Ice Cream Cake Recipe

ice cream cake recipe
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Prep time
3 hours
Cooking time
Total time
3 hours


I spent 6 teenage years making all kinds of ice cream cake recipes, when I worked part-time at Carvel. There really is nothing complicated about it.When making it at home, the only difference is the amount of time needed to chill the cake. Professional freezers do the job quickly, cooling at 20 degrees below zero. Leave yourself plenty of time for the ice cream cake recipes to chill thoroughly. If possible, prepare this cake a day ahead of time.

For demonstration purposes, I have chosen a 9" cake, but you can apply these instructions to any size cake you choose. Only a single layer of baked cake is needed to insert in the ice cream cake. The quantity of ice cream will vary according to the pan size you choose.

Whatever size you select, use a cake layer that is 1" smaller.


single cake layer
9" x 3" springform pan
metal spatula
9" styrofoam or carboard cake disc
1 gal
vanilla ice cream
1 gal
chocolate ice cream


  1. Assembling ice cream cake recipes will require a few trips back and forth to the freezer.
  2. Make sure you have enough room for cold air to circulate around the cake pan.
  3. Start by chilling the cake pan. Leave the vanilla ice cream out to soften for about 15 minutes. (You'll want the ice cream to be the consistency of soft serve, but not runny).
  4. Place the cake disc in the bottom of the pan.
  5. Using the metal spatula, spread vanilla ice cream all around the sides of the pan to about 1/2" thickness. If the ice cream is so soft that it slides down the pan, put it back in the freezer for a few minutes before trying to spread again.
  6. Place the 8" cake layer into the bottom of the pan. If there is any space between the cake and the sides of the cake pan, fill it in with additional vanilla ice cream. Chill until firm, about 1/2 - 1 hour.
  7. Allow the second ice cream flavor to soften. Spread 2nd flavor into pan, packing it down as you go. Leave about 1/2" space from the top of the pan.Chill until completely solid.
  8. Fill in the last 1/2" of space with vanilla ice cream.Heap the ice cream above the rim level. Use the metal spatula in a horizontal motion to scrape across the pan top. Remove excess ice cream to create a flat cake surface.
  9. Chill 1 -2 hours or until completely solid. (Ice cream is still soft if you can indent the top with your fingertip).
  10. To unmold, run the sides of the pan under hot water until you notice a little melting along the pan sides. Place the cake pan on top of a bowl, unlatch the pan hinge and press the sides down. Remove the cake bottom.
  11. Chill again before frosting.


Note: Vanilla ice cream is used on the sides and top for its light color. Chocolate ice cream based flavors will show through any frosting or whip cream used for decorating.

Frosting for Ice Cream Cake Recipes

When frosting or decorating, beware that anything applied to ice cream will freeze quickly.

Work rapidly to attain a smooth frosting surface. Pay attention to the ice cream softening up while you are decorating. It may take a few trips back to the freezer in order to finish the cake.

Carvel actually uses a powdered mix, water and vanilla ice cream (in liquid form) to make the "whipped cream" icing on their cakes. (This is to keep costs down). The best thing to use on to frost the cake is whipped cream. The great thing about frosting an ice cream cake is that you can press firmly against the frozen cake and easily attain a smooth finish.

Carvel Ice Cream Cake Recipes

Here's an option that Carvel fans may want to try:

Cover the sides of the pan with vanilla ice cream, as above. Instead of a cake layer, fill the bottom of the pan 1/2 up with any flavor ice cream. Freeze until firm.

Make carvel crunchies recipe:

1 box chocolate wafer cookies
bottle chocolate Magic Shell coating (found in most grocery stores)

In a food processor, chop up enough cookies into large crumbs to make 2 cups. Add magic shell, a little at a time until crumbs are completely coated, but not swimming in it.

Important: Do not refrigerate crunchies before adding them to the cake. They will chill into a solid lump.

Once the bottom of the pan is filled half way up with ice cream, spread the crunchies evenly on top. Place pan in freezer until crunchies are hard. Add remaining ice cream on top, as described in recipe above.

