I always thought one of the coolest things about my mom was her full endorsement of cake as an appropriate breakfast food. Despite the health complications I may develop in the future, I will always love my mother for this. Maybe that's why I've really been vibing with the Argentine lifestyle -- these people take their sweets very seriously, and by that I mean dulce de leche at all times of day, with all types of food, in copious amounts. Pretty much a guaranteed sugar rush first thing in the morning. We understand each other here.
After four weeks in Buenos Aires, I'd say this place is nothing short of magical. If the dulce de leche wasn't enough, here are some reasons why:
- You will evolve into a new sub-species of human that does not require sleep. Dinner at 10 pm, dancing until 7 am. It's casual.
- Croissants are 30 cents. Thirty cents!!!
- Mate over everything. Mate is a hot tea served in a hollow gourd and consumed through a metal straw, and Argentines take it literally everywhere - on the bus, in the park, walking down the street, you name it. Last weekend I visited Iguazu Falls. There was a woman standing at the foot of this giant waterfall, getting pummeled by the water from all sides, and when she emerged she was still drinking mate from her straw.
- The cheek-to-cheek kiss and terms of endearment ("mi querida", "mi amor") make you feel like everyone's favorite person.
- Museums, midnight jazz shows, incredible theaters, cafes on every corner, cheap public transportation, beautiful people, rich history, the list goes on.
- Apart from all of the above, I'm pretty grateful to be here because a foreign country is the perfect place to hide when the hair you experimentally dyed purple starts turning a shade of bright orange. This is happening as we speak.
So four weeks down, three to go. Argentina rocks. And yup, after three months I DO have a recipe for you -- a merry little ice cream cake that means what it says. It's cookies 'n cream, inside and out and in-between, which is usually a good thing. Don't be intimidated if you've never made an ice cream cake before! It's surprisingly simple and you can find tons of video tutorials online if you'd like (here's one that I referred to).
I'll leave you with this for now, but I send you pleasant dreams of the alfajores and pastelitos that will definitely be making an appearance soon. Sending love from afar!!
Cookies 'n Ice Cream Cake
makes one 6-inch cake
(I have my own method of assembling the layers using a springform pan, which I'll explain below. If you don't have a springform pan, you could mold the ice cream into bottom of a regular cake pan lined with plastic wrap, and then stack all the layers at the end)
For the cake (adapted from here):
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 and 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup crushed Oreos
1 carton of cookies 'n' cream ice cream
For the frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
~3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-4 Tablespoons milk
1/4 cup crushed Oreos
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease two 6-inch round cake pans (I use a springform pan for at least one of them). Line the bottoms with parchment paper cut into 6-inch circles. Grease again and sprinkle with flour.
In a medium bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time and beat until combined. Stir in vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix together flour and baking powder. Add slowly to the butter and sugar mixture, mixing until just combined. Add milk and stir until batter is smooth. Finally, stir in crushed Oreos.
Divide batter evenly into the two pans. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let cool completely.
With one cake layer in the springform pan, spread a thick layer of ice cream on top, making sure it reaches the edges of the pan. If the ice cream doesn't spread easily, let it sit out for ten minutes. Place second cake layer on top and press down firmly. Cover the entire springform pan in plastic wrap and freeze for at least half an hour.
While waiting, prepare the buttercream frosting. In a medium bowl, cream butter until fluffy, around 2 minutes. Add confectioners' sugar 1 cup at a time and beat well, adding in milk until it reaches the desired consistency (you want it to be fluffy, but it should hold its shape well). Mix in vanilla extract and stir in Oreos at the very end.
Remove cake from freezer and remove from the pan. Frost top and sides of the cake, decorating however you like.