Using just three ingredients, you can customize a homemade Ice Cream Cake for any birthday or holiday in the flavors you (or the kids!) want. It’s super affordable, very straightforward, and so fun to make!

slices-of-ice-cream-cake-on-bright-plates

Homemade Ice Cream Cake

When my middle kiddo turned four, she had a very specific request: Orange sherbet ice cream cake with sprinkles. And while I realize you can buy ice cream cakes, the options for flavors in our area are slim, so I decided to try making one myself. I’m so happy that I did because it was really straight forward and so satisfying to make her the exact dessert she dreamed of!

This would work for any occasion, kids birthday, holiday, or just a fun way to celebrate a random weekend.

We have now made this a handful of times in a few different flavors and each one has been a total hit.

Ingredients You Need

To make an ice cream cake at home, you just need the following ingredients.

ice-cream-cake-slice-on-pink-plate
  • Ice cream: It really doesn’t matter which type you use, though it’s a little easier to slice if there aren’t big chunks in it. You can also use sherbet or frozen yogurt.
  • Whipped topping: Look for this in the freezer aisle near the ice cream.
  • Sprinkles or other decorations to add to the top.

TIP: You can use any kind of ice cream you prefer to customize it for the occasion. You could make this dairy-free by using dairy-free ice cream.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s a look at the process involved in making this ice cream cake. Scroll down to the end of the post for the full details.

how-to-make-ice-cream-cake-step-by-step
  1. Line cake pans with one piece of plastic wrap, leaving an overhang so the frozen layer is easy to pull out of the pan.
  2. Scoop the ice cream into the prepared pans. Cover completely with plastic wrap and freeze.
  3. Remove layers from the freezer and remove the outer plastic wrap. Place the first layer onto a cake stand or plate.
  4. Add a layer of sprinkles or cookie crumbs, if desired. Unmold the second layer and place gently on top.
  5. Coat the top and the sides of the cake with whipped topping and add sprinkles. Freeze.
  6. Slice and serve.

TIP: You’ll want to start this the day before you plan to serve it so it has a chance to freeze through each step.

frosted-ice-cream-cake-on-cake-stand

Frosting for Homemade Ice Cream Cake

I wanted to make this birthday cake as easy as possible, so I used whipped topping for the frosting. You can use the kind that’s sold frozen or in the dairy aisle. I find it easiest to spread it on the top and the sides of the cake using an offset spatula, though a regular spatula or butter knife can work too.

This frosting freezes nicely and holds it’s form well. It’s fun for a birthday at home or one with family and friends.

ice-cream-cake-with-sprinkles-and-candle

How to Decorate a Homemade Ice Cream Cake

I added sprinkles around the top edge and on the sides of the cake. I placed my cake stand with the cake over a towel and sort of threw the sprinkles at the sides of the cake. I did have to sweep up some that wound up on the floor but it was otherwise easy!

You could use any other decorations you prefer or use a tube of frosting to write on a message or name.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of ice cream works best in ice cream cake?

You can really use any type that you like. I’ve made this with regular ice cream, sherbet, and also frozen yogurt. The consistently of different types may freeze more or less solid, so you may notice a difference in the firmness when slicing.

Can I make this ahead of time?

I usually start making this the day before I plan to serve it at least. You can do it even more ahead of time than that if you prefer!

Can I make this in different shape cake pans?

Sure! I like the size of the 6-inch ones that I used here, but any size would work. You may need more or less ice cream though.

ice-cream-cake-on-cake-stand

How to Store

To freeze leftovers, slice and place on paper plates. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for up to 1 month.

Best Tips for Success

  • Use any flavors you prefer. Know that if you use layers that have a slightly different consistency, such as the sherbet and vanilla ice cream shown here, one layer may be softer than the other. (It’s fine, though one layer may be easier than the other to slice through.)
  • Use smaller or larger cake pans if desired.
  • Use an offset spatula to frost the cake, or a regular butter knife or spatula.
  • You should have plenty of time to assemble and frost the cake before it starts to melt, so don’t stress. (But also don’t do that step if you have a lot of other things going on since you will want to get it back into the freezer!) It may melt faster if it’s humid or very warm in your kitchen.
  • If you want to make this with lower sugar, look for options in the ice cream section of your store. Or you could try it with my Strawberry Frozen Yogurt. (You’d likely want to double the recipe to make enough for two layers.)

