Easy Homemade Ice Cream Cake (Just 3 Ingredients!)

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Video Vanilla ice cream cake

Using just three ingredients, you can customize a homemade Ice Cream Cake for any birthday or holiday in the flavors you (or the kids!) want. It’s super affordable, very straightforward, and so fun to make!


Homemade Ice Cream Cake

When my middle kiddo turned four, she had a very specific request: Orange sherbet ice cream cake with sprinkles. And while I realize you can buy ice cream cakes, the options for flavors in our area are slim, so I decided to try making one myself. I’m so happy that I did because it was really straight forward and so satisfying to make her the exact dessert she dreamed of!

This would work for any occasion, kids birthday, holiday, or just a fun way to celebrate a random weekend.

We have now made this a handful of times in a few different flavors and each one has been a total hit.

Ingredients You Need

To make an ice cream cake at home, you just need the following ingredients.

  • Ice cream: It really doesn’t matter which type you use, though it’s a little easier to slice if there aren’t big chunks in it. You can also use sherbet or frozen yogurt.
  • Whipped topping: Look for this in the freezer aisle near the ice cream.
  • Sprinkles or other decorations to add to the top.

TIP: You can use any kind of ice cream you prefer to customize it for the occasion. You could make this dairy-free by using dairy-free ice cream.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s a look at the process involved in making this ice cream cake. Scroll down to the end of the post for the full details.

  1. Line cake pans with one piece of plastic wrap, leaving an overhang so the frozen layer is easy to pull out of the pan.
  2. Scoop the ice cream into the prepared pans. Cover completely with plastic wrap and freeze.
  3. Remove layers from the freezer and remove the outer plastic wrap. Place the first layer onto a cake stand or plate.
  4. Add a layer of sprinkles or cookie crumbs, if desired. Unmold the second layer and place gently on top.
  5. Coat the top and the sides of the cake with whipped topping and add sprinkles. Freeze.
  6. Slice and serve.

TIP: You’ll want to start this the day before you plan to serve it so it has a chance to freeze through each step.

Frosting for Homemade Ice Cream Cake

I wanted to make this birthday cake as easy as possible, so I used whipped topping for the frosting. You can use the kind that’s sold frozen or in the dairy aisle. I find it easiest to spread it on the top and the sides of the cake using an offset spatula, though a regular spatula or butter knife can work too.

This frosting freezes nicely and holds it’s form well. It’s fun for a birthday at home or one with family and friends.

How to Decorate a Homemade Ice Cream Cake

I added sprinkles around the top edge and on the sides of the cake. I placed my cake stand with the cake over a towel and sort of threw the sprinkles at the sides of the cake. I did have to sweep up some that wound up on the floor but it was otherwise easy!

You could use any other decorations you prefer or use a tube of frosting to write on a message or name.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Store

To freeze leftovers, slice and place on paper plates. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for up to 1 month.

Best Tips for Success

  • Use any flavors you prefer. Know that if you use layers that have a slightly different consistency, such as the sherbet and vanilla ice cream shown here, one layer may be softer than the other. (It’s fine, though one layer may be easier than the other to slice through.)
  • Use smaller or larger cake pans if desired.
  • Use an offset spatula to frost the cake, or a regular butter knife or spatula.
  • You should have plenty of time to assemble and frost the cake before it starts to melt, so don’t stress. (But also don’t do that step if you have a lot of other things going on since you will want to get it back into the freezer!) It may melt faster if it’s humid or very warm in your kitchen.
  • If you want to make this with lower sugar, look for options in the ice cream section of your store. Or you could try it with my Strawberry Frozen Yogurt. (You’d likely want to double the recipe to make enough for two layers.)

I’d love to hear your feedback on this recipe if you try it, so please comment below to share!

This post was originally published in May 2020.

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