Sunday was Lane Meyer’s birthday, and if the devil’s food whiteout cake was any indication, I love to make people great birthday cakes. About a month ago, I started asking what kind of cake Lane likes, and I got a variety of answers. It was a random conversation one day, however, that changed my plans entirely. For reasons I can’t recall, we got on the topic of Carvel Ice Cream. Specifically, we got on the topic of Cookie Puss. It turns out that Lane always wanted a Cookie Puss cake for his birthday, but for a number of reasons, never did get one. Little did Lane know it at the time, but his luck was about to change.
Now, if you aren’t from around here, you may be wondering what on earth is Carvel, and what in creation is a Cookie Puss. Carvel Ice Cream as we know it started in 1934 when Tom Carvel’s frozen custard truck got a flat tire in Hartsdale, New York. Carvel sold his entire frozen custard stock in two days, after most of it had melted enough to soften. He realized a permanent location and a softer ice cream were better ideas, and opened a permanent stand at the sight of the truck breakdown. Over time, Carvel Ice Cream became known for its frozen ice cream novelties, including the Flying Saucer, Fudgy the Whale cake (popular around Father’s Day, for a “whale of a dad”, and circa-1970, Cookie Puss. Cookie Puss was added to the Carvel line in 1972, and, according to Carvel, he is a space alien who was born on Planet Birthday. His appeal, according to Lane, is that “He has an ice cream cone nose! Flying saucer eyes! He’s Cookie Puss!” Cookie Puss was later joined by Cookie O’Puss, who is green, for St. Patrick’s Day. If you still don’t get the appeal, please watch this commercial. (P.S. Is now a good time to mention I spend a lot of time on Wikipedia?)
This ice cream cake was a three-day project, so if you’d like to undertake it, plan accordingly. I had initially considered making the ice cream myself, but I’m pet-sitting and couldn’t justify packing my ice cream maker to bring with me. What’s really important about replicating a Carvel Ice Cream ice cream cake is the layer of chocolate “crunchies.” The ice cream cakes Carvel sells are entirely ice cream, except for the layer of crunchies and the decorations. Getting the crunchies right is critical, but surprisingly simple. I advise against making the crunchies ahead of time, because they will clump together and solidify. Also, if you make your own ice cream, I advise using it right after it finishes churning because at that point, it is soft enough to spread easily and you won’t have to wait for it. The directions below are what I did to create a Cookie Puss. If you just want a great ice cream cake, you can skip cutting it into shape, then frost it with the whipped cream frosting and stop there.
Cookie Puss Ice Cream Cake
- 1/2 gallon chocolate ice cream
- 1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream
- 25 Oreo cookies, filling scraped off
- 1 C. hot fudge sauce
- 1 pint whipping cream
- 1/4 C. confectioner’s sugar
- 1 C. white frosting (buttercream or canned)
- 1 sugar cone
- 2 round ice cream sandwiches (I used Reese’s, but Skinny Cow or something similar would work)
Scoop one round scoop of ice cream out of the container of chocolate ice cream. Place it in a bowl and set it in the freezer.
Leave the remainder of the half-gallon of chocolate ice cream out to soften for about 30 minutes. You want it soft enough to spread, but not melted completely. Stir it about every ten minutes in order to soften it evenly.
Spread the softened ice cream into a parchment lined 9×13 inch glass baking dish and put it in the freezer for at least 8 hours.
Remove the vanilla ice cream from the freezer and leave it out to soften.
When the vanilla ice cream is softened, make the crunchies by putting the Oreo cookie wafers into a food processor and pulsing until you have coarse crumbs. Pour in the hot fudge and pulse a few times to combine. Stir to combine completely.
Spread the layer of crunchies evenly over the chocolate ice cream layer in the baking dish.
Quickly top the crunchies with the softened vanilla ice cream.
Return the dish to the freezer for at least 8 hours.
If you are going to cut it into a Cookie Puss (or other shape), remove the cake from the freezer and quickly cut it into shape using a sharp knife.
Return the cake to the freezer for one hour.
Put the whipping cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Turn the mixer to medium-high and whisk the cream until it’s whipped.
Add the confectioner’s sugar and whip for an additional minute to combine.
Remove the cake from the freezer and quickly frost it with the whipped cream frosting.
Place the ice cream sandwiches where the eyes will be, and place the ice cream cone and reserved scoop of chocolate ice cream where the nose will be.
Return the cake to the freezer while you make the frosting for decoration.
To decorate, use the desired frosting colors, tips, and decorator bags to pipe on the decorations. Have all desired colors ready to go in decorator bags with the appropriate tip before starting the decorations. You need to work quickly to keep the cake from melting. Alternately, you can decorate in steps, freezing the cake again in between.
To make the hair and mouth, I mixed Wilton gel color golden yellow with 1/2 C. white frosting until I reached the desired shade. I used a Wilton tip #21 to make the mouth and hair.
To make the arms and eyes, I used Wilton gel color black and 1/2 C. white frosting until I reached the desired shade (you need a lot of black food coloring to get the frosting black. In the future, I would use hot fudge sauce instead). I used a Wilton tip #21 for the arms, and a Wilton tip #21 for the eyeballs.
To make the hands, I used Wilton gel colors royal blue and red red and 1/2 C. white frosting until I reached the desired shade. I used Wilton tip #8 to pipe on the hands.
To make the whites of the eyes, I used 1/2 C. white frosting and Wilton tip #12.
Serves 15 people, generously.
Leave the cake out for about 10 minutes to soften slightly before serving.
Source: I deconstructed an image from the Carvel website, have eaten many Carvel cakes, and a lot of trial and error to get the crunchies right 🙂