Ice Cream Cake

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This ice cream cake recipe is even more delicious than Carvel or Dairy Queen ice cream cake! A homemade chocolate cake is topped with two layers of ice cream, an Oreo fudge sauce and whipped cream frosting.

a slice of Ice Cream Cake on a plate with a fork


This homemade ice cream cake recipe is one of my all-time favorite recipes I’ve ever created. It’s so delicious many people have said it’s the best cake they’ve ever had!

This recipe is reminiscent of a dairy queen ice cream cake – but even more better. It’s made with homemade chocolate cake as the base. Then, it’s topped with two layers of your favorite ice cream – and sandwiched between those layers is a delicious Oreo fudge sauce (the best part).

Once assembled, the ice cream cake is “frosted” with homemade whipped cream and decorated with colorful sprinkles. It’s truly a dessert masterpiece than is perfect for birthdays & entertaining. Plus you can make it up to a month in advance and store it in the freezer!

front view of the inside of an Ice Cream Cake that has had slices cut out of it so all the layers are visible

Ice Cream Cake: Ingredients & Substitutions

overhead photo of the labeled ingredients in this Ice Cream Cake recipe
a slice of Ice Cream Cake on a plate with a fork that has taken a bite out of the cake

How to Make Ice Cream Cake

There are a good number of steps in this recipe – however don’t let them scare you away from making this delicious ice cream cake – it’s so worth the effort!

Make the Chocolate Cake

Since it has to freeze before using in this recipe, we begin by baking the chocolate cake.

Line a 9” round cake pan with parchment paper and lightly grease.

a round cake pan lined and greased

Then, whisk the canola oil, sugar, eggs, sour cream, milk and vanilla together in a large bowl.

How to Make an Ice Cream Cake - wet ingredients in a bowl before mixing
How to Make an Ice Cream Cake - wet ingredients in a bowl after whisking

Then, add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, se salt and espresso powder and stir or whisk to combine.

How to Make an Ice Cream Cake - dry ingredients in a bowl before mixing
How to Make an Ice Cream Cake - dry ingredients in a bowl after mixing

Next, pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pan.

How to Make an Ice Cream Cake - chocolate cake batter in a round baking pan before baking

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

How to Make an Ice Cream Cake - chocolate cake in a baking pan after baking

Then, let the chocolate cake cool completely in the pan before remove it from the pan, wrapping it in plastic wrap and freezing.

How to Make an Ice Cream Cake - chocolate cake wrapped in plastic wrap to be frozen

Make the 1st Ice Cream Layer

Once the chocolate cake is frozen, it’s time to assemble the ice cream cake. Begin by lining the same 9” round cake pan you used to bake the cake with wax paper or parchment paper. Trace bottom – make “handles” for easy removal.

a cake pan lined with parchment paper

Then, remove one of the two flavors of ice cream you chose (the one you want to be the top layer) and let it soften at room temperature for 5 minutes.

cookies and cream ice cream in a carton

Then, scoop the softened ice cream into the cake pan and press into a flat layer.

Freeze until hardened (about 30 to 60 minutes).  

assembling an ice cream cake - ice cream in a cake pan before spreading out
assembling an ice cream cake - ice cream in a cake pan after spreading out

Make the Oreo Fudge Layer

While the first ice cream layer is hardening, make the Oreo crunch layer (the best part).

Coarsely chop the Oreos, then combine the chopped cookies with 1 cup of chocolate fudge sauce.

Warm the Fudge Sauce

You may need to gently warm the fudge sauce so it is easy so pour and stir.

assembling an ice cream cake - chopped oreos in a bowl
assembling an ice cream cake - chopped oreos mixed with warm chocolate fudge sauce in a bowl

Then, spread the Oreo/fudge mixture evenly over the first (frozen) ice cream layer.

Return the cake to the freezer for 15-30 minutes, until the chocolate fudge layer is hardened.

assembling an ice cream cake - oreo fudge sauce on top of ice cream layer before spreading out
assembling an ice cream cake - oreo fudge sauce on top of ice cream layer after spreading out

Make the 2nd Ice Cream Layer

Once the fudge layer is hardened, remove the second ice cream variety from the freezer and let it soften at room temperature.

chocolate ice cream in the carton

Then, scoop the softened ice cream on top of the frozen fudge layer and spread it into a flat, even layer.

assembling an ice cream cake - ice cream on top of the fudge layer in a cake pan before spreading out
assembling an ice cream cake - ice cream on top of the fudge layer in a cake pan after spreading out

Assemble the Ice Cream Cake

Next, spread the remaining ½ cup chocolate fudge sauce over the ice cream.

assembling an ice cream cake - fudge sauce on top of the chocolate ice cream layer in a cake pan before spreading out
assembling an ice cream cake - fudge sauce on top of the chocolate ice cream layer in a cake pan after spreading out

Set the baked and frozen chocolate cake on the ice cream layer – top down.

Then, either cover the cake with another identical cake pan & flip it, OR flip the cake so that the chocolate cake is on the bottom and put it on a baking sheet or in another round dish/pan. You want the chocolate cake on the bottom so the ice cream/fudge sauce is pressed into it and they freeze together.

Return cake to the freezer and freeze until hardened (about 1 hour).

Frost with Whipped Cream

Once the cake is completely frozen, make the whipped cream that will be used as “frosting.” To do this, simply beat the whipped cream ingredients together until stiff peaks form. For a more detailed explanation see this post: homemade whipped cream.

