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Classic Chocolate Vanilla Ice Cream Cake

Have you always wanted to make an ice cream cake but the idea of actually DOING it seemed intimating to you?! Yup. Me, too. I love ice cream cakes but always resorted to buying them from the store for special occasions simply because they seemed too technical to make at home (the perfect layers! The frosting?!).

It wasn’t until this summer when I decided to face the task head-on and try my hand at making my own. Luke turned two last month and ice cream coooooooould be his favorite thing on planet earth. Well, ice cream and ice pops. So – frozen desserts in general are a big win and on constant repeat in our house. I decided to make him an ice cream cake for his little family birthday celebration and it turned out so well and was SO EASY that I actually have made another one since! Seriously you guys, if I can make one of these so can you. If I would have known how easy they actually are to make, I would have been making them a long time ago. All you need is time (well, and chocolate cake and ice cream) so with a little planning ahead, you can make a delicious ice cream at home too. 

So first, the cake! I made two layers of a very straightforward (and very, very delicious) chocolate cake. It’s buttermilk based so it’s incredibly moist and delicious. I’ve made a lot of chocolate cake over the years but I keep coming back to this one because it’s hard to beat. Then, (obviously!) the ice cream. I used Dreyer’s Slow Churned Vanilla Ice Cream because you can’t beat how rich and creamy it is. I let the ice cream thaw for about half an hour to make it easier to spread and then you do the magic trick – line a cake pan with plastic wrap, plop that ice cream right in and smooth it to the top. Freeze until hard (a few hours or overnight) and then pop out the ice cream layer in between your chocolate cake layers. It should come right out of the pan because of the plastic wrap, and it should be pretty much perfect looking because you didn’t just try to smear it in yourself – you actually used a cake pan for precision. 

I topped my ice cream cake with a delicious whipped cream frosting and rainbow sprinkles! These cakes are awesome because you can make them way ahead of time and just keep in the freezer. They are absolutely perfect for birthday parties, end of summer barbecues or football parties! I’m not much of a cake decorator (I prefer to get my hands messier in bread dough) but you could really let your imagination run wild here with some icing pens on top. 

I hope you guys try this! I hope I took some of the intimidation out of it because, really, if you can bake a cake (and you can) and if you can spread ice cream in a pan (you can do this, too), you can make a beautiful ice cream cake that will wow your friends and family! Oh, and don’t forget your coupon, guys! You can save $2 when you buy 3 Dreyer’s or other participating Nestlé ice cream brands at Safeway. Yay! 

Classic Chocolate Vanilla Ice Cream Cake
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
freezing time
5 hrs
Total Time
50 mins
Course: Dessert
  • For cake -
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder preferably dutch process
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • For ice cream layer -
  • 1.5 quarts Dreyer's Slow Churned Vanilla Ice Cream set on the counter to thaw for 30 minutes
  • For frosting -
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • rainbow sprinkles optional but fun!
  1. First, make the cake layers. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9" cake pans. Do not just use cooking spray here - really get in there with the butter and the flour. 

  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Sift in the cocoa powder and stir to combine well.
  3. In another bowl, blend together the oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add the buttermilk and mix well.

  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Batter will be slightly lumpy but be sure not to over-mix.
  5. Divide batter between your two prepared cake pans. Bake for 35 minutes, until the edges of the cakes have separated from the pan and the cakes are light and springy. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes in the pan before turning out onto a cooling rack to cool. Set aside and cool COMPLETELY before proceeding to next step with the ice cream.

  6. Line one of the now empty cake pans with plastic wrap. Scoop out your ice cream and fill the pan - smoothing the top with a knife and really getting all around the edges. It should fill the pan completely. Place this in the freezer for at least four hours, or preferably overnight.

  7. When you're ready to assemble your cake, place one of the chocolate cake layers on a cake plate or serving dish. Remove the ice cream layer by lifting on the plastic wrap and placing down on the cake. Peel away the plastic and place the other cake layer on top of this ice cream layer.

  8. Place cake back in freezer for a couple hours (or overnight) before frosting!

  9. When you're ready to frost your cake, beat the cream with the sugar and vanilla until fluffy and peaks appear. Smooth the frosting all over the frozen cake. This doesn't need to be perfect! Top with sprinkles. Place back in the freezer. 

    When ready to serve the cake, remove from the freezer for 20 minutes before serving so the cake can defrost a bit. Run a knife until hot water to heat to make slicing much easier. 

This post is sponsored by Dreyer’s. All thoughts and opinions expressed are entirely our own.

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    August 29, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    […] post Classic Chocolate Vanilla Ice Cream Cake appeared first on Eat, Live, […]

  • Reply
    August 30, 2018 at 3:37 am

    This cake looks good and I’ve been a fan for a long time (since you were still in Florida!) but it is a bummer to see you repping a Nestle subsidiary.

  • Reply
    August 30, 2018 at 7:51 am

    Ohh I’ve always wanted to try one of these! Thanks for giving such clear directions. I’m not sure if I agree with your line of “if I can make one, you can make one!” hahaha since you’re a professional 😉 but you’re right- it seems simple enough! My husband is going to be happy

  • Reply
    Paige Cassandra Flamm
    August 30, 2018 at 10:14 am

    This cake looks so good! I’ll totally be making this for my husband’s birthday next month!


  • Reply
    September 4, 2018 at 6:39 am

    Hi, Jenna! Any vanilla/white cake recipes you’d recommend for this? Thanks!

  • Reply
    Rohan Bhardwaj
    September 20, 2018 at 5:40 am

    I once tried to make the sorta-cake with the help of a premix Wakefield. And it was fun. After that experience, I started loving the cake very much because it is a feat for me to do the process.

    It is good to see you took up a new recipe and made it a success. I do cook – but not in formal sense. Maybe once I am married – I will indulge in full-fledged cooking.

    This is eye pleasing. Thank you.

  • Reply
    October 1, 2018 at 10:24 am

    That cake looks perfect. I have yet to find a homemade cake recipe that produces a cake better than the boxed kind — will bookmark this one for my next attempt!

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