For the most part, the recipes I feature here on The Pink Apron usually have a two things in common, or two guiding principles I like to say. They’re generally about showcasing local, seasonal ingredients and making things from scratch, or as close to scratch as I possibly can get.
This is not one of those recipes.
And because of this fact, I put off making this Ridiculously Good Cake Batter Ice Cream for a long time, months even. I read along as other bloggers made it. Watched as even the staunchest opponents of processed foods admitted that using cake mix really did make it taste just like the real thing. But I continued to drag my feet for awhile, searching for a recipe for Cake Batter Ice Cream that would use only real, whole ingredients.
I didn’t find one. And finally I caved. It was the Thanksgiving holiday. I was at my parents’ house. I knew my sister would be a huge fan. Admittedly, that is probably what prompted me to put my food snobbery aside and give it a chance. Because at my core, for better or worse, I’m a notorious people pleaser. I love making others happy and food for me is often the gateway in.
My version differs from others that I saw in that I used all half and half as opposed to a mixture of milk and heavy cream. I also used more cake mix to ensure it would have that recognizable cake batter flavor.
I’m glad I finally made it, because it lived up to all the hype. It was creamy, sweet and vaguely buttery. I don’t even generally order it at ice cream parlors and yet, I couldn’t stop dragging the bowl out of the freezer for another taste.
Every spoonful reminded me of licking a beater or spatula, while patiently waiting for my cake to bake in the oven. It was also a good reminder that sometimes, it’s okay to break rules. Yes, I think there are obvious advantages to local eating and scratch cooking, but the world won’t come to an end over the occasional processed food. Sure there can be satisfaction in following something purely and absolutely, but it can also potentially cause you to miss out on things. Like really, really good ice cream.
Adapted from Annie’s Eats, Erin Cooks and probably others.
Yields about one quart
-3 1/2 cups half and half
-1 cup white cake mix
-1/2 cup sugar
-Pinch of salt
-3 egg yolks
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-Sprinkles, if desired, for a decorative touch
Add the half and half to a medium sauce pan with the cake mix, sugar, and salt. Heat over medium heat until mixture is warmed through.
Meanwhile in a medium-sized bowl, whisk together egg yolks and vanilla extract. Slowly add the milk mixture in a stream to the egg yolks, whisking constantly, to temper. Continue heating, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan, until the mixture thickens slightly and reads 170-175 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Note that if you’ve made ice cream before, this base will be a little thicker than normal because of the flour in the cake mix.
Pour the mixture through a mesh sieve and refrigerate until well chilled. Once cold, churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.