Hello, today is my birthday.

And I choose to celebrate by making myself an Italian ice cream cake. Why? Because, well…ice cream cake.

Chocolate Hazelnut Semifreddo | Things I Made Today

Chocolate Hazelnut Semifreddo | Things I Made Today

I’ve never been a fan of traditional cake. For birthday parties as a kid, it was always cookie cake. Even for our wedding, we went with an ice cream bar rather than the traditional option. And for my 29th birthday, I made semifreddo, the Italian version of ice cream cake, filled with chocolate and hazelnuts and topped with some fresh raspberries.

Chocolate Hazelnut Semifreddo | Things I Made Today

Chocolate Hazelnut Semifreddo | Things I Made Today

Is it wrong to want to make your own cake for your birthday? Not in my world.

Chocolate Hazelnut Semifreddo | Things I Made Today

We’ll also be celebrating with a cozy dinner with friends. But this? This is how I’d like to end the evening.

Chocolate Hazelnut Semifreddo | Things I Made Today

And as has been tradition for the last couple years, I’ll also share my stats from 28. It’s been an interesting year, certainly different from last year and even more different from 26. Here we go:

  • Books read: a measly 15. It seems like the less I travel the less I read. {Source: Goodreads}
  • Trips taken: 6, but only 4 of them flying (I won’t count Whitewater or Minneapolis as true trips, although we did stay at hotels). Other than the two big vacations we took this year to the Virgin Islands and Sicily, I also did weekend trips to Portland and Denver. {Source: TripIt}
  • Miles walked: 1202.04, pretty close to last year. {Source: FitBit}
  • Number of trips to Home Depot (counting per household, not just my own): 32. {Source: Mint}
  • Surgeries: 1. Just a minor meniscus repair that I’m soooo happy I did. This is sad but it is a statistic I like to track.
  • Repetitive Walks taken: 112. Can’t wait to make this into an animated movie of sorts. One whole year of photographs from the same two spots in Henry Vilas Park.
  • Blog posts posted: 183 (TIMT) + 24 (Grid) = 207. Surprisingly a little down from last year.
  • Human beings created: 8/9ths (so close!)

I’m sure there are other interesting things I’ve accomplished that I’m missing, but that’s about all I can sum up for now. Until next year (30…yikes).

Chocolate Hazelnut Semifreddo
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
  • 1 cup whole raw hazelnuts
  • 1¾ cup heavy cream
  • 2½ ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2½ ounces dark chocolate
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 2 egg whites
  • hazelnuts, chopped for serving
  • raspberries, for serving
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Toast hazelnuts for 10 minutes. Let cool, then grind in a food processor until nuts have the consistency of sand.
  2. In a double boiler or heavy bottomed pot, heat cream and chocolate over low heat. Stir frequently until chocolate is completely melted. Add hazelnuts and stir to combine. Remove from heat and transfer to refrigerator to cool.
  3. While the chocolate is cooling, whisk together egg whites in an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
  4. Next, heat sugar and water in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Bring sugar syrup up to 250F degrees, then, pour down the side of the bowl with the egg whites and continue to whisk on high speed until mixture forms stiff peaks again. The bowl should be cool to the touch and the mixture should be thick and fluffy. This will take between 6-10 minutes.
  5. Once meringue is complete, transfer to a large bowl. Pour cooled chocolate cream mixture into mixer and whisk until fluffy, about 5-10 minutes. Fold chocolate into meringue until fully mixed.
  6. Cover a 9 inch loaf tin with plastic wrap. Pour mixture into tin and smooth with spatula. Freeze for at least 3 hours, until semifreddo has hardened.
  7. Remove from freezer, let sit for 5-10 minutes, then flip onto plate. Top with chopped hazelnuts and raspberries and slice into ½ inch thick pieces. Serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from Food52.


  • 12 / 11 / 14 / 9:57 pm

    This is gorgeous…I LOVE HAZELNUTS and ICE CREAM!!!! Your pictures are absolutely incredible… pinned and following :) Have a great weekend!

    writes mila furmanReply
    • 12 / 12 / 14 / 8:01 am

      Thanks for the kind words, Mila! Just checked out your blog, seeing some good Russian recipes on there! Are you Russian as well?

      writes VickyReply
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