Easy 5 Layer Ice Cream Cake
This weekend means tank tops, barefeet, sunscreen, air conditioning, and all things the dog days of summer embody. This weekend also means a balmy 65% humidity, hair frizz reaching astronomical heights, did I mention AC? and back-to-school commercials haunting our TV screens. Turning on our ovens sounds like evil torture and ice-cold coffee is our bestie.
The spirit of summer is strong as ever right now and a 5 layer ice cream cake saves the day. It keeps us all smiling, satisfied, and COOL.
I do not have a solution for the frightening frizzy hair. But please send me your tips.
I guess right now would be the time to admit that I rarely make ice cream cake. In the past, we’ve always picked it up from the store. And I’m somewhat attached to my oven. One may even call it a baking addiction, but whatever.
Truth is, I’m always so nervous to make ice cream cakes because I have an irrational fear the layers will either separate or just melt together and the whole thing will look like a sprinkled chocolate blob. I care what my desserts look like too much (hi, have we met?) to waste my efforts on a blob risk!!
But I quieted my fears this past week because I’m testing dessert recipe #2 for Kevin’s upcoming birthday bash. Here’s dessert recipe #1! We’re having kids and adults over and I figured an ice cream cake would be the perfect large batch dessert to serve everyone. Not to mention, Kevin LOVES ice cream.
So let me break down these layers for you.
There are 5 layers in this ice cream beauty:
- Oreo cookie crust
- Chocolate ice cream
- Peanut butter cup ice cream
- Hot fudge
- Whipped cream + sprinkles on top
You can use any flavors of ice cream you want. Chocolate and peanut butter is a must in this household, but I feel like chocolate and cookies ‘n’ cream would be outrageously good. Or even vanilla and strawberry for a neapolitan vibe.
And, because we all love lists, let me tell you what I learned from my recipe testing.
Ice Cream Cake Tips
- Soften the ice cream and stir it around in a bowl to smooth it out before layering in. Stirring the ice cream to create a smooth uniform texture makes layering so much easier!
- Freeze the cake for 15 minutes in between adding each layer. This prevents the blob.
- Make sure you have at least an hour to prepare the cake. See #2.
- Use a little less butter in the Oreo crust. More butter made the frozen crust way too firm and cutting was quite difficult.
- Let the cake sit in the freezer for a lifetime. Or at least overnight.
- Run a sharp knife under hot water when slicing; this helps create a clean cut.
The final two layers, the hot fudge and the whipped cream, are both homemade. I encourage from-scratch! (And if you make the ice cream layers from scratch, you are SUPER human. I actually have a peanut butter cup ice cream recipe in Sally’s Candy Addiction if you’re tempted…)
Anyway, I understand if you just want to pick up a jar of hot fudge, but the hot fudge sauce I made is easily the best I’ve ever tasted. Brown Eyed Baker’s recipe yields a little more than we need for this cake, but I’m certainly not upset with leftover hot fudge. Homemade whipped cream is quite simple. There’s 1 step: whip it. If you have a mixer, you can make homemade whipped cream. It’s so soft!
You’ll let the hot fudge sauce cool down after making it, but it will never be as cold as the ice cream layer underneath it. Because of the difference in temperature, the two will sort of mesh together (but not in an ugly blob way) as you spread and that’s OK! Make sure you place it all in the freezer for 15 minutes before spreading the whipped cream on top.
As the cake freezes, the inside layers stay separate, but move around quite a bit. I loved the ribbons of hot fudge throughout and, of course, the sprinkles on top. ♥
It’s really not as much work as it seems, though you will take a few trips back and forth from the freezer. DQ and Carvel, you’ve met your homemade match. Can’t wait to make this again next weekend!!
Easy 5 Layer Ice Cream Cake
- 36 Oreos (1 standard package)
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 quart chocolate ice cream, softened
- 1 quart your choice flavor ice cream, softened (I used peanut butter cup)
- 1 and 1/2 cups (420g) hot fudge (store-bought or yummy homemade)
- 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream
- 2 Tablespoons (15g) confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Make the crust: In a food processor or blender, pulse the whole Oreos into a fine crumb. Stir the cookie crumbs and melted butter together, then press into a 9x13 pan. (No need to grease the pan prior.) Make sure it is very tightly packed-- I use the back of a spatula to firmly press it in. Freeze for 15 minutes.
- During that time, place the softened chocolate ice cream in a bowl and give it a good stir to rid any frozen lumps. You want a nice smooth, soft ice cream. Spread it on top of the frozen crust. Freeze for 15 minutes.
- During that time, place the 2nd ice cream flavor into a bowl and stir it until it is smooth and very soft. Carefully spread on top of the chocolate ice cream. Freeze for 15 minutes.
- Make sure the hot fudge is spreadable consistency. You may have to slightly heat it if using store-bought. Spread it on top of the ice cream as best you can. Because it is not as cold as the ice cream layer, the two will slightly mesh together as you spread. That's ok. Freeze for 15 minutes.
- Make the whipped cream: Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, about 4-5 minutes. Spread on top of hot fudge layer, then top with sprinkles. Cover with aluminum foil and freeze for at least 12 hours before serving (and up to a few days!).
- Use a very sharp knife to cut, making sure you are cutting into the crust. Keep leftovers in the freezer.
1 quart of ice cream is 2/3 of a standard 1.5 quart container. So you'll use a little more than half of the container for each ice cream layer.
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