Instructables

Homemade Ice Cream Cake

Featured
Picture of Homemade Ice Cream Cake
IMG_2036 edited.jpg
This recipe is a homemade version of the notoriously-delicious Carvel ice cream cake - chocolate crunchies and all. A summer birthday doesn't feel complete without an ice cream cake, and this one is incredibly easy to pull off. 

The key to making an ice cream cake is time. And a good freezer with plenty of space. You'll want to work with cold ingredients, and cold tools. I started this ice cream cake in the morning for an evening party. While it doesn't take a lot of time to assemble, you need to wait at least 2 hours between steps. Ideally, you want to start making the ice cream cake 24 hours before, to allow plenty of time for everything to set. 

 
 
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Ingredients

Picture of Ingredients
IMG_1890.jpg
IMG_1943.JPG
I went the simple route, and just bought ice cream besides making it myself. If you're using homemade ice cream (you ambitious chef, you) be sure to use the final product, and not the pre-churned batter.

Because I'm making a Carvel cake, I bought vanilla and chocolate ice cream, but you can use whatever flavors you like! The whipped cream frosting is a neutral enough flavor that it pairs well with everything. Cream + sugar = delicious.

For this recipe you will need:
  • 1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream
  • 1/2 gallon chocolate ice cream
  • 1 box chocolate wafers or Oreos (to de-creme) if you can't find wafers
  • 1 bottle chocolate magic shell
  • 1 Tbs gelatin
  • 1 c whipping cream
  • 3 Tbs powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • Decorations to top! I used cherries and colorful sprinkles, but I imagine just about anything that you'd find on a sundae would go well with this essentially re-formatted sundae. 
You will also need a springform pan, a mixing bowl, and a power-mixer. Be sure to place these tools in the freezer well before you use them, so everything you're working with is nice and cold. 
 

Step 2: Prep first layer

Picture of Prep first layer
IMG_1894.jpg
IMG_1899.JPG
523b531adbf3ece60400006e.jpg
IMG_1901.JPG
Your bottom layer of ice cream is likely still cold, so transfer it to a bowl and begin stirring until it just becomes soft. You don't want to work with entirely-melted ice cream because it will re-freeze differently. 

Spread your ice cream in the springform pan until the top is relatively flat. Clean off the sides with a bit of cool water... or your finger.

Cover, and place in the freezer next to those other supplies.

Step 3: Wait!

Picture of Wait!
Give this bottom layer at least 2 hours to set. 

Step 4: Chocolate cookie crunchies

Picture of Chocolate cookie crunchies
IMG_1913.JPG
IMG_1917.JPG
IMG_1919.JPG
IMG_1923.JPG
To kill some time (and maybe sneak a snack) while that layer's freezing, you can prep those chocolate crunchies. 

I wasn't able to find chocolate wafers a my supermarket, but I did find Oreos. I used a frosting spatula to separate the Oreos from their filling, but any flat device will work. Set centers aside, and/or offer them up to the masses. I'd love to see some Oreo-creme-based projects! Ideas?

Next, crush your chocolate cookies in either a food processor or in a Ziplock with a rolling pin. You don't want fine grain, or large chunks - shoot for something in the middle. 

Place crumbs in a bowl, and pour your Magic Shell chocolate fudge on top. BE SURE TO SHAKE WELL! It's coconut oil-based, which separates at room temp but hardens when slightly cooler (eg, on ice cream). You can also make your own magic shell for this step. 

Mix well, and set aside.

Step 5: Build top layer

Picture of Build top layer
IMG_1936.JPG
IMG_1929.JPG
IMG_1941.JPG
After patiently waiting, it's time to build the next layer. 

Spread those chocolate crunchies in a uniform layer on top of the now-set chocolate ice cream base. 

Using those same techniques as before, soften your vanilla ice cream, and gently spread that on top of the crunchies layer. Be careful to not stir it too hard, and disrupt the center and bring it up. Smooth-out the top of the ice cream so it's flat.

Place back in the freezer.
 

Step 6: Wait some more!

You've got at least another 2 hours to kill. Why not learn about the history of ice cream?