Related Recipes


I’d love to hear your feedback on this recipe if you try it, so please comment below to share!

ice-cream-cake-on-cake-stand

Homemade Ice Cream Cake

Plan to start making this the day before you want to serve it so it has time to freeze.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 6 hours 25 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Dessert
Calories 521kcal
Servings 16

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon or two half gallons ice cream, sherbet, or frozen yogurt
  • 8 ounces whipped topping
  • Sprinkles, cookie crumbs, optional

Instructions

  • Let the ice cream soften slightly at room temperature for 5-10 minutes so it’s easy to work with.
  • Line two 6-inch round cake pans with one piece of plastic wrap, leaving 1-2 inches overhanging so the frozen layer is easy to pull out of the pan.
  • Scoop the ice cream into the prepared pans, pressing down firmly to pack the ice cream into the pan. (My pans are 4 inches deep and I fit a half gallon into each layer.) Level off the top as evenly as you can with a spatula or offset spatula. Cover completely with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • Remove layers from the freezer and remove the outer plastic wrap. Run the bottom of the pan under hot water to loosen the edges, then use the plastic wrap to gently pull the layer out of the pan. Place the first layer onto a cake stand or plate.
  • Add a layer of sprinkles or cookie crumbs, if desired. Unmold the second layer and place gently on top. (It’s okay if they start to melt a smidge since you want them to melt together a little.)
  • Coat the top and the sides of the cake with whipped topping. I find it’s easiest to do this with an offset spatula, but any spatula will work. Add sprinkles to the sides of the cake if desired. (I sort of threw them at it, and then swept up any that wound up on the floor!) Freeze for at least an hour or until ready to serve.
  • Let the cake sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Video

Notes

  • To freeze leftovers, slice and place on paper plates. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for up to 1 month.
  • Use any flavors you prefer. Know that if you use layers that have a slightly different consistency, such as the sherbet and vanilla ice cream shown here, one layer may be softer than the other. (It’s fine, though one layer may be easier than the other to slice through.)
  • Use smaller or larger cake pans if desired.
  • Use an offset spatula to frost the cake, or a regular butter knife or spatula.
  • You should have plenty of time to assemble and frost the cake before it starts to melt, so don’t stress. (But also don’t do that step if you have a lot of other things going on since you will want to get it back into the freezer!) It may melt a little faster if it’s very humid or very hot in your kitchen.
  • Freeze the cake in a deep freezer if you have the option as it will be a little firmer. (It works fine in a regular freezer too, just wanted to mention that in case it helps!)
  • If you want to make this with lower sugar, look for options in the ice cream section of your store. Or you could try it with my Strawberry Frozen Yogurt. (You’d likely want to double the recipe to make enough for two layers.)

Nutrition

Calories: 521kcal, Carbohydrates: 59g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 28g, Saturated Fat: 18g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 104mg, Sodium: 199mg, Potassium: 485mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 54g, Vitamin A: 1007IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 313mg, Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

This post was originally published in May 2020.

Related Posts

Related Products

Share it with the world

Pin

Filed Under

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

How many stars would you give this recipe?




Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Hi Amy! I LOVE the way you describe how to make this lovely ice cream cake and showed photos of each step! You created an AWESOME recipe! I’m in the middle of step 3. So far so good.. very easy to follow. We live in San Diego, and it’s super warm this time of the year. Our daughter requested ice cream cake for her birthday celebration! Just wanted to take a moment to thank you! Jessica

  2. I want to try this for my almost 6-year-old bday next week. But I’d like to do a layer of chocolate cake at the bottom and cookies and cream ice cream as the top layer. Do you have a recipe you would recommend for the cake part?

    1. I have a chocolate cake recipe that will be up Sept 9. I can email you a pdf of it if you’d need it before then, just let me know.

      1. Oh yes please! That would be wonderful. Since I don’t go to the store too often it would help me plan the ingredients I need. I think you gave my email from replying here?

  3. 5 stars
    We used this recipe to make a watermelon themed ice cream cake for my daughter’s second birthday! We did two layers of raspberry sorbet and a layer of strawberry ice cream and colored our whipped cream frosting green to look like a watermelon. We put mini chocolate chips in the middle so it looked a little like watermelon seeds. Sadly the ice cream layer was melting so rapidly we ended up nixing it entirely and just using the sorbet layers – which was delicious so it was fine. I guess living in Houston it was just too hot and humid in our kitchen for the ice cream! It was a big hit with our kids and family!