hot fudge sundae cake Recipes

hot fudge sundae cake

I realize that given the sheer number of two and three-layered, springform-bound and buttercream-shellacked celebration cakes I keep in the archives, you’d imagine that I had some pretty spectacular birthday cakes growing up. You’d be correct, but they were almost never homemade, not because I was suffering from cake-neglect, but because the only one I requested every year for my birthday was an ice cream cake, preferably from Carvel. Okay, insistently from Carvel, you know, the one in the strip mall at the end of the main road. The Carvel ice cream cake was, to me, as perfect as a June birthday cake could be — a layer each of chocolate and vanilla ice creams, separated by a smattering of Oreo-ish cookie rubble, coated with a suspiciously unbuttery buttercream and scattered with colored sprinkles. It was perfect. I loved it. I saw no reason anything should ever change.

cocoa + dark chocolate + cream = hoorayvanilla cream + chocolate creamegg whites, milk, vanilla cream, yolks, chocolate creammaking custard for both flavors at once

And it might not have, except nowadays I have this problem, which is that when I vocalize the daydreamy ideas that pass through my head, such as, “I wonder what it would be like to make an ice cream cake from scratch… no, a sundae cake … no! A hot fudge sundae cake, with hot fudge and whipped cream and those awful-but-I-love-them jarred cherries…” instead of my so-called loved ones saying, “That’s ridiculous. Why would you make that if we could buy it at a store?” they encourage me. No, they goad me. Then they applaud my efforts and say “Again!” (True story: We think “Again!” exclaimed with glee, was the kid’s first word.) And then things like this happen.

trying out the new ice cream bowl

chocolate ice cream
vanilla ice cream

Before we go any further, I need to get something off my chest. Unlike my so-called loved ones, I want you to know that I think making a hot fudge sundae cake with homemade chocolate and vanilla ice creams, homemade Oreo-like cookie crumbles, homemade hot fudge sauce, homemade whipped cream and then, I mean, of course storebought maraschino cherries (because come on), is absolute madness. There is no sane reason to do this. You could buy premium ice cream, Oreos, hot fudge, canned whipped cream and have my remaining jarred cherries and make an excellent hot fudge sundae cake. I will even explain how below. You could also make some of this stuff (the cookies or the ice creams or just the fudge) and not all of it and still be considered, for all intents and purposes, a well-adjusted person with well-fed friends. I repeat, there’s no rational reason to do what I did.

"You're making COOKIES? I help!!"chocolate sugar cookies (eh, oreos)it makes a lot; nobody will mindcookie crumbsthen we make hot fudgebrings all the boys to the kitchenhot fudge sauce. because you can.david lebovitz's unbearably good chocolate ice creamchocolate ice cream + crumb separatorvanilla ice cream, from machine to panchilled, smoothed, parchment liddedpre-fudging the cake makes it easier

But. If you wanted to, you know, be insane, I’d be happy to give you a guided tour. I could even whisper those nine magic words that always get us into these messes in your ears: “It’s really not as much work as it seems.” Or, you could just trust me that your local soft serve joint has nothing — I mean, nothing short of a whale pan — on the lunatic version. It’s The Summer Cake to End All Summer Cakes; you might as well just swan dive in.

hot fudge sundae cake, with sprinkles
hot fudge sundae cake

One year ago: Zucchini Bread Pancakes
Two years ago: Corn Buttermilk and Chive Popovers
Three years ago: Scalloped Tomatoes with Croutons
Four years ago: Arugula, Potato and Green Bean Salad
Five years ago: Salad Olivier
Six years ago: Double Chocolate Layer Cake

Hot Fudge Sundae Cake

Here’s the recipe for sane people: 2 pints or 1 quart chocolate ice cream + 2 pints or 1 quart vanilla ice cream + about 14 ounces chocolate cookies, ground (such as Oreos or wafers) or 2 3/4 cups ground cookies + bottled hot fudge sauce + canned whipped cream + jarred marachino cherries. Below are the instructions to make each or any of these elements on your own. Then, choose your own adventure. What matters is that all roads lead to The Summer Cake To End All Summer Cakes, an air-conditioning unit of a celebration cake to soothe you until the heat wave passes.

Recipe changes from the photos you see: My only regrets in making this cake were to not have a cookie crumb base (it will be easier to remove slices from the cake pan), so I’ve included one here. I will definitely use it next time. I also wanted much more of the cookie crumb filling than I used (3/4 cup) and have increased it here. Finally, I was in a bit of a rush, but I encourage you to pre-fudge the hot fudge cake, i.e. put a little of the hot fudge on to cover the top, put it back in the freezer for 30 minutes, then — right as you’re about to serve it — put some warmer fudge over the top and sides. It will soften the frozen fudge but protect your top ice cream layer from wanting to melt off, as mine did. We found it charming, but you may not.

Sources: Chocolate and vanilla ice creams were fiddled with (just to reduce redundant steps when making them at the same time) from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop, which should come with every ice cream maker, because it’s amazing. The cookie crumbs are adapted from Wayne Brachman’s Retro Desserts; they’ve previously appeared on this site as Homemade Oreos but I’ve further simplified the recipe here. The hot fudge sauce, previously on this site with a peppermint riff, is adapted from the late print Gourmet magazine. The whipped cream was from scratch but I seriously urge you to consider using a can because the whole whipping cream + piping bag + star tip, all for 12 measly dollops, is a bit of a stretch in the effort vs. reward spectrum, even by my maddened standards. The cherries are from a jar, but, FTLOG, if you truly feel the need to make them from scratch, Melissa Clark has you covered. Whee!

Serves: 12 to 16

Part 1: Make Chocolate and Vanilla Ice Creams

Yield: 1 quart of each, instructions merged to cut down on repeated processes

4 cups heavy cream, divided
1 split vanilla bean (for vanilla batch)
3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder and 5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (for chocolate batch)
2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
10 egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided

Part 2: Make Chocolate Cookie Crumbs

Yield: About 48 2 1/2-inch cookies, weighing about 96 ounces, which will be about double what you need. However, they are so delicious and keep well, it seems worth it to make a full batch. Scooped balls of dough can be frozen to bake off later. Extra cookies can be ground into crumbs for future cakes/cheesecake crusts/dessert toppings, or kept in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Chocolate Cookies
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks), cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1 large egg

For Crumb Crust
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Part 3: Make Hot Fudge Sauce

Yield: 2 cups, likely double what you need, but nobody worth knowing would turn down extra hot fudge sauce.

2/3 cup heavy or whipping cream
1/2 cup light corn syrup or golden syrup (honey should work as well, but I didn’t test it this time)
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, ideally Dutch-processed
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or level 1/4 teaspoon table salt
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (or, about 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips), divided
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Part 4: Finish the Cake!

1 cup heavy or whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
Maraschino cherries
Colored sprinkles

Part 1 Instructions

Prepare chocolate cream: Warm 1 cup of the cream with the cocoa powder in a medium saucepan, whisking to thoroughly blend the cocoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer at a very low boil for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. Then stir in the remaining 1 cup cream.

Prepare vanilla cream: Heat 1 cup cream to a simmer. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the cream with a paring knife, then add the bean pod to the cream. Cover, remove from heat, and infuse for one hour. After one hour, remove bean pod and stir in remaining 1 cup cream.

Make custard for both ice creams: Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in a saucepan, then transfer to a spouted liquid measuring cup. Whisk together egg yolks, medium bowl. Slowly pour in warm milk/sugar/salt mixture, whisking constantly. Then mix yolk/milk mixture back into saucepan. Cook mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and …

For chocolate: Stir half of custard into chocolate cream until smooth, then stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.

For vanilla: Stir the other half of the custard into vanilla cream, then stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Chill both mixtures in fridge overnight: You want them fully chilled before they go in an ice cream machine. You can hasten this along by stirring them over an ice bath but it should feel like ice water in coldness to the touch before you put it in your ice cream machine.

Meanwhile, make or prepare you chocolate cookie crumbs. You will want them ready to form a cake base before you churn your ice cream.

Part 2 Instructions

Make cookies: Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Blend flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar in a food processor until combined. Add butter chunks and blend until the mixture is powdery. Add egg and run machine until dough starts to clump and ball, about 30 seconds. Scoop cookies out onto baking sheets, giving them space as they will spread a lot (not that merged cookies will matter once you grind them up). Bake for 9 to 10 minutes. Cookies will absolutely look underbaked, but don’t fret. Transfer baking sheets onto cooling racks and within two minutes, they will be firm enough to transfer to cooling racks. Let cool completely. Repeat with remaining cookie dough.

Grind about half of your cookies in a food processor or blender until they’re just crumbs. You will want a total of 2 3/4 cups of them.

Make chocolate cookie crust: Mix 1 1/3 cups chocolate cookie crumbs (from about 6 ounces whole cookies, or about 12 of the homemade cookies) and melted butter together in a bowl and press evenly into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with 2 3/4 to 3-inch sides. Freeze until firm, about 10 minutes.

