Introduction: Ice Cream Cake

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This is a copycat Dairy Queen ice cream cake. It's the one thing I always want for my birthday - the only gift I actually want, honestly. :D

Since we've moved to California, they've been hard to get. The nearest Dairy Queen is 3-4 hours away by bus, so I had to get a Baskin Robbins ice cream cake this year and was not impressed. It had actual cake in it (which just got hard and weird in the freezer) and no tasty crunchy layer! BLASPHEMERS!!

Penolopy Bulnick's birthday was the beginning of this month, and her husband and I decided she needed a real ice cream cake for it, so I set about making this one.

This ice cream cake comes very close to Dairy Queen - it has the yummy whipped topping/ice cream frosting and the crunchy fudge layer, too! It's fairly simple to put together - but you will need at least a day to assemble the ice cream cake since it involves so much freezer time.

This recipe makes a 10 inch ice cream cake - it should be able to serve 10+ people if you cut reasonable slices. ;)

Step 1: Ingredients + Tools


  • 3 quarts vanilla ice cream
  • 1 quart chocolate ice cream
  • 1/3 package of Oreos
  • 10-12 oz jar of hot fudge sauce
  • 8 oz tub of whipped topping (Cool Whip)


  • 10 inch springform pan (I have this set!)
  • parchment paper
  • spatula
  • glass or metal bowls

The ingredients listed here will make enough to fit a 10 inch springform pan and you'll have a little bit of vanilla ice cream left over. :)

Step 2: Prep Work + Tips

Because this cake takes a little time to assemble, I recommend making it the day before and letting it chill overnight. This cake took me two days to make since I had to assemble it when I had nice natural light, but I think you could easily do it within 6-8 hours.

Before you start the cake, make sure to line the bottom of your springform pan with parchment paper. Trim around the edges so there's just an inch or two hanging out. Then chill your springform pan for at least an hour in the freezer - this will make the outside layer of the cake set up faster. :)

I also recommend having a large plate or platter to turn the cake out on - this will allow you to serve it much easier and also add additional decorations if you want them.

Step 3: The Frosting Layer

We're going to create the "frosting" of the cake first. Not only does this give you a nice smooth outside to the cake, it also mimics the Dairy Queen-style ice cream cake icing. :)

For this layer you need one quart of vanilla ice cream and the tub of whipped topping. Let them sit out and get soft, and then mix them together in a large bowl. Once they're well combined, pop the bowl in the freezer for a few minutes to let the mixture firm up slightly.

Take out your chilled springform pan and begin to spread a thin layer of ice cream all along the inside sides of the spring form pan. Keep working until the ice cream begins to get soft and then put both the springform pan and your work bowl in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.

Keep repeating that process until the sides are about one inch thick, then add the rest of the ice cream to the bottom of the pan and smooth it out. Try to make everything as even as possible since this will be the top layer.

Chill it until it's firm. While it's chilling, let a second quart of ice cream sit out and thaw.

Step 4: Second Ice Cream Layer

Now you'll want to fill the spring form pan right around halfway up with vanilla ice cream. Spoon it in and smooth it out and then put it back in the freezer for a bit to set.

While that's setting, we'll make the crunchy fudge layer.

Step 5: The Crunchy Fudge Layer

This is my favorite bit!

Take a whole row of Oreos and scrape off the cream filling. Crush them so they're pretty fine - I put them in a ziploc bag and used a roling pin to crush them.

Microwave the hot fudge sauce just until it's runny and then combine the Oreos and hot fudge sauce in a bowl. Pull your chilled cake out of the freezer and smooth the fudge mix layer in and then put it back in the freezer - it's important to do this fast since the fudge sauce is a little warm. :)

Step 6: The Chocolate Layer

Once the fudge layer has chilled, spoon in enough chocolate ice cream to fill the spring form pan almost all the way. Leave just a 1/4 inch or so at the top free. It should end up being almost half of the pan.

Chill this layer until set.

Step 7: The Last Layer

Once the chocolate is set, you're going to add just a bit more vanilla ice cream to smooth out the bottom of the cake.

Put this back into the freezer until set.

Step 8: Turning the Cake Out

This part is a little finicky, so it's best to do it an hour or so before you serve.

I put down a piece of parchment on a tray and flipped the pan over on it. Rub your hands around the outside edges to help warm it up and allow the ice cream to release from the sides. Open the clasp and remove the sides of the pan nice and slow. Then you'll be able to remove the bottom and the parchment paper.

At this point I ran a spatula under hot water and smoothed out the sides and top.

Once you've got it nice and smooth, feel free to decorate it further or just put it in the freezer until it's time to eat!

Step 9: Serving

Because this cake doesn't include any stabilizers, the "frosting" layer melts fairly easily. I just let it sit at room temp for a few minutes before serving.

To cut it, run a sharp knife under very hot water and rinse it with hot water frequently. It'll allow you to cut while it's still nice and firm.

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