Brooklyn Ice Cream Takedown 2015: Red Velvet Cheesecake Ice Cream

There are few things in this world greater than a weekend of friends, park time, ice cream, and sweet victory! And there are many things harder than writing a blog post with no current urge to write. But knowing I have no good reason for my writer’s block doesn’t make it any less insurmountable. Perhaps it is this stifling humidity?

In any case, I am thrilled to say that my red velvet cheesecake ice cream was awarded third place in this past weekend’s Brooklyn Ice Cream Takedown. And even more thrilled that I got to spend some quality time with my ice cream scooping and transporting BFFs.


But enough about me, let’s talk ice cream. This ice cream is super tangy (from all the sour cream) and refreshing (from the lemon zest), warm (not in a temperature way but in a spice way, from the cinnamon), and rich (from all the cake chunks). There’s really not much else to say than that it comes together like a breeze and you should be making it right now.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Scoop

Red Velvet Cheesecake Ice Cream

Makes about 2 pints

1 slice of red velvet cake

2/3 cup sugar

1 pinch of salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Zest of 1 lemon

1/2 cup half and half

1 cup sour cream

8 ounces cream cheese, softened and cut into small chunks
Ice Cream Masters

Prepare the red velvet cake by removing the frosting. Cut cake into small cubes, place in a freezer bag, and allow to freeze for one day.

Place all ingredients other than red velvet chunks in a food processor and blend well, until all ingredients are incorporated.

Process the ice cream batter per your ice cream maker’s instructions. When moving the ice cream from the ice cream maker into its freezer container, use a rubber spatula to create a one inch high layer, stud with the frozen red velvet cake chunks, and then repeat, so that all of the red velvet chunks have been placed in the ice cream. Serve on its own–it has all it needs in one delightful package!

Award Time


My Award-Winning Lemon Meringue Pie Ice Cream

Hello, my filthy scuzzies! Such greetings are requisite after a day with Matt Timms and his crew of Takedowners. As all who attended today’s Ice Cream Takedown at The Bell House can attest, it was a hot and heavy day, with a bounty of frozen treats, free pomegranate drinks, and a stellar, though sweaty, crowd.

Matt Timms!!

TIT Certificate

After three weeks of making ice cream batter, running batch after batch through my ice cream maker, keeping fingers crossed during transportation from my apartment to The Bell House that my ice cream wouldn’t melt into nothingness, and hoping I was handling dry ice properly and not edging towards some serious burns, it all paid off! People of the internets, my lemon meringue pie ice cream got me first place People’s Choice at today’s competition.

Lemon Meringue Pie Ice Cream

When concocting my recipe, I wanted something light and refreshing–it would have to wake people up rather than make them feel more weighted down on a hot summer day. Lemon was a good place to start, as anything citrus can brighten one’s day. The gingersnap was meant to add some spice and cut through the sweetness of the lemon ice cream, as well as be reminiscent of pie crust. And the final touch, the marshmallow fluff, was a stand-in for meringue, and certainly lightened up the texture, which was fairly dense and custard-like. Not to mention, this combination of ice cream and mix-ins meant that I could happily yell, “It’s like a pie in an ice cream!” to all those who sampled my frozen concoction.

Sugar Zest

Lemon Meringue Pie Ice Cream

Adapted from The Perfect Scoop

Makes 1 1/2 quarts

3/4 cup sugar

zest of 3 large lemons

1 cup whole milk

2 cups heavy cream

generous pinch of salt

5 egg yolks

1/2 cup crushed ginger snaps

1/2 cup marshmallow fluff

Lemon Lemon Lemon

Combine the sugar and lemon zest in a food processor and pulse until the zest has become very fine and incorporated in the sugar.

Zest and Sugar

Place the sugar and lemon mixture, milk, and 1/2 cup of the heavy cream in a medium pot. Warm the mixture, stirring occasionally.

Once the mixture has warmed, cover the pot, remove from heat, and let infuse, undisturbed, for 1 hour.


Whisk the egg yolks together in a medium bowl. Once the hour has passed, rewarm the milk and sugar mixture. Pour the mixture slowly into the egg yolks, whisking constantly.

Prepare an ice bath with a large bowl inside it, containing the remainder of the heavy cream. Place a fine sieve over the large bowl.

