ginger-hazelnut cream icebox cake. how easy is that!

DSC02889
The cream is a little shiny and droopy from the heat! I should have put it in the freezer to firm it up before serving.

Ina Garten’s Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake recipe inspired this creamy cake. It looks like I made a lot of fuss but I really didn’t! The only hard part about this cake is waiting overnight for it to chill and harden. Since IKEA opened in Bangkok, it’s become the go-to place for inexpensive well-designed furniture, cheap farang cafeteria food (frozen veg, urgh), and inexpensive cookies and chocolate. A one-pound box of Pepparkakor (Ginger Thins) cookies cost only Baht 165 (approximately $4.99) and the chocolate bar (slightly less than 1/4 pound)  was  Baht 39 (approximately $1.20). And I only used half the box of cookies to make this cake. I plan to make ice cream sandwiches with the leftovers. How easy is that!

Ginger-Hazelnut Cream Icebox Cake
Inspired by the Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That? (2010)

Prep Time: 20 min
Inactive Prep Time: 12 hr 0 min
Cook Time: none
Level: Easy
Serves: 8 servings

Ingredients
2 cups (470g) cold heavy cream
12 ounces (340g) Italian mascarpone cheese (see Cake Baker’s Notes below)
1/2 cup (112.5g) superfine sugar
1/4 cup (79g) hazelnut syrup (can substitute Frangelico or hazelnut liqueur)
2 tablespoons (1 oz square or 30g) white chocolate, grated fine
1 teaspoon almond extract (can substitute hazelnut extract)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
24-36 thin and crisp ginger cookies (I used IKEA’s Pepparkakor thin ginger cookies)
Shaved semisweet white chocolate, for garnish (I used IKEA’s hazelnut chocolate bar)

Directions
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the heavy cream, mascarpone, sugar, liqueur or syrup, white chocolate, hazelnut extract, and vanilla. Mix on low speed to combine and then slowly raise the speed, until it forms firm peaks, about 3 minutes. Put the entire bowl in the refrigerator/freezer to chill while you make the first cookie layer in the next step.

Cake Baker’s Note: When the air temperature is hot and humid, as it often is in Bangkok, I find that it’s difficult to make whipped cream. Unless your kitchen is air conditioned, it’s best to chill the bowl and beaters beforehand, and to try and make the whipped topping in the cooler hours of the day or evening.

To assemble the cake, arrange cookies flat in an 8-inch springform pan, covering the bottom as much as possible. Break some cookies to fill in the spaces. Spread a fifth of the hazelnut whipped cream evenly over the cookies. Place another layer of cookies on top, lying flat and touching, followed by another fifth of the cream. Continue layering cookies and cream until there are 5 layers of each, ending with a layer of cream. Smooth the top, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

Run a small sharp knife around the outside of the cake and remove the sides of the pan. Sprinkle the top with the chocolate, cut cake in wedges, and serve cold.

Cake Baker’s Notes:

  • Make your own Mascarpone Cheese – An Italian cream cheese, Mascarpone is expensive and difficult to find in Bangkok but it turns up in unexpected places, like Max Value, a mini-mart.  You can make this substitute from allrecipes.com:

o 1x8oz (250g) package cream cheese, room temperature
o 2 tablespoons (28.4g) unsalted butter, room temperature
o 1/4 cup cold heavy cream

Mix together all ingredients until well blended. Use instead of mascarpone cheese in recipes. Makes 337g of mascarpone cheese substitute.

  • Thin and Crisp Cookies – You can substitute vanilla or chocolate wafer cookies. Not Nilla Wafers, though.
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