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Monday, June 17, 2024

Homemade Ice Cream Cake (Like Dairy Queen)


Chill out with a slice of ice cream cake! This crowd-pleasing, totally no-bake Dairy Queen-inspired treat combines two of your favorite ice cream flavors, plus layers of crunchy Oreo cookies, homemade hot fudge, and whipped cream. Because this cake needs to freeze for at least 12 hours prior to serving, it’s a great make-ahead dessert for celebrations.

slice of ice cream cake on white plate.

Need a celebratory ice cream dessert? Obviously it’s easiest to just pick up a ready-made ice cream cake from the grocery store or ice cream shop, but if you’ve never made an ice cream cake before, I encourage you to try it at least once!

It requires a few back-and-forth trips between the freezer and counter, but other than that, it’s surprisingly easy—absolutely no baking and very few tools and ingredients needed.

And just wait for the moment the jaws drop open when you tell your guests you made this yourself! (And they’ll pretty much remain open until their plates are licked clean. I know this from experience.)

whole ice cream cake on cake stand
strawberry, Oreo crunch, and chocolate ice cream cake sliced on cake stand.

This Homemade Ice Cream Cake Is:

  • A fun frozen dessert perfect for a summertime celebration
  • 5 layers of cool, creamy decadence
  • Easy to make, completely no-bake recipe
  • Customizable with your favorite flavors of ice cream
  • Ribboned with homemade hot fudge
  • Topped with fluffy whipped cream and cheerful sprinkles
  • As tempting as cookie ice cream sandwiches, but made in 1 pan to serve a group
  • A great make-ahead option to add to your list of BBQ cookout desserts.

You can use any flavors of store-bought ice cream you want. Chocolate + strawberry is a favorite combination in my family, but you could also try: chocolate + peanut butter, chocolate + mint chip, cookies dough + chocolate, or coffee + cookies and cream. The combination is entirely up to you.


5 Layers to Love

  1. Ice Cream: Start with a 1.5-quart carton of ice cream, and let it soften.
  2. Hot Fudge: I highly recommend making your own homemade hot fudge—it tastes so much better than store-bought and takes just 5 minutes on the stove.
  3. Crushed Oreo Cookies + Melted Butter: A layer of crushed Oreos mixed with melted butter adds incredible texture to this cake, while keeping the assembly easy and totally no-bake. Melted butter helps the Oreos stay a bit crunchy, and also helps adhere them to the two layers of ice cream. I tested this recipe without the butter, and the two layers completely separated. (Literally, the top layer fell off the cake. It was quite the cleanup job!)
  4. Ice Cream: A second 1.5-quart carton of softened ice cream, in another flavor.
  5. Whipped Cream: Homemade whipped cream is quick to make and the perfect topping for this frozen dessert. The recipe below yields enough to cover the cake, plus some extra for decorative piping detail. It’s nice to have a second homemade element to this dessert, since we’re using store-bought ice cream and Oreos.

I like to garnish it with sprinkles for a festive finish. Because of course I do!

ingredients measured in bowls including heavy cream, Oreos, hot fudge, butter, and confectioners sugar.

Best Pan to Use:

You need a 9-inch or 10-inch springform pan that’s at least 3 inches high. If you don’t have a pan this size, you can turn this into a quarter sheet cake using a 9×13-inch pan, or halve the recipe for an 8×2-inch square pan.

Whichever pan you use, line it with plastic wrap. Why? You will have a heck of a time slicing this frozen cake while it’s still inside the pan! You’ll want to completely remove the cake and place it on a frozen or cold cutting board or cake plate to slice. And, if using a springform pan like pictured, the plastic wrap prevents any melty ice cream leakage.


Ice Cream Cake Success Tips (Learned From Experience!)