Step 7: Whipped cream "frosting"

Picture of Whipped cream
IMG_1961.JPG
IMG_1964.JPG
IMG_1977.JPG
IMG_1989.JPG
I don't know if you've ever frozen whipped cream, but I have and it comes out weird. It also melts really quickly We don't want either of these things to happen.

So, we're making some stabilized whipped cream using gelatin. Veggie friends out there, agar-agar works just as well. Other methods involve cornstarch and Whip It, but I'm using gelatin.

You will need:
  • 1 tsp unflavored gelatin
  • 1 Tbs cold water
  • 1 c cold heavy or whipping cream
  • 3 Tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water, and let it sit for a minute or so until it's absorbed. Then, microwave the gelatin at high heat for 30 seconds so it can "bloom." It should finish clear, but not melted. 

In the now-cold mixing bowl, beat the cold cream with a cold whisk (sensing a theme here?) until it gets thick and starts to form peaks. 

Gradually add in your sugar. Confectioners sugar is best, but granulated sugar works fine, too.

While the mixer is still running, slowly pour in your gelatin mixer until it's incorporated. Add vanilla, and add whatever other flavors you'd like.

To get that authentic Carvel look, separate a bit of whipped cream, and fold in blue food coloring until you reach your desired hue. 

Put all of these things in the refrigerator until you're ready to decorate. 
 

Step 8: Frost

Picture of Frost
IMG_1984.JPG
IMG_1987.JPG
After the two hours have passed, take your unfrosted cake our of the freezer. Place some parchment paper (or some other disposable kitchen paper) on a flat surface. 

Remove your cake from the springform pan, and place on the parchment paper. It's okay if the edges look a little rough - that's what frosting is for! Keep the springform base underneath the cake for now.

Using your whipped cream frosting base, frost the cake! It's okay if it's messy at the base, because we'll be removing the parchment paper later.

Place back in the freezer to set for at least another hour or two. 

Step 9: Keep waiting!

Yup, ice cream cakes take a long time to set. But, as you're already in the kitchen, here's some more recipes:

Cakes!
Ice Cream! 
Gelatin!

 

Step 10: Decorate

Picture of Decorate
IMG_1991.JPG
IMG_1992.JPG
IMG_1996.JPG
523b6503dbf3ec283a00008a.jpg
IMG_2002.JPG
Almost there! 

Remove your cake from the freezer, and place on your serving surface.  Use that same frosting spatula to clean off the edges.

Take out that blue whipped cream, and using a piping bag, test things out and find the right tip. 

If you're making a homemade Carvel-esque cake, frost the top and bottom edges with blue whipped cream. Stabilized whipped cream holds it's shape really well, so if you want to make something more ambitious, feel free!

Then top with whatever else you want :)

Step 11: Slice and Serve

Picture of Slice and Serve
IMG_2024.JPG
IMG_2036 edited.jpg
If you're not serving for a bit, place back in the freezer. And if you are, enjoy! A knife warmed under hot water slices through cold cakes like this smoothly.

 
uwarren3 months ago
Oh my! Oh my! Oh my! I want that so much, please!

Awesome! My husband wants an ice cream cake for his birthday, but I did not want to spend $50+ at Cold Stone! Haha. So, I read through some of the comments to see if you had already answered this question, but didn't read all of them, so, sorry if it's been asked, but do you think this method would work for making a layer of ice cream between two layers of cake? I have a springform pan, but I was thinking I could line it with parchment, or just give it a short warm-water bath to make the ice cream pop out so I can put it between two cake layers. Or has your experience told you that this would not work/would make the ice cream layer unmanageable? I'm thinking I would re-freeze the layer before trying to put it between the cake (and I'd probably freeze the cake, too).

sydneyhauss6 months ago
Totally making!! Yum
My mom used to make ice cream cakes. We didn't have a spring pan, so she would line a round cake pan with plastic wrap, and spread the ice cream on it. She would do both layers, in 2 pans to save time. Then when frozen, use the plastic wrap to lift it out of the pan. This would halve the cake making time.
She frosted with cool whip. Your frosting looks much better.
lamerc10 months ago
I've been making ice cream pies (a la Baskin Robbins, essentially the same idea but in a graham-cracker crust) for a month or two now and loving the results.

