Erin McDowell

Hey, you! Back away from the oven and put down the cake batter. We know you want to satisfy your sweet tooth, but preheating is not the answer. Instead, make an ice-cream cake. With this recipe, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to assemble one yourself. We use vanilla and caramel ice cream and chocolate wafer cookies, and we even make our own whipped-cream frosting. Once you learn the ropes, you can easily customize the flavors (see our Finishing Touches for more on that). Plus, this cake is a make-ahead kind of deal, so you won’t be stressed out come dessert time.

Ice-Cream Cake

A PureWow Original Recipe

  • Makes one 9-inch cake
  • Start to Finish: 5 hours (includes freezing time)

Ingredients

Cake

One 12-ounce box chocolate wafer cookies

1 cup hot fudge sauce, divided

2 pints vanilla ice cream

2 pints caramel ice cream

 

Whipped-Cream Frosting

1 teaspoon gelatin

¼ cup water

1 cup heavy cream

⅓ cup sugar

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Melted chocolate, sprinkles, caramel candies, cookies or other sweets for decorating (optional)

Directions

1. Make the cake: Place the outside ring of a springform pan on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper.

2. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the cookies until they form fine crumbs. Transfer the crumbs to a mixing bowl and add ½ cup of the hot fudge sauce; mix until the crumbs are moistened.

3. Let the pints of vanilla ice cream sit out at room temperature for 5 minutes. Use scissors to cut away the cardboard containers, then place both pints of vanilla ice cream into the prepared pan. Using the back of a large spoon, press the ice cream out to the edge of the pan as evenly as possible. Freeze for at least 30 minutes.

4. Let the pints of caramel ice cream sit out at room temperature for 5 minutes. Take the pan out of the freezer and top the vanilla layer with the cookie-crumb mixture. Use scissors to cut away the cardboard containers from the caramel ice cream, then place both pints of caramel ice cream on top of the crumb mixture. Using the back of a large spoon, press the ice cream out to the edge of the pan as evenly as possible. Place the pan back in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

5. Remove the pan from the freezer and top the caramel ice cream with the remaining ½ cup of hot fudge sauce. Return the pan to the freezer until the cake is fully set, at least 3 hours.

6. Make the whipped-cream frosting: In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Let sit until bloomed, 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a small saucepan and melt it over medium heat. Set aside.

7. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream on medium speed. When it starts to look frothy, gradually add the sugar and then the vanilla extract. Increase the speed to high and continue whipping. Gradually add the melted gelatin mixture and whip until medium peaks form.

8. Decorate the cake: Use a spatula to frost the outside of the cake with the whipped-cream frosting as evenly as possible. Garnish with chocolate drizzles, sprinkles, caramel candies, cookies or any other sweets you like. Freeze until ready to serve.

Finishing Touches

It's the details that count! Try these tips

  • All about the pan: The ring of a springform pan is the best vessel for building an ice-cream cake, but if you don’t have one, you can use a regular nine-inch cake pan lined with plastic wrap. Be sure to leave excess plastic hanging over the edge; it will help you remove the cake from the pan.

  • Other flavors to try: Orange sherbet and vanilla ice cream with vanilla wafer cookies in the center; dark-chocolate ice cream and milk-chocolate ice cream with chocolate wafer cookies in the center; or lime sorbet and raspberry sorbet with graham crackers in the center.

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