Belgian Cuberdon ice cream

Candy lovers! You may have your favourites, and the Belgians sure have theirs: the gooey Cuberdons! Now, let’s turn them into delicious ice cream!



Cuberdons – the origins

Many parts of the world have signature candy, and Belgium is no exception. The cuberdons, cone-shaped and traditionally filled with a gooey raspberry syrup, have been around since the later part of the 19th century. In its region of origin, they’re sometimes also referred to as “little noses”.

Much like a lot of ice cream lore, the exact origins remain murky but there are still good stories. According to one popular account, the “noses” (“neuzekes”) were created by a clergyman (hence other nicknames such as “nun’s belly-button” or “cleric’s hat”). A competing story instead gives the honour to a pharmacist by the name of De Vynck, who purportedly got inspired when he noted that a batch of discarded and forgotten medicinal syrup had turned hard on the outside but remained liquid on the inside. As the (unverifiable) story goes, he opened a candy shop soon after, and the rest is history. The traditional flavour is raspberry, but modern cuberdons can actually be had in a vast number of different flavours (apparently, there is even a cola-flavoured one destined for the US market).

A cuberdon consists of a relatively thick crust held together mainly by gum arabica, its interior traditionally filled with rich, gooey raspberry-flavoured syrup.

The syrup is very sweet and the  flavouring – while “natural” – feels far from natural raspberries, yet strangely addictive;-) . The optimal shelf-life is only about 8 weeks: after that, the sugar in the syrup inside the cone begins to crystalise and you end up with something that no longer really qualifies as a good cuberdon. This probably also explains why the cuberdon to this day largely remains a Belgian candy: short shelf-life seldom goes hand in hand with great international export success.

Cuberdon ice cream – the considerations

Broadly speaking, candy ice cream can be done in rather easy ways: take an ice cream base you like, add the candy (either by melting it or by chopping it up to be used as add-in or add-on). While this is a route open also to cuberdons, I decided to go with a “dedicated” recipe here however: the cuberdons are so very sweet (66 % sugar and glucose syrup), and contain quite some stabilisation (gum arabica and pectin) that I wanted to cut back on some of the overall sugar to avoid a too sickeningly sweet end result. I also used less fat than I’d normally go with in a base without eggs – not least in order to avoid risking that the fat would unduly “dull” the candy flavour. Optionally, but I used it, you may still add some Tara gum to the mix to ensure the overall consistency: if you go without, I think the result still should be good.

As for the how-to, this recipe is very simple:

Mix the cream and the milk in a saucepan.


Add the cuberdons, keep whisking and bring the mix up to about 80° C / 176° F (this will help melting the cuberdons and – if used – also ensure the full activation of the tara gum).  Add the sugar (if using, mix in the Tara gum before) to the dairy. Whisk for a couple of more minutes until all has dissolved.

Take off from the heat and let the base cool down and then chill in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours or over night.

Churn in your ice cream machine, or still-freeze in your household freezer.


Freshly churned cuberdon ice cream. Notice how the colouring of the candy did not carry over to ice cream. If you wish to re-create also that aspect of the cuberdon, you’d have to add some crimson food coluring.


There is something special with freshly churned ice cream – this one, I admit, belonged to an early test batch that became too sweet (and consequently extra soft …). The photo is nice, however, and I can assure you that the test batch turned out to be very popular among the family’s sweet-toothed members 😉


Still delicious when served freshly churned, this scope came from a batch made with the recipe in this post: still pleasantly sweet and soft but overall better balanced.


A delicious candy-flavoured ice cream

The cuberdons turned out to be a perfect fit for use in ice cream. The ice cream really delivers, with the cuberdon coming through very clearly and in a pleasantly balanced way: a lot of candy flavour, yet still not overly sweet. The overall consistency turned out to be very good too: great mouthfeel and the ice cream remained nice and scopable, even after several hours in the freezer: no surprise perhaps, given the total amount of glucose syrup and sugar in this creation 😉 .

Cuberdons may not be so easy to track down outside of Belgium but if you ever get the chance: grab a box and try them out!

In any case, I hope the post may serve as inspiration for turning your own favourite candy into delectable ice cream!


Belgian Cuberdon ice cream
The Cuberdone, the cone-shaped Belgian speciality candy, turns out to be a perfect fit for ice cream!
  • 200 ml (about ⅘ cup) cream
  • 550 ml (about 2⅓ cup) whole milk
  • 50 ml (about ⅕ cup) sugar
  • 250 gr cuberdon candy
  • (optional) about 9 gram (approx. 1½ teaspoon) tara gum
  • (very optional: crimson food colouring, should you wish to re-create the candy's colour too)
  1. In a saucepan, mix the cream and the milk.
  2. Put on the heat and bring the mix up to about 80° C / 176° F.
  3. Add the cuberdons andt the sugar ((if using Tara gum, pre-mix it in with the sugar to be added here) Whisk until the cuberdons have melted and the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Take off from the heat and let cool down, the chill the base in the refrigerator for at least a few hours.
  5. Churn in your ice cream machine (or still freeze using your household freezer).

Several days in the freezer? No problems for this ice cream!

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