Pour the egg yolk and milk mixture back into the medium pot, and place over medium heat. Use a rubber spatula to stir constantly, and make sure to scrape along the bottom of the pan. Be careful of over-cooking. The mixture is ready when it has a custard-like consistency and coats the spatula.

Pour the mixture through the sieve and mix with the heavy cream. Discard the lemon zest and any cooked egg particles that are caught in the sieve. Keep mixing until the mixture has cooled. Place in an airtight container in the fridge and thoroughly chill, for at least 24 hours.

Churnin Churnin

Once the mixture has thoroughly chilled, run it through your ice cream maker per the manufacturer’s directions. As you remove the ice cream from the ice cream maker, use a spatula to fold in the marshmallow fluff and ginger snap cookie crumbs. Feel free to adjust the amount of marshmallow fluff and ginger snap cookie crumbs to your liking, but work quickly so the ice cream does not melt! Place in the freezer to solidify for at least 2 hours.

Lemon Ginger Perfection

Now enjoy! Hopefully with a crowd of 250 people and 29 fellow amazing ice cream chefs, as I was fortunate enough to. A huge thank you to all who participated, The Bell House, and of course Matt Timms, the leader of this crazy cult of Takedowners. And of course further thanks to all who turned out and voted for their favorite ice creams, particularly Tyra Banks (oh yeah, did I not mention that before?), my friends, and Harry (who doubled as ice-cream scooper extraordinaire)! You guys are da bomb. Democracy and ice cream for all!

Ice Creaming Partners

Pumpkin PIE Ice Cream

I  promise my lack of posting this past week has been for good, delicious reasons. As if three days in San Antonio, Texas weren’t bad enough for my digestive tract, the Chili Takedown I attended today definitely didn’t make things any better. That being said, I have no regrets, other than that after three days in San Antonio I could not imagine eating anything fried or with bacon for two days. Who knows what I may have missed out on.

But more on that later. I promise there will be Texas and Chili Takedown inspired posts later this week. (Did I hear someone say chicken tortilla soup, kolaches, and brisket chili?) With the full-blown food insanity I plan on creating for this year’s Thanksgiving, I had to get started today if I had any hope of getting everything ready by Thursday. Don’t worry, I am not making the turkey or even the stuffing. Fortunately, as a twenty-four year old, I can still make whatever I damn want to contribute to Thanksgiving dinner, without a single worry about feeding a whole family. Probably a good thing, since if I were in charge of Thanksgiving, it would feature a deep-fried Turducken, the heaviest buttermilk-infused cornbread stuffing anyone has ever made, and a hell of a lot of desserts. Did I mention the artichoke and cheese dip with bacon I would replace the crudites with? I believe all my guests would end up in food comas they might never awake from. I guess I still have some growing up to do.

Anyway, I started my Thanksgiving prep with the recipe I am most excited about and have been thinking about since my unfortunate pumpkin sorbet failure. Have you figured it out yet? It’s Pumpkin PIE Ice Cream! I guess I shouldn’t have put it in the title if I didn’t want you to figure it out until now…

Either way, it’s delicious, creamy, so easy to make (no egg yolks or stovetop!) and reminiscent not just of pumpkin, but of pumpkin pie. And really, is there anything better on Thanksgiving?

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

Adapted from Cuisinart

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1 cup light brown sugar, packed tightly

2 1/4 tablespoons molasses

15 ounce can pumpkin puree (Do NOT use pumpkin pie mix, I implore you.)

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground clove

2 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 teaspoon bourbon vanilla extract (Regular extract will do, just don’t use imitation vanilla.)

1 cup crumbled ginger cookies (I like making some of the crumbles very fine and others larger to add some texture.)

In a mixing bowl, use a whisk to slowly whisk together the milk, sugar, and molasses. Whisk until the sugar and molasses have completely dissolved, and be careful not to whip too vigorously.

Stir in the pumpkin puree and spices. Once they are incorporated, add the heavy cream and vanilla, whisking to combine. The spices may gather at the top of the mixture–don’t fret about this.

Place the mixture in the fridge and cool for at least 24 hours to chill throughout.

Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker, and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It should take 20 to 30 minutes to churn the ice cream. In the last 5 minutes, add the crumbled ginger cookies. Place the ice cream in the freezer for at least 2 hours to harden, if desired.

Serve with a ginger snap, or between two snickerdoodle cookies, for a Thanksgiving ice cream sandwich with a bit of a kick.