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. What a fun recipe and the timing couldn’t be more perfect. Made this in celebration of my birthday yesterday! Had my family over to celebrate and everyone loved it. It’s now a family favorite! Thanks for such an awesome challenge and ice cream cake!

    1. Marisa Recinos says:

      Another great recipe! I especially loved how easy and delicious the loaf size cake was. It’s so easy to do for a quick celebration any weeknight. I did a combination of almond/pistachio ice cream with chocolate sprinkles. I loved the taste of the chocolate ganache with the pistachio ice cream. A wonderful celebration cake!

  2. Made for a special occasion, and it went over very well. Chocolate sprinkles (homemade), with coffee ice cream for flavor choices. Dressed it up with a coating of chocolate whipped cream before topping with the ganache. The cake recipe is a keeper. Super easy and terrific result.

  3. It’s a hit with the family! Easy to make and delicious. We even made it dairy and egg free because of food allergies in the house and it still came out great.

  4. Corinne Portzline says:

    This was definitely perfect timing to make during the hot days we had. However, I accidentally froze the cake first before cutting and adding ice cream. Which made for easier cutting. Then I popped it in the freezer again so we had to keep waiting. I also had my young girls help with this, so it definitely didn’t come out pretty. But it was good and I had fun with my girls! Not our cup of tea, as we don’t usually mix cake with ice cream. Yet still a delicious treat for a hot day. A lot of work, for something we just would rather eat separate. Still so glad I made it. Yummy

  5. Maribel Garcia says:

    It’s a lovely recipe perfect to celebrate a birthday in summer or just to share with our beloved ones! I’ll bake it!!! 😉

  6. Looks great. I am wondering if this would work without the sprinkles? I am not a fan of sprinkles in cakes.
    Thank you.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Stephanie, absolutely. Simply omit the sprinkles. Enjoy!

  7. Stella Fitzhugh says:

    My granddaughter and I bake a treat whenever I visit. I asked her ahead of time and she said she wanted something with vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate. With strawberry ice cream, this fit the bill perfectly! Loved baking it in a loaf pan, and I ordered the wonderful sprinkles from Amazon. So much fun to put together, and everyone LOVED it. You are our go-to for kid-friendly baking projects, Sally. Thanks!

  8. A perfect treat for hot summer days! The addition of ganache on top makes for a really delicious touch that completes the cake.

  9. I loved the shape of this cake. Maybe could’ve done more ice cream. I paired it with more chocolate ice cream and chocolate sauce and it was amazing!

  10. I made this for my son’s 3rd birthday- I made it into a construction site. It was easier than I anticipated. The cake texture was easy to cut through- I didn’t have any issues with it falling apart. The cake was buttery and delicious. I’ll definitely make this again- it’s a cake that looks like a lot of effort, but isn’t (and tastes better).

  11. I just made this for the monthly challenge (and my birthday) and it was a big hit! Much easier than you’d think by just looking at it, but like all of Sally’s recipes she keeps it simple so any level baker can achieve success!!

    I definitely want to play around with the recipe and make a cookies & cream version, with some crushed oreos in with the ice cream layer, and using that type of ice cream. Will be making again for sure!!

  12. I thought my cake was a bit soft to start with, but it firmed up into a nice, pound-cake like quality. I had to put my frosted cake back in the freezer for a bit to firm up the ganache, but that is probably because our kitchen was so warm. Once firm, I had no trouble cutting the cake, and we look forward to digging in for dessert.

    Another great baking challenge! Thank you for the variety in these recipes.

  13. Could I make this recipe with all-purpose flour? I don’t have any cake flour.

    1. Michelle @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Reina, When a recipe calls for cake flour, it’s best to use cake flour. In a pinch, however, you can make your own cake flour substitute.

  14. What a fun recipe and the timing couldn’t be more perfect. Made this in celebration of my birthday this week! Had my family over to celebrate and everyone loved it. It’s now a family favorite! Thanks for such an awesome challenge and ice cream cake!

