Ice Cream Loaf Cake

Where there’s ice cream, there has to be sprinkles! This ice cream loaf cake features layers of buttery sprinkle cake and ice cream while chocolate ganache and sprinkles add a delicious and decorative finishing touch. You can use your favorite ice cream flavor, but stick to an ice cream that doesn’t contain a lot of large chunks. (See recipe note.) The cake is pretty solid after freezing, so give it a few minutes before slicing and serving. 

slice of ice cream loaf cake with chocolate ganache

Ice Cream Loaf Cake Details

  • Flavor: The cake reminds me of these funfetti cupcakes because it’s buttery and sweet with notes of vanilla. The ganache topping is, of course, rich and chocolatey. The ice cream flavor is completely up to you, so have fun with this. Some ice cream options I love for this ice cream loaf cake recipe are chocolate chip, strawberry, pistachio, peanut butter ripple, cookies & cream, and mint chocolate chip.
  • Texture: Right out of the freezer, the slices taste frozen (obviously) so I like to let the cake sit out for a few minutes before slicing. I even let the slices sit for another few minutes before serving because I prefer a softer cake with ice cream– just as pictured above. Test cakes were MUCH denser even after sitting out and you can read about my recipe testing next.
  • Ease: This is a very straightforward cake recipe. You don’t need a mixer or any special equipment, but have some parchment paper or plastic wrap handy for assembly. Slicing the cake into layers takes some time, but don’t stress. As long as you have a very sharp or serrated knife, it’s manageable. Note that a cake leveler isn’t very helpful because this is a denser cake. The hardest part is waiting for the assembled cake to freeze! Or, if you’re indecisive like I am, choosing an ice cream flavor. 😉

Video Tutorial

ice cream layered loaf cake with chocolate ganache and sprinkles

How & Why This Recipe Works

My go-to ice cream cake recipe is all ice cream with layers of Oreos and whipped cream on top. Today’s recipe includes actual cake. I prefer softer cakes, so my #1 goal was to start with a soft cake that was still sturdy enough to assemble and serve frozen. It was certainly a tall order and about 7 test recipes later– and that is no exaggeration– I had a workable recipe.

Butter-based cakes, like pound cake, are notoriously heavy and even denser when frozen. I knew this wasn’t the place I wanted to start, so I opted for an oil-based cake. The oil-based sprinkle cake was fine, but it looked and tasted more like quick bread. I swapped oil for melted butter so there could be a little more flavor in the cake. I also switched to cake flour to provide a lighter crumb. I tried using 2 egg whites instead of a whole egg, since egg whites make a lighter cake (see white cake), but that made no difference here. Use cake flour, melted butter, 1 whole egg, and the rest of the ingredients listed below. The cake has great structure, but is still a little soft as the cake slices thaw.

melted butter and other cake ingredients next to a photo showing the bowl of sprinkle cake batter

sprinkle loaf cake before and after baking

How to Assemble This Ice Cream Loaf Cake

You can watch the recipe video and read the detailed recipe instructions below, but I find step photos to be massively helpful. Let’s start assembling this cake!

Start Assembly: After removing the completely cooled loaf cake from the pan, slice it into 3 layers. This can be tricky, so take your time. I usually stand the loaf upright on one end and slice downward. Be careful and watch your fingers if doing it this way. Line your loaf pan with parchment paper or plastic wrap with overhang on the sides. Place bottom cake layer in:

sliced funfetti loaf cake

Ice Cream: Spread half of your ice cream on top. This is much easier if the ice cream has slightly softened and I worked that into the recipe instructions below. I just use a spoon to scoop it out of the container and spread it around. It’s a thick layer of ice cream:

spreading ice cream on loaf cake layers

Repeat: Repeat this one more time with middle cake layer and 2nd layer of ice cream.

Finally, place the top cake layer on top then cover and freeze.

assembled sprinkle ice cream loaf cake before freezing

Topping, Slicing, & Serving This Ice Cream Loaf Cake

Can it really be a cake without a glorious finishing touch? Top this ice cream cake with a thick layer of chocolate ganache. Since the cake is so cold, the ganache sets very quickly and tastes like a layer of rich fudge. The chocolate ganache instructions are below, but if you’d like to learn more see my How to Make Chocolate Ganache post.

