Red Velvet Semifreddo
Red Velvet Semifreddo (semi-frozen) is a simple Italian frozen dessert loaf with red velvet cake as the base, topped with a light and creamy vanilla layer made with eggs—similar to ice cream and somewhat like an icebox cake. Serve drizzled with a simple homemade strawberry sauce, adding a burst of fruity sweetness.
Looks like a red velvet cheesecake, right? This tasty treat is perfect to serve all year-round, and since this particular one is red and white, it is ideal for serving as a dessert on Valentine’s Day, Christmas, during holidays, or any special occasion.
The secret to its extra creamy texture lies in whipping egg yolks with sugar and vanilla extract (you can also use a vanilla bean), along with whipped egg whites and whipped cream.
All these ingredients are gently folded together in a large bowl. For the best results, fold gently to create a fluffy, creamy mixture. It’s like ice cream but without the need for an ice cream maker and without the churning process.
There is a lot of whisking involved, so I recommend using an inexpensive hand mixer to make your life much easier.
Semifreddo cake base
Semifreddo does not always have a cake base (like this red hued chocolate layer cake) but I feel it just completes it perfectly. The base can made from a boxed cake mix, or, in this instance, I made my own from my Red Velvet Cupcakes recipe.
The thickness of the cake layer is up to you; additionally, it doesn’t have to be perfect since you will only see parts of it in the slices. You can piece it together as long as it is even, and make sure the cake is cool or at room temperature.
Difference between semifreddo and ice cream
Ice cream is typically made with cream, milk, sugar, and flavors. Semifreddo, as mentioned above, involves whipping and warming egg yolks with sugar and vanilla, which are then combined with fluffy whipped egg whites and cream.
Best pan for semifreddo
I used a loaf pan to achieve this shape. I had some leftovers, so I also made a smaller, round one using my mini springform pan, which I previously used for my Mini Chocolate Cake for Two. As you can see, there are options for the pan or vessel you choose to use.
I used a glass loaf pan lined with plastic wrap. Alternatively, a metal pan can be used, lined with parchment paper, or you can opt for a silicone mold—the choice is yours
If you are concerned about raw eggs, you can heat the egg yolk mix to 165°F/74°C and whisk the egg whites over the same pan of simmering water until they reach the same temperature. Allow both to cool before combining.
The easiest strawberry sauce
To gild the lily and offset the creamy nature of this Red Velvet Semifreddo, I like to drizzle my fresh strawberry sauce on top. This is the same recipe as the strawberry sauce added to my British KnickerBocker Glory Sundae and the raspberry sauce I use to serve with Lemon Panna Cotta. If you can’t get fresh strawberries, frozen ones will also work.
Chefs tip for a smooth texture
When you remove the semifreddo from the mold, it may have lines on it from the plastic wrap or parchment paper. To make the surface smooth, simply run a knife or offset spatula under hot water for a minute and use it to smooth the surface without melting it too much.