  15. Made this last night. The cake is pretty decently flavored too. I can see using this as a base for other cake ideas.

    My ice cream layer also had a fudge Oreo later.

    Easy and good. Only disadvantage I can think of is waiting for it to set up..lol.

  16. When I saw the august challenge was an ice cream cake I had to make it! This recipe was so easy to put together as well! I brought it to share with family today and everyone completely loved it. I will be making this again for sure! The best part is you can always mix up the ice cream flavors so you can have a new cake every time! I did cookies and cream ice cream and it was so good!

  17. I wasn’t a fan. Very easy to make (although mine ended up LOOKING like a disaster) but I just didn’t like the consistency of the cake with the ice cream.

  18. Kathryn Welch says:

    Very easy to make, and the instructions and video make it pretty foolproof. The cake was just not very tasty. It was very bland and just didn’t add anything to the dessert. I would have rather just eaten the ice cream.

  19. My birthday was the other day, so I decided to make the ice cream loaf cake for my birthday. It was my first time ever making a cake, let alone an ice cream cake! I shared it with my family and they loved it!

  20. This came out good and I served it when our grandsons spent the day with us. Everyone enjoyed it and I used cookies and cream ice cream. If I make this again, I will need to not have the ice cream melted too much. Mine didn’t have good ice cream layers. I think it was too soft when I assembled it since the layers were thin and the ice cream was on the sides as well. It didn’t hurt the taste though. Thanks for another great recipe!

  21. This was even better than I expected! I made this with gelato and it turned out great!

  22. Sandra Gifford says:

    Easy and delicious ice cream cake. The directions were easy to follow and made a wonderful dessert. My family especially liked the ganache topping. I opted to leave off the sprinkles on the top but it still turned out beautifully. Our family almost finished the cake in one sitting! Highly recommend.

  23. Annie McCumber says:

    This was yummy, but not our favorite. I think we would have preferred to have all the components separately. Still, it was fun and different and we did enjoy it. Just a note, we thought we were putting on way more ice cream than we should be, but it definitely wasn’t too much!

  24. This was a very fun celebration cake that was enjoyed by all! It came together easily and was a perfect dessert to just pull out of the freezer on a weeknight. My only criticism is that small bites at the edge of the ice cream had an icy/freezer burned texture. I would make this again and try to figure out how to wrap the sides tighter to prevent that.

  25. This was fun to make and so so delicious! I was a little nervous about slicing the loaf cake, but it was surprisingly easy. The cake was buttery, the ganache rich, and the strawberry ice cream we picked paired so well with them both. This will definitely be a dessert staple in our house from now on. Thanks so much!

  26. What a fun summer baking project! My kids picked out the ice cream flavors – chocolate and mint chocolate chip. Both worked perfectly! My ganache was not perfect, but still tasted great 🙂 Thanks for another great recipe, and fun challenge!

  27. Paula Sullivan says:

    Great flavor in the cake. Next try we will use a metal loaf pan and sliced hard ice cream. We used a ceramic pan and very soft ice cream and our layers melted into the cake. My grandson and I will try again.

  28. This was a fun recipe, I don’t usually bake with sprinkles. And it was quite easy to make and stayed together well, although was a little hard to cut. I used pistachio ice cream.

  29. Another favorite Sally recipe! We chose cookies and cream ice cream to put between the cake layers and it was PERFECT! If you don’t finish it all in one sitting (hard not to!), I found slicing it all at once, and storing the slices on their sides in a big Tupperware with parchment or wax paper in between was an easy way to access another slice without waiting for the cake to thaw enough to cut. Such a fun and delicious bake for back-to-school!

  30. Christi Hebeler says:

    YUM! Made this for a double birthday celebration. The chocolate ganache took this cake to the next level! My first attempt at an ice cream cake. Used a layer of mint chip ice cream and a layer of dark chocolate ice cream. Tasty!!

1 2 3 4 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

×