Looking for homemade dairy- and egg-free ice cream alternatives that don’t involve bananas or an ice-cream maker? You are in luck! For those who feel a pang of nostalgia when you hear the words “Neapolitan ice cream,” you’re also in luck! This ice-cream cake combines the classic Neapolitan flavor trio of chocolate, strawberry and vanilla along with all-natural flavors, plant-based creaminess and contemporary visual appeal. And it’s surprisingly easy to put together. Of course, it is much lower in sugar than the freezer staple of many a suburban home of the 1980s too. Great to prep and make in advance of a celebration, it’s a pretty party treat.

Neapolitan Ice Cream Cake [Vegan]

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Serves

About 18 servings

Ingredients

Ice-Cream Cake:

  • 2 1/2 cups cashews, soaked overnight in a large bowl (or 2 hours with boiling water poured over)
  • 1 1/3 cups full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (or more to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate, optional (but recommended)
  • 3/4 cup frozen strawberries, defrosted
  • 8 freeze-dried strawberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Chocolate Drizzle:

  • 1/4 cup chopped chocolate
  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
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Preparation

  1. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper - the neater the lining, the “cleaner” the end result will be. Set it aside.
  2. Drain the cashews, then add them, the milk, syrup and vanilla to a high-powered blender (or food processor) and blitz until the mix is creamy and as smooth as possible. Taste the mix to check the level of sweetness. Add more syrup if desired and blend again.
  3. Pour 3/4 cup of this mix into a separate bowl and set it to the side. Divide the remaining mix equally between two additional bowls. Pour the contents from one of these last two bowls back into the blender, add the cacao powder and blitz to incorporate well. Add the chopped chocolate (if using) and give it a quick blitz. The chocolate doesn’t have to be completely blended in, as a speckled effect is quite nice.
  4. Once blended to your liking, pour this chocolate layer mix carefully into the prepared pan. Smooth the surface over with a silicone spatula if needed. Pop the pan in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  5. Rinse out the blender and tip into it the reserved 3/4 cup of mix. Add the defrosted frozen strawberries, freeze-dried strawberries and lemon juice. Blitz this mix to create the strawberry ice-cream layer mix. Set this to the side for the time being.
  6. After 15 minutes in the freezer, carefully remove the pan with the chocolate layer. Take the bowl containing plain mix in it and carefully pour it over the chocolate layer. Smooth the surface using a silicone spatula if necessary. Pop the pan back in the freezer for a further 15 minutes.
  7. Remove the pan from the freezer and carefully pour in the strawberry mix. Again, use a silicone spatula to create a smooth surface. Cover the pan with foil to prevent freezer burn and place it back in the freezer, allowing the ice-cream cake to completely freeze through, about 6 hours.
  8. When ready to serve, turn out the cake and remove the parchment paper. Allow the cake to thaw slightly for about 15 to 20 minutes for ease of cutting. Prepare the chocolate drizzle by gently melting 1/4 cup of chopped chocolate together with the coconut oil.
  9. Drizzle the ice-cream cake with the melted chocolate, slice it with a sharp knife and serve the slices immediately.

Notes

Recipe Notes: Defrosted frozen strawberries are incredibly juicy, yet the freeze-dried ones add both flavor and color enhancement without the extra water content, so a mix of both works well. You can use an 8×8 inch brownie pan with an 8-cup capacity to make a square slab cake, if you prefer.

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