Just wondering if you have any tips on softening the ice cream without melting it completely. It's the only part I have consistent problems with. Left to itself to soften I end up with a chunk of hard ice cream in the center of a bath of melted ice cream. I've been trying various tricks to get a spreadable-but-not-all-liquid form for my ice cream and not succeeding too well. (Fortunately all the mistakes taste really good anyway. :)

Any ideas?
Spokehedz lamerc10 months ago
"Just wondering if you have any tips on softening the ice cream without melting it completely."

I find it is best to start with a fresh from the store, never been opened before, container of ice cream. For reasons I am not fully able to comprehend, the 'fresh' ice cream melts much slower and evenly than stuff that has been opened before--even just as recently as 24 hours prior. I believe this has something to do with the freezers at the stores, which store the food items at a much lower temp, and they do not cycle as much so the ice cream doesn't melt and refreeze... It also might be that it takes me about 20 minutes to get home and the ice cream melts a bit during that time... Like I said, I am not 100% sure on why it works--but all I do know is that I only make these things once, twice a year... So I go all out and make it the best I can.

Also I find that if I put it into my stand mixer with the paddle attachment (Not the dough hook, or the whisk) that I can whip a good bit more air into the mix, making the ice cream even easier to work with because of the extra air whipped into it. This does thin the flavor a bit, but not too much. I suggest getting a higher quality/heavier ice cream (No name brands, but higher quality ice creams weigh MUCH more than value brands!) so that you have more flavor to work with from the beginning. Only issue has been that carmel always ends up tasting funny once I do this.

My process is:

Put mixing bowl and paddle for stand mixer into freezer.

Go to store and buy fresh Ice Cream. (Better quality, rather than quantity.)

Come home, put bowl and paddle onto mixer, dump ice cream into mixer.

Begin slowly mixing the Ice Cream. SLOWLY! Lowest speed your mixer will go.

Increase speed SLOWLY until the ice cream is starting to really get fluid again.

Once your "ice" cream is liquid enough so that it looks like soft serve custard, turn your mixer to MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE!

When the tell-tale WHUP-WHUP-WHUP sounds get nice and deep, and your ice cream has 'fluffed' up to a nice amount, you can stop the beater, and begin to proceed as normal with the putting in a pan and putting in the freezer and whatnot.

I have found that using this method, I have great results. The texture is very smooth, and it is very easy to eat. I am a person who has to put his bowl of ice cream into the microwave for 15 seconds, and then make a 'soup' out of it... But I can eat this ice cream all day.

Oh, did I forget to mention there always seems to be some left over? Yeah... Bennies for the cook/chef.
lamerc Spokehedz10 months ago
Ah, no stand mixer here. :(

I'll try the fresh-from-the-store plan one of these days, I think you're right about the different styles of freezers. And freeze the implements first. Thanks!
kazmataz (author)  lamerc10 months ago
Just to highlight what Spokenhedz said - definitely be sure to work with cold tools. If you put your mixing bowl and spoon/whisk/mixer-attachment into the freezer for at least 10 mins beforehand, then everything is the same temperature when you start. And, of course, working quickly, so it doesn't have enough time to melt.
11Brenda10 months ago
Ditto PitstoP - Yum
ironman010410 months ago
I worked for Baskin Robbins. Their Ice Cream cakes are easy to make. Regular cake for top layer and any flavor of ice cream you want for the bottom. Once assembled freeze and be sure it is hard. You can use regular frosting if you work fast and then freeze again. This was simple and similar to your nice listing here.
rosewood51310 months ago
I was just on one of those stores yesterday and while I waited I noticed that the cost of those cakes is outrageous. Upwards towards $49.00 and some even higher.. You saved a lot of money this is great.
ehovren10 months ago
may use oreo filling with food color for decoration?
kazmataz (author)  ehovren10 months ago
Ohhhh delicious idea!
M.C. Langer10 months ago
WOW!!! I want!!! Looks so delicious!!
nerfrocketeer10 months ago
Mmmmmm...
jessyratfink10 months ago
AhhhhhHH! This looks so so so good. I would've hurt my stomach for this so it's probably good that I missed it. :D
PitStoP10 months ago
I only have five words to say... Yumm yum yumm yum yummmm.... =)
Ditto that.
Pro

Get More Out of Instructables

Already have an Account?

close

PDF Downloads
As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

Upgrade to Pro today!