Ice Cream Cake

You won’t believe how easy it is to make an ice cream cake at home! This festive copycat Dairy Queen ice cream cake is perfect for your next celebration.

Slice of Ice Cream Cake on Small Plate

Simply Recipes / Cambrea Gordon

This festive copycat Dairy Queen ice cream cake is layered with rich chocolate ice cream, creamy chocolate fudge, crunchy Oreo pieces, and creamy vanilla ice cream, then frosted with whipped cream and finished with rainbow confetti sprinkles.

This homemade version of the classic is a show stopping centerpiece for your next birthday party or special occasion.

Ice Cream Cake That Was Cut Into on Plate with a Glass in the Background

Simply Recipes / Cambrea Gordon

Ice Cream Cake Doesn’t Involve Cake At All

Although the name suggests cake, this ice cream cake doesn’t actually have any cake in it! It is composed of layers of ice cream with some fun goodies in between, made in a cake pan and frosted like a normal cake would be. It cut just like a regular cake and has a cool and refreshing flavor that is perfect for summertime. 

The Anatomy of an Ice Cream Cake

  • The ice cream: The ice cream is the star of the cake, so I recommend using a high-quality ice cream for the best flavor possible. I used Tillamook ice cream for both of the layers, which is my favorite brand, but you could also use brands like Breyers or Haagen Daaz. Make sure the ice cream you choose is a dairy forward ice cream and not just a “frozen dessert” as this will not be as soft and creamy.
  • The Oreo crunchies: This layer is quick and easy to make, and you only need two ingredients! The Oreo cookies are crushed and then mixed with melted butter before baking which makes them extra crunchy and gives the cake a layer of texture.
  • The homemade fudge: Homemade fudge is surprisingly simple to make and brings a layer of richness to the ice cream cake.
  • The whipped cream frosting: Regular buttercream frosting would be too heavy for this ice cream cake which is why it’s frosted in homemade whipped cream instead! 
Ice Cream Cake on Plate Next to Smaller Plates with a Candle on It

Simply Recipes / Cambrea Gordon

How to Make Homemade Chocolate Fudge

Making chocolate fudge from scratch is quick and easy and you only need a few pantry staples to make it. 

  1. Heavy cream: The cream is going to emulsify all of the fudge ingredients together and make it super smooth and creamy. Because it has a high fat content, the cream allows the fudge to stay soft even straight from the freezer.
  2. Chocolate chips: You can use milk, semi-sweet, or dark chocolate chips for the fudge. This recipe uses semi-sweet which gives it a sweeter and less bitter flavor.
  3. Butter and vanilla: The butter brings more richness to the fudge and helps it look shiny after it has set. The vanilla is for extra flavor!

How to Make Homemade Whipped Cream

The taste of homemade whipped cream is far better than store bought which is why we are going to make it from scratch! If you’ve never made homemade whipped cream before, don’t worry, it’s very simple. Here are some tips on making the best whipped cream.

Keep it chilled: Keep the cream in the fridge until right before you need to use it. and stick the bowl and whisk in the freezer for 10 minutes before mixing. If the cream is too warm, the fat becomes ineffective as a stabilizer, and the cream will fall flat.

Use a mixer: The easiest way to whip cream is in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, or with an electric hand mixer. It should only take a few minutes of whipping to get a nice consistency. After it starts to form a soft peak where it’s barely hanging on to the whisk, watch it carefully. If the cream is overmixed, it’ll turn into butter!

Slice of Ice Cream Cake on Plate with Rest of Cake in Background

Simply Recipes / Cambrea Gordon

How to Frost a Cake With Whipped Cream

You may think that frosting a cake with whipped cream is going to be more difficult than a buttercream, but it’s actually fairly easy to work with. These are my best tips for frosting the cake with whipped cream successfully:

