Ice Cream Cake

Ice Cream Cake Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

When I was an art student at the University of Vermont I worked at the Ben & Jerry’s making ice cream cakes. It was my first job in the world of sweets and I have never looked back. My brothers were very little then and it started a birthday tradition for them that lives on today. I wish my two brothers lived close by. They are wildly talented and two of my favorite people to be with. Every summer my family rents a cabin in Northern WI and we get to spend precious, albeit short, time together. This year that time fell on Carey’s birthday. Even at the ripe old age of 27 he still wants his childhood favorite; ice cream cake.

As some of you may know this month has been a marathon for me. Jeff and I finished the manuscript for Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day just last week. Did you hear me celebrating?! The week prior I was on vacation with my family in Maine. It was a glorious week of ocean, lobster, fresh wild blueberries and some of the best pie on earth.  And last but not least, yesterday was my 18th wedding anniversary. Despite my absence from blogging I have been baking and look forward to being back home where I can start posting about my adventures in the kitchen.

I hope you all have had a wonderful August!

Ice Cream Cake as inspired by the hundreds I made in the 1980s at Ben & Jerry’s:

Outrageous Brownies from Lee Bailey’s Country Desserts:

1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter

1 pound plus 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips

6 ounces unsweetened chocolate

6 large eggs

2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons powdered instant espresso

2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups sugar

1 cup sifted all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups chopped walnut pieces (optional)

baked in 4 (9-inch) round cake pans (you will only use 3, so you’ll have an extra pan to freeze or snack on):

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line the pans with parchment rounds. Set aside.

In a double boiler, melt together the butter, 1 pound of the chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate until smooth. Cool to room temperature. (I saved a couple tablespoons of this to decorate the top!)

Combine the eggs, powdered espresso, vanilla, and sugar. Stir in the cooled chocolate. Set aside.

Sift together the dry ingredients. Mix them into the chocolate batter. Finally fold the remaining chips and walnuts into the batter. Divide evenly into the greased pans.

Bake about 30 minutes, or until tester comes out clean. Do not over bake, they should be a bit fudgey. Let cool. Invert and remove parchment.

3 quarts ice creamhomemade or your favorite store bought. The more premium brands (ie less air whipped into them) will set harder and be easier to cut in the end.

Cake ring, cake pan and clear acetate band | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Some equipment you will need:

9-Inch Cake Board

9-inch Cake Ring

clear acetate band and tape (or you can use wax paper around the inside of the mold. This will allow you to lift the mold away from the cake, but is not as clean as the acetate strips.)

Cooled brownie in cake pan with a layer of ice cream on top | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Set up the cake ring with a card board round on the bottom and the acetate along the inside of the ring. Place one round of the cooled brownie on the bottom and spoon in the first flavor of ice cream.

Ice cream smoothed over a layer of chocolate brownie | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Smooth out the ice cream and make sure you press it all the way to the edges so that you can see the distinct layers when you unmold the cake. If the ice cream is very soft at this point place it in the freezer for 15 minutes before continuing.

Layer of chocolate brownie on top of ice cream | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Add another layer of brownie and another flavor of ice cream. I did three flavors of ice cream and three layers of brownie. Once the cake reached the top of the cake ring, I added another layer of acetate so that I could continue to build up above the ring. you can stop at just two layers of ice cream if you prefer.

Top layer of ice cream of an ice cream cake | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Add the last layer of ice cream and then smooth out the surface so that you can…

Ice Cream Cake Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

decorate the top. Freeze the finished cake for several hours before serving to make sure it is fully set. If you have reserved some of the melted chocolate to pipe on the finished cake, you may have to remelt it in order to pipe it. Remove the acetate right before serving. If the ice cream is at all soft if may stick a little to the acetate, use a spatula to smooth the edges.


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55 thoughts to “Ice Cream Cake”

  1. I am not a huge cake fan, but pair it with ice cream and I am in heaven. This cake is divine! So gorgeous too! Congrats on the book, your anniversary, and a fun vacation! Love the new look too:)

  2. Ohh wow, a great cake for the end of summer! I’m definitely gonna have to try this one…especially since my boyfriend’s birthday is coming up!

  3. Welcome back, Zoe! I’ve got a quick question about the acetate strips. You’ve mentioned acetate before in several of your recipes, and I’ve looked for it locally a few times with no success. Are these strips what you use for everything, or do you use other sizes as well? Thanks!

  4. Hi Emilie,

    The acetate strips do come in other sizes, but I find this is a good all-purpose size. If I need something larger I just tape two strips together.

    I’ve always had to order the strips from a wholesaler, no one in Mpls carries it as far as I know?