Churn chocolate ice cream, i.e. first cake layer: According to manufacturers directions. In most cases, ice cream is churned for 30 minutes then transferred to a container to finish in freezer. Instead, once it has been churned to the point of soft-serve ice cream, spread it over the chocolate crumb crust in the freezer. Spread as evenly as possible, but don’t overly fret about a smooth top. This can be “perfected” after the ice cream has hardened.

Chill chocolate ice cream layer: In freezer for 1 to 2 hours, until firm. Once firm, you can use an offset spatula to make it as smooth and even as possible.

Add cookie crumb filling: Wipe off any ice cream smudges that have climbed the springoforms walls; this will keep the vanilla layer looking “clean.” Spread 1 1/4 cups chocolate cookie crumbs (from a little shy of 6 ounces whole cookies, or 11 to 12 of homemade cookies) evenly over the firm chocolate ice cream layer. You can press these in a bit with a round of parchment or waxed paper, so they merge a little bit with the ice cream below.

Churn vanilla ice cream, i.e. second cake layer: According to manufacturers directions. Again, once it has been churned to the point of soft-serve ice cream, spread it over the chocolate crumb filling in the freezer. Try to spread it in as few motions as possible, pressing the ice cream to the edges with an offset spatula rather than pulling it back (i.e. and dragging the chocolate cookie crumbs from below into the pale ice cream). Again, don’t overly fret about a smooth top. This can be “perfected” after the ice cream has hardened/set in place.

Chill vanilla ice cream layer: In freezer for 1 to 2 hours, until firm. Once firm, you can use an offset spatula to make it as smooth and even as possible. Meanwhile, this is a great time to make the hot fudge sauce. If you’re taking a longer pause (i.e., you’ll do Part 3 tomorrow), press a circle of waxed or parchment paper against the vanilla ice cream overnight, so it doesn’t dry out or grow icy fuzz.

Part 3 Instructions

Make hot fudge sauce: In a 1 1/2 to 2-quart heavy saucepan, bring cream, syrup, sugar, cocoa, salt (if you’d like the salt to remain slightly textured, add it with the butter and extract at the end) and half the chocolate to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in remaining chocolate, butter and extract and stir until smooth. Cool the sauce to lukewarm before serving it so that it can thicken up.

Part 4 Instructions

“Pre-fudge” the cake: Once vanilla ice cream layer has firmed up in the freezer, with the springform sides still one, pour a puddle of lukewarm hot fudge sauce over the top and return the cake to the freezer for 30 minutes. This will help keep the final application of hot fudge from melting the top off the cake.

Meanwhile, make the whipped cream: Beat cream and sugar in a bowl with electric mixer until it forms soft-to-firm peaks. Scoop into piping bag with star tip. Keep in fridge until needed.

Finish and serving the cake: Once the hot fudge has firmed up, remove the cake from the freezer. Carefully cut around the pan to loosen the cake from the springform sides before removing them. Transfer cake to serving platter. Pour more lukewarm (can be briefly rewarmed — but not too hot — in a microwave or on the stove if it has gotten too firm) around edges of cake, letting it dribble down a little.

Quickly decorate cake: Form 12 or so dollops of whipped cream around crown of cake. Top each with a cherry. Scatter quickly with sprinkles.

Serve! With extra hot fudge sauce. Keep leftovers, should any cake survive, in the freezer in an airtight container.

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324 comments on hot fudge sundae cake

  1. haha “it’s really not as much work as it seems”…I use that one all the time. And then 5 hours later you’re finally finishing up what you started! But I think it’s worth it in the end when you can admire (and then devour) your handiwork.

  2. I’m pregnant and it’s so hot out. I just saw “ice cream cakes” at a local shop and thought it was an amazing idea… but THIS! This! How many errands can I make my husband run?

  3. I love your self-proclaimed insanity, Deb. Over the top ain’t all bad! The cake looks spectacular. And thanks for the trip down the Carvel memory lane. I also requested that cake every single year, even though my birthday is in December!!! What IS that icing made of anyway?!?!

  4. My heart sank when I saw that picture. I thought, no, she didnt make it from scratch. Maybe she just assembled it. As I read Oreos, I thought, surely she atleast used the cookies out of a packet. And then I read on. This is amazing and insane at the same time! So impressed. I bought an icrecream maker last summer and its still sitting in its box – never opened. That picture is just the push I need to open that icecream maker.

  5. Carvel brings back so many memories of my childhood in NYC! I never realized they were a local-ish brand until I moved to the west coast for about 7 years ago. They don’t have Carvel here — it’s tragic.

  6. Okay…this is crazy Amazing and yes, a little insane! I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. Oh.my! I don’t know where to begin – it’s just a thoroughly homemade work of art. I can’t believe how ridiculously separate and beautiful the layers of ice cream are!
    I made a “homemade” ice cream cake for my 8-yr old recently and it was storebought ice cream with some crushed thin mints and ganache! yikes – I need to get my act together! : ) Seriously, this is wonderful. I was also a huge fan of carvel ice cream cake growing up but this is 1000% better.

  7. i’m totally doing this, but with my favorite flavors from good-ole Baskin Robbins… Mint Chocolate Chip and Cherries Jubillee… I love ice cream cakes! And I’ll probably make choc cookies using Ghiradhelli brownie mix. Yours really does look amazing! And I bet it’s even yummier than it looks! I just don’t think I have the patience to do it the long way :)

    1. Instructions! Okay, I was not feeling good about the way I’d arranged the recipe and just rejiggered it. I think it makes much more sense now. #spaz

  8. This may be the recipe that justifies me getting a second insert for my ice cream maker. Mine needs 24 hours of chill time, but 2 bowls would easily take care of that. And I always wanted an ice cream cake when I was younger that was all ice cream and no cake. Now I just need a reason to make it…I’m sure someone somewhere is having a birthday this weekend.

  9. This is amazing, and I love the “choose your own adventure” hot fudge sundae ice cream cake options! And I love that you modeled it after Carvel’s, which is divine with that fudgy cookie crumb center.

  10. First, this looks amazing (and I may be just crazy enough to do it), but I have an ice cream maker question. It looks like you have the ice cream maker to attach to your Kitchenaid mixer (me too!), but that needs to be frozen for several hours before you’re supposed to use it. Did you just do your vanilla and chocolate batches on separate days, or is there an amazing trick to re-freezing I don’t know about?

  11. I see nothing wrong with the level of insanity that goes into making a cake like this. What would cooking/baking/blogging be without a grand challenge once in a while??

  12. This is exactly what my niece requested for July 4th. I put a chocolate chip cookie crumb base (and whole chocolate chip cookies along the sides), fudge on top of that, Oreo cookie crumbs in between the ice cream layers and whipped cream on top. It’s insanely good. I went the lazy route and bought all the parts … next time, I think I’ll try your method instead.

  13. You simply cannot post these things two days before my birthday. It isn’t fair to my poor roommate who promised me a cake.

  14. I gotta tell you, though, that my friend makes maraschino cherries from scratch (sour cherries, maraschino liqueur, a jar, a month of waiting) that would change your life…

  15. Oh. My. Lord. This definitely looks worth overcoming any fears I have over attempting an ice cream cake {my husband LOVES them but I normally just buy, surprise, the Carvel version for him}. I’m inspired to try it out!

  16. I don’t know how far along all you pregnant people are, but if you’re really lucky, you’ll give birth soon and you’ll get to make this every year! I was you 8 years ago, and I need to impose this on my August 1 birthday girl.

  17. To my husband, “I need a child so I can feed her this cake.” He just sighed. Oh, Deb, what have you done!? ;)

    1. Now, to tackle the questions I’m anticipating but didn’t want to make the recipe even longer (because it’s insanely long) by putting them in the post:

      Do I need an ice cream maker? Not necessarily. David Lebovitz has great directions for how to make ice cream without an ice cream maker, if you’re interested.

      But what about the bowl-freezing time? Yes, that. The bowls for most commercial ice cream makers needs to be frozen for 12 to 15 hours before being used, which is pesky when you want to make two different batches of ice cream at once. First, get your ice cream bowl in the freezer right now and figure out when you’re going to make this stuff later. If you have space, it’s good to keep it there all of the time, so it’s always at-the-ready. You’ll be covered for your first batch of ice cream whenever you get to it.

      When you scoop the chocolate ice cream (layer one) into the pan, quickly wash the bowl in cool water (i.e. don’t warm it any more than you have to) and return it to the freezer. It should only take about half to two-thirds the time to return to the proper freezing temperature. Err on the cautious side if you have time, but if it felt cold and solid going in, you should have a few hour lead on the full bowl-freezing time. The bowl can re-chill while your first layer sets.