I made a slew of ice cream cakes the past month, determining the most successful (and non-melty) way to frost and serve this chilly dessert. Take my advice:

  1. Take the ice cream out of the freezer and let it sit and soften for 10 minutes before layering.
  2. Line the pan with plastic wrap.
  3. Freeze the cake as directed in the instructions in between adding your layers.
  4. Don’t skip the melted butter with the crushed Oreo cookies; the melted butter helps the two layers of hot fudge and ice cream adhere to one another.
  5. Work quickly. Read through the recipe so you understand each step.
  6. If using store-bought hot fudge, heat it up a bit. This makes it a little easier to spread on top of the ice cream.
  7. Freeze the cake for at least 12 hours (and up to 2 days).
  8. If you intend to serve this on a cake stand or other serving platter, freeze the cake stand/platter for 30 minutes before placing the ice cream cake on top and frosting it with the whipped cream. (Otherwise, it will melt immediately, making frosting very difficult!)
  9. For clean cuts, run a sharp knife under hot water before slicing. This trick works when cutting brownie ice cream sandwiches, too.

Here is the ice cream cake again with vanilla on the bottom layer. Have fun customizing your own ice cream cake using various flavors!

vanilla, Oreo, strawberry ice cream cake slice on white plate.
vanilla, Oreo, and strawberry ice cream cake with whipped cream on white plate with fork.vanilla, Oreo, and strawberry ice cream cake with whipped cream on white plate with fork.

Ice Cream Cake FAQ

Can I add a cake layer?

Yes—it can take the place of the bottom ice cream layer. Bake a cake in a 9-inch springform pan. I recommend the vanilla cake recipe from my homemade cake pops or the chocolate cake recipe from my chocolate cake pops. Both yield one 9-inch cake in a springform pan. After the cake cools, keep it in the pan, and freeze for 1 hour. Continue with assembling the remaining layers of the ice cream cake.

I don’t have a springform pan, what else can I use for this ice cream cake?

You can make this in a 9×13-inch pan, or halve the recipe for an 8×2-inch square pan. Be sure to line the pan with plastic wrap so you can easily remove the ice cream cake from the pan to slice it.

Can I use other cookies besides Oreos?

Yes, absolutely. Crushed crunchy chocolate chip cookies (homemade or store-bought), Nutter Butters, Nilla Wafers, graham crackers, and Biscoff cookies are some top choices. Any crunchy cookie works!

I only have a 9×2-inch springform pan, can I use that?

Yes. Reduce the ice creams to 1 quart each. Keep the hot fudge, Oreo, and whipped cream amounts the same. Your cake will be a bit shorter.

Print

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slice of ice cream cake with whipped cream and sprinkles on top on white plate.slice of ice cream cake with whipped cream and sprinkles on top on white plate.

Homemade Ice Cream Cake (Like Dairy Queen)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star
4.8 from 32 reviews


  • Author:
    Sally


  • Prep Time:
    2 hours


  • Cook Time:
    0 minutes


  • Total Time:
    14 hours (includes freezing)


