Celebrate summer with this homemade ice cream cake! It features a chocolate cake base topped with three colorful layers of ice cream.
It’s the start of a long summer weekend – what better way to celebrate than with a homemade ice cream cake?!
Until I started making this ice cream cake recipe, every slice of ice cream cake I’d ever eaten was the same. I’m sure you know the kind. It has layers of chocolate and vanilla ice cream, cookie crumbles, and hot fudge, with swooshes of whipped cream frosting decorating the outside. I’ll admit that the combination is delicious, but when I started working on this ice cream cake recipe, I wanted to do something different. I loved the idea of an ice cream cake that was more colorful and more whimsical – one that captured the essence of summer.
To me, this ice cream cake recipe does just that. I love its vibrant stripes and the variety of flavors: some tart, some sweet, some salty, nutty, or chocolatey. It’s made with store-bought ice cream, so it’s really easy to put together, and it’s cool, creamy, and refreshing. I can’t think of a better treat for a hot summer day.
How to Make Ice Cream Cake
This ice cream cake has four layers: a raspberry layer, a salted caramel layer, a pistachio layer, and a chocolate cake base. You can find the complete recipe with measurements below, but for now, here’s a quick overview of how you’ll make it:
First, bake the chocolate cake. Bake a half recipe of this vegan chocolate cake in a 9×5-inch loaf pan. When the cake is cool, run a knife around its edges and invert the pan to release the cake. Wash and dry the pan and line it with parchment paper. Place the cake back in the bottom of the pan. Freeze for 3 hours.
Next, add the first ice cream layer. Allow the pistachio gelato to soften at room temperature until it becomes spreadable, checking its texture every few minutes. It should be soft and creamy. Pour the pint into a mixing bowl and stir until it has an even consistency. Pour it over the frozen cake, and use a spatula to spread it into an even layer. Freeze for 4 hours.
When the pistachio layer is frozen, add the caramel layer. Just like with the pistachio gelato, allow the salted caramel ice cream to soften at room temp. Transfer it to a bowl and stir until it has an even, creamy consistency. Then, pour the softened ice cream over the pistachio layer. Freeze for another 4 hours.
Finally, add the raspberry layer. Smooth the top with a spatula…
…and then decorate it with fresh raspberries.
Freeze the entire cake overnight. It’ll be ready to slice and serve the next day!
Ice Cream Cake Recipe Tips
- Remove the chocolate cake layer from the pan after baking. Even though you bake the chocolate cake layer and assemble the ice cream cake in the same pan, you need to remove the chocolate cake layer from the pan after you bake it. Why? It’s much easier to get the chocolate cake layer out of the pan on its own, before it’s attached to three layers of ice cream. Removing it from the pan gives you a chance to wash and dry the pan and properly line it with parchment paper, which will help you remove the entire cake from the pan (in one piece!) later on.
- For even stripes, slice off the top of the chocolate cake. This step is totally optional, but it makes for a super-cute ice cream cake. The chocolate cake has a slightly domed top after it bakes. If you want your ice cream cake to have even stripes when you slice it, use a serrated knife to level the top of the chocolate cake before you freeze it.
- Freeze each layer individually before adding the next. The toughest part of making this recipe is waiting for each individual layer to freeze. It might be tempting to cut this time short, but trust me – you don’t want to! It ensures that you get really nice, clean layers in the cake. After you add the final layer, place the entire cake in the freezer, and freeze overnight before slicing and serving.
- Make it your own. I love the flavor combination in this recipe, but if you like, feel free to change it up! Swap in your favorite ice cream flavors, or experiment with toppings other than raspberries, like chocolate chips or shredded coconut.
More Favorite Summer Desserts
If you love this recipe, try one of these summer treats next:
- Raspberry Vegan Cheesecake
- Strawberry Shortcake
- Homemade Cherry Pie
- Peach Crisp
- Grilled Peaches
- Easy Peach Cobbler
- Homemade Brownies
- Or any of these 30 Easy Summer Desserts!
Ice Cream Cake
- ½ recipe Vegan Chocolate Cake
- 1 pint Pistachio Gelato*
- 1 pint Salted Caramel Ice Cream*
- 1 pint Raspberry Sorbet*
- 6 ounces fresh raspberries
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9x5” loaf pan.
- Prepare the cake batter according to the directions in this post. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely. Run a knife around the edges of the pan and flip the pan over (bang it onto your work surface) to remove the cake from the pan. If desired, use a sharp serrated knife to slice off the domed part of the cake to create a flat surface for the next layer. Wash and dry the loaf pan, lightly grease it, and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper. Place the cake back into the pan. Freeze for at least 3 hours.
- When ready to add the first ice cream layer, allow the pint of ice cream to soften, then scoop into a bowl and stir until it’s evenly spreadable. Pour the softened ice cream onto the cake and use a spatula to smooth it. Freeze for 4 hours. Repeat with the remaining 2 ice cream layers, freezing 4 hours between each layer. Top the final layer with the raspberries and freeze overnight.
- When ready to serve, let the cake sit at room temperature for 5 minutes, then flip it over and bang it out onto a large baking sheet. Use a second baking sheet to flip the cake right side up. Slice and serve right away or freeze.