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It’s here. My favorite ice cream cake ever. I’ve been dying to share it, ever since creating the perfect vanilla butter cake base.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that time moves faster the older we get. So for my sister’s 30th birthday, I was reminiscing about the days when we were thick as thieves. When we had all the time in the world to have sister nights.
These days, birthdays are more than just transitions. They’re opportunities to steal a moment with my best childhood friend.
My sis was born on St. Pattrick’s Day — and there was this one time, my dad made her a giant shamrock shaped ice cream cake. Mind you, it was a hot mess, but you know what? It tasted great, and it was really special.
Sharing that ice cream cake was just one moment, but that’s all the more reason to make these adult birthday moments count!
I’ve never met an ice cream I don’t like. So when my sister told me her favorite dessert is lemon meringue pie, I just had to create a lemon meringue ice cream cake.
If you think about it, lemon meringue pie is genius because it’s not too sweet, slightly tangy, and a combination of textures.
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I already had a lemon custard ice cream that’s the frozen equivalent to lemon curd, so I just used a culinary torch to create that marshmellowy meringue frosting. For the buttery pastry component, I’ve opted for a gluten free butter cake.
How are ice cream cakes made?
We’ve all wondered what that mystery frosting is made of. So let’s start there.
A light-weight, spreadable frosting that clings to the cake and ice cream beneath it is key. Meringue is a great choice because it’s LIGHT. Plus, a meringue frosted ice cream cake can go into the freezer for same-day serving.
Italian meringue (where it’s warmed over simmering water) is a good option for its stability. It used to intimidate me, but it’s honestly easier than any frosting I’ve ever made.
What Are Ice Cream Cakes Made Of?
Anything and everything. Take your favorite ice cream, and it can be a new flavor of ice cream cake. Here are three types:
- ice cream layered with ice cream + frosting (often whipped cream)
- ice cream with crunchy cookies + frosting (here’s an example)
- ice cream layered with cake + frosting
Today, you will see how to assemble ice cream layered with cake, but all the same guidelines apply to the other types.
Will Ice Cream Cakes Melt?
Of course, an ice cream cake will melt…eventually. Depending on temperature, you will have a 30 minute window. It’s important to create space in your freezer for storing your ice cream cake up until it’s ready to serve.
Traveling with an ice cream cake is difficult but possible. To bring an ice cream cake in the car, you will want to create an ice cold environment in a cooler and keep your driving trip under 45 minutes.
It’s also important to work quickly when assembling and frosting the cake because the ice cream will begin to soften, making it difficult to work with. Once you remove the cake from the freezer, you have up to 30 minutes before you will need to serve it.
Best Pro Tip: Plan ahead. Give yourself time to completely freeze the ice cream layers before attempting to assemble and frost.
Tips to Making the Best Gluten Free Ice Cream Cake
- Scoop 3 cups Lemon Ice Cream (see recipe, or use store-bought) into a round cake pan lined with overhanging plastic wrap. I like to do this in two 6-inch cake pans for 2 layers of ice cream. Spread evenly and freeze overnight (8 hours).
- Cut out a round piece of cardboard (leave yourself a little handle too) and place the butter cake layer on top. Remove one ice cream layer from the freezer. Lift the plastic wrap and place the ice cream on top of the cake.
- Repeat step 2 with another layer of cake and ice cream (optional for a tall cake). Note: You can experiment with the order of the layers (ice cream on the bottom, cake on the top or the inverse).
- Cover layered cake with plastic wrap and freeze until ready to frost.
- Apply the meringue by placing a large dollop on top. Work quickly to spread the meringue around the sides, using a swirling motion with your spatula.
- Use a handheld culinary torch to toast the meringue (optional). Freeze until ready to serve. Note: once you store the cake unwrapped in the freezer, it should be used same day.
- Transfer cake to the refrigerator for 10 minutes or allow to set at room temperature for a few minutes before cutting. Slice and serve immediately.
Make Ahead and Freeze:
Cake may be assembled up to 3 days ahead up to step 4. Keep frozen and frost with meringue the day you are serving the cake.
In A Hurry? You can substitute store-bought ice cream for homemade. Since lemon ice cream is hard to find, I recommend investing in an affordable ice cream machine.
- Now you can create your cake! Remember to work quickly and to freeze, freeze, freeze. A frozen cake will hold together well and keep its shape.
Sometimes I miss hanging out with my sister every day. So in reality, when I get to actually sit down to a meal with her to eat a slice of cake, it’s a small but precious moment.
So while I may not have an allergy to gluten, I’m happy to bake her a gluten free birthday cake on her special day!
Thank you for being here! Did you make this recipe? Click on the star rating or leave a comment below. I’d love to hear how you got on. Connect with me @thefrayedapron on Instagram or Pinterest.