  • Yield:
    serves 10-12


  • Category:
    Dessert


  • Method:
    Freezing


  • Cuisine:
    American




Instructions

  1. In a food processor or blender, pulse 10 Oreos (including the cream filling) into a coarse crumb; feel free to leave some larger chunks. You should have about 1 cup crumbs. Mix with the melted butter and set aside to use in step 4. crushed Oreo cookies in glass bowl.crushed Oreo cookies in glass bowl.
  2. Remove chocolate ice cream (or desired bottom-layer flavor) from the freezer and let it soften for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, line a 9×3-inch or 10×3-inch springform pan with plastic wrap. I usually use two pieces to ensure all sides have a little overhang. See recipe Note for other pan options.
  3. Scoop chocolate ice cream into lined pan and, working quickly, use the back of a large spoon to spread it into an even layer as best you can. Place it in the freezer for 30 minutes. chocolate ice cream spread in round pan.chocolate ice cream spread in round pan.
  4. During that time, make your homemade hot fudge, or warm up pre-made hot fudge sauce so that it’s a spreadable consistency. Pour and spread 1/2 cup hot fudge evenly over the first ice cream layer, then top with Oreo mixture. hot fudge drizzled on top of cake.hot fudge drizzled on top of cake.
    Oreo crunchy pieces in springform pan.Oreo crunchy pieces in springform pan.
  5. Freeze for 30 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove strawberry ice cream (or desired top flavor) from the freezer to soften for 10 minutes.
  6. Drizzle remaining 1/2 cup hot fudge on top of Oreo layer. Working quickly, spoon and spread strawberry ice cream into an even layer as best you can. spreading strawberry ice cream in springform pan.spreading strawberry ice cream in springform pan.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and freeze for at least 12 hours and up to 2 days.
  8. Freeze the cake plate: If you want to serve the cake on something other than the bottom of the springform pan (or if you made this in a 9×13-inch pan or 8-inch square pan), place your desired cake plate/stand or cutting board in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. (The bottom ice cream layer will begin to melt immediately on a room-temperature surface.)
  9. Make the whipped cream topping: Using a handheld 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 minutes.
  10. Remove the frozen ice cream cake from the freezer. Remove the rim from the springform pan. Lift the cake up using the plastic wrap and carefully peel off the plastic. Place the cake back on the bottom of the springform pan, or the frozen cake plate/cutting board. Working quickly, spread the whipped cream all over the top and sides of the ice cream cake. Feel free to pipe a border around the top of the cake; I used Wilton 1M piping tip. Garnish with sprinkles, if desired.
    whipped cream in bowl and shown again being spread on cake.whipped cream in bowl and shown again being spread on cake.
    whole ice cream cake on cake stand with whipped cream and sprinkles.whole ice cream cake on cake stand with whipped cream and sprinkles.
  11. Slice and serve immediately or freeze for up to 1 hour before serving. (I don’t recommend longer than this.) Use a very sharp knife to cut, dipping it into a glass of hot water in between slices. Keep leftover ice cream cake covered in the freezer.
    chocolate, Oreo, and strawberry ice cream cake slice.chocolate, Oreo, and strawberry ice cream cake slice.


Notes

  1. Making Ahead: You can prepare this cake through step 7 up to 48 hours ahead. I do not recommend longer than that, as the ice cream cake becomes extremely difficult to cut through. Feel free to extend that time, but the cake will have to sit out for a bit before slicing (and the edges may begin to melt).
  2. Special Tools (affiliate links): Food Processor9×3-inch Springform Pan, 9×3-inch Pan with Removable Bottom or 10×3-inch Springform Pan | Electric Mixer (Handheld or Stand) | Piping Bag (Reusable or Disposable) | Wilton 1M Piping Tip
  3. To Use a 9×2-inch Springform Pan: Reduce the ice creams to 1 quart each. Keep the hot fudge, Oreo, and whipped cream amounts the same. Your cake will be a bit shorter.
  4. Other Pan Options: You can make this in a 9×13-inch pan, or halve the recipe for an 8×2-inch square pan. Be sure to line the pan with plastic wrap so you can easily remove the ice cream cake from the pan to slice it. In step 8, freeze the cutting board or whatever you are slicing/serving the cake on for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Instead of Oreos: Crushed crunchy chocolate chip cookies (homemade or store-bought), Nutter Butters, Nilla Wafers, graham crackers, and Biscoff Cookies are some top choices. Any crunchy cookie works!
  6. Can I Use Homemade Oreos? I don’t recommend it. They aren’t crunchy enough.
  7. Bottom Cake Layer Instead of Ice Cream: Instead of ice cream, the bottom layer can be a cake and I recommend making this in a 9×2- or 9×3-inch springform pan. I recommend the vanilla cake recipe from my homemade cake pops or the chocolate cake recipe from my chocolate cake pops. Both yield one 9-inch cake in a springform pan. After the cake cools, keep it in the pan, and freeze it for 1 hour. Continue with assembling the cake with the hot fudge/Oreo/top ice cream layer. No need to wrap the pan in plastic wrap. Note that if you used a 9×2-inch springform pan, only 1 quart of top-layer ice cream will fit instead of 1.5 quarts. In step 9, before removing the springform pan’s rim, run a sharp knife around the edges to loosen the ice cream.

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