    Thanks, Zoë

  5. I worked at Ben and Jerry’s in college as well, but in Boston. I have always had a love affair with their ice cream, and ice cream cakes…

  6. Which store did you work at in the 80’s? We lived in Burlington from 1984-1987. We were too poor for ice cream cake but we did indulge in the occasional cone or dish of ice cream at the Ben and Jerry’s scoop shop in Burlington.
    Your cake looks fabulous!

  7. Hi Sue,

    I worked at the shop on Cherry street right down town. I was too poor to buy the ice cream too, but they gave us two pints for every shift we worked. My boyfriend (now husband) gained about 40 pounds!

    I was there in 1986-87. I bet I served you ice cream!

    Small world! Zoë

  8. I have been away too with no internet access, and was wondering if I missed quite a few of your posts,but hei,I din’t!
    Congragulations on your 18th Wedding Anniversary Zoe.

    Can’t wait to read about and see your latest baking creations!

  9. Happy Anniversary! And this is a gorgeous, perfect cake! Wow! What is better? The outrageous brownie layers or the ice cream layers? Oh, all together! I wish someone ould make one of these masterpieces for my birthday. Just beautiful!

  10. you know this feeling, when you read a recipe for the first time and you are connected to it and you know you have to give it a try. I’ll try this cake soon… very soon. regards from germany, Anja

  11. Congratulations on your anniversary. Just completed my 16th this month too. 🙂

    Love the scroll work on your cake. Never made an ice-cream cake before.

  12. Was wondering if you tried
    Pie in The Sky while in Maine the best pies….
    York Me Rte 1 on the way to OgunQuit Me……Also I’ve
    been using your first book for this whole year…

  13. Many congrats to you on the completion of your next great book! Working through the Breadbaker’s Apprentice challenge (albeit slowly…) has make me appreciate even more how wonderful your method is. A well-deserved vacation for you & what a fabulous recipe. I could skip dinner over this.

  14. We went to a wedding in Santa Cruz, Ca and the reception was held at the Coconut Grove on the boardwalk. Each table had a picture from the Boardwalk (Fried Twinkie Booth, Roller Coaster etc, etc.) to designate which table you were seated and the wedding cake was an ICE CREAM CAKE. It was fabulous!!! Every year my cake for my August birthday is an ice cream cake. Yours looks fabulous.

  15. I made an ice cream cake for my mother-in-law’s birthday last weekend and it turned out great! I used my own chocolate cake recipe and a springform pan + parchment for easy unmolding and it worked beautifully.

    Thanks for the inspiration, I’ll definitely be making more ice cream cakes in the future. 🙂

  16. You never fail to impress me each time I visit your blog. This ice cream cake looks wonderful & I’m bookmarking this. Wishing you a happy belated wedding anniversary, by the way.

  17. I always learn something from your posts. I finally made an ice cream cake – always wanted to. I modified the ingredients to be gluten and lactose free. Thanks again!

  18. Thank you for posting this recipe, I have just spent ages trawling the net for my first attempt at an ice-cream cake and by far yours is the best available. I am going to make it tomorrow and although I’ll have to convert all of the measurements [I’m Australian], I’m sure that if it turns out anything like your picture it will become a family favourite in our household too.

  19. Looks Yummmy and beautiful,thanks alot for the website,I wanna as Q,If i don’t have the acetate strips can i use the wax paper,will it be clean as the acetate

    Trid to find everywhere for the strips but i couldn’t find it.


  20. Hi Lubayna,

    I have to order my acetate online. It is one of those specialty items that stores rarely carry in-stock. I provide a link to it on Amazon, but you may google it and see if there are other retailers.

    I’m afraid the wax paper will fall apart.

    Thanks, Zoë

  21. Hi Zoe. Absolutely heavenly, you’re very talented. Quick q, is there some chance we can substitute the acetate with something else…like perhaps wax paper? do you think that would work? i have no time to order online because i need to make dessert for a party in a few days, and i’m just duying to try this out!

  22. This is simply amazing and what a beautiful job you did decorating the cake Zoe! I hope you don’t mind I have shared this on a recipe site. I’m thinking right now which Ben and Jerry Ice cream flavors I want with this one, certainly chunky monkey is on that list! This will be perfect for my little tea parties or luncheons! Thank you for sharing with us!

  23. Can you tell me the flovors of icre cream you used in the ice cream cake. I am wanting to make it for Easter for my husband. Thanks !

  24. Do you think this could be made using the chocolate wafers from the icebox cake recipe? Those wafers are divine…made the icebox cake last was all that I wanted it to be and more (I just wished I had let it set longer before serving…set for about 18 hours, but much better letting it go another whole day). If I used the wafers…would you recommend a couple of layers of them, since they are thin? Thanks for your help.


    1. Hi Kim,

      I think this sounds delicious and hope you’ll let me know how it goes. I may just give it a try as well.

      Thanks, Zoë

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