      How would you schedule all this? If you were insane enough to make this fully from scratch, make your life easier and start three days out. Maybe it could be done faster, but that’s just not the way I roll (read: lazily!) in the kitchen. On day 1, you could make the custards. Day 2, make the cookies, make the crust churn the first layer, get the ice cream bowl back in the freezer. Late Day 2 or early Day 3, lay down the cookie filling, churn the second ice cream, get it chilled, make the hot fudge. A few hours later on Day 3, it will be 30 minutes from serving: Pre-fudge the cake, chill it again, then as you’re about to serve it, add more fudge/whipped cream/cherries/sprinkles. I.e. Part 1 = Day 1; Parts 3 and 4 = Day 3. Sound good?

      What ice cream maker are you using? Previously, I had this one. It works fine, or fine-ish. Truthfully, the motor for it drove me batty, it made such a whiny groaning noise (maybe I had a bad one?) that we used to hide it in the bathroom behind a closed door when I made ice cream. Seriously. It upset the baby. Trusting the KitchenAid motor to be more powerful than any other, I just bought the ice cream bowl attachment and used it for the first time here. Pros: Not so noisy, larger bowl makes larger batches of ice cream and seems to stay cold even longer. Yay! Cons: I had to remove the shelf from my freezer to fit it in. It’s bigger! Overall: I’m very happy with the purchase. It works for both models (tilt-head and bowl-lift) because it comes with the pieces needed for each attachment.

      Was it worth the trouble? For me, yes. I discuss in the recipe notes which parts I wouldn’t bother with again (homemade whipped cream, it’s not you, it’s me) but yes, homemade ice cream and chocolate cookies tasted miles better than the soft serve love of my youth. But “worth it” is a very subjective idea. It’s only worth it — any recipe is only worth it — if you’re unhappy with what you’re getting premade from a store. Have a favorite ice cream you’d rather use? By all means, save yourself the trouble. Want to try the most amazing chocolate ice cream I’ve ever made (literally, this was my third time making it)? Oh boy, you’re in for a treat.

      Do I need an excuse to make this? Yes! I mean no! I mean… I started thinking about this cake two summers ago, but had no excuse to make it. Last summer I swore I’d make it happen, and still never found a window. This summer, I decided I was making it no matter what! Even better: my MIL was kind enough to have a birthday the week I made it. Yes, yes, I know in an ideal world, cake inspiration would have followed the cause for it. Ideal, shmideal: You deserve this cake in your life.

  18. Oh I wish I’d seen this last week! Just celebrated my birthday with a Carvel cake (posted about it today, too!) and the ‘chocolate rock’ filling was what dreams were made of for me and my sister. This cake looks spectacular. Maybe I can get away with another cake this summer. :)

  19. o.m.g. thank you for this! I grew up eating Carvel ice cream cakes (when Carvel was still a locally owned Brooklyn place) and those cakes. the crunchies! the BEST part of the cake.

  20. I love your directions for sane people versus…otherwise :) I think that as bloggers and just as chocolate lovers and those with a DIY spirit – we like to reinvent the wheel and torture ourselves. You know, with amazing cakes like this!

  21. Girl, you have lost your ever loving mind.

    However, I might just have to play with this at some point reeeeallllyyy soon.

    You’re evil.

  22. I must make a gluten-free, chocolate free version. (husband has allergies to wheat and chocolate, ugh). Maybe a Vanilla ice cream, banana/strawberry or butter pecan ice cream and hot caramel sauce.

  23. As I told you on Flickr, you had me at the David Leibovitz chocolate ice cream! My mother in law is coming to visit next weekend, a serious ice cream lover, and I’m going to totally do this.

  24. Hi Deb! I’ve been making Ina Garten’s mocha chocolate ice box cake for my birthday these last few years, but this one looks like a good one to ring in my 25th in a few weeks! What kind of ice cream maker do you have?

  25. My very first job was at my uncle’s soft serve ice cream shop and I was the cake decorator. I would make like a dozen of these things a day and then icing-draw all sorts of stuff on them. But I have to say, one things that’s missing from this recipe is adding some of that delicious fudge sauce to the cookie crumb layer in the middle, that’s what I’ll be doing. This recipe is absolutely fantastic, nostalgia and deliciousness all in one! I may even need to make the cherries myself. I’ll post again when all is done, probably by the end of the weekend because I can not help myself when I read “it’s really not as much work as it seems”.

  26. I would be crazy enough to make this from scratch too, but only for very special people :) Mostly to control the quality of ingredients.
    Excellent job of breaking down the steps for us!

  27. Here’s an idea — why not put an additional layer of fudge in between the ice cream layers? I got an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen for a birthday once that did that and it was DELICIOUS.

  28. My mom is not a baker but we got around that for birthday cakes with Ice cream cake. her recipe was to take either take a pre-made graham cracker crust (or make her own) fill it with semi-melted ice cream (almost always ben and jerry’s) and top it with hot fudge, then re-freeze. It was so damn tasty.

  29. The only reason I wish we had a bigger freezer is that it’s the only way I’d be able to keep the freezing bowl for my ice cream maker cold all the time.

    When I am able to clear things out enough to just keep it in the freezer, I wrap the top with both plastic wrap and foil, it keeps a layer of frost from building up, but also keeps other stuff from falling in and freezing to the surface of the bowl.

  30. What an awesomely delicious read that was! But phew, I am exhausted just thinking of the effort required for such awesomeness.

    Please excuse me now while I back away from this lovely conversation. I’m headed backward to immerse myself in farro and tomato goodness.

  31. Thanks for answer all of my questions I had while reading! ha! This looks awesome – husband’s birthday is at the end of the month – this might need to happen!

  32. Oh Carvel! Those were always my birthday cakes too. I am visiting my family for my birthday in a few weeks, and my mom is planning a birthday party for me. She wanted to know what kind of cake I wanted, excited to bake me something. I think I broke her heart when I emphatically requested Carvel. Maybe I can make amends by sending her this recipe :)

    Just a note – I got a bit obsessed with discovering the “secret” to Carvel cakes a few years ago. It turns out the chocolate crumble (the best part in my opinion!), is actually ground up cookies mixed with bonnet/magic shell. Try that next time!

  33. I love your commitment to this. It really says something that this is 100% homemade. I bet it was fantastic. Thanks for clarifying everything in the comments. Maybe one day I’ll make this…

  34. You’re crazy in the best kind of way. May you live to make a million ice cream cakes from scratch and may I live long enough to read about them all. You are delightful!

  35. They don’t have the same “look” as the red-dyed maraschino cherries, but to make this cake ultra-luxurious, you NEED to try Luxardo Maraschino Cherries…the real thing, from Italy. They are crazy expensive, but they are so good you will never be able to eat the “fake” ones again, on ice cream, in cocktails, or anywhere else.

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001CDOBCM

  36. Bwhahahaha. Reading this was like a window into my mind: I walk into a store/bakery/coffee shop/restaurant/etc. Think, “Ooooh, that looks great/yummy/mindblowing/etc.” Previous thought immediately collides with, “Oh I can totally/should try to make that from scratch.” Three days of madness ensues. This is insane, and something I totally want to do before summer ends. ^_^

  37. I can’t believe you posted this TODAY and my birthday was MONDAY and I’d decided I was going to make an ice cream cake from scratch, and you weren’t there for me! Well, that’s not true, you did lend a hand. I made mint ice cream from David Lebovitz, and chocolate ice cream from The New Basics (which uses some buttermilk!), and the yellow cake from your cookbook except I put it into a 10″ springform pan and then cut it into two layers. (In retrospect I should have cut it into three.) Then I made some jam out of serviceberries (harvested from my university campus, hey!) as well as not-nearly-enough whipped cream. The layers went: cake, jam, whipped cream, chocolate ice cream, whipped cream, cake, jam, WC, mint ice cream, WC, and I wish I’d cut a third layer to put that on the top. On the very top was the last of the whipped cream, which I’d hoped would be much more voluptuous but amounted to only a thin layer after all the other layers. Fortunately, I could go back for more serviceberries, and made an attractive pile of those instead. This cake was gigantic–a good seven inches tall and, as I said, 10″ in diameter. Half of it is still in my freezer.

    Like you, I froze the ice cream layers into the springform pan, which I lined with plastic wrap. I thought it was a pretty good trick! I kind of wish I’d done cookie crumbles, but I can do that next time. Cookies require less time with the oven on, which matters in the summer. I also think the hot fudge topping is right-on… I’m gonna do that next time! Anyway, fun comparing notes on what is a pretty major undertaking!

  38. That is one of the prettiest damn cakes I’ve ever seen!! It’s beautiful! Nice work! It looks professional, but even better because I know it won’t taste like cardboard!

  39. My birthday fell during the heat wave here (bay area, CA) and I almost bought an ice cream cake to celebrate. I’d been thinking about attempting to make one, but even though it was MY birthday…the family gave a thumbs down on ice cream cake. Hurumphhhbbbt~~~ I was undecided on the cake part…use cookie crumbs or dried out chocolate brownie crumbs. What did you entertain for the cake part and why did you decide on cookie crumbs?

