‘Let them eat cake,’ she says…and vanilla ice cream

Lauren’s recipe for Vanilla Ice Cream Meringue Cake

There are two common customs back home in Korea involving actions that are paradoxically related to the context in which they are made. Some people enjoy eating hot, steaming bowls of noodles (or roasting marinated bulgogi beef) during the peak of summer. And others tell me, “Ice cream tastes the best when eaten during the winter.” This second point I’ve never really agreed with, but I’m never one to turn down ice cream, so I eat it year-round.

Swatties are really creative with the way in which they eat their ice cream. From a melted ice cream combination soup (using a bowl of hot water underneath a bowl of different ice cream scoops) to ice cream floats in different fruit juices, I’ve seen quite an array of different personalities and styles. I would personally love to buy a blender to make ice cream smoothies, but if only I had the time and weren’t too lazy to get some good ingredients … (At least you’ll know what to get me for Christmas now).

And of course, there are the ice cream cakes in all their rich, cold and creamy glory. This is, of course, until they melt and become rich, cold and creamy goo. As my great friend and blockmate and I always say to each other, why can’t one enjoy ice cream in this form? The sweet taste is still there, and it’s only the shape that’s gone away.

But for those who simply cannot eat ice cream in its liquid phase, I suggest this “cake.” Melted ice cream is a must in this recipe, but the end product will (hopefully) not have any traces of the gooey form. It’s a really simple recipe, and hopefully even simple enough to be used for study breaks.

The only real trick is to really work at the sugar and egg whites until they become as light and fluffy as whipped cream. And I cannot emphasize this enough: if there’s one life skill that I really got out of baking, it’s to avoid overworking any procedures. It’s usually better to add less of an ingredient than more, mix less than to over-mix and create unnecessary “heat” in the dough and certainly add less of (or use healthier alternatives for) the sugar and oils if you feel they are unnecessary. The procedure with the egg whites and sugar, aka making a meringue, certainly involves thorough mixing, but you can’t get greedy with the process. Once the mixture starts to resemble whipped cream, you have to stop before you overwork the meringue and it sags back down into a liquid.

So, get this meringue part right, and you’ve basically finished 3/4 of the work. The rest of the recipe calls for some light mixing, and then the oven finishes off the job. If you are like me, you might have been surprised to see ice cream going into something that gets baked at high heat.

But it was not until only a few years ago that I learned that ice cream in its initial stage involves frying the raw ingredients together.

Call me ignorant, but all that matters to me is that there is a method to this madness, and the ice cream making process works. As it should for this cake as well. I mean, after all, you get to have both your cake and ice cream and eat them too.

Lauren is a junior. Please submit any recipes you would like to share with Lauren for her to try out for her next column by e-mailing her at lkim1@swarthore.edu.

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