How to Make a Delicious Layered Ice Cream Cake

Learn how to create a scrumptious homemade ice cream cake with layers of chocolate cake and creamy vanilla ice cream, topped with a delightful whipped cream frosting.

A slice of ice cream cake on a white plate with a fork next to it.

When summer arrives, there’s nothing more refreshing than indulging in a delicious ice cream treat. And what could be better than making your own ice cream cake from scratch? Don’t worry, it’s easier than you think!

This homemade ice cream cake recipe combines the richness of chocolate cake with the creaminess of vanilla ice cream, all topped off with a fluffy whipped cream frosting. It’s the perfect dessert to enjoy during those warm summer months or for any special occasion.

Recipe Ingredients

While the list of ingredients may seem lengthy, you don’t need anything fancy to make this homemade cake. Here are a few key ingredients you’ll need:

  • Sweetened Condensed Milk: Make sure to use sweetened condensed milk, not evaporated milk.
  • Heavy Whipping Cream: Use heavy whipping cream with at least 36% milkfat.
  • Buttermilk: This helps create a soft and tender crumb in the chocolate cake layers.
  • Vanilla Extract: Stick with pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste for the best flavor.
  • Espresso Powder: Optional, but it enhances the chocolate flavor in the cake.

The ingredients needed for an ice cream cake on a gray surface.

How to Make an Ice Cream Cake

Make The Ice Cream Layer

  1. Combine the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract, and salt: Whisk the mixture until well combined.
  2. Beat your heavy cream to stiff peaks: Mix on low speed, then increase to medium-high until stiff peaks form.
  3. Fold in the whipped cream: Gently fold half of the whipped cream into the sweetened condensed milk, then fold in the remaining whipped cream.
  4. Freeze the ice cream: Scoop the ice cream mixture into a springform pan lined with plastic wrap, smooth it out, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze overnight.
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Vanilla ice cream mixed together in a glass mixing bowl.
Vanilla ice cream spread out into a springform pan that's been lined with plastic wrap.

Prepare The Chocolate Cake Layers

  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients: Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Whisk in the wet ingredients: Add the oil, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla extract, and mix until just combined.
  3. Whisk in the boiling water and espresso: Combine the instant espresso powder with boiling water, add to the mixing bowl, and whisk until everything is combined.
  4. Bake the cake layers: Divide the batter between two greased 9-inch cake pans lined with parchment paper, and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake layers cool completely, then refrigerate.

The dry ingredients for chocolate cake in a glass mixing bowl, with a whisk.
Chocolate cake batter in a glass mixing bowl with a whisk.

Assemble The Ice Cream Cake

  1. Make the frosting: Prepare a double batch of homemade whipped cream. Stabilizing the whipped cream is optional.
  2. Level and stack the cake layers: Add a little whipped cream to the center of your assembly surface. Place the first layer of chocolate cake on top, followed by the ice cream layer, and finally, the second cake layer upside down.
  3. Add the whipped cream frosting: Spread a thin layer of whipped cream over the cake to catch crumbs, then use the remaining whipped cream to frost the cake.
  4. Freeze for 30 minutes to 1 hour: This will allow the ice cream to set and make slicing easier.

An overhead view of whipped cream being spread onto the cake.
A finished ice cream cake coated in whipped cream and topped with sprinkles.

Storage Instructions

It’s best to assemble the cake on the day of serving, but you can prepare it up to a week in advance and store it in the freezer. If making it ahead, cover it once the whipped cream has frozen solid to keep it fresh. Wrap it with plastic wrap and store it in a large freezer-safe container.

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When freezing any leftovers, make sure to place plastic wrap directly on the exposed cake to prevent it from drying out.

A sliced ice cream cake on a cake stand.

Recipe Variations

This ice cream cake recipe is highly customizable. Here are some ideas to try:

  • Use a different cake flavor: Besides chocolate cake, you can use vanilla, carrot, Funfetti, strawberry, red velvet, or lemon.
  • Try another ice cream flavor: Experiment with Oreo, peanut butter cup, strawberry, or mint chocolate chip ice cream.
  • Use only one layer of cake: Make an ice cream cake with one 9-inch cake layer topped with ice cream.
  • Use different sprinkles/toppings: Swap out the sprinkles for colors that suit the occasion. You can even add chocolate ganache for an extra touch.

A slice of ice cream cake on a white speckled plate. A fork has cut into the cake to remove a piece.

Enjoy making this delightful homemade ice cream cake, and feel free to get creative with your own variations! For more exciting recipes, visit Ice Cream!

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