Easy Homemade Ice Cream Cake (Just 3 Ingredients!)


Using just three ingredients, you can customize a homemade Ice Cream Cake for any birthday or holiday in the flavors you (or the kids!) want. It’s super affordable, very straightforward, and so fun to make!

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Homemade Ice Cream Cake

When my middle kiddo turned four, she had a very specific request: Orange sherbet ice cream cake with sprinkles. And while I realize you can buy ice cream cakes, the options for flavors in our area are slim, so I decided to try making one myself. I’m so happy that I did because it was really straight forward and so satisfying to make her the exact dessert she dreamed of!

TIP: This would work for any occasion, birthday, holiday, or just a fun way to celebrate a random weekend.

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Ingredients You Need

To make an ice cream cake at home, you just need:

  • ice cream (or sherbet or frozen yogurt)
  • whipped topping
  • sprinkles or other decorations

TIP: You can use any kind of ice cream you prefer to customize it for the occasion! You could make this dairy-free by using dairy-free ice cream.

how-to-make-ice-cream-cake-step-by-step

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s a look at the process involved in making this ice cream cake. Scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full details.

  1. Line cake pans with one piece of plastic wrap, leaving an overhang so the frozen layer is easy to pull out of the pan.
  2. Scoop the ice cream into the prepared pans. Cover completely with plastic wrap and freeze.
  3. Remove layers from the freezer and remove the outer plastic wrap. Place the first layer onto a cake stand or plate.
  4. Add a layer of sprinkles or cookie crumbs, if desired. Unmold the second layer and place gently on top.
  5. Coat the top and the sides of the cake with whipped topping and add sprinkles. Freeze.
  6. Slice and serve.

TIP: You’ll want to start this the day before you plan to serve it.

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Frosting for Homemade Ice Cream Cake

I wanted to make this birthday cake as easy as possible, so I used whipped topping for the frosting. You can use the kind that’s sold frozen or in the dairy aisle. I find it easiest to spread it on the top and the sides of the cake using an offset spatula, though a regular spatula or butter knife can work too.

This frosting freezes nicely and holds it’s form well.

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How to Decorate a Homemade Ice Cream Cake

I added sprinkles around the top edge and on the sides of the cake. I placed my cake stand with the cake over a towel and sort of threw the sprinkles at the sides of the cake. I did have to sweep up some that wound up on the floor but it was otherwise easy!

You could use any other decorations you prefer or use a tube of frosting to write on a message or name.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of ice cream works best in ice cream cake?

You can really use any type that you like. I’ve made this with regular ice cream, sherbet, and also frozen yogurt. The consistently of different types may freeze more or less solid, so you may notice a difference in the firmness when slicing.

Can I make this ahead of time?

I usually start making this the day before I plan to serve it at least. You can do it even more ahead of time than that if you prefer!

Can I make this in different shape cake pans?

Sure! I like the size of the 6-inch ones that I used here, but any size would work. You may need more or less ice cream though.

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Tips for Making the Best Homemade Ice Cream Cake

  • To freeze leftovers, slice and place on paper plates. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for up to 1 month.
  • Use any flavors you prefer. Know that if you use layers that have a slightly different consistency, such as the sherbet and vanilla ice cream shown here, one layer may be softer than the other. (It’s fine, though one layer may be easier than the other to slice through.)
  • Use smaller or larger cake pans if desired.
  • Use an offset spatula to frost the cake, or a regular butter knife or spatula.
  • You should have plenty of time to assemble and frost the cake before it starts to melt, so don’t stress. (But also don’t do that step if you have a lot of other things going on since you will want to get it back into the freezer!) It may melt faster if it’s humid or very warm in your kitchen.
  • If you want to make this with lower sugar, look for options in the ice cream section of your store. Or you could try it with my Strawberry Frozen Yogurt. (You’d likely want to double the recipe to make enough for two layers.)

I’d love to hear your feedback on this recipe if you try it, so please comment below to share!

This post was originally published in May 2020.

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Homemade Ice Cream Cake


  • Author:
    Amy Palanjian

  • Prep Time:
    25

  • Total Time:
    6 hours

  • Yield:
    1216 slices 1x

  • Category:
    Dessert

  • Method:
    Freezer

  • Cuisine:
    American


Description

Plan to start making this the day before you want to serve it so it has time to freeze.


  • 1 gallon (or two half gallons) ice cream, sherbet, or frozen yogurt
  • 8 ounces whipped topping
  • Sprinkles, cookie crumbs, optional


Instructions

  1. Let the ice cream soften slightly at room temperature for 5-10 minutes so it’s easy to work with.
  2. Line two 6-inch round cake pans with one piece of plastic wrap, leaving 1-2 inches overhanging so the frozen layer is easy to pull out of the pan.
  3. Scoop the ice cream into the prepared pans, pressing down firmly to pack the ice cream into the pan. (My pans are 4 inches deep and I fit a half gallon into each layer.) Level off the top as evenly as you can with a spatula or offset spatula. Cover completely with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  4. Remove layers from the freezer and remove the outer plastic wrap. Run the bottom of the pan under hot water to loosen the edges, then use the plastic wrap to gently pull the layer out of the pan. Place the first layer onto a cake stand or plate.
  5. Add a layer of sprinkles or cookie crumbs, if desired. Unmold the second layer and place gently on top. (It’s okay if they start to melt a smidge since you want them to melt together a little.)
  6. Coat the top and the sides of the cake with whipped topping. I find it’s easiest to do this with an offset spatula, but any spatula will work. Add sprinkles to the sides of the cake if desired. (I sort of threw them at it, and then swept up any that wound up on the floor!) Freeze for at least an hour or until ready to serve.
  7. Let the cake sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.



Notes

To freeze leftovers, slice and place on paper plates. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for up to 1 month.

Use any flavors you prefer. Know that if you use layers that have a slightly different consistency, such as the sherbet and vanilla ice cream shown here, one layer may be softer than the other. (It’s fine, though one layer may be easier than the other to slice through.)

Use smaller or larger cake pans if desired.

Use an offset spatula to frost the cake, or a regular butter knife or spatula.

You should have plenty of time to assemble and frost the cake before it starts to melt, so don’t stress. (But also don’t do that step if you have a lot of other things going on since you will want to get it back into the freezer!) It may melt a little faster if it’s very humid or very hot in your kitchen.

Freeze the cake in a deep freezer if you have the option as it will be a little firmer. (It works fine in a regular freezer too, just wanted to mention that in case it helps!)

If you want to make this with lower sugar, look for options in the ice cream section of your store. Or you could try it with my Strawberry Frozen Yogurt. (You’d likely want to double the recipe to make enough for two layers.)

Keywords: homemade ice cream cake




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