Ice Cream Cake at the Firehouse

The last two birthdays in our family landed on days when Daddy was on duty, so we brought cake to the firehouse to share: Jamie’s 12th in January and Sarah’s 12th yesterday.
And for the last several years, homemade ice cream cake has been the celebration dessert of choice. It is so simple to make and so sinfully delicious. I would credit the genius that turned me on to this idea if I could remember where I learned it. So, for tutorial sake, let’s just say that I invented it.

To make this cake you need to begin the day before you want to celebrate, so don’t wait until the day of the party to start it!

Before you start, the two most important things you will need for this cake are parchment paper and space in your freezer. You can get fancy with the ingredients, change it up with variations of cookie types and ice cream flavors, but your basic chocolate chip and vanilla, in my opinion, work the best together. (Come the holidays, I’m going to try double chocolate chip cookie dough and peppermint ice cream!)

The goods:

The process: THE DAY BEFORE: Set out the ice cream to melt, or two days before, place in the refrigerator.
Using a basic round cake pan, trace a circle onto a piece of parchment paper and cut out just a bit larger than the tracing, about 1/4″-1/2″. Line the pan with the parchment circle and press up the sides creasing along the inside edge. I’ve made so many of these cakes and find that the corner area seems to stick the most when releasing from the pan and having a bit of parchment in the corners and running just a bit up the side is the solution.
Place cookie dough around the pan, and bake as directed, with the exception of time- you will want to pull the cookies out just as they begin to melt and the edges start to look dry. Once you remove the cookies, they will be fluffy but will fall to the bottom as they cool.

Once fairly cool, pour in the melted ice cream. (Sarah wanted a pink cake, so I mixed in some food coloring once the ice cream was melted.) Depending on how deep your pan is, you will likely have a little leftover ice cream that won’t quite fit. Save that for your morning coffee.
Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place in the freezer overnight.

Cake Day:
Remove cake from freezer and turn onto cake plate. (I run a butter knife between the cake and the pan to separate them, then lay a cutting board over the plastic wrapped cake, flip over the cake pan & board and drop the cake out onto the board upside-down, remove the parchment paper, center my cake plate over the cookie crust -which is now face up- and flip the board, the cake and the plate back over.)
Drizzle with hard shell syrup either in swirls allover, or smooth across the top before it hardens. Allow syrup do run down the sides. Return the cake to the freezer for about 1/2 hour or more to harden well before decorating.

For Jamie’s cake, I added colorful jimmies.

For Sarah’s I wrote with a frosting tube. (Clearly, I am NOT a cake decorator, my hand was pretty shaky, but 12 year olds don’t mind, really.) I got the idea to first print a layout of the lettering for reference before frosting from this brilliant blogger.

Keep your cake in the freezer until about 10-15 minutes before presenting. It helps to soften a bit before cutting. (Or, as in our case, remove from freezer and drive like a mad woman to the firehouse before it melts all over your car.)

{Note: The polka-dot effect in the pink ice cream as seen in the first photo was a happy accident. Not all the ice cream was completely melted when I stirred in the coloring.} {One final tip: Grocery store baggers tend to bag the hard-shell syrup in the same bag as the ice cream, that is a recipe for disaster. The syrup will harden on the way home from the store and you’ll find yourself running out at the last minute for more!}

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22 Responses to Ice Cream Cake at the Firehouse

  1. #1 - Blue Castle says:

    I love ice cream cake. Thank you for sharing this. Now I won’t have to resort to buying them at Dairy Queen. 🙂

  2. #2 - TidyMom says:

    Oh YUM! I am SO going to try this for my hubby’s b-day in Aug!! I LOVES icecream cake and always want Dairy Queen’s (yuck) He will LOVE this!!

    Thanks Cathe!!


  3. #3 - Leslie says:

    Darn you to heck, Cathe Holden!!!! I don’t want to wait for my next birthday. I want it now!!! (So much for my diet . . .) 🙂

  4. #4 - BeadWhisperer says:

    Oh NICE! Wanna come to Pennsylvania in August and make me one?!

    Thanks Cathe

  5. #5 - Splendid Little Stars says:

    I like the pink and white polka dots! Ice cream cake–yummy! Thanks for the tutorial! I have made ice cream cake before, but a bit different from you–no cake /cookie base, and 2 layers of ice cream (perhaps different) with something in between. I started making these for my kids’ birthdays when I discovered that the guests would eat the ice cream but very little of the cake.
    The cake you made looks amazing! Happy birthday to Jamie and Sarah! And not everyone gets to celebrate their birthday at a firehouse!
    PS I like your holiday cake idea with peppermint.

  6. #6 - Jen says:

    I think I’ll make that for the last day of school (less then 1 month away)! Thanks!!! Great step by step walk through!!!

  7. #7 - Emily says:

    I haven’t had ice cream cake since I was a kid. I’m going to make this for our fourth of July party this year!

    Thank you!

  8. #8 - Vivienne says:

    That is awesome and I’m book-marking this one in my recipe folder!

  9. #9 - Bowlby says:

    Y U M. I found a similar recipe in the recent Betty Crocker baking contest, and I’ve been making it on a (far too) regular basis.

  10. #10 - Domestic Designer says:

    I am definitely going to do this! Thanks so much for the instructions. It turned out great!

  11. #11 - Robin says:

    It’s almost dinner time and I am just now reading this post. Talk about making me hungry…..looks sinfully good!!

  12. #12 - Kim says:

    If it tastes as good as it looks, you have a winner! Great job!

  13. #13 - Anonymous says:

    mmm who needs a reason to celebrate…we going to try this!


  14. #14 - Geralyn Gray says:

    That cake looks perfect to me—your lettering looks outstanding!!!!!

  15. #15 - Cindy says:

    Oh my, this looks wonderful… made it look completely easy….just waiting… I may just have to make this!! Thank you!!

  16. #16 - The Chick says:

    Not such a good idea to stop over here before I’ve eaten anything, lol- that cake looks delicious!! Thanks for the tutorial, my daughter askes me for an ice cream cake every other day. I just splurged on an ice cream maker and I can’t wait to try this out :o)

    Have a Happy Day!

  17. #17 - Karin says:

    Hmm, I’ve never had a homemade ice cream cake before. And after reading this post, I’m really wondering why not?!? Looks wonderful!

    And for someone who’s supposedly “not a cake decorator,” you did a fab job! Looks like the letters even have thick and thin strokes. Impressive! : )

  18. #18 - HeatherScent says:

    Wow! This looks so easy to make. And even easier to eat, I’m sure.

  19. #19 - Autumn says:

    I made an ice cream cake for my hubby—sooo delicious. Though yours is sooo much prettier. I’ll bookmark this!

  20. #20 - layoder says:

    I am essentially foaming at the mouth right now, after having read this post and gawked at all your pictures for way too long…


    I need to learn to bake.

  21. #21 - Leanna Chidest says:

    Your ice cream cake is beautiful, may I ask which font you used? Love the lettering:)