By special request, here is how we make a sorbet cake every December for our child with multiple food allergies. This photo is from my first attempt at making this cake, when she turned one year old. Since then, the cake has often been a bit more fancy, with three flavors of sorbet and a frosting layer around the sides.
1. Prepare three kinds of sorbet. We use: 1) Coconut sorbet made with canned coconut milk and sugar; 2) Chocolate sorbet based on melted dark chocolate, cocoa powder, water and corn syrup (the corn syrup is what helps it be creamy instead of coming out like a granita); and 3) Coffee sorbet that’s an adaptation of Philadelphia style coffee ice cream (we steep decaff coffee beans in hot coconut milk, strain it, and add sugar). The recipes are all inspired by those in The Ultimate Ice Cream Book by Bruce Weinstein. We make the sorbets in a Cuisinart ice cream and sorbet machine, but you can also buy yummy coconut sorbet at the store and use that instead of going through the process of making three kinds of sorbet at home. (Given that I’ll be very very pregnant this December, I suspect I may buy at least some of the sorbet we will be using!)
2. Prepare or buy gluten-free, allergy-friendly brownies or chocolate cookies to crumble. These are great for adding a dark chocolate crunch in between the sorbet layers!
3. Line a springform pan with plastic wrap.
4. Soften your first layer of sorbet slightly (i.e. 10 seconds in the microwave) and spread it to an even layer in the bottom of the springform pan. If you like, add some of the crumbled brownies or cookies on top of it. Put it in the freezer to harden.
5. Soften your second layer of sorbet slightly and spread it in an even layer on top of the original sorbet/cookie combo. If you like, put more of the brownie/cookie crumbles on top of the sorbet. Put the pan back in the freezer to so the sorbet can harden.
6. Soften and add your third layer of sorbet, spreading it evenly, and putting the pan back into the freezer. Add more cookie or brownie crumbs if you like.
7. I often add a fourth layer (and make it the same flavor as the first layer of sorbet was — typically for us, that means having coconut sorbet on the bottom and top of the cake).
8. After the fourth layer hardens, I “frost” the sides of the cake with more coconut sorbet. This is optional. If you want to do this, remove the cake from the springform pan (it may need to sit on the counter for a few minutes before you’ll be able to get it separated from the pan). Put the cake on a plate. Working very quickly, spread, pat or press softened coconut sorbet around the sides of the cake (and the top if necessary, to get it looking very smooth), and put the cake back into the freezer as quickly as you can. You may have to do this in two stages — frost half of the cake, put it back in the freezer before it melts too much, and then return to it a while later to frost the other half of the cake. (Or, don’t bother with frosting it — it’s delicious either way!)
9. You may wish to decorate the top of the cake with drizzles of chocolate syrup, icing, or frosting. Tip: you can press cookie cutters into the sorbet on top of the cake just enough to leave a shape for you to trace with your syrup, icing or frosting. Sometimes I do that with heart-shaped cookie cutters and then trace the heart “lines” with chocolate icing or syrup.