This is my mom. She was born August 6, 1920 so yesterday she would have been 98 years old. Mom had 5 children, 4 girls and 1 boy. Her boy died at the age of 6 of a heart condition. Mom did some amazing things for a woman in the time that she grew up but when she got married she gave her entire life to her husband and children. Her greatest pleasure in life was feeding people. To a certain extent she might have overdone it because she insisted you eat whether you were hungry or not, but she was really a great baker.
Thanksgiving every year was a big deal to my family. Throughout my entire life it was held at Mom’s house and there were never less than 25 people in attendance. Sometimes attendees included college students too far from their own families to go home, sometimes friends without someone to share the holiday with, sometimes just her own children and grandchildren but there are a lot of us. The cooking and cleaning went on for a week before her big day. One grandson loved her chocolate chip cookies so she made them, another loved her beef jerky so she made it. Then there were the pumpkin pies, ham, turkey, German Potato Salad, and many other dishes.
She often made and took yummy dishes to folks who were sick. So many times we came home to the smell of cinnamon rolls but many times they weren’t for us (“ok I did make you each one but that’s it”). My favorite dessert that Mom made and what I asked for my birthday cake every year was Mom’s Ice Cream Log. Since I grew up and gained my own love of baking, I have seen pumpkin rolls, yule logs or buche de Noel, and jelly rolls, all filled with exquisite fillings but never have I seen one filled with ice cream like Mom made. She always made them at Christmas as gifts to family friends and since trying one this week in August, I know why they were Christmas treats. I had a terrible time finishing the decorating before everything melted and slid off so my Grande Finale pictures are not as grand as I had hoped. I’m still very excited to taste our ice cream log.
The recipe for the cake comes from the 1950 version of the Betty Crocker Cookbook page 237 and the recipe is titled Chocolate Roll More delicate…more partyfied than Jelly Roll. I always thought that was funny.
Separate 6 eggs- when I separate eggs I get 2 bowls and I break all the eggs into the bowl I’m going to beat the whites in. Then I reach in with my hand and carefully lift out the yolks, letting the white run through my fingers back into the bowl.
Beat until stiff (holds a point) 6 egg whites and 1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter
Beat in gradually (until glossy) 1/2 cup granulated sugar
Use the whisk beater to beat egg whites. The egg whites really do get stiff, when you lift out the whisk beater the whites form peaks.
Put the egg whites in a different bowl so you can use the mixer bowl again or if you have a hand mixer you can use the bowl you put the yolks in to beat the yolks until thick and lemon-colored. To mix the yolks, use the regular beaters. When the yolks are really light yellow beat in
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Sift together and beat into yolk mixture 1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla
Carefully fold the yolk mixture into the whites. If you stir too rapidly the egg whites will collapse. Line a 15 1/2″x 10 1/2″ cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray well with pan spray. Spread the batter evenly in the pan. It has to be spread even because the batter doesn’t spread out as it bakes, it just raises.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or just until surface springs back when touched lightly.
While it is baking, lay out a large flour-sack dishtowel and sprinkle it with powdered sugar. As soon as the pan comes out of the oven, flip the pan upside down on the dishtowel sprinkled with powdered sugar. Remove the paper from the cake and roll up in the towel beginning on the long side.
Let the cake completely cool and then unwrap. Spread the softened ice cream on top of the entire cake all the way to the edges so that the first guy to get a piece gets ice cream too. Mom always used vanilla but use whatever flavor is your favorite with chocolate cake. We used cookies and cream. Roll the cake back around the ice cream. It won’t roll as tight as it did when it was empty but the ends have to meet. Make the log as round as possible now because this will be the only chance. I usually put the seam side down because its easier to frost that way.
Freeze the ice cream log until its firm. We usually transfer the log to a piece of aluminum foil at this point. It makes it easier to transport and keep from freezer smells.
I use a different topping than Mom did. She made a chocolate frosting from powdered sugar, cocoa powder and milk. I use ganache because the chocolate flavor is more intense and I LOVE intense chocolate flavor.
Ganache is a mixture of small chocolate pieces and boiled cream. We use the chocolate we use for dipping truffles but the Baker’s chocolate from the baking aisle in the grocery store works great too. The key is small pieces. Ganach recipes vary depending on what it will be used for. The recipe I used for this is:
5 ounces chocolate pieces in a bowl
8 ounces of heavy cream in a saucepan, brought to a rolling boil. Pour the boiling cream over the chocolate in the bowl. If you want a flavoring of any kind, add a small amount at this point.
Let it set for just a couple minutes and then stir until the mixture is smooth. If it gets too cold to melt the chocolate completely put the bowl in the microwave for just a few seconds and stir again.
Now the ganache has to cool down before you can spread it so I hope you didn’t take the log out of the freezer yet. The ganache can chill in the fridge if you are in a hurry or it can set on the counter for a couple hours if you have something else to do first. If by chance it cools too much, put the bowl back in the microwave for a few seconds and then stir it. Be careful how long though, or it will get too hot and you will be right back where you started from. That’s what I did today but I also got the log out of the freezer before I had the ganache at the right consistency. Ugh! August problems! So don’t make my mistakes, try to be original.
Mom deocorated the top with green gumdrops shaped like holly leaves and red hot candies as the berries. We have also used candied fruit to make holly leaves and berries, meringue mushroom and toy forest animals, toy dinosaurs, marshmello snowmen, and candy and pretzel flowers. In August, it was difficult to find even the green gumdrops so I used mint leaves for the holly leaves and red hots for the berries. I hope our ice cream log becomes one of your favorite treats as well. And think about my mom when you eat it. She would love to see folks enjoy it!