Best Bet: Gelato cake

Gelato cake from YoLo Bakes.

Photo by Michael Donahue // Buy this photo

Gelato cake from YoLo Bakes.

Maybe it was because I recently went to several high school graduation parties, which remind me of birthday parties, but I suddenly had a craving for ice cream cake. I remembered those chocolate roll-up cakes with ice cream between the layers I had when I was little.

I discovered YoLo Bakes makes "ice cream"-type cakes, but instead of ice cream they use gelato, which contains more whole milk than cream so it has less fat than ice cream.

"It's ice cream kicked way up on a higher notch," explained YoLo's Brandi Marter, who makes their gelato cakes.

Instead of rolled up, YoLo Bakes cakes are the standard round cakes. I ordered the cherry cake with chocolate gelato and chocolate butter cream frosting. It's a decadently good concoction topped with maraschino cherries.

I asked former Vito's Cucina and Republic Coffee owner Chris Conner, who was in the store, to try some. He took a bite. Then he took another. And another. "Usually, cakes like this, the cake isn't good," he said. "This cake is perfect."

The chocolate gelato "is clean," he added. "It lets all the other flavors come out."

The cakes are "super simple to make," Marter said. "People could make them at home with regular ice cream if they wanted to."

Marter doesn't use special pans to make the cakes. "I just use regular cake pans."

She bakes the cake in two pans, leaves one layer in the pan and piles gelato on top. She makes sure the layers are smooth and then places the other cake layer on top. She then sticks the cake in the blast freezer.

"It's one of the easiest cakes to make. It takes all of 5 minutes to get it iced and decorated because the cake is so hard you don't have to worry about being careful with it."

Marter made cakes with ice cream when she worked at Coldstone Creamery. After she took the job at YoLo, she said, "Let's put gelato in a cake."

"The first one that I made, I believe, was chocolate cake and Nutello (chocolate hazelnut spread) gelato. I used a cream cheese icing on the outside. It was just a tester made at the shop."

Customers can order any type of gelato cake they want, Marter said.

Six-inch cakes are $20, 8-inch cakes are $30 and 10-inch cakes are $40. "I have 72 combinations of icings and cakes. If someone comes up with something I don't have on my menu, I can make that."

YoLo Bakes is at 6 South Cooper; (901)-343-0438.

Michael Donahue: (901) 529-2797; donahue@commercialappeal.com

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