Let the ganache cool and thicken for about 10 minutes, then spread onto the frozen loaf cake. The cake is obviously very cold, so I recommend letting it sit for about 3-5 minutes before slicing. (Otherwise you’ll have a heck of a time trying to cut it!) And if you prefer a softer ice cream cake like I do, let the slices “melt” for a few more minutes before serving them.

Such a fun treat for a summer birthday!

chocolate ganache on top of ice cream cake

slice of ice cream layered loaf cake

Best Sprinkles to Use in Cakes

I’ve been baking cake and cupcake batters with sprinkles for quite awhile and have learned exactly what works– and what doesn’t. Here’s what I know:

  • Use confetti quins if you can. They’re usually sold as little discs, but you can find other shapes such as stars or hearts too. This type of sprinkle rarely bleeds color in cake batter. These shimmery ones hold their color nicely too.
  • I really like these rainbow sprinkles if you’re looking for traditional jimmies. (Not sponsored, truly what I personally use.) They don’t bleed color too much. They aren’t crunchy, so they taste nice as decoration or garnish too.
  • Do not use nonpareils (the little balls) in cake batter because they are notorious for bleeding color. Save them for decoration or garnish.
  • Naturally colored sprinkles are wonderful in cookies and as decoration, but– depending on the brand– can lose their color in cake batter.
Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
ice cream layered loaf cake with chocolate ganache and sprinkles

Ice Cream Loaf Cake

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 9 hours, 40 minutes (includes freezing)
  • Yield: 1 loaf cake; 10-12 servings
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This ice cream loaf cake features layers of buttery sprinkle cake and ice cream while chocolate ganache and sprinkles add a delicious and decorative finishing touch. For best success, review recipe notes and video tutorial before beginning.


Ingredients

  • 2 cups (236gcake flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (80gsour cream (or plain yogurt/Greek yogurt), at room temperature*
  • 2/3 cup (160ml) whole milk, at room temperature*
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup (about 50gsprinkles
  • 2 pints (4 cups; about 960ml) ice cream (see note)

Ganache Topping

  • one 4-ounce (113g) quality semi-sweet chocolate bar, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces; 120ml) heavy cream or heavy whipping cream
  • optional: sprinkles for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray a 9×5 inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.
  2. Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk the melted and slightly cooled butter, egg, granulated sugar, sour cream, milk, and vanilla together until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, then whisk to completely combine. Avoid over-mixing. Fold in the sprinkles.
  3. Pour the batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake loaf cake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, covering loosely with foil about halfway through to prevent the top from over-browning. Poke the center of the cake with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, the cake is done. Oven times will vary between ovens. My cake usually takes 55 minutes. Cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack.
  4. Slice cake into layers: The video tutorial above is a helpful visual for the next few steps. Carefully remove cooled cake from loaf pan. (You will use the loaf pan again in the next step.) Place on a cutting board and using a very sharp or serrated knife, slowly slice horizontally into 3 even layers. As shown in the video above, I usually stand the loaf upright on one end and cut it down vertically. Feel free to use a ruler for precision. A cake leveler isn’t very helpful because this is a denser cake.
  5. Remove ice cream from freezer. Let it soften for 15 minutes or microwave it for about 20-30 seconds.
  6. Assemble & freeze cake: Line loaf pan with parchment paper or plastic wrap with enough overhang on the sides to lift the ice cream loaf cake out of the pan after freezing. Place bottom loaf cake layer into lined pan. Slowly and carefully spread 1 pint of softened ice cream in an even layer on top. Top with center loaf cake layer. Slowly and carefully spread 2nd pint of ice cream evenly on top. Place top loaf cake layer on top, pressing it down gently so it really sticks to the ice cream beneath it. Cover assembled loaf cake with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and freeze for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days. (If freezing for longer than 1 day, let it sit for 10 minutes at room temperature before pouring ganache on top in step 9.)
  7. With about 15 minutes left in freezing time, make the ganache topping: Place chopped chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until it begins to gently simmer. (Do not let it come to a rapid boil– that’s too hot!) Pour over chocolate, then let it sit for 2-3 minutes to gently soften the chocolate. With a metal spoon or small rubber spatula, very slowly stir until completely combined and chocolate has melted. The finer you chopped the chocolate, the quicker it will melt with the cream. Set aside for 10 minutes to thicken as you complete the next step.
  8. Remove loaf cake from the freezer and using the parchment overhang on the sides, carefully lift it out of the loaf pan. Parchment may tear, but do your best to remove the whole cake. Use a knife to loosen it from the pan if needed. Remove parchment from cake and place cake on a cutting board.
  9. Pour and spread ganache on top. Garnish with sprinkles if desired. Ganache will set quickly since the loaf is so cold. Let the cake sit for 3-5 minutes to slightly soften before slicing. (Slicing will be VERY hard to do otherwise!)
  10. Using a very sharp or serrated knife, cut into slices about 3/4 inch thick. Cake will be hard since it’s frozen, but softens as the minutes go by. I like it better when the cake and ice cream are a little softer after a few minutes.
  11. Cover and store leftover cake/slices in the freezer for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: You can make this ice cream cake ahead of time since it needs to freeze. Freeze assembled cake for up to 3 days. See end of step 6. It’s best to add ganache topping soon before slicing and serving. If absolutely needed, you can top with ganache then carefully cover and place back into the freezer for up to 8 hours. Let it sit at room temperature for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
  2. Cake Flour: Sometimes a cake flour substitute works in recipes calling for cake flour, but it’s best to use real cake flour here. The cake tastes a bit dense if using the substitute. You can find cake flour in most grocery stores in the baking aisle.
  3. Sour Cream Milk: Full fat sour cream and whole milk are strongly recommended for the best taste and texture. A full fat plain yogurt would work instead of the sour cream, though the cake may not taste as tender. Same goes with a lower fat or nondairy milk.
  4. Sprinkles: Feel free to leave out the sprinkles if desired. For the best sprinkles to use in cakes, see details above the recipe.
  5. Ice Cream: You can use any flavor ice cream, but I recommend avoiding ice cream with large chunks in it. Slicing the cake will be very difficult (almost impossible!) if you have to slice through large chunks in the ice cream. I used chocolate chip ice cream, which has thin and small pieces of chocolate throughout.