Then, remove the frozen ice cream cake from the pan and put it on a serving plate, cake side down.

ice cream cake on a plate with the cake layer on the bottom

Cover with a smooth layer of whipped cream (I use a pastry scraper like this to spread).

Then use the remaining whipped cream to pipe an edge around the top and bottom of the cake.

Decorate with sprinkles (if desired), then return the finished ice cream cake to freezer until whipped cream has hardened and you are ready to serve. (about 1 -2 hours)

Serve

Remove the cake from the freezer 5 to 10 minutes before serving so it’s easier to cut. I suggest serving it in small slices (cut into rectangles instead of triangles) because it is very rich and a little goes a long way!

an ice cream cake with a slice cut out of it

Store/Freeze

Store leftover cake tightly wrapped in the freezer. You can store it as a full cake, or cut it and store it in individual slices – which is ideal for enjoying a single serving at a time.

I suggest flash-freezing the individual slices and then wrapping them tightly in plastic wrap. Then, store them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 month.

a fork taking a bite of a slice of ice cream cake on a plate

Ice Cream Cake Recipe FAQS

What is the frosting on an ice cream cake?

The best way to “frost” an ice cream cake is to use homemade whipped cream (or store bought or cool whip). It creates a nice outer layer but doesn’t freeze to hard.

What is the crunchy layer in a Dairy Queen ice cream cake?

In this recipe, it is a mixture of chopped Oreo cookies and chocolate fudge sauce.

How do you soften ice cream for ice cream cake?

Take the container out of the freezer and let it sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes.

How long should an ice cream cake sit out before serving?

I suggest letting the cake sit out for 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving.

What knife is best for cutting ice cream cake?

Use a long, sharp knife that has a thicker blade (but not too thick). You can also use a serrated knife with a pointy end.

Do you store ice cream cake in fridge or freezer?

The cake needs to stay frozen, so store it in the freezer.

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Ice Cream Cake Recipe

Laura
This ice cream cake recipe is even more delicious than Dairy Queen ice cream cake! A homemade chocolate cake is topped with two layers of ice cream, an Oreo fudge sauce and whipped cream frosting.
5 from 1 vote
Course cake, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 24 Servings
Calories 461
Prep Time1 hour
Cook Time30 minutes
Freezing1 day 12 hours
Total Time13 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients 
 

Chocolate Cake: (9” round cake)

Ice Cream Layers

Oreo Fudge Layer

Whipped Cream Frosting

Instructions 

Make the Chocolate Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Line a 9” round cake pan with parchment paper and lightly grease.
  • Whisk together canola oil, sugar, eggs, sour cream, milk and vanilla in a large bowl.
  • Then, add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, se salt and espresso powder and whisk to combine.
  • Pour cake batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Let cool completely in the pan.
  • Then remove the cake from the pan, wrap it in plastic wrap and freeze.

Make the First Ice Cream Layer

  • Line the same 9” round cake pan you used to bake the cake with wax paper or parchment paper. Trace bottom – make “handles” (see photos)
  • Remove 1.5 quarts ice cream (cookies and cream) and let soften on the counter for 5 minutes.
  • Scoop the ice cream into the cake pan and press into a flat layer.
  • Freeze until hardened (about 30 to 60 minutes).

Make the Oreo Fudge Layer

  • Coarsely chop the Oreos.
  • Warm fudge sauce in the microwave until spreadable (15-30 seconds)
  • Combine the chopped oreos with 1 cup of the slightly warmed fudge sauce.
  • Spread evenly over the frozen first ice cream layer.
  • Put in freezer for 15 minutes to harden.

Make the Second Ice Cream Layer

  • Remove 1.5 quarts ice cream (chocolate) and let soften on the counter for 5 minutes.
  • Scoop the ice cream into the cake pan over the fudge layer and press into a flat layer.

Assemble the Ice Cream Cake

  • Spread the remaining ½ cup chocolate fudge sauce over the ice cream.
  • Set the baked and frozen chocolate cake on the ice cream layer – top down.
  • Then, either cover the cake with another identical cake pan & flip it, OR flip the cake so that the chocolate cake is on the bottom and put it on a baking sheet or in another round dish/pan. You want the chocolate cake on the bottom so the ice cream/fudge sauce is pressed into it and they freeze together.
  • Return cake to the freezer and freeze until hardened (about 1 hour).

Make the Whipped Cream

Frost & Freeze

  • Remove the frozen ice cream cake from the pan and put it on a serving plate with the chocolate cake layer on the bottom.
  • Cover with a smooth layer of whipped cream (I use a pastry scraper like this to spread) , then use the remaining whipped cream to pipe an edge around the top and bottom of the cake (see photos) and decorate with sprinkles (if desired). (I used a small star tip to make the edges)
  • Return to freezer until whipped cream has hardened and you are ready to serve. (about 1 -2 hours)

Serve

  • Remove from freezer 5 to 10 minutes before serving so it’s easier to cut.

Video

Notes

Ingredient Substitution Notes
Store
Store the assembled cake in the freezer, tightly wrapped so no air can get to it, for up to 1 month. 
To store individual slices, flash freeze them on a baking sheet. Then, wrap them tightly in plastic warp or vacuum seal them. Then store in an airtight container for up to 1 month. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1piece | Calories: 461kcal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 71mg | Sodium: 274mg | Potassium: 389mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 50g | Vitamin A: 878IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 234mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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