  • Use a large offset spatula: A large offset spatula is designed to frost cakes with little effort and is my go-to tool of choice when frosting. If you don’t have a large spatula you can also use a large butter knife, although the final texture won’t be as smooth.
  • Use a piping bag: This is my favorite way to frost any kind of cake, but especially whipped cream as it has a much lighter texture and makes it easier to work with. You can fit the piping bag with a round tip, then pipe the whipped cream in a spiral over the top and on the sides of the cake, then use your spatula to smooth the lines out. If you prefer to not use a piping bag that’s okay! You can transfer the whipped cream onto the cake using a large spoon and then use your knife or spatula to spread it around the cake. 
  • Piping rosettes: If you don’t have a piping bag you can also use a ziplock bag with the corner cut and then fit it with the star tip. You don’t have to use a lot of pressure to create the rosettes as the whipped cream is very airy. To create perfect rosettes, hold the bag directly above the top of the cake and move it in a clockwise motion while squeezing with even continuous pressure.
Ice Cream Cake That Was Cut Into on Plate

Simply Recipes / Cambrea Gordon

Tips and Tricks for Making Ice Cream Cake

Making a homemade ice cream cake may seem challenging at first, but it is actually simple to make. Here are a few tips for a rockstar cake:

  • Use softened ice cream: This step is important because it’s very difficult to spread the ice cream if it’s straight out of the freezer. 
  • Clear freezer space: Ice cream cakes make frequent trips to the freezer to chill in between layers and before serving. I recommend clearing the space before starting so the cake layers are not sitting at room temperature in between steps which could cause it to melt.
  • Use a springform pan: This type of pan is best for an ice cream cake because it allows you to remove it from the pan easily. If you don’t have a springform pan you can also use a standard round cake pan.
  • Make it ahead: Because this cake has multiple steps and lots of chill time, I recommend making it the day before you plan on serving it. I don’t recommend making it too far ahead of time though unless you have some kind of cake carrier container to store it in. Leaving the cake uncovered in the freezer for longer than 1 week will start to take on a stale freezer taste.

How to Store Leftover Ice Cream Cake

I recommend storing the cake or any leftovers in a large cake carrier if space allows, or cut into slices and store in a sealed container. You can place pieces of parchment paper in between cake slices to keep them from freezing together.

Any leftover ice cream cake will last for up to 1 week in the freezer if uncovered. After this time the cake can start to crystalize and taste freezer burnt.

Slice of Ice Cream Cake on a Small Plate with a Fork with More Cake in the Background

Simply Recipes / Cambrea Gordon

Ice Cream Cake

Prep Time 100 mins
Chill Time 8 hrs
Total Time 9 hrs 40 mins
Servings 8 to 10 servings

You'll need an 8x3-inch round springform pan to make this cake.

Ingredients

For the ice cream cake layers

  • 1 1/2 pints chocolate ice cream, such as Tillamook

  • 1 1/2 pints French vanilla ice cream, such as Tillamook

For the Oreo crunchies

  • 1 cup (100g) Oreo crumbs, from about 12 cookies with the filling scraped out 

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the chocolate fudge

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

  • 1/2 cup (6 ounces) semi sweet chocolate chips

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the whipped cream frosting

  • 2 cups (440g) heavy whipping cream, cold

  • 1 cup (100g) powdered sugar

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For decorating

  • Rainbow dot sprinkles

Special Equipment

  • 8x3-inch round springform
  • Large star piping tip
  • Piping bag

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F:

    Line a sheet tray with parchment paper and set aside until ready to make Oreo crunchies. Line an 8x3-inch round springform pan with a piece of plastic wrap on the bottom of the pan long enough so it hangs off the sides, then clasp and seal the pan tight. Use two more pieces of plastic to sit in and up the sides of the pan.

    Plastic Wrap in a Cake Tin for Ice Cream Cake Recipe

    Simply Recipes / Cambrea Gordon

  2. Make the chocolate ice cream layer:

    Let the chocolate ice cream sit out at room temperature for 15-20 minutes, until it’s soft enough to scoop but not melted. Spoon the ice cream into the lined springform pan and use a small offset spatula or spoon to evenly fill the pan until the top is flat and smooth. Place the pan in the freezer to chill uncovered for 30 minutes while you make the crunchies and fudge.