    1. Susan — Mmm, brownie crumbs. Whenever I’ve made a chocolate cheesecake or anything that requires chocolate cookie crumbs, I find it impossible these days to find the usual go-to, Nabisco Chocolate Wafers. In the past, I’ve used everything from Oreos in those 100-Calorie packs (they tasted terrible! Nothing like Oreos at all) to chocolate Teddy Grahams to chocolate graham crackers and it’s never right. Then, I was talking to my friend Anna (who is running the kitchen at this awesome place these days which everyone should go to, in my unbiased opinion) who is a pastry chef and she said that when she needs chocolate crumbs, she always makes the Homemade Oreos from here! I had a total facepalm over it, because I forgot how easy they were to make/keep around/etc. and they actually taste good unlike those packaged options I tried. A long story, as always!

      Elink — Typo. It should be ground cookies.

  40. I love your attitude towards homemade! I agree – so balanced. I make something called a hot fudge sundae cake which is chocolate cake that makes its own sauce and it’s fall-over easy (one of those mix-in-pan wacky cakes to begin with). recipe here: http://thriftathome.blogspot.com/2010/04/sunday-dinner-host-family.html

    Also, I adore those maraschino cherries. I don’t mind if they have carcinogens. I like to pick my poisons. My BFF did make homemade maraschino cherries and they were good, too. . .

  41. In the store-bought sane instructions it says “14 ounces chocolate cookies, ground (such as Oreos or wafers) or 2 3/4 cups ground coo”

    What is coo? I’m assuming it’s either an acronym or a typo?

  42. …besides, if you’re not going to use the cherries for a Perfect Manhattan, then you might as well do this. Moum (in either case …)

  43. Wow this looks so good! I make ice cream cakes every year for my birthday but I never take the time to make my own cookies for it! But I do make all the ice cream for it myself! Peanutbutter fudge and coffee Heath are my favorite to make in a cake. Gonna have to bake my own cookies next year! Thank you :)

  44. Delicious! I adore my kitchen aid ice cream attachment; best $70 for a single- use kitchen item attachment. The cake looks amazing, but I’m finding myself interested in ice cream sandwiches with the cookies! I Iike that the recipe makes a lot of cookies, no having to double it!

  45. I, too, requested (and still do) a Carvel icecream cake for my birthday every year. For some reason last year, though, my parents just randomly decided not to buy one, or buy any cake for that matter, and I completely lost it. It was my 29th birthday, but I behaved like a 7 year old denied her Carvel. I have no regrets. I bought one the next day and ate it by myself, despite that I usually life off green smoothies and kale salads. Again, I have no regrets.

    1. Psst, Carvel junkies — Do you guys remember when they came out with those individual cakes for everyday triumphs? I swear, it was the year I move to NYC and my roommate and I could never get the “I lost my tooth today! I starred in my school play!” jingle out of our heads. It’s still kind of a running joke.

      Also, I think the heat has finally melted my brain.

  46. Thanks, Deb. Long answers are good..and I agree about all the chocolate prebaked cookies you’ve tried. I had high hopes for those choc teddy grahams when I used them once, but they were almost too pebbly in texture and the chocolate flavor cooked out to a weird taste, though they didn’t taste off in their original package. go figure! Okay, cookie crumbs from your recipe. BTW…I was served a vanilla gelato topped with an expresso gelato at a restaurant on my birthday as a freebee. WOW! Gelato! I never knew it was so good!

  47. Deb, you are such an inspiration! I’m a recent college grad who loves all things homemade. i’ve been cooking up a storm this summer, and i may need to start a food blog soon

  48. Would half recipe (using 1 pint of each ice cream) work for 6 inch springform? I can’t justify 12-16 servings for my own bday at the end of the month, but with easy access to amazing frozen custard in Wisconsin I am really lusting after this. I want to mix some fudge in with the center crumbles too or would it get too hard?

    1. badger — Yes! You can halved the cake in a full-height 6-inch springform. I really was going to. It was all we needed. And then, I just couldn’t. I wanted to see it in full. We still have leftovers (poor us!).

  49. Just in case you want to add more (!) work next time…Ted allen once gave a recipe for homemade maraschino cherries on the food network

  50. Have you ever tried the ice cream base/method from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream? No eggs involved so no need to worry about curdling and it tends to let the flavors you add to it shine, especially food for stuff like vanilla or chocolate, where it taste like “vanilla” instead of “vanilla (oh and egg too)”

    Also, yay for homemade maraschinos! Did you know they were originally boozy before the 1940s when they turned into the neon red versions?

  51. You never cease to amaze me. This is absolutely beautiful and I will be making it for a party this weekend. Thank You!

  52. I love you.

    Just passed the link to this recipe on to friends with the subject line “Just a reminder that my birthday is in October…” I’ve even agreed to make the ice cream for my own cake. Just came off an ice cream making binge for Dessert Day at work. I used both David Leibovitz’s recipes (Lime Sorbet, Berry Sorbet, Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream) and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home (Dark Chocolate Ice Cream, Vanilla Ice Cream, and Peanut Butter Ice Cream). Jeni’s recipes do not require making a traditional custard and worked perfectly for me.

    I have the Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker and second the recommendation of having two freezer bowls, if you have the space. One can always be in the freezer.

    Thank you so very much for this.

  53. I wish I had any spare space in my freezer to make this! (Do you think I could put a chest freezer on my wedding registry? Hahaha)

    Also, I totally remember that commercial! I finally got an “A”!

  54. Another pregnant lady here on the verge of being overdue – I think I will channel my impatience into making this. It can be a birthday cake “for” the baby, right? (Of course, I will probably get halfway through the process and he will decide to make his appearance before I finish).

  55. the first picture made me smile – it looks delicous and how could anyone not have a awesome birthday with that in their lives.

    Thanks for being awesome and crazy Deb!

  56. I loved Carvel too! My parents almost decided to open one XD

    That didn’t quite go through but at least now I can make cakes reminiscent of those!
    Those cookie crumbles- were the BEST part P:

  57. You made an error in the servings.. you wrote 12-16 but by my calculations, this will only serve about 4 people. Maybe 5 if one is a baby.
    Nevertheless, looking forward to building and devouring, thanks!

  58. OMG this recipe is BEYOND a masterpiece! I wish I could work part time at my day job and bake all the live long day! I do bake for my shipments and I give away the balance to the UPS driver. He hearts me! ALOT!

  59. I lost it at the cherries from a jar line “FTLOG” – I looked at it, and looked at it and then it smacked me upside the head! LOL. I AM going to make this and I AM going to buy the second bowl for my mixer and I AM going to buy jarred cherries. I CAN’T WAIT!

  60. You are so hysterically funny. And it took me a minute for the FTLOG to hit. I got to watch the laughing at work with the boss guys roaming. Or they’ll make me make this. Just last night my SIL and I were talking about homemade ice cream. It’s been to long. I miss the old crank one we had to sit on as kids to churn. My weekend project is forecast. I think your oreo cookies are the best as does my son. He’s been asking for those or the snickerdoodles which I made last weekend. I’m all for the bottom crust too. Hmm. Chocolate on bottom, snickerdoodle middle.

  61. YUM! I made an “ice-cream” cake variation using your chocolate sorbet recipe. cocoa added to graham cracker crumbs for the crust (butter, but no extra sugar) then layered the chocolate sorbet with vanilla ice cream and a homemade, slightly tart raspberry sorbet. Divine!!

  62. My birthday is in August and every year I ask, please, please, surprise me with an ice cream cake. People forget, especially when I start pleading in February. This year I will hand out this recipe to everyone I know and hope and pray they make this dreamy cake for me!

  63. I am so glad that you’ve completely lost your mind. Alas, I don’t have an ice cream maker, so I might have to try the sane persons version, but it doesn’t sound nearly as fun. I am in love with this ice cream cake.

  64. Dude! You are, without question, my favorite person who I don’t actually know. And I am also the proud owner of a 6″ springform and live in Cincinnati, which is home to some of the best ice cream anywhere, so I am absolutely going to make an abbreviated version of this cake next week, to celebrate the end of the 15-day work-week I am currently in the middle of.

  65. I love this cake. I have a summer birthday and always had icecream cake too! I think i’ll request the easy version from my husband next year. This is very impressive.

  66. It took me about 1/2 a pint of B & J Cherry Garcia to read this post and all the comments. Thank goodness that’s all I had… I’m still hungry so I wish I could drop by to help you finish your leftovers.

  67. My god, that is beautiful. My birthday is September 18…what time should I expect you (oh..and the cake)? I may try this…but purchasing, not making. Thank you!

  68. That cake is a sight to behold. It’s a thing of beauty, pure decadence waiting to be remade in my kitchen and freezer….when my husband and children will know nothing about it until the very last minute!

  69. This is indeed totally cray, but it’s the good kind of cray. I’m actually temped to make one entirely from scratch myself–even though there are only two adults present, one of whom is not that into dairy, and most desserts tend to die a slow uneaten death at our house anyway. Must find some small children to fill with all the sugar!

