Woo hoo! Ice cream cake! It’s time for a Simpsons recipe that is delicious and gluttonous. And thanks to Homer’s shortcomings as a husband right off the bat we have the glorious Whale of a Wife cake.
This recipe is courtesy of Season 8’s “A Milhouse Divided,” which follows the crumbling marriage of Milhouse’s parents. After becoming frustrated with her family, Marge decides to throw a nice dinner party. Despite her best efforts, Luanne and Kirk Van Houten’s sour relationship ruins the fun. They come to blows during a game of Pictionary when Kirk (appropriately) can’t draw dignity (“we didn’t all go to Gudger College”). The Van Houtens split up, and Kirk’s life continues to fall apart when he loses his job at the cracker factory. Meanwhile, Luanne starts to let loose and dates an American Gladiator.
All of this somehow gets through to Homer and makes him realize he hasn’t been the best husband. While he ponders this fact, we flash back to their shotgun wedding. Marge is super pregnant and the officiant weds them by the power of “the state gaming commission” and hands over $10 worth of chips. In lieu of a reception, Homer buys a store-bought Whale of a Wife cake as transfer trucks zoom by. Back in “present day,” Homer tries to right his wrongs by filing for divorce and throwing a surprise wedding with all all of their friends. At their real reception, Kirk sings Luanne his famous demo “Can I Borrow a Feeling,” but it doesn’t exactly bring her running back into his arms.
Now! On to the cake. In the flashback scene, Marge can be seen sitting in front of what is clearly a Carvel ice cream shop. This clue plus the appearance of the cake itself lets us know this is a Fudgie the Whale® cake, the dessert of many-an ice cream lover’s childhood. So the recipe is really a how-to for recreating the signature Carvel cake, but with blue icing instead of fudge icing and a nice comment about Marge written on top.
Fudgie the Whale® is as simple as it is delicious, with no actual cake funny business. The bottom layer is chocolate ice cream, followed by a layer of fudge, chocolate “crunchies,” and vanilla ice cream. If you wanted to be really fancy about it, you could make the ice creams, fudge, chocolate cookies, and whipped cream. If you want to be true to the spirit of The Simpsons and a true American, you won’t do any of that. You’ll do what I did and get store-bought ice cream, hot fudge, chocolate cookies, and frozen whipped topping. Mmm… “whipped topping”.
The exact amounts for ingredients will depend upon how big you make your whale. I used three 1.5 quart containers of ice cream (two chocolate and one vanilla), one jar of hot fudge, one container of chocolate sandwich cookies with chocolate cream, and one large 16-ounce container of whipped topping. But I also went a little overboard and the cake fed about 20 people (if you count me three times, of course). If you don’t make your whale pattern so big or are okay with a shorter cake, you can get away with two 1.5 quart or half gallon ice creams.
Enough gabbing, this recipe has a lot of steps. Don’t let it deter you, though! If you’ve got an hour or so of cumulative free time over the course of a day or two, you can make this cake. It is guaranteed to make people smile in appearance and taste. Just think twice before presenting it to your pregnant wife.
Whale of a Wife Cake
Some awesome cardboard skills
Razor blade or Exacto knife
Hot glue gun
Chocolate ice cream
Vanilla ice cream
Chocolate cookies or sandwich cookies
Blue food coloring
A pastry bag and writing tip and a wider or star-shaped tip (or 2 zip-top bags with a corner cut off, making a small hole and a bigger whole)
Make your cardboard whale. This is all going to depend on your patience, cardboard skills, and dedication. I cut thick cardboard strips, scored them every half inch on one side, and created a whale shape. I glued the pieces down to a big rectangle of cardboard with a glue gun and attached the edges with duct tape. Full disclosure: I might have made mine too big, and might have been forced to make a special trip to the store to get another gallon of ice cream so that my whale wasn’t two inches tall. It also barely fit in my freezer, so make sure to test that out before you even get started.
Sound too overwhelming? You can always make a thin whale cake by spreading each layer of ice cream onto a lined jelly roll pan and then cutting out the shape of a whale once it’s all frozen. Ice the thing with whipped cream and no one will be the wiser. Plus you’ll have leftover bits for later. Or just find a Carvel store and beg them to write “To a Whale of a Wife” on top.
Line your cardboard whale with plastic wrap. Make sure you get every nook and cranny and use plenty of overlap. I placed a giant piece in the bottom and pressed it into the corners, and then used three or four pieces to line the edges, overlapping each one with the bottom and the other side pieces. You can use tape to secure the edges to the outside of the cardboard.
Take the chocolate ice cream out of the freezer and let it thaw for 15-30 minutes depending on how hot your kitchen is. Scoop it out and into the bottom of your whale and gently help it get into all of the corners. It should be a pretty level layer on the bottom. Top with room temperature chocolate fudge sauce, drizzling in an even-ish layer. Freeze! No, not you, the ice cream. Freeze it for at least an hour, two is better.
Grind your cookies into crumbs. You can use a food processor, or go caveman on it with a large zip-top bag and a rolling pin. Sprinkle a layer evenly on top of the chocolate ice cream and fudge. Press down lightly and return to the freezer for another two to three hours or more.
Take the vanilla ice cream out of the freezer and let it thaw just like you did with the chocolate ice cream. Carefully spread it on top of the chocolate ice cream and fudge and cookies in an even layer. Freeze for, you guessed it, hours. Ideally four or more.
Optional Step 5 ½:
I made my whale too big. Whoops. So I made another layer of fudge and cookies and then more chocolate ice cream. You know the drill.
Thaw your whipped topping if it is frozen, but keep it cold. Mix most of it with blue food coloring, leaving a cup or so white, until the desired color is reached. Place in the fridge.
Remove the cake from the freezer and carefully remove the cardboard walls. Try not to deform your whale, and slide the side pieces of plastic wrap off or just smooth them down onto the bottom piece of cardboard that is serving as a plate.
Ice the cake with the blue whipped cream. You will want to work relatively quickly and carefully since as the ice cream melts it’ll want to make a mess. If things get too messy, slide the cake in the freezer for 30 minutes before continuing. Ice the top and sides with a nice layer of delicious blue. Put the cake in the freezer while you get ready to decorate.
Place some white whipped topping in a pastry bag or a zip-top bag fitted with a small, circle pastry tip. If you don’t have one, just cut a small hole in one of the bottom corners of a zip-top bag. Grab another pastry bag or zip-top bag and add some white whipped topping to it, using a wider or star-shaped tip (or just cutting a bigger whole).
Decorate! Use the bag with the small tip to write “To a Whale of a Wife” in big loopy cursive, just like they taught you in grade school. Use the bag with the bigger hole to decorate the edges. And now it’s time for the final freeze! Slide that baby in the freezer for at least a few hours, overnight would be great.
Disclaimer: Not an appropriate replacement for a wedding cake.
Note: CARVEL, FUDGIE THE WHALE, and the whale cake mold design are registered trademarks of Carvel Corporation.