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My first encounter with ice cream was Neapolitan ice cream, and it still is one of my favourite things to get when I go out to eat ice cream. A scoop of vanilla, strawberry and chocolate ice cream. Some argue that those flavours don’t mix well or that it’s outdated, but I stand by my choice. I think it is amazing and frankly, it combines the most popular ice cream flavours in one go. So here is my version of this classic. It is a no churn Neapolitan ice cream cake with fresh fruit.
If you never used bananas as ice cream base, you will be surprised by how creamy they are. All that is needed is freezing them ahead, and you are only a few minutes away from creamy soft serve ice cream. Personally, I always have frozen bananas in the freezer, both in their peel and without. For this recipe, I just layered all fruit, peeled and cleaned into a baking form and put baking paper in between.
I wrote a separate post on freezing bananas a few months back. You might be interested in it if you want to make banana based ice cream a staple in your house hold. The benefit of freezing them in the peel is that they stay white, no matter how long you store them. The skin might turn dark, but the flesh will remain white.
It is an effortless and cheap way to make ice cream and allows nearly any flavour combination. Adding various flavours is also easy since you can drop whatever you want together with the frozen bananas into a food processor. For this recipe, I kept the ingredients as simple as possible. Bananas, cocoa, vanilla beans and strawberries. It doesn’t need more than that.
Making the layers is pretty straight forward. All you need is a little bit patience in between if you want neatly looking layers. Scoop the first batch into a baking form** that is lined with baking-paper. You can place the colours any way you like, but I tend to start with the chocolate layer.
Spread it evenly and let it freeze for at least 2 hours, repeat with the other two flavours and you will have a perfect ice cream cake that could not be easier to make.
Make sure to give it enough time to completely freeze before you take it out of the form. Taking it out is easiest done with the help of a hairdryer or hot cloth. Simply heat the sides and slide it out. Return it quickly to the freezer for a few more minutes to make sure the edges don’t melt too much. It looks fantastic when it is all by itself, but you can take it a step further.
If you want to, you can drizzle it with strawberry sauce and add some fresh berries. The strawberry sauce is easily made by simmering down 500g (1lb) strawberries in a pot with 3 tbsp of water and 2 tbsp of sugar over medium heat. The strawberries will start falling apart and turn into a liquid. Simmer until the mass is reduced by half. Strain to remove the seeds and cool it down. Once ready pour it over your ice cream cake and add fresh berries.
Return the cake to the freezer or serve it immediately. It is a little bit time consuming but very easily made. Even though I have the patience of a tiny rock and hate waiting, I do love making this dessert. Who could say no to a lovely slice of home made ice cream cake with fresh fruits and a big drizzle of strawberry sauce? I know I can’t wait to eat this little piece of heaven.
No Churn Neapolitan Ice Cream Cake
- 1.5 kg bananas frozen
- 200 g strawberries frozen
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 3 tsp vanilla extract or 3 vanilla beans
- Split the fruit into 3 portions. Two plates with just bananas one with strawberries and bananas. There will be approximately 560g (20oz) of fruit on each plate.
- Store one plate with just bananas and the plate with the banana and strawberry mix in the freezer for now so they do not thaw.
- Process the first portion of bananas with 2 tbsp of cocoa powder in a food processor until it forms a creamy soft serve. Transfer it into a cake tin of about 20 cm(8 inch) diameter that is lined with baking paper. Place the form in the freezer and let it solidify for about an hour.
- Take the plate with the strawberries and bananas out of the freezer and repeat the same process as above. Blend them until you have a very smooth soft serve and layer it on the chocolate base. Return it to the freezer and wait for another hour.
- Take the last plate of bananas, add the vanilla extract and follow the same steps as above. Process the frozen fruit and layer it into the cake tin. Make sure that the top of this layer is as smooth as possible if you want to serve it without fruit. If you choose to use fruit, then you can allow yourself to be a little bit messy because it will be covered up.