This cake can be made as much as 2 weeks in advance if wrapped well and stored in the freezer; it needs a minimum of 5 hours' chilling time.
The cherries, which need at least 30 minutes to macerate, are added when the cake is served. But they can be prepared up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated until ready to use.
- For the crust
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus some softened butter for greasing the pan
- 2 cups crumbs of crushed chocolate wafer cookies (from one 9-ounce package)
- For the filling
- 1 cup cold heavy (whipping) cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 9 ounces (1 1/2 cups) semisweet chocolate morsels (may substitute semisweet chocolate, chopped)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 quarts cherry vanilla or vanilla ice cream, slightly softened (but not melted)
- For the topping
- 2 cups bing cherries, pitted and cut in half
- 2 tablespoons kirsch or cherry liqueur
For the crust: Use softened butter to lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan with sides at least 2 3/4 inches high.
Combine the cookie crumbs and melted butter in a large bowl, stirring until well coated. Press the crumb mixture evenly over the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of the pan. The crust will become crisp when it freezes with the ice cream filling.
For the filling: Combine the cream and butter in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until the cream is hot and the butter melts, being careful not to let the mixture boil. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate morsels; let them melt in the mixture for 1 minute, then gently stir until all of the chocolate is melted and the sauce is smooth. Add the vanilla extract and mix well. Let cool for 10 minutes.
Use an ice cream spade to spread half of the softened ice cream over the crumb crust, then spoon about 3/4 cup of the fudge sauce evenly over the ice cream, then spread the remaining ice cream over the sauce. Spoon about 3/4 cup fudge sauce evenly over the ice cream.
Refrigerate any remaining sauce (there should be about 1/2 cup) for another use. Freeze the cake uncovered for 15 minutes to firm the sauce. Cover the cake tightly and freeze until firm, for at least 5 hours or up to 2 weeks.
For the cherries: Combine the cherries and kirsch in a small bowl. Let sit for 30 minutes. The cherries are ready or can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
When ready to serve, let the cake stand at room temperature for about 5 minutes so that it softens slightly. Remove the sides of the springform pan and cut the cake into individual servings (slices). Spoon the cherries, with a teaspoon of their liquid, over each slice of the ice cream cake. Serve immediately.
Promptly return any leftover cake to the freezer.
From cookbook author Elinor Klivans.
Tested by Sarah Meyer Walsh.
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