Keywords: ice cream loaf cake

 

165 Comments

  1. Hi Sally, Ohh I’m excited to try this, thanks for the helpful notes! A few of Qs:

    1) Is it possibly to freeze the cake after baking (end of step 4) – tightly wrap it as one would with other loaf cakes or is that too much thawing?

    2) can I use your homemade no churn ice cream (without the crumble) or is store bought/homemade ice cream maker churned, better?

    3) assuming the cake can be made in smaller loaf pans and just adjust the baking time?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Vi Kate, you can definitely freeze the baked and cooled loaf cake before assembling but that’s a whole other round of freezing/thawing for this cake and it’s likely going to be quite hard even after you let it soften for a bit before serving. You can use homemade no churn ice cream, yes! Feel free to use smaller loaf pans and adjust the baking time as needed. Same oven temperature. I hope you enjoy it!

      1. Thanks so much for your helpful replies and appreciate your work on the weekend. Take care and I look forward to trying this 🙂

  2. Sally,
    Looking forward to trying this. For 40 years I have been making ice cream cakes with a Betty Crocker sheet pan sponge cake recipe and instead of cream filling it with ice cream. One cake is cocoa sponge cake and the other a yellow sponge cake. I cover the whole thing with sweetened whipped cream. Each sheet cake gets cut in thirds when making it. Comes out light and only bakes for 18 minutes which is great in hot summer months. Just wondering if you ever gave it a try.
    Always enjoy your sweet recipes, Donna

    1. That sounds perfect! I haven’t tried it before.

  3. Looks like so much fun! Question: where did you get the polka dot plate? That really made the whole presentation. Thanks, Geri, a devoted fan

    1. Hi Geri! Thank you! That polka dot plate is from a set that’s about 7 years old– I believe the set was from Bed Bath & Beyond!

  4. Thanks for this post! My favorite kind of ice cream cake is made with actual cake, not just ice cream! You don’t see this anymore. Looks delicious can’t wait to try it.

  5. This may seem like a silly question but what is the difference between cake flour and all purpose flour?

    1. Hi Megan! Not a silly question at all and I’m happy to help you understand the difference. Cake flour is a low protein flour that’s milled into a fine consistency. It contains about 7-9% protein, while all-purpose flour, a harder flour, has anywhere between 10-12%. Protein content is directly related to gluten formation. Cake flour’s lower protein means less gluten is formed as you mix the batter together. Less gluten formation equates to a softer, fluffier texture. You can read more about it in my cake flour post if you are interested.

