Ice cream cake has always been the epitome of summertime and birthdays to me. It has all the things that a birthday party needs: cake (or in this case, brownies!), ice cream, something crunchy, and lots of gooey fudge.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO ASSEMBLE THIS CAKE?
While ice cream cake might seem like an ambitious project, it’s really just an assembly job. I baked a from-scratch brownie for this, but a boxed brownie will do the job just as well.
Assembly starts with the brownie base that’s been baked and cooled. Then comes the ice cream! We add one layer of ice cream, followed by a layer of chunky crushed cookies, and top that with another layer of ice cream. Finally, the cake gets a glossy covering of fudge sauce.
The fudge sauce is so easy, thick, and rich. It’s slightly more spreadable than other versions, but I wanted to be able to spread it cold, so it wouldn’t melt the cake.
WHAT IS THE BEST PAN TO USE?
A springform pan is the easiest pan to use for this cake. It’s a cinch to remove the cake from the pan, no flipping! Plus, you can both bake the brownie layer and build the cake in one pan.
If you don’t have a springform pan, feel free to use a round cake pan or a 9×13. Just make sure you place parchment paper in the bottom of the pan with enough hanging over the sides so you can lift the cake out of the pan. Or keep it all in the pan; pour the fudge sauce over the top; slice, and serve!
WHAT IS THE BEST ICE CREAM TO USE?
I went vanilla here, because it’s classic, and that visual contrast cannot be beaten. Plus, Oreos and ice cream are forever a match made in heaven, and they provide the perfect crunchy texture.
But that said, the ice cream can literally be any flavor you want. I am always into a coffee and chocolate combo, but strawberry ice cream with crushed peanut butter cookies would be interesting and fun. Let your food brain run wild!
MAKE THIS AHEAD OF TIME
This cake is great to make ahead of time. You can bake the brownie layer up to a month in advance and freeze it. Wrap the entire pan well in two layers of plastic or foil.
You can also assemble the cake in advance, but I wouldn’t do it more than a week ahead, because I wouldn’t want the cake to get freezer burn (or absorb any weird freezer smells).
You can freeze the cake with the fudge topping if you want. Either way, freeze the assembled cake in the pan, covered well with a layer of plastic and foil.
THE BEST WAY TO SLICE AN ICE CREAM CAKE
Since this cake is frozen, use a hot knife to slice it. This will help the knife move through the frozen ice cream layers easily and give you clean slices.
To do this, I boil a kettle of water, pour into a tall vessel wide enough to fit the blade of my knife all the way to the hilt, then dip the knife in for about 15 seconds; dry it with a towel; then slice. It works like a charm and is actually very satisfying. Repeat the steps each time for super sharp, perfect slices.
LOVE ICE CREAM AND CAKE? TRY THESE RECIPES!
- If classic is your style, this Vanilla Birthday Cake is calling your name!
- More of a chocolate kinda person? I get it—try this luscious Sour Cream Chocolate Cake.
- Gluten-free? No problem. We’ve got you covered with this tender GF Vanilla Cake.
- Looking to connect your kid-at-heart self with your adult self? Try this Oreo Cookie and Coffee Ice Cream.
- Break from the usual chocolate and vanilla, and make this Cinnamon Ice Cream.
For the ice cream cake:
- 1 recipe of Best Chocolate Brownies, made as instructed but baked in a springform pan
- 1 gallon vanilla ice cream, or any flavor you like
- 6 ounces Oreo cookies, crushed (about 15 cookies)
For the fudge sauce (Makes 2 cups):
- 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
- 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (or chips)
- 1/4 cup water
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 10-inch springform pan