Pharrell Williams? More like Pha-babe Babe-liams. In hindsight, isn’t it the weirdest thing how his group N.E.R.D used elements of rock and hip hop in their amazing music, but so did, Limp Bizkit and Crazy Town? To be fair, if you heard it playing in another room, you could possibly mistake “Butterfly” for having the hand of the Neptunes on it. “Beautiful, I just want you to know, you’re my butterfly, sugar baby.”
So yes, it’s the sleekly handsome Pharrell Williams is for whom I make a crush cake this week. This crush kicked off when I first heard N.E.R.D’s song Lap Dance over in 2001, and its audacious, come-at-me lyrics and crunchy dirty melody had me hooked. Three years later I took a train up to Auckland and bought their debut album for $10. The great thing about having a crush on Pharrell Williams is that he was in every third music video ever since 2002. These are the days before Google Images and obsessive tumblr sites. And the man looks as cheekbonesily dapper in a suit as he does adorable in pastels and glasses that he presumably doesn’t actually need.
Pharrell mentions ice cream a lot, and even has a clothing line called Ice Cream. Ice cream is my favourite food. I think we’re gonna get on just fine. I decided to take him at his word and make a crush-worthy ice cream cake. Initially I was going to make a giant ice cream sandwich but it would’ve been even too impractical for me, especially considering two weeks ago I covered a cake in safety pins and birth control sugar pills. Instead you get is this: chocolate brownie base, vanilla ice cream middle covered in freeze-dried raspberry powder, and a big old pile of nerds candy on top. The stupid thing is, I initially thought I’d just cover the cake in candy because I love candy. The N.E.R.D/Nerds connection did not occur to me until I stood in front of several packets of them at the shop. I’m a little embarrassed about that.
Set your oven to 180 C/360 F, and grab yourself a 21cm spring form tin. Gently melt 100g dark chocolate and 100g butter together (seriously, chocolate will burn in seconds), and allow it to cool a little. Mix in ½ cup sugar, 1 egg, and ½ cup flour—spatula the mix into the base of the tin, and bake for about 15 minutes. It really doesn’t matter how cooked it is, you’re freezing it. Allow it to cool completely. Meanwhile: whip 1 ½ cups cream, ½ cup of loosely packed icing sugar and a splash of vanilla extract till it’s a little firm yet still liquidy— like a decent thick shake. Tip this on top of the now cooled brownie base, and freeze the lot. Run a knife around the outside and remove the spring form tin from around it. Top with a pile of nerds candy and sprinkle over some freeze-dried raspberry powder, if ya like.
Note: technically the freeze-dried raspberry powder isn’t necessary, but I like the juxtaposition of it’s pure natural flavour and the nerds with their all-out food colouring and corn syrup. Also looking at the cake makes it feel like your retinae have had their saturation quotient upped in Photoshop. Plus, I am a damn food blogger, that’s the kind of stuff I have casually in my pantry to sprinkle over breakfast cereal. You might want to put baking paper on the cake tin first, otherwise you’ll have to dig the cooked frozen brownie off with a fork when you eat it for breakfast.
Follow Laura on Twitter: @HungryandFrozen