    2. This looks yummy!
      I was wondering if you think it would be possible to add ganache on each layer of ice cream as well as on the top of the cake.
      Thanks for this recipe!

      1. Hi Cindy, you can certainly try it but I haven’t tested it.

  6. This looks delicious! What chocolate loaf recipe would you suggest so I could use mint chocolate chip ice cream? Any sprinkles for that combo? I used Martha Stewart’s Ice Cream Brownie recipe and that was a hit. I like your cake idea though! Thank you.

    1. Hi Kathy, I don’t have a chocolate cake version of this. You could start by using this chocolate cake recipe (maybe halving it or using only 3/4 of the batter because it will yield too much as written), but I’m really unsure how it will turn out since I haven’t tested it. Let me know if you do!

      1. Kathy Mitchell says:

        Thank you! If I try it I will let you know how it turns out! My mouth is watering for mint chocolate chip ice cream and chocolate cake. And I just finished breakfast!!!

      2. If I were to use your chocolate cake recipe, what temperature and how long should I cook it?

      3. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Cathy, you can use the same temperature listed here. We’re unsure of the exact bake time, but it should be close to this recipe as well — keep a close eye on it and use a toothpick to test for doneness. Let us know how it turns out!

  7. Sheila Calnan says:

    Looks so good. Have a problem/ question though. Is it possible to half the recipe? Its only me, so way too much. The heat has been horrible, so cant even transport it to my friends. I do have smaller loaf pans, but I will still end up eating it forever.
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Sheila, I’m sure you could halve this recipe for a smaller loaf pan. I’m unsure of the best bake time though. For halving an egg, I recommend cracking it, beating together, then using half which is usually a couple Tbsp.

      1. Sheila Calnan says:

        Thank you for such a quick reply.

  8. Fun recipe whole family enjoyed making. Kids love to weigh out ingredients, taste test the softened ice cream and layer the cake with that goodness. Only drawback to recipe, is waiting for it to firm up on freezer. Patience is a virtue! Thank you for another winner.

  9. We made this for my birthday. It was easy but time consuming- in that you have to do it in many steps, not Long periods of sustained work time needed. I forgot to cover with foil halfway through so my cake was a little over done and we need to add more ice cream next time. Loved the sprinkles in and on the cake! So festive ! Thanks for the challenge.

    1. I meant long sustain work time NOT needed.

  10. ice cream cake is my favorite! I had no idea how easy it is to make

  11. Pamela Russo says:

    We loved having this cake for our son’s birthday. The flavor was great & it looked so nice too. I think it was pretty simple to make & the frosting tasted great on top. Thank you for such wonderful treat recipes!

  12. What a fun treat to make! I used vanilla and chocolate chocolate chip ice cream. The hardest part was cutting the cake evenly but I realized it didn’t really matter. It still came out great!

  13. How much cocoa powder should I substitute with the cake flour to make this chocolate?

    1. Hi Avery, cocoa powder can be a tricky ingredient because it’s so fine, yet so drying. If you test any chocolate versions of this, let me know!

    2. Hi Avery, some ideas – you could try to use a chocolate loaf or Sally’s double chocolate zucchini bread (quick bread) and use it when it’s 1-2 days old so it’s dried out a bit.

      Last year I made half of Sally’s Tuxedo chocolate cake in a 6-mini bundt pan and some of it stuck to the pan so I saved those pieces. And use it for a ice cream layer cake by doing the following.
      Using disposable foil loaf pans I lined it with plastic wrap or baking parchment paper
      Layer 1: pressed pieces of the cake into the bottom of the pan until it’s a layer without any gaps.
      Layer 2: Then spread the softened ice cream (like in this recipe) then some homemade fudge sauce (from Smitten kitchen)
      Layer 3: then more cake
      Layer 4: more ice cream
      Layer 5: then cake
      Layer 6: ice cream
      Topping: finally fudge sauce or ganache on top + sprinkles or broken pieces of KitKats or Lotus Biscoff cookies

      Then covered with plastic wrap or foil and frozen. So it’s a similar method to this. I just made this cake and it is delicious – one day I will make a chocolate version either with one of Sally’s cakes or quick breads. Hope this helps a bit.

