Malted Chocolate Ice Box Cake
Excerpted from © Eat Cool: Good Food for Hot Days by Vanessa Seder, Rizzoli New York, 2021. Photography © Stacey Cramp. Used with permission.
- Servings: Makes 1 (8-inch) cake
This recipe is from Eat Cool: Good Food for Hot Days by Vanessa Seder. While her words introduce her recipe, I could have added my own as this cake reminds me of one my mother made often when I was a child and it was a favorite of mine and my two brothers. I was delighted to see her magnificent version, malted milk balls included! It may be a no-cook summer treat but her icebox cake is worthy of making and sharing year-round. From Vanessa Seder:
"I absolutely love the concept behind the icebox cake. I'd define an icebox cake as an oven-free cake you can throw together on the stovetop, or with zero cooking, that is nonetheless attractive enough to bring over to a friend's party. The name derives from the fact that these cakes are typically allowed to soften for several hours or better yet overnight in the icebox (or, in the last ninety years or so, the fridge), thus allowing the ingredients to comingle flavors and exchange business cards.
The different versions of the icebox cake are many. Some are made in a pie tin, others molded into baking tins. This particular one, which I think of as "soda shop meets vintage/retro," is actually freeform (i.e., can be hand-assembled on a plate), not to mention totally oven-less. Its primary building block is none other than the Nabisco classic chocolate wafer cookie. While I don't often advocate for store-bought cookies, these not-too-sweet dark chocolate wafers perform yeoman's work for this cake, serving as the perfect brick. The result is a stable, voluminous structure, held together by the ricotta-chocolate malt "mortar." Layers of chocolate malted ricotta creme, sandwiched between crispy chocolate wafers and crushed chocolate malted candies . . . this cake takes the icebox cake!"
- 2 cups (about 8 ounces) chocolate-covered malt ball candies, plus 16 more for garnish
- 2 cups whole milk ricotta
- 1/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 cup malted milk powder
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 49 store-bought round, flat chocolate wafer cookies (from two 9-ounce packages)
- Place the 2 cups malt balls in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped (about 30 times). Transfer to a medium bowl. No need to wipe out the food processor bowl.
- Combinethe ricotta, cocoa powder, malted milk powder, honey, and salt in the food processor. Process until the mixture is very smooth, about 2 minutes.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. Fold the ricotta-chocolate mixture into the whipped cream. Set aside.
- To form the bottom layer of the cake, place 6 cookies on a plate or cake stand, to form a 7 3/4-inch-diameter circle. Add one more cookie to the center to finish forming the first layer. There will be gaps between the cookies.
- Spoon 1 cup ricotta mixture onto the center of the circle of cookies. Use an offset spatula or rubber spatula to evenly and gently spread the layer of ricotta mixture, leaving a little of the cookies on the outer edge exposed. (Note: the first layer is a bit tricky ... if necessary, place a little dollop of the cream mixture under each cookie to help hold them in place or use fingers to gently hold the cookies in place while spreading the ricotta mixture.) Once the layer is complete, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons chopped candies.
- Repeat this process, gently adding the remaining cookies, ricotta mixture, and candies and ending with the ricotta being the top layer. In all, you should have 7 layers of cookies and 7 layers of the ricotta mixture. Use an offset spatula to smooth the top layer of the ricotta mixture and sprinkle all over the top with more chopped candy.
- Decorate the edge of the top of the cake with whole malted milk balls. Transfer the cake to the refrigerator and leave uncovered until the cookies have softened and the cake is easy to slice, about 4 hours or overnight. The cake can be made up to 1 day ahead of time.