  70. Fabulous cake. You totally out-compulse even the most compulsive cook. (And I say that as someone whose mincemeat pie recipe begins “First, obtain suet.” Every tried finding suet in flyover country?) Especial thanks for the link to the maraschino recipe, because I love having fruit bobbing around in alcohol, makes me feel all mad scientist-y. But the thing I want to know, I really really want to know, because I once lived in NYC and had a NYC apartment kitchen, is…was it difficult borrowing the 17 bowls for this recipe from the neighbors, and what kind of favors do you now owe them? :)

  71. My husband is another ice cream cake requester. I tend to put him off because it feels like cheating. This is the perfect answer. Thanks for the upcoming insanity!

  72. This is genius, because I love ice cream cakes, but hate chocolate ice cream (I know, I know). Flavor control! Also, I think there needs to be some magic shell in the cookie layer. Or a cookie bottom with brownie middle. Or both. I need to try all the versions! (I think that was the 33-week old fetus talking.)

  73. Yay for crazy people like us!!!!! But I can never get my whipped cream (yeah, ice cream and fudge sauce work really well BUT) to form the aforementioned peaks. Even if it’s made in a cold bowl. With cold beaters. And chilled. Help?

  74. here it is, deb. I’ve followed you for five years. i’m making my own wedding cake because you made it seem like such a feasible task (each tier will have a different flavor cake, frosting, and filling, by the way.) i made the chocolate peanut butter cake and the seven layer cookies and apple pie cookies, and i adapted your guiness cake to be penis shaped for my best friend’s bachelorette party. i’ve followed you down the rabbit hole of insanely complicated desserts. but this? this is madness! i just don’t know if i can sign off on this one.

    *sigh*

    i’ll go get the ice cream maker ready.

  75. so, i am taking the NY and NJ bar exams in a couple weeks (7/30, 7/31, 8/1, but who’s counting) and I need a post-bar celebratory cake with many components to occupy my brain and this might be the ticket! thank you!

  76. Amazing post! I have gone completely batty for ice cream this summer too. Good call on the kitchen aid ice cream attachment. I had to choose between the newer version of the model you used to use and the kitchen aid. I ended up going with kitchen aid and I’m very satisfied with that purchase. Inside tip for anyone considering the purchase and worried about dimensions. Turns out the dimensions aren’t quite right on amazon. The bowl is actually 9 x 12 x 7 inches. I was able to just make it fit in my freezer drawer! Deb, The Perfect Scoop vs Sweet cream and sugar cones, which one should I buy?

    1. eatyeats — I cannot give you an unbiased opinion because a) I only have The Perfect Scoop, and b) David is a friend of mine! But his recipes are objectively excellent. After that, I’d read Amazon reviews. I always find them helpful.

  77. Wow. So beautiful! I just have one question: Did it really turn out that perfectly (well, perfectly imperfect, as an ice cream cake must be) the first time around?

  78. I have a similar Cuisinart ice cream maker.. and it’s whiny! I love it anyway. The premium ice creams at the store just seemed to be going downhill and I love having the freedom that comes with making your own. I keep a quart of vanilla (props to Fairway’s bourbon vanilla beans) in the fridge at all times for pies and cobblers.

    The only book on the subject you’ll ever need is The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz… but, you know that!

  79. Deb, you never disappoint with your obsessive cooking adventures. You had me on board with your bee sting cake, which is a childhood favorite of mine but perhaps because I never tasted the awesomeness of the original as a child, this cake seems like too much work. I am however making your homemade oreos (for the umpteeth time) this afternoon for a 10th birthday party. When ever I make those oreos and where ever I take them I become an instant hero – kind of like a fairy godmother and the Easter bunny rolled into one.

  80. Any attempts at eloquence is now lost. All I can think and say (as my jaw drops–really, it did) is Oh My God. Oh my god. oh my god. That IS it. As one June birthday person to another, let me just say thank you. Overthetop and ridiculous and totally meaningless fawning: thankyouthankyouthankyou.

  81. I just had chills seeing this (pun intended). I want this so much! My wedding anniversary is coming and I might succumb to an ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins.Which won’t be as good as this.

  82. I’m pretty well versed in baking insanity, but love guided tours! This cake looks delicious! Will definitely have to try it out.

  83. Holy Molly with cookie crumbs. THAT LOOKS AMAZING!
    I’ve been waiting for that ever since you posted it on instagram!

    BTW, what springform is that? The one pet peeve I have with sprigforms is that ridiculously useless and completely disadventageous [is that a word? oh well.] ‘rim’ [IDK what to call that thing] at the bottom of the pan which is SO HARD to get under when you want to remove the cake from the pan, AKA the entire purpose of that pan! [And when you do, it leaves a gap in the bottom of the cake. Ugh].

    Your pan has a tiny, raised lip which, I imagine, makes sliding a spatula under incredibly easy.

  84. Omg it’s the middle of winter in Australia but I still want to eat this cake right now!!! I’m tagging this page for the first hot day of the year. I’m thinking I might serve with toasted slivered almonds on top instead of the sprinkles. Yum! Any ideas on a banana split flavoured ice cream cake?

    1. Traci — Yes! And I don’t mean it in a braggy way, only that I think everyone’s will look the same as it’s not hard to get it to look right. All you’re doing is pressing the ice cream into a pan and smoothing it out. The springform makes the shape look great.

      Rose — Ooh, I was definitely considering it. I think you could slice banana between the layers. And they usually have chopped peanuts on them, right? And just vanilla ice cream.

      Bunny — I think it’s from Nordic Ware and I like it a lot. If the cake is getting suck in the edge, it might just be due to a leaky pan. Of course, I think they all leak a tiny bit (i.e. butter when you’re baking a cheesecake with a crumb crust), but for most cakes, it has no effect.

  85. Your MIL is lucky to have such a wonderful DIL. My birthday was July 6 and I’m eating all types of birthday cake all month. I’m not a fan of ice cream cakes, but I would eat this baby. What a cake! Girl, you are outta control making cakes in the middle of a NYC summer, even if it is an ice cream cake….that’s why we love you!

  86. My husband bought a jar of those cherries recently so it’s almost like a sign that I have to make this. He bought them to make a manhattan for his father but he doesn’t come over often so it would be a waste to let them sit there. Now I only have to free up some freezer space because I already have homemade vanilla in there. See! More signs.

  87. I am recently new to discovering your awesome website and now you have truly stole my heart! I grew up in New Jersey eating Carvel cakes for every birthday of mine as well! I left the east coast at 15 and moved to Texas and Seattle- guess what? No Carvel!! So, for the past 23 years I have “suffered” by having yearly ice-cream cakes from other places- it’s just not the same. I recently saw a frozen Carvel cake being carried in Walmart. I jumped up and down for joy, immediately bought it and ate it that night with family. It was NOT what I remember Carvel being. I’m sure the frozen, packaged one is way different from the ones in the stores. Anyway- long story short- I am SO excited to make this cake! Thank you for sharing the one for the “sane” people. I’ll try that one first! :)

  88. What a sight to wake up to. This looks amazing! Over-the-top is good in my books. I too only wanted the ice cream cake for my birthday (because the “homemade option at my house was from a box…). Like Elizabeth mine was Baskin Robbins, chocolate mousse royale. This sort of thing is a memory maker. I haven’t had that in about 15 years, and yet it all came back with this post. Thanks! I just might tackle it after my trip to NYC next week. Cheers!

  89. You’re amazing. I just want you to know that it’s this “this is crazy but I’m going to do it anyway” perspective of yours that helps inspire me to do things like this: http://pinterest.com/pin/444378688202619652/
    (Also, I liked your rainbow cookie recipe better than the one I’d been using for years, just in case you were wondering. :) )

  90. So, yes, I think you were crazy to do this, but I’ve done similar for no better reason. This year child wanted homemade ice cream sandwiches for his birthday. They were ok, but I didn’t much care for the cookies. I needed something deeper chocolate and less sweet. My question is whether you think your cookie would make for a good ice cream sandwich?

  91. Deb, as soon as I saw the photo I knew you had done the entire thing from scratch, and my first thought was: YES, SHE IS CERTIFIABLY NUTS!!! But, in a good way, of course!! Love your site, I browse thru it all the time for recipes, inspiration, when I need a laugh. You are my favorite food blogger!!

  92. as you speak I have a tart pan lined in your intensely chocolate sable dough, ready to bake tonight and cover in homemade blueberry-basil vegan “ice cream”, for my version of an ice cream cake! What are the odds (besides the insanely hot weather, of course). Wish me luck that the sable crust holds up under the “ice cream”.

  93. YES. making ice cream cake from scratch sounds awesome. the “chocolate crunchies,” as we like to call it in my family, are my favorite part so i’d probably make a 10 layer ice-cream cake with lots of crunchies in between.

    love your photos.

