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This is not your childhood ice cream cake. Oh my gosh, it is so good! My husband loves ice cream cakes, but I can’t stand spending a fortune on one from Baskin Robbins or another place, so I decided to try my hand at making my own. As I was making it I kept having more and more ideas of what I wanted to put in it. The end result, a divine, delicious 7 layer ice cream cake. If you have an anniversary, engagement party, birthday, or baby shower coming up, or just want a delicious frozen dessert, you will want to try this.
You can find the printable version of this recipe down below, but I am going to walk you through it in even more detail in this post. Making the cake is actually very simple, but it takes a lot of time. Most of which is time freezing the different layers, but time. You will want to make sure to start this cake at least 2 days before you need it. You also will need plenty of freezer space. An upright freezer will work best, but I actually used the one above my fridge and it worked okay (the freezing time was just longer on those layers).
To start, you will want 2 quarts of your favorite ice creams (different flavors are fine as each flavor is its own layer), a jar of caramel topping, a jar of hot fudge topping, and your favorite cake recipe or a boxed cake mix.
I made my cake a 10×9 but you can do a 9 inch round, but you will want to only use half the cake batter to make your cake. (Just make some cupcakes with the rest.)
To start, take your first quart of ice cream and use a stand mixer to beat it until it is spreadable. It should still be cold and pretty frozen but spreadable. (See the picture below.)
I found it was easier to beat half the quart then add in the rest and beat it. Once you have spreadable ice cream, take a pan (I used disposable ones for my ice cream layers) and line it with either wax or parchment paper. Spread the ice cream out over it making sure to go to all the corners and edges.
After you have it spread out, cover the top with parchment paper and then use a rolling pin, spatula, or even the palm of your hand to even out the top and make it pretty smooth. It doesn’t have to be perfect but you do want to pretty even.
Leave both layers of wax paper on and then put your layer in the freezer. Repeat this pricess with your second quart of ice cream.
Your ice cream layers will need to freeze over night, but while they are doing that, you can make your cake. Mix your cake according to the box or recipe directions. You will want to be sure to remove it from the pan after baking. I put mine in a lightly bigger pan after it cooled, just to make it easy to move around. Once your cake is done you will need to put it in the fridge over night so that it will get somewhat cold. Do not freeze the cake at this time.
The next day you get to put your layers together. Before you pull out the layers from the freezer, take your caramel and hot fudge toppings. Put them in separate microwave safe bowls and warm them up until they are spreadable. NOT HOT, just spreadable like cake frosting. My caramel topping only took about 10 seconds since it wasn’t as thick as the hot fudge. The hot fudge took 20 seconds, a good stir, and another 15 seconds. I needed about 8 ounces of each one (I had 16 ounce jars and used about half of each).
Take out your two ice cream layers and your cake layer. You will have to work fast so your ice cream doesn’t melt. Not super fast, but maybe don’t try and do this with eleven month old twins pulling at your legs (I speak from experience). Remove the top layer or wax/parchment paper from your ice cream layers. Leave the bottom layer on them for now. (See picture above) Spread the caramel topping on the top of the ice cream you want to be your bottom layer. IF your caramel is sliding off the frozen ice cream, I found sprinkling a tiny bit of powdered sugar on top of the ice cream helped. Now take the second layer of ice cream off it’s wax paper and put it on top of the bottom layer of ice cream, on top of the caramel. (So you now have 3 layers- ice cream, caramel, ice cream.)
Take your cake layer and flip it upside down, then cover the bottom (which is now facing up) in the hot fudge. This went on basically like frosting for me. Now flip it over onto the top ice cream layer. Really quickly, if you now notice that your cake and ice cream are not the same size, now is the time to trim them up. Once you are done with this, wrap all the layers in wax paper (tightly to avoid freezer burn) and put either in a cake pan or on a cookie sheet and put in the freezer for at least 2 hours. You now have 5 of your 7 layers.
(At the bottom of this post I will give you an alternate way to do the layers that may work better for spreading the toppings)
You can do this next step while the cake is freezing.
You can really choose what kind of frosting you want on your ice cream cake, but in my experience, a whipped cream frosting is the best kind since you will be freezing this cake. Butter cream frosting will start to get hard and crumble in the freezer. You could just purchase regular whipped cream and use that, but I wanted mine to be more of a frosting in flavor and texture so I made mine from scratch. If you are going to buy yours, you can disregard the following instructions.
In a bowl, mix 2 cups heavy whipping cream, 1/2 cup sugar and 1 TBSP vanilla. Start whipping. I use granulated sugar, and I hand whip mine until it starts to thicken and then use the kitchen aid to finish the job. The kitchen aid doesn’t reach the bottom of the bowl so I find hand mixing for a while helps make sure everything gets mixed well. When you start hand whipping, large bubbles will appear.
Continue hand whipping until those bubbles disappear and the mixture starts to thicken (about 5-10 minutes depending on your arm). At this point you can finish by hand or you can move to the kitchen aid. Be careful not to over whip or under whip. You will know the whipped cream frosting is done when it creates a stiff peak. This will be slightly firmer and thicker then regular whip cream (more frosting like).
After the two hours is up, verify that your cake, and all the layers, are nice and solid. If they are you can use the whipped cream to frost your cake. As long as you frost all the exposed sides, you will no longer need to wrap it in wax paper.
Top off the cake with a 7th layer of either chocolate chips, crushed cookie, or even nuts. Whatever you prefer based on your flavor choices. For reference, our layers were cookies and cream ice cream, caramel, chocolate chip ice cream, hot fudge, devil’s food cake, whipped cream frosting, crushed oreos. Let me tell you- it was DIVINE!!! It was a good thing I had plenty of people in the house to help me eat this. (Keep reading for the variation I promised)
So, I put our cake on top, as I wrote out in the directions, but you could try to do ice cream, topping, cake, topping, ice cream. By doing this, you would spread both toppings on the cake and it might spread easier. However, I am not sure how well the frosting layer will spread on ice cream as I found it didn’t stick to the ice cream part on the sides as well. Might be something to play around with though.
The printable version of the recipe is below.