Birthday season is finally winding down in my house. Three birthdays around the holidays make things a little crazy around here! Two of them are right after Christmas, just when I swear to myself I am going to start eating healthier. Then I have to turn around and make two cakes! While we try to eat pretty healthy around here, birthdays are something we indulge in. I try not to panic about all the sugar my kids eat within such a short time frame!
Growing up my grandma always made this delicious ice cream cake when we went to visit, birthday or not! It is just about the easiest birthday cake recipe ever, which makes it a great option if you are short on time. I first made one for my oldest daughter’s birthday several years ago. Ever since then one of the kids has requested an ice cream cake for their birthday every year.
One of the things I love about this ice cream cake is that the combinations are endless. My grandma always used coffee and chocolate ice cream with chopped up Skor bars. One of my favorite flavor combinations when making this cake are chocolate and mint chocolate chip ice creams with chopped up Oreos. To create the cake you basically use any two flavors of ice cream and any candy that you can crush or chop up.
The final ingredient you will need for the ice cream cake are lady fingers. Lady fingers are very similar to angel food cake or sponge cake. A perfect choice for the “crust” of the cake.
Word of warning here though…lady fingers can be hard to find! I looked at eight different stores this time for my son’s cake. My mother-in-law called three others, and finally my mom found them at a grocery store while she was driving up to visit us to celebrate his birthday. Usually I only have to check two or three stores max. So if you do make this cake, make sure you find the lady fingers well in advance. They can be stored in the freezer until you are ready to make the ice cream cake. If you absolutely cannot find them, you could buy angel food cake and slice that up instead.
Ice Cream Cake Combinations
As I mentioned above, the possibilities are endless! Here are some of our tried and true combos, as well as a few others.
- Coffee ice cream, chocolate ice cream, Skor or Heath bars
- Chocolate ice cream, mint chocolate chip ice cream, Oreos
- Vanilla ice cream, mint chocolate chip ice cream, Oreos (this is the combo my son asked for this year for his birthday)
- Chocolate ice cream, vanilla ice cream, peanut butter cups
- Strawberry ice cream, vanilla ice cream, strawberries
- Salted caramel ice cream, chocolate ice cream, Skor or Heath bars
This cake shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes to put together. So simple! Depending on what brand of ice cream you buy, you may need to let it sit out on the counter for a few minutes. I usually use Tillamook or Umpqua which are a bit softer, so I don’t need to let them sit out.
The first thing I do is prep the toppings. For my son’s cake, he chose vanilla ice cream, mint chocolate chip ice cream, and Oreos (I bought the Trader Joe’s version). Chopping up Oreos can make a huge mess, so I seal them in a plastic gallon zip lock bag before crushing. I usually use about two of the three rows of cookies. You can always crush up a few more later if you need to. My kids love getting involved in this next part. I set the sealed bag on the counter or on a cutting board, and let my kids go to town hitting them with the rolling pin. If the cookies aren’t chunking up as much as you’d like, you can use the end of the rolling pin handle to chop them up more.
Once we are finished destroying the cookies, I line the side of a 9 inch springform pan like this one at Amazon, with the entire package of lady fingers. They will overlap slightly, but that is okay. My grandma used to also line the bottom with part of a second package, but I prefer just using them around the sides.
Ice Cream Layers
Next, scoop in about three quarters of a 1.75 pint container of your first flavor of ice cream into the springform pan. It will look like there is too much, but trust me, you will need it all! Next, take the back of your ice cream scoop and flatten the ice cream so it looks like the photo below, then smooth out the top. This works best if your ice cream scoop is flatter. You can also use a large serving spoon. Sometimes I have to run the spoon or scoop under water so that the ice cream doesn’t stick to the back of the spoon.
After the ice cream is smooth, add half of the crushed up topping on top of the first layer of ice cream. This will serve as the “frosting” in between the two layers of ice cream. If my kids are in the kitchen with me at this point, little hands go flying into the cake, trying to steal bites of cookies. I have to admit, I sometimes do the same!
The second layer of ice cream is a little bit messier to add. Follow the same process as you did with the first layer. Scoop three quarters of the second flavor of ice cream on top of the crushed up toppings. The ice cream will pile up higher than the rim of the springform pan and look like it won’t fit. Don’t worry, the next step is to once again flatten out the ice cream. Then you will smooth it out so it covers all of the toppings.
The final step is adding the remaining cookies/candies/etc. to the top of the cake. Below is what my son’s cake looked like when we finished. It is okay that it is a little messy, and you don’t even notice where the lady fingers overlapped.
You see that big chunk of cookie on the top? My oldest daughter stole that one. Stinker.
My son’s birthday was on a weekday, which meant school, homework, baseball, and dance. We didn’t even sit down to eat cake and open presents until 8:30pm. Our toddler was already in bed, and the rest of us were pretty exhausted from a long day. Everyone was so excited to dive into the cake that I forgot to take a picture of what it looks like when you slice it! Which means you’d better make one so you can see for yourself!
A quick, easy, and delicious cake that will be the hit of your next birthday party!
- 1.75 quart your first choice of ice cream
- 1.75 quart your second choice of ice cream
- 1 package lady fingers
- toppings - cookies, candy, fruit, etc.
Crush or chop up your toppings. Depending on what you are using, you may want to use a gallon size plastic bag to help contain the mess.
Line the sides of a 9 inch springform pan with the package of lady fingers.
Add 3/4 container of one flavor of ice cream into the springform pan. Using a wet ice cream scoop or large spoon, pack the first layer of ice cream down until the pan is about halfway full of ice cream. Smooth out the top.
Cover the first layer of ice cream with half of the cookie/candy/fruit topping.
Add 3/4 container of the second flavor of ice cream on the toppings. Pack the ice cream down until the top is flush with the top of the springform pan and smooth out.
Cover the second layer of ice cream with the remaining cookie/candy/fruit topping.
Serve immediately. Keep leftovers in the freezer.