  94. Picture me giving you a standing ovation, wildly cheering and smiling from ear to ear – you certainly deserve it for this masterpiece! Just so you know, when you’re being wheeled into the home, I’ll be giving you a repeat performance! Way to go Deb! xo, Nan

  95. I was just coming here for the sole purpose of printing off your hot fudge sauce recipe, when what should I see but this cake! I’m not ambitious enough to go for it now though; baby #3 is due in less than a month and I’m tired of lying to people who say, “You must be so ready for her to be here!” “Yes!” (“No! I still have so much to do! I like sleep! Etc.”) Thanks for making it so handy to grab that sauce recipe though. You’re great.

  96. Bunny – you may be able to flip your spring form base over so that the cake sits on top of instead of inside of the platform.

    Love this procedure, Deb. Sadly no chocolate for me, so I’m thinking about butter pecan and vanilla ice creams with pralines ground up for the base and separator. Maybe hot caramel sauce and marshmallow sauce.

    Yum!

  97. Oh-My-God Deb!!!! You impress me more every day! This is amazingly beautiful and mouth watering! You rock!! Thank you for the amazing ideas!! :-)
    Your husband and kid are happy men!! ;-)

  98. Despite being response #182 I can’t help resist from posting.
    I am that crazy-jewish-lady-who-thinks-that-all-things-cake-should-come-from-scratch. Maybe we’re related?
    This cake just got placed on the top of my “treats I wish to make list”! Thanks for the great tutorial and pictures. I hope the heat breaks for you soon.

  99. This is an amazing cake. I want one just for myself, even if my birthday is over for the year. Making this for the next family event we have. Thanks for sharing this hot fudge sundae cake and the photos are gorgeous!

  100. Dear Deb, This cake looks crazy-insane. But, that’s coming from me with twin one-year-olds at home! Seeing the picture of Jacob makes me realize how long I’ve been reading and loving your blog. He’s so big and grown up! I remember the cinnamon roll recipe (my favorite!) where you shared with us your news. I would have made this cake a couple of years ago, but now, it will just have to wait on the shelf…maybe until the twins turn two! I did make them their own mini-smash carrot cakes for the first birthday, though! Just feeling nostalgic, loving your blog, and happy we met.

  101. I can’t wait to make this for the office potluck next week. I too always had a Carvel Fudgy the Whale cake for my birthday. And we always had the “Tie” Carvel cake for Father’s day..oh memories.

  102. Oh, Carvel’s ice cream cake was the best birthday cake anyone could have. It took my family a while to get with the program. They were still making that g-awful frosting with Crisco (yeah, that sugary frosting like the stuff from the supermarket cakes, Yuck!). My favorite part of the Carvel cake was the chocolate bits in the center.

  103. Carvel Ice Cream cakes are absolutely the end all of birthday cakes for me!!!! No matter how many pretty cakes I make for other people, no matter how much I love buttercream (seriously, its an issue)…I will ALWAYS pick a carvel cake for my birthday. just something about those crunchies!!!!!!!

  104. This looks terrific. Just what I was wanting to make for my next party. How long do you think it would keep fresh in the springform pan, wrapped in foil after it’s all assembled? I am always looking for make-ahead recipes since I hate having that last-minute rush.

  105. I grew up in the deep south, and my birthday always consisted of a Dairy Queen ice cream cake, even for pool parties. I thought it was perfection, and the crunchy cookie-like layer was never soggy. I wonder if the Carvel cookie layer gets soggy or if you think your cookie layer would get soggy over time?

    1. Liz — It hasn’t gotten soggy since… Saturday and it’s Friday now.

      Annie — Weeks! I mean, probably as long as the ice cream would otherwise be good.

  106. Wow, I’m impressed, but not really surprised that you made your own ice cream cake. I’ve been making my own ice cream a lot this past year (Without an ice cream maker- I just put it in a 9X13 pan and stir it every few hours to prevent ice crystals), so I could actually see myself making this. I may buy crumbs, but otherwise it’s totally doable! And I was excited to see the hot fudge recipe – I’ve been longing for one recently, after making your fabulous butterscotch. So, thanks for another great recipe!

  107. “We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.”

    With this post, you are my Willie Wonka. *love*

  108. I think I could just make the chocolate cookie crumb portion, add it to my (homemade) chocolate ice cream and be happy. The cookie layer from DQ ice cream cakes was always my favourite part!

  109. Oh my goodness!! I too have a June birthday and I too grew up in New Jersey. I always requested a Carvel cake, with the chocolate crunchies, and I thought that was the best cake in the entire world! Your post is delicious and I’m adding it to my list of your wonderful recipes to make!

  110. You can also buy bread and socks at the store, but where’s the fun? It’s the knowing what went into the finished product and the process involved that are important.

  111. Is Carvel or any other ice-cream manufacturer going to use quality dark chocolate when making the hot fudge sauce or the chocolate ice-cream? I don’t think so. Or natural vanilla for the ice cream? Store-bought was great when we were kids. As adults, our palates have moved on (some of us, anyhow…). The photos of the finished cake are painful to look at (and I mean that in a good way).

  112. Wow Debbie! I wish I had time and energy to make this cake. Maybe I’ll make a version of it for coming special events, like approval by NYC City Council of West End Avenue “corridor” of buildings being Landmarked. Of course there is a better name of course but someone got the idea and 2/3 has been approved. I have at least 6 months to practice. I love goals.

    How about coffee ice cream as a layer with the chocolate instead of vanilla?

    I got your cookbook for a Hanukah present for myself from local NPR station as a prize for my support of WNYC. I can’t wait to get cooking which I’ll do in the fall when it cools off. Thank you, Deb.

  113. Living in NYC this week has been hell, and I mean that almost literally b/c of the heat. I want to live inside this cake and not in NYC. How can we make that happen??

  114. This looks so awesome that I converted its ingredients to metric so I can make it for my upcoming Aussie birthday; it should be pretty close:

    Icecream Cake (Metric)
    (approximate via online calculation)

    Chocolate and Vanilla Ice Creams
    950ml heavy (35%+ fat) cream (use ~236ml per cup in recipe)
    1 split vanilla bean (for vanilla batch)
    16g unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
    140g 50-70% cocoa dark chocolate
    475ml full-fat milk
    300g granulated white sugar
    Pinch of salt
    10 egg yolks (from 56g+ large eggs)
    1 1/2 teaspoons (~7.5ml) pure vanilla extract, divided

    Chocolate Cookies
    185g plain (all-purpose) flour
    45g unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
    1 teaspoon (5g) bicarbonate (baking) soda
    1/4 teaspoon (1g) baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon (1.5g) salt
    300g granulated white sugar
    140g cold unsalted butter, chopped
    1 56g+ (large) egg

    (Oven temperatures: 375F = 190C = 170C Fan-Forced = Gas mark 5)

    For Crumb Crust
    43g unsalted butter, melted

    Hot fudge sauce
    Makes ~475ml (you’ll need around half).

    160ml heavy (35%+ fat) cream
    120ml light corn syrup, glucose syrup, or golden syrup
    80g dark brown sugar
    23g unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
    1 1/4 tsp (8g) fine salt (table, fine sea salt, kosher)
    170g 70% cocoa dark chocolate
    30g unsalted butter
    1/2 teaspoon (2.5ml) pure vanilla extract

    Cake Decoration
    240ml heavy (35%+ fat) cream
    25g caster sugar
    Maraschino cherries
    Coloured sprinkles

  115. Oh my goodness, Carvel ice cream cake is the best! My sister and I would (and still do) get one for every birthday. We even get them for the our dogs’ birthdays now. Because that’s totally normal. We get the half chocolate, half vanilla ones, and then swap with each other after cutting our slices – she only eats the vanilla, and I only eat the chocolate. I desperately want to make the “sane” version of this cake. It’s beautiful.

  116. Well, it was a looker, but here, I will agree with you, it is a bit insane. And mostly because I’m not convinced the fully homemade version tastes any better than one with store bought premium ice cream would. If I were to make it, I’d probably go with making the fudge, cookies, and maybe the whipped cream.

  117. you’re insane. but that’s why we love you :)
    i did an ice cream cake for my stepsister’s graduation party last year but the only part that was homemade was the fudge sauce and the cute little sign i made to stick on top! this looks delicious but i don’t love ice cream cake enough to follow in your footsteps on this one!

  118. I wish I had this guide last week! A friend and I decided to make a from-scratch ice cream cake to combine her love of making ice cream and my love of cake decorating. What could possibly go wrong when these two magical worlds combine? Oh, way too much is the answer. We grossly underestimated how long it takes for the ice cream layers to set, and how long it takes for the ice cream maker bowl to refreeze after churning the first layer. Time is always the ingredient I run out of! Thank you for your well- worded affirmation that it was insane to attempt this in the first place. :)

  119. Thanks for this lovely recipe. I’ve just made this for someone’s birthday tomorrow, I think they’re going to love it!

