Black Forest Christmas Dazzle brownie and ice-cream layer cake

Razzle dazzle: Black Forest brownie and ice-cream layer cake.
Razzle dazzle: Black Forest brownie and ice-cream layer cake. Photo: Katrina Meynink
Dietary
Kid-friendly

This has look-at-me written alllll over it. Standing at six layers tall, it does require some freezing and planning but it's all about assembly rather than any true 'doing' on your part. Even the brownie mixture is coming from a box*, making this a very low-key way to make a showstopping Christmas dessert. You will need 3 x 25cm loose-bottomed cake tins for this recipe.

Ingredients

3 x packets store-bought brownie mix*

Strawberry layer

1 litre strawberry sorbet

100g glace cherries, chopped

100g cranberries

Chocolate layer

1 litre chocolate ice-cream

¾ cup cherry jam

Vanilla layer

1 litre vanilla bean ice-cream

½ cup raspberries

½ cup blueberries

¾ cup dark chocolate chunks

6 macarons, halved (plus extra to decorate)

To top (all optional)

150g nougat, chopped

1-2 macarons

freeze-dried strawberries

3-4 glace cherries

1 tbsp cranberries

¼ cup dark chocolate drops

couple of fresh raspberries

Method

1. Grease and line your loose-bottom cake tins. Prepare the brownie batter according to the packet instructions, either in one big batch if you're confident in your dividing skills or 3 separate batches, and pour into the tins. Bake according to packet instructions. Allow to cool before turning out. Separately wrap the three brownie rounds tightly in cling film and place in the fridge. You can prepare these about 3 days ahead as the brownie keeps quite well.

2. Clean your baking tins and line each with cling film, ensuring the cling film overhangs the edges so you can use it to help move the frozen layers around during assembly.

3. For the strawberry layer, scoop the sorbet out into a bowl and allow to soften, you don't want it to melt, it should be just malleable. Add the dried fruit and stir to combine. Add to one of the tins and use the back of a spoon to level out. Place in the freezer overnight.

4. For the middle layer, add the softened chocolate ice-cream to the second tin and use the back of a spoon to smooth out the top. Working quickly, dollop the jam over the top. Nice big uneven chunks are key here, and you don't want the ice-cream to melt. Place in the freezer overnight.

5. For the top layer, scoop the vanilla ice-cream into a bowl. Once malleable, add the other ingredients and gently mix with a wooden spoon to combine – it helps to keep the macaron chunks as whole as possible. Add to the final tin, smooth the top and set in the freezer overnight. You will have a little mixture left over as the additions make this increase in volume – eat straight from the spoon or freeze for another use.

6. To assemble, place one brownie in the centre of a serving plate. Top with the strawberry layer. Add another brownie layer and press down gently so the brownie sticks to the sorbet layer. Top with the chocolate ice-cream layer followed by the final brownie round. Add the vanilla layer to the top and press down gently again. You can stack this prior to serving and return to the freezer for about 45 minutes, any longer and the brownie layers will begin freeze – this makes them quite difficult to cut when serving, particularly when you have so many layers to slice through.

7. Top with any or all of the suggested toppings and serve. It is best to cut through this with a hot, wet knife. You will find the sorbet layer, without any dairy, may be a little harder to slice through.

Tip: For fussy eaters, the brownie layers in between mean this cake can be easily disassembled and cut as one or two layers.

*If you prefer to bake the brownie rounds from scratch, my dark chocolate and olive oil brownie recipe would work well.