Many people have requested more information about decorating ice cream cakes. Way back when I had no wrinkles, we decorated ice cream cakes with "whipped cream" and gel. Now, while it's very simplistic, there is a good reason. Whipped cream freezes up quickly and comes out of the decorating bag quickly. It would be very convenient if ice cream didn't melt, but unfortunately, you need to work quickly. Whipped cream comes out of the decorating bag quickly. Gel is great for decorating ice cream cakes because you can work fast. Sure, you can always apply decorations you make using royal icing, but once that ice cream starts to melt, decorations go sliding down.......! If you have patience, you can apply buttercream icing decorations, but be prepared to constantly return the cake to the freezer. Also, when you are ready to serve the cake, the outside of the cake will soften up first. If you want to add something elaborate, this is the time to consider a cake topper. I know many people want to make the exact recipe that Carvel uses, but the cream applied to the cakes is not real whipped cream and is not sold in stores.

Most ice cream machines have a capacity of 2 quarts. Unless you're really ambitious, it may be more practical to make a small ice cream cake with these recipes. Both flavors are far more delicious than ice cream you buy at the store and work great for making the ice cream cake recipes above. These recipes are great for the above ice cream cake recipes.

Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe

Yields about 7 cups

1-1/2 cups whole milk
1-1/3 cups granulated sugar
3 cups heavy cream
1-1/2 Tablespoons vanilla extract

Step 1: Combine the milk and sugar in a medium-sized mixing bowl until the sugar dissolves.

Step 2: Add the heavy cream and vanilla extract.

Step 3: Turn the ice cream maker on and pour the mixture into the freezing bowl. Allow ice cream to thicken for 20 - 25 minutes.

Step 4: When done, the ice cream will be soft-serve consistency. For firmer ice cream, transfer the mixture to an airtight container and freeze for 2 hours.

Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe

Yields about 7 cups

1 cup cocoa powder
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1-1/2 cups milk
3 - 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

Step 1: Combine granulated sugar, brown sugar and cocoa in a medium-sized bowl.

Step 2: Add milk and stir until sugar dissolves.

Step 3: Stir in heavy cream and vanilla.

Step 4: Turn the ice cream maker on and pour the mixture into the freezing bowl. Allow ice cream to thicken for 20 - 25 minutes.

Step 5: When done, the ice cream will be soft-serve consistency. For firmer ice cream, transfer the mixture to an airtight container and freeze for 2 hours.

Another easy Ice Cream Cake Recipe:

1 Cake Recipe
1 Filling
2 Ice Cream Flavors of your choice, 1/2 gallon of each, softened
Round medium-sized bowl
Optional: ground almonds, marachino cherries


Prepare any cake recipe by pouring it in an 11" x 17" greased and floured jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 degree F for about 15 minutes. (This will vary from oven to oven, so check that a toothpick comes out clean from the center).

Allow the cake to cool. Spread your favorite filling evenly across the entire cake, leaving the outer 1" all around unfrosted. If you make a chocolate cake, you can frost it with chocolate icing or chocolate whipped cream. Anything goes with vanilla cake. Pick something that will complement the ice cream flavors you select for the center of the cake.

Begin rolling the cake from the shorter end, holding it at both ends. Roll the cake all the way up. Slice the cake at 1/2" intervals. The slices will look like pinwheels.

Line the bowl with plastic wrap, overlapping the side of the bowl. Place the cake slices on the bottom of the bowl, beginning at the center, and working your way up the sides of the bowl. Keep the slices close together to avoid gaps. Trim any cake sticking up above the bowl with a knife.

Begin scooping your first ice cream flavor into the bowl.Use a rubber spatula to spread the ice cream up against the cake. Continue filling, leaving a large hole in the center for the next flavor.

Place the bowl in the freezer to allow the ice cream to set for 15 minutes.

Now scoop the second flavor into the bowl, spreading it up against the first ice cream. If desired, leave some room in the very center of the ice cream cake to place the ground almonds and marachino cherries.

Place the remaining slices of cake on to the bottom of the bowl. Trim any slices along the edge to fit the bowl. Cover the bottom of the cake with saran wrap.

Freeze the cake for 2 - 3 hours or until firm.

To serve, remove the plastic wrap from the bottom of the cake. Place a plate large enough to hold the cake upside down on top of the bowl. Invert the cake onto the plate. Remove the plastic wrap from the top of the cake. Allow the ice cream to soften for 15 - 20 minutes before serving.

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