  14. This was so easy and tasty! Even though I didn’t have the right sprinkles and only had about half the quantity of ice cream required, it was delicious and was devoured by my family! I will be trying this again with better sprinkles and more ice cream!

  15. Hi Sally, haven’t made this yet but wondering how long after the cake is assembled could I leave it in the freezer (without ganache)? You mentioned only for a day or so, but would it be similar to other baked goods that could be frozen for several months or that would affect of the quality of this kind of cake? I’m hoping to maybe make it and then slice them individually and keep in the freezer like little ice cream sandwiches!

    1. Hi Alex, I don’t recommend freezing the the assembled cake for longer than about 3 days because otherwise slicing it would be nearly impossible. You can freeze the individual slices for another week though! (See last step.)

  16. Joshua Bowers says:

    This cake was a lot of fun to make! I put extra sprinkles in for extra color and everyone who had some commented about how fun a cake it was

  17. Paulette Pugh says:

    What a fun cake!!!! Perfect for the hot days and exciting for the young kids. Very colorful.

  18. I made this last night – I can’t buy cake flour here so I made my own and sifted it 3-4 times. Filled my cake with mint chocolate chip ice cream and then hazelnut ice cream. Mine didn’t rise as much as yours but I still managed to make it successfully and it tastes so good! Thank you for a fun and helpful recipe!

  19. Emilee Johnson says:

    I made this for my husband’s birthday and it was delicious! As always, I love Sally’s recipes because she provides enough instruction to ensure that mine turns out just as beautiful as hers! Bravo! 😀

  20. Hello Sally,

    I am baking the cake as I am writing. The recipe calls for 4 cups (2 pints) of ice cream. However, the video shows you using a 1.5 quart cartoon of ice cream which is 6 cups (3 quarts). It looks like you are using all or almost all of the ice cream. Which is it? 4 cups or 6 cups? Thank you.

    1. Hi Tsili, I didn’t use the entire container in the video. There was some leftover! I recommend using 2 pints.

  21. Kimberly Reilly says:

    My 13 year old daughter and I really enjoyed making this ice cream cake together. What a fun and delicious challenge.

  22. Thanks Sally for giving us another delicious recipe to try! It was easy to follow and the entire family loved it. I also love that it’s so easy to vary the flavors, so every time I make it, it Will taste like an whole new dessert! Yum!

  23. I made this ice cream cake with my two daughters for the August baking challenge. The recipe and instructions were straight forward and easy. I was nervous cutting the cake into three parts but after watching the video I had no problems! Thank you for another fun and delicious recipe!

  24. Nicole Bair says:

    Okay, WHOA this dessert is yummy! The steps to making the cake were simple and easy to follow – as always super grateful for the videos and pictures to follow along with! I don’t think mine rose as well as it could have so I got nervous slicing it because my layers wouldn’t be as thick. But overall, I’m proud with how it turned out and how it tastes! Cake + my 2 favorite flavors of ice cream = a dessert dream! Another Sally recipe that was perfect to follow and attempt! 🙂

  25. This was perfect for summer and so fun! My family loved it.

  26. Made this yesterday!This is so good! Just what I needed to get into a good mood to go back to school tomorrow. Cake & ice cream is always a perfect combination.

  27. Laura Rallios says:

    Fun cake to make and eat! Perfect summertime dessert. I love how easily the cake came together. Can’t wait to try it with a variety of ice creams!!

  28. I’ve always wanted to make an ice cream cake and this is the perfect recipe for the first! It’s not too big and and easy recipe to follow!

  29. katherine demaray says:

    perfect dessert for a pool party! we all loved the cake – children and adults – and it was pretty easy to put together … will definitely make again – thanks!

  30. Delicious cake, fun to prepare, and well accepted by guests!

1 2 3 5

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

With kitchen-tested quality recipes and step-by-step tutorials, my goal is to give you the confidence to bake and cook from scratch.

Sally's signature

Recipes You’ll Love

Archives

Categories

Join the community on the 1st of every month as we tackle a new challenge recipe. Review Sally's Baking Challenge FAQ page if you have any questions.

View More

A tradition since 2013, every December we countdown to Christmas with 10 new cookie recipes in a row!

View More

The first week of every November is all about Thanksgiving Pies.

View More

My Cookbooks

Sally's Cookbooks

About Sally

Welcome to my Kitchen!

I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally

×