  120. I appreciate you admitting to your insanity. Before any event at least one of my friends will send me a text telling me something like “Katie, this party is low key…” or “Just make something simple, ok…”. What they do not understand is that making a nectarine tart with homemade vanilla ice cream is not a big deal. In fact, it is what makes me feel relaxed and happy. I love being in the kitchen, expressing myself and coming up with new things. Seeing my friends eat and smile is just an added bonus. I love smittenkitchen. Thank you for the reckless abandonment and keep up with all the insanity.

  121. I just made this for my brother’s 52nd birthday. I added slices of banana to the middle layer and they loved it! Thanks Deb!

  122. Great to have from scratch recipe. Next time!!! Thanks!! I like to finish the cake with a layer of frozen whipped cream to make a smooth surface for decorating. This one was for my son’s 4th birthday http://pinterest.com/pin/546272629772012090/. He asked for Big Bird so I made marshmallow fondant for the beak and colored coconut yellow for his feathers. He also asked for crushed peppermint candy to be added between the chocolate and vanilla layers. A 10″ springform pan yielded about 30 servings.

  123. Comment 178 – is that really YOUR Nan? I feel that is sort of like a celebrity commenting on your post. LOVE it.

    and this cake? Let me tell you a secret. I love fudge sundaes from McDonald’s. My local Mcy-D’s though, never has their hot fudge, well, warm. barely luke-warm. so I complained to the manager once (bc 4 times I had purchased it and it wasn’t warm). Next time I went, I purchased it … not warm. I called the 800 number on the drive-through window. I was very polite, but I felt I had to do SOMETHING.

    Needless to say, the hot fudge on this cake just DOES it for me. And the ‘crumb’ layer of fudge? then the warm on top? perfection

  124. It’s not insane, people, its love. The timing on this post was perfect as my husband wanted ice cream cake for his b-day, but not the *nasty* DairyQueen kind. Enter Caramel Cookie and Sicilian Pistachio Talenti Gelato, butterscotch caramel sauce, marachino cherries (convenienced to avoid insanity) and the cookies and whipped cream. And I foresee those cookies making an appearance outside of ice cream cake. They’re the perfect little fudgy goodness. Yum!

  125. I cannot believe that you would use those nasty, chemical red cherries. If not for the sake of this cake, for the sake of your cocktails, get yourself some proper Luxardo maraschino cherries. They are insanely expensive, but they are used in small amounts, and worth every penny. They become the excuse to make myself a Manhatten or old fashioned.

  126. Well, I don´t know what to say to the fact you didn´t make your own maraschino cherries..jaja! I´m the kind who makes homemade everything-I-can, but I wonder if after making all the components here, I will actually assemble the whole thing or just, you know, pile a cookie with ice cream, drizzle some fudge and eat it standing in my kitchen. A gorgeous cake Deb!

  127. Drooling!
    This is not an insane project at all. My son has allergies so everything has to be from scratch! Thank you for putting this recipe together!

  128. Help! I just tried to make the ice cream for this and my custard didn’t thicken :( I followed the recipe to the letter (I swear!) and it just didn’t thicken up at all. I just went ahead and mixed the thin “custard” with the rest of the milk and I’m chilling it now. Will it still churn up or have I blown it?

    1. Kate — Can you tell me more — what didn’t thicken? The vanilla? Chocolate? The egg yolk custard? The ice cream in the machine? If I know more, I can help you more because at different stages, it would be for different reasons.

      Colleen — I do indeed keep Luxardo cherries around for my Manhattans. But I like the icky red ones here; they remind me of being a kid.

      Marker — I am using Feedly, but it’s missing so many features. It drives me bonkers that when I’m within a folder and I click the “My Feedly” button in the top left, it does nothing. There’s no going back to the front page. And, Google Reader allowed me to export my list to create the Good Reads page here, and none of the other readers have this feature and I’m being bombarded with email and comments asking me where the page went. Not that you asked any of that! :)

  129. Carvel cakes take me right back to my childhood! I remember when the whale cake was available every summer. I was such a cookie crumble junkie. Your cake looks awesome!

  130. I made this cake over three days, and it was gorgeous!

    The cookies are going to be staples in my freezer. My husband loved them even better than the chocolate sables which to my taste buds are the best, but nevermind, we’ll have both within easy reach.

    I made strawberry ice cream (no custard, used cream and buttermilk) and vanilla ice cream. I always read the comments (to all those who post their comments, many many thanks, such a treasure trove of knowledge and experience). I don’t have a small spring form, and I didn’t want a big cake, so I used my 6″ baking pan. It has a removable bottom which I thought would work well. I lined the pan with plastic wrap, tried to get it straight, and then gave up. I’m glad I did, because when I removed the cake, the lines from the plastic wrap made such a beautiful design on the ice cream, sort of like a crinkle paper design. Just lovely. The fudge sauce has such a wonderful full flavor, but not too sweet. I put a layer of the chocolate on top of the frozen cake. It was shiny and had really lovely lines. The recipe makes a lot, but I’ve got over half in the freezer waiting for … well … whatever.

    The only thing I wouldn’t do again is drizzle the hot fudge over the cake. It made a mess, and the cake was prettier without the globs. I think I didn’t have the fudge hot enough.

    I’ll make this again. Such a treat!

  131. I loved reading this, because I too insisted on Carvel cakes at every birthday. I recall wanting the number cakes. Now that I am well into double digits, two cakes seems unwarranted. But I will look for some excuse to make this one soon….

    Unrelated: Last night I made the Blueberry Cornmeal Butter Cake with wild blueberries we foraged while canoeing this weekend. It is amazing–worthy of the laborious picking process. And not too hard to make after a sleep-deprived weekend camping.

  132. Yum! I found this recipe and just had to read your blog post on it. You have great directions listed. I was able to go to hyvee and get all of the ingredients. Your steps were very easy to follow and my version turned out just as good looking. The taste was also fabulous! Yum! I cannot wait to have another slice and my mom loved it too!

  133. how did so much of the ice cream, cookies, whipped cream and fudge
    sauce actually make it into the cake…???

  134. How I love your writing! It expresses joy, curiosity and enthusiasm for living that so frequently gets lost in the efficiency, cost-effectiveness or “get-r-done” atmosphere. Thanks for being you and reminding us to be us. For the weekly reminder that happiness is not only a “good enough” reason to do something, it is, actually, the only reason.

  135. Deb – you are insane, but that is one of the things that we love about you and that keeps us coming back. Who thinks of this? Genius!

  136. Hi deb! I made a similar cake for my husband’s birthday last year. it took over a week because I had problems with my freezer bowl! at the end of the 7 days, I presented the cake to glorious applause. was it worth it? my husband thought so and requested a rerun this year! I was still recovering :)

  137. I –
    I couldn’t find an answer to this (possibly stupid) question: If I opt for the lazy method, and use pre-made vanilla/chocolate ice cream, does the ice cream still need to be softened or mixed up into a creamier texture? Should it allow time to soften up/melt a little before using it?
    Thanks!

    1. pat — Yes, let it soften up enough that you can smoosh it into a pan. If you’re using a paper brick of ice cream (yikes, do these even still exist?) you can peel and slice it so it won’t have to be too soft. But for ice cream you scoop, a sliiight softening is better.

  138. What a gorgeous cake! What did you do with all the egg whites left over from making the ice cream? Meringues?

  139. This is the best cake I’ve seen in a long time. Like you, I grew up craving Carvel ice cream cakes! Now I live in Idaho where Carvel is nowhere to be seen.

  140. I am totally making this for my son’s birthday in September–he loves ice cream so this will be right up his alley.

    If only I could find a whale shaped pan for this…

  141. Carvel was also my favorite birthday cake as a kid, and I had a piece recently, and it still holds up after all these years. This cake you made is beyond. It is food porn to the max. Thank you.

  142. Hi again! Thanks for responding, sorry I was unclear- I was in panic mode!! What I meant was that the egg yolk custard didn’t thicken up on the stove. It was so weird. So after quite a while of stirring and waiting, I just took it off the heat and proceeded as if everything was normal. I churned the mixture the next day and the ice cream was delicious! Even the texture (which was what I was most worried about) was fabulous. I didn’t make the whole cake (but I will soon!) I just made the vanilla ice cream. Man it was good!

    1. Kate — Ah! It only thickens a little. If you were to dip a metal soup spoon in, it would come out coated, but not thickly. Mainly, this adds a creaminess and body to the ice cream, but once you churn it, if you were comparing one with clearly thickened custard and one where it didn’t thicken, you’d prefer the former, but you’d never mind the latter if you didn’t know something had gone amiss.

  143. Hi Deb! I have a friend who has been wanting ice cream cake for awhile now, and am planning to make this without an ice cream maker (sounds crazy – but fun and tasty!)! David Lebovitz’s instructions for poor grad students with itty bitty kitchens basically say to chill for 45 minutes, stir well, and repeat every 30 min – for a total of 2-3 hours. I’m assuming that will get me to relatively hard ice cream, but have no real clue since I’ve never done it. Do you have any idea how long should I expect it to take to get to the point of soft serve? Thanks!

