substitute semisweet chocolate if you don’t have German chocolate on hand. Or you can do a mixture of semisweet and bittersweet chocolate. Just make sure you don’t use unsweetened.
Most German chocolate cake frosting recipes are made with either evaporated milk or sweetened condensed milk. Rather than opening a can for just a little bit of milk, I decided to use heavy cream, which you need to make ice cream anyway. Once the ice cream is churned, you can either fold in the frosting or layer it in your container.
Items You May Need (Affiliate Links):
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 4 ounces German or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut into 4 pieces
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut, toasted
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring 1/2 cup cream and cocoa powder to a boil, whisking often to blend the cocoa. Reduce the heat and simmer for another 30 seconds, whisking constantly.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate until smooth. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup cream. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, scraping the pan as much as possible. Place a mesh strainer on top of the bowl.
- In the same saucepan over medium heat (no need to clean it), warm the milk, sugar, and salt.
- In a separate small bowl, beat the egg yolk. Slowly pour some of the warm milk into the yolk, whisking constantly, then scrape it all back into the saucepan.
- Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spatula or spoon (170F on a thermometer).
- Remove from the heat and pour through the mesh strainer into the chocolate mixture. Stir in the vanilla. Place the bowl in an ice bath and cool until room temperature. When cool, refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until cold.
- Next, make the frosting: In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cream, egg yolk, butter, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly as the butter melts. Once boiling, cook another 3-5 minutes or until the mixture thickens.
- Remove from the heat and stir in pecans, coconut, and vanilla. Cool to room temperature.
- Once the ice cream mixture is cold, freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Once it's churned, fold in spoonfuls of the frosting. Freeze in an airtight container until firm, roughly 4 hours or overnight.
More Ice Cream Recipes
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Award-Winning German Chocolate Cake Sandwich Cookies