How to Make an Ice Cream Cake: An Easy Ice Cream Cake Recipe

It's not nearly as complicated as you might think to learn how to make an ice cream cake. Even beginning cooks can put together ice cream cakes with great results. Depending on how much you want to splurge on premium ingredients, you may or may not save any money, but one thing you'll gain is the satisfaction of turning out an impressive dessert with only a little bit of effort.

Making Ice Cream Cake
Recipes for ice cream cake generally have you build layers of cake and ice cream. Simple, right? You can bake your cake from scratch or use a box mix, but whichever route you go remember that sponge and butter cakes, like pound cake, hold up best. Choose flavors and flavor combinations that appeal to you. If you're using chocolate cake, you might want a more subtle flavor of ice cream. Likewise, simple sponge cake complements stronger ice cream flavors perfectly.

Ice cream cake pans are specially designed to get the job done and make assembly and serving a bit easier. If you plan to make ice cream cakes regularly, you may want to invest in one. Otherwise, you have the option of using two separate cake pans. Bake your cake in one and use a knife to divide it into two layers. Use the other to house your ice cream. Always store your cake layers in the refrigerator until ready to use to retain moisture until ready to combine with the ice cream.

Selecting Ice Cream
When it comes to the ice cream, you'll want to take more than flavor into consideration. Whether you go for traditional flavors like vanilla or seasonal flavors like pumpkin, you'll also want to pay attention the butterfat content. Denser ice creams make for a heavier dessert and may overpower your cake choice. Likewise, light ice creams or ice cream alternatives made from soy may not hold up to your liking.

First-timers would do best to stick as closely as possible to the ingredients called for in the recipe(s). Once you get the hang of assembling an ice cream cake, go ahead and experiment with different cake textures and ice creams until you find the combinations that you like best.

Toppings and Frostings
Consider topping your ice cream cake with crushed cookies, whipped creamed frosting, ganache or crushed or whole candy. Put as much thought and care into these added touches as you would for a traditional cake and let the frozen nature of the dessert itself lend itself to sculptural designs if you like (just be be sure to cut and serve immediately). 

Basic Ice Cream Cake Recipe

Ingredients you will need:
1 pint of ice cream, flavor of your choice
8 ounces of semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 ounces of white chocolate, chopped
1 ½ cup of cream
3 cups of sugar
2 ¾ cups of all-purpose flour
1 1/8 cups of cocoa powder
2 ¼ teaspoons of baking powder
2 ¼ teaspoons of baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons of salt
3 eggs
1 ½ cups of milk
¾ cup of vegetable oil
1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups of hot water


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. You will need to grease a sheet pan 13x17 inches in size and line the bottom with wax paper.

Combine sugar, flour, baking powder, cocoa, baking soda and salt and sift them together in a bowl. Mix thoroughly with an electric mixer.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla extract on low speed for three to five minutes. Add this mixture to your dry ingredients.

Slowly add the hot water, continuing to mix at low speed until all ingredients are combined well.The batter will be thin. Pour into your cake pan(s) and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until done. When the cake is cool, remove it from the pan.

If you didn't bake two layers, divide your single cake into two, taking care to cut as evenly around all sides.

Allow ice cream to soften for about ten minutes, then smooth a layer of ice cream onto the first layer of your cake. The ice cream should cover the piece completely. Place this cake and ice cream combination in the freezer for 15 minutes.

When ready, take the first layers of the cake out of the freezer, and set the second cake layer on top of the ice cream. Place some parchment paper on top of the cake and press down gently so that the top layer stays in place. Return the cake to the freezer until you are ready to add its toppings.

Ganache Topping
Heat the cream in a saucepan until it comes to a boil. Pour the boiled cream on top of the chopped semisweet chocolate and whisk together in a bowl to make the ganache.Repeat these steps with the remainder of the cream and the white chocolate.

Remove your ice cream cake from the freezer and spread the chocolate topping onto the top layer of cake using a spatula. Quickly drizzle the white chocolate mixture across the top in the pattern of your choice. Work quickly to prevent melting. Return cake to the freezer until needed.

For easier cutting, allow the cake to sit for 10 to 15 minutes prior to serving.

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