    Chocolate Ice Cream Layer in Baking Pan for Cake Recipe

    Simply Recipes / Cambrea Gordon

  3. Make the Oreo crunchies:

    In a medium bowl, combine the Oreo crumbs and melted butter. 

    Bake the crumbs on a parchment-lined sheet tray for 10 minutes until they begin to smell chocolatey.

    Let it cool completely on a wire rack.

    Cookie Layer Mixed in a Bowl with a Spoon for Ice Cream Cake

    Simply Recipes / Cambrea Gordon

  4. Make the fudge layer:

    To make the fudge, pour the cream into a small pot and heat it over medium low heat for about 5 minutes or until the cream starts to bubble. 

    Add the chocolate chips into a large heat proof bowl and pour the cream over. Let it sit for 1 minute, then stir to combine using a rubber spatula. 

    Add in the softened butter and vanilla and stir to combine until smooth.

    Chocolate Chips in a Bowl of Cream for Ice Cream Cake

    Simply Recipes / Cambrea Gordon

  5. Pour fudge onto frozen chocolate layer:

    Pour the fudge over the top of the frozen chocolate layer, then place it back in the freezer to set the fudge, about 10 minutes. The fudge should be set but still tacky when you touch it.

    Melted Chocolate Layer for Ice Cream Cake in Pan

    Simply Recipes / Cambrea Gordon

  6. Layer the Oreo crunchies over the set fudge layer: 

    Sprinkle the cooled Oreo crunchies evenly over the fudge. Press the crumbs gently into the fudge to make sure the layer is even. Place the pan back in the freezer for 1 hour.

    Chocolate Crumb Layer Added to Pan for Ice Cream Cake Recipe

    Simply Recipes / Cambrea Gordon

  7. Make the vanilla ice cream layer:

    Take the vanilla ice cream out of the freezer and let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes until softened. 

    Scoop the ice cream into the pan on top of the crunchies and use an offset spatula to evenly fill the pan all the way to the top. Make sure the top is level and smooth, then cover the pan and place it back in the freezer for at least 6 hours to freeze.

    Vanilla Ice Cream Layer Added to Cake in Pan

    Simply Recipes / Cambrea Gordon

  8. Make the whipped cream frosting:

    When you’re ready to frost the cake, pour the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla into a stand mixer bowl or large bowl for a hand mixer. Mix on medium speed until the whipped cream fills the top of the whisk and the tip stands straight up when pulled out of the bowl.

    Whipped Cream Whisk Attachment and in Mixing Bowl for Ice Cream Cake

    Simply Recipes / Cambrea Gordon

  9. Unmolding the cake:

    Place a large plate or serving platter in the freezer to chill for 10 minutes. This will keep the cake from melting when you transfer it to the plate.

    Take the cake pan from the freezer and unlock the clasp. Pull the ends of the bottom piece of plastic wrap on the bottom of the pan to remove it from the springform pan. Gently pull the plastic wrap off the cake and use your hand or a spatula to transfer the cake to the frozen plate.

  10. Frost the cake:

    Use a large offset spatula or butter knife to frost the cake with all but 1 cup of the whipped cream.

    Ice Cream Cake Iced with Whipped Cream on Plate Using Offset Spatula

    Simply Recipes / Cambrea Gordon

  11. Decorate the cake:

    Fit a large piping bag with a large star tip and fill it with the remaining 1 cup of whipped cream. Pipe a few rosettes on top of the cake, then sprinkle with rainbow dot sprinkles.

    Decorate Ice Cream Cake with Sprinkles

    Simply Recipes / Cambrea Gordon

  12. Freeze the cake:

    Before serving, place the cake back in the freezer to chill the whipped cream for 20-30 minutes.

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    Ice Cream Cake on Plate Next to Forks and Smaller Plates with a Candle on It

    Simply Recipes / Cambrea Gordon

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
591 Calories
43g Fat
50g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 591
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 43g 55%
Saturated Fat 26g 131%
Cholesterol 112mg 37%
Sodium 119mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 50g 18%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 44g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 1mg 4%
Calcium 141mg 11%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 320mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.