Ice Cream Cake

Three years ago, I was wandering through some Harrisonburg, Virginia apartment halls with my grad school friends. We were knocking on doors and asking if we could please borrow a lighter so that we could light the candles on a birthday cake we’d made for my friend and classmate, Bret. Even though Bret INSISTED that we did not need to light candles or sing him Happy Birthday, I’m so glad we did, because that friend and classmate is now my husband.

This weekend, we celebrated Bret’s 29th birthday! It was also the weekend before classes start so we spent Friday night at a “Welcome Back” party catching up by a camp fire eating brownies and drinking sangria. On Saturday, we stuffed our plates at a potlock (there were so many veggie options!) and mingled with faculty and new students. The best part of this birthday weekend, though, in my opinion, was surprising Bret with an Ice Cream Cake. I want to share the process I used because it turned out…uh-mazing!

Homemade Ice Cream Cake


First, choose your three favorite ice cream flavors. If you have an ice cream maker, be awesome and make your own. I used store-bought coconut milk ice cream, and I made 3 layers of toppings to separate the ice cream layers.


You will need:

  • Three Ice Cream Flavors
  • Chocolate Cream Cookie (like an Oreo… I used Back to Nature)
  • 1 tablespoon of butter or vegan butter/butter substitute
  • 1/2 cup crushed cashews
  • 2 tbsp of caramel topping
  • 1/2 cup of chocolate squares
  • 1/4 cup of peanut butter
  • A spring-form pan
  • Wax Paper


  1. Grab a spring-form pan and line it with wax paper.
  2. Crush chocolate cream cookies in a blender. Stir 90% of them with melted butter, but set some dry cookie crumbles aside. Push mixture into base of spring-form pan and around edges… this will be your cookie crust!
  3. Use a spoon or plastic spatula to skim off thin layers of ice cream and lay them evenly in the pan. Completely cover the cookie crust.
  4. Pour half of your crushed cashews on top, drizzle with caramel, pour remaining cashews, drizzle in opposite direction with caramel.
  5. Repeat step 3 with second ice cream flavor
  6. Use knife or pizza cutter to chop up chocolate bar. Layer chocolate bar and peanut butter in the same fashion you layered the caramel and cashews.
  7. Repeat step 3 with third ice cream flavor
  8. Use remaining cookie crumbles to line the edges of the top layer.

My favorite thing about this recipe is that it’s so adaptable. Want a candy bar layer? Slice up your favorite candy bar instead. Want an ooey gooey nutella layer? Slather it on. My only caution is if you’re using birthday candles, have them lit for as few seconds as possible because they will melt the cake.

Happy Birthday Bret!


…isn’t he the cutest?!


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