    1. Hi Kat — I haven’t used that method before because I have an ice cream maker but I suspect that his 2 to 3 hour estimate would get you to soft-serve, i.e. the equivalent of what would come out of an ice cream maker. Ice cream from 99% of ice cream makers comes out as soft-serve and then it is transferred to a container to finish freezing.

      Stacy — No, I agree TJ’s guac has a ton of garlic in it, not my thing. They actually sold frozen plain avocado in the freezer section in chunks, no seasoning or anything on them. You could use it for guac and it was a great deal.

  144. Hi Deb, Do you have any great ideas about that icing? I really love it. I am however assuming (and this can be dangerous) that the Carvel icing is the same at the Dairy Queen icing because I have never even heard of Carvel until now. But I do love DQ cakes and the icing is always so good on it. The only thing that might make this cake better (other than the icing) is a frozen fudge layer in with the cookie crumbles. That would be awesome! But the hot fudge on top is genius! My pregnant brain is so thinking of making the hot fudge asap when I get home and making a sundae because (obviously) making the cake would take too long. And then using it as fuel to start tackling the rest of this cake. Because hot fudge sundae fuelled hotfudge sundae ice cream cakes would just taste better, right?

    1. Hi Ruth — I did some research online (I was first thinking about icing this) and found a lot of discussions about it. one, and another.) Popular theories were that it was something canned (no doubt) made from god-knows-what, whipped cream (but my frozen whipped cream dollops tasted like frozen whipped cream — maybe a little watery — and not like that frosting) or an easy buttercream (butter + powdered sugar, no doubt made with shortening or the like for a bakery). I felt like the frozen whipped cream dollops on my cake were missing some of the rich/creaminess of the icing; they tastes a little like frozen milk, hard, not smooth.

      Re, Jocelyn and Alexis’s conversation here — It’s true. Danny’s makes my MIL’s Sweet and Sour High Holiday Brisket from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook into tacos at least once a week these days. I don’t even know if he’s tried the brisket on this site intended for tacos; he just loves the book version. Aw.

      More Danny — I actually made these Car Bomb Chocolate Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes for him to welcome him to NYC 4.5 years ago.

  145. I always get so much help from comment reading, so I wanted to throw my two cents in about these cookies. Mine were horribly burnt after nine minutes (maybe I made them too small?). What was salvaged from the burned-ness was so delicious though that I didn’t even wait 15 minutes to whip up another batch of dough; they were perfect after 4 minutes at 350º. I switched a Jeni’s mint ice cream recipe for the vanilla and the David’s recipe for the dark chocolate is hardening in the freezer as I type. I love your cake recipes Deb, they are always memory makers for me and my family!

  146. Am applauding any recipe that encourages home made ice cream making. It’s delicious! Having recently bought an ice cream machine and had to get it shipped from UK to Mallorca, laughed at your comment about having to remove a freezer shelf to fit the container in. My freezer shelves wouldn’t remove, so the one I bought doesn’t have to go in our freezer. I’d recommend too Ice Cream, Sorbets and Gelati, Caroline & Robin Weir, for anyone who is really into ice cream making.

  147. This is beautiful and insane and sounds like something I would do. Reminds me of the Christmas I made a homemade Buche de Noel Baked Alaska with homemade meringue mushrooms and flambéd in a creme de menthe sauce. I carried it into the dining room on a silver platter (while it was flaming) and promptly dropped it on the floor because suddenly the platter became to hot to hold!

  148. I was confused about the ice cream amounts. Are the listed ingredients for both ice creams and thus need halved? For example, 2cups cream, 1 cup milk, 3/4 cup sugar, 5 egg yolks…
    Thank u! This sounds delicious!

  149. 1) I’ve been living on the west coast for 19 years now and have missed Carvel the entire time. And suddenly their cakes appear in the freezer of the local Safeway!

    2) I TOTALLY get the “it can’t be that hard…” DIY urge. Many hours in the kitchen because of that.

    3) You have to try some Luxardo cherries. They are the original Marasca cherries, the all natural predecessor of the bright red monstrosities we know today. BTW we can thank the University of Oregon for the modern maraschino cherry, which they of course make in green as well as red.

    http://www.amazon.com/Luxardo-Gourmet-Maraschino-Cherries-400g/dp/B001CDOBCM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1374734303&sr=8-1&keywords=luxardo+cherries

  150. This looks absolutely amazing!! I too, requested that exact ice cream cake growing up on my birthdays (and mine’s in the winter – February!) — there was just no substitute. I don’t know the last time I’ve had ice cream cake, but this one looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it out :)

  151. Yes, Deb, you are crazy which i say lovingly.
    I just took crazy a step further by making this cake at the end of July in Israel. Turned the AC full crank and plunged forward. I made this for my daughter and her friends who are home from service in the IDF. Oh I can’t wait to see thier faces.
    The hot fudge sauce is absolutly awesome.
    Thanks sooo much

  152. I, too, have the insanity gene wherein I want to make the things I could so easily buy (case-in-point the flower girl dresses I made for my brother’s wedding). And often feel the need to excuse the steps I didn’t make myself – do you love the s’mores cake I made? Oh, thank you, but I think it would have been better had I only made the marshmallow creme from scratch. And too often I am at the end of a project and feel like I “just want to get it done” instead of relishing in my victory. But it is satisfactory to see everyone enjoying the spoils. Thank you for sharing your insanity so I can feel that much more sane!

  153. I just made this cake last night. I went the lazy route with store bought premium ice cream, hot fudge sauce, and Oreos. I wish I’d read the comments about adding magic shell to the crust! Definitely next time!

    For the chocolate ice cream, I just let it sit out a bit and smooshed it into the cookie crust. For the vanilla, I beat it with the Kitchenaid mixer for a bit and it turned into slightly stiff buttercream consistency and was soooo easy to smooth out without getting cookie in your cream. It did mean I had to use 1.5 quarts of ice cream though.

    If you go lazy, this is a perfect easy party dessert.

  154. This cake looks incredible! I am so excited to try making it. Do you think it would work as cupcakes? (And if so, what do you think would be the best way of getting them out of the cupcake pan?). Thanks so much for the inspiration and guidance!

  155. I made this for my daughter’s thirty-something birthday. It turned out fabulous! And, you were right, the chocolate cookies are great. We ate the left over cookies. Instead of putting the hot fudge on top, I used chocolate ganache to write Happy Birthday on the top of the cake…with a few embellishments. Spray whipped cream and jarred cherries finished it out. It was a hit! I made two batches of ice cream for the cake. Perfect. Thank you (again) for another great recipe.

  156. Deb, I am not likely to make this anytime, ever in this lifetime (instead I’ve spent my summer sanity on 3 different attempts (to date) of an Holistic Banana Split cake), HOWEVER, I simply have to say how much I LOVE reading your posts!!!!!!!!! Thank you thank you thank you for the humor and real life you bring to our world!

  157. I have this sitting in my freezer for a friends birthday tomorrow. I had about 3 ounces of leftover bittersweet chocolate, so I melted it and mixed it in with the cookie rubble. I added a hot fudge layer directly under the rubble layer like some comments suggested. I am so excited to try it!!
    I saw someone ask about a banana split version. Another of my favorite food blogs has a Banana Split Ice Cream Cake. I’ve never made it, but I have made the strawberry ice cream and it was delicious.
    http://www.annies-eats.com/2011/07/29/banana-split-ice-cream-torte/

  158. This was awesome! I made it for my daughter’s 9th birthday. The only component I made myself was the hot fudge (Cooks Illustrated recipe). Did not add hot fudge to the cookie layer as others have suggested, and I thought the consistency was perfect without it. Added a little more than 1 cup of hot fudge in the “pre-fudge” layer and refroze. The hot fudge did start to dribble down the sides a bit on its own (in a good way) when the cake was taken out and prepped, so did not need to pour more hot fudge on top to get the “dribbly” look, and there was not a lot of ice cream melting going on which was good. I did put extra hot fudge on the slices. One thing I would suggest is to not put the whipped cream too close to the edge or it might drip off the side with the dribbles of fudge. This was a minor problem– it still looked great. Thanks for a great idea!

  159. This timing was perfect; I was just about to start the research phase of making an ice cream cake for a friend’s baby shower, and you’ve provided so much help!

    Making the cookies for the crumb crust was SO much better than using store-bought; not just in the flavor, but because the crust actually held together, something I’ve never been able to accomplish with Oreos.

    I added a layer of ganache at the bottom [the one from this recipe: https://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2009/11/cappuccino-fudge-cheesecake/, though one recipe made more than enough for two cakes (1 1/4 C ganache per cake)] and paired it with store-bought coffee ice cream (Bluebell!). Instead of the hot fudge, I used the salted caramel sauce from this site, and I topped the whipped cream spirals with chocolate-covered coffee beans. It was amazing. Thank you!

  160. I’m in the midst of this, doing it the “sane” way, with store-bought ice cream, Oreos and whipped cream. I did just make the hot fudge and it is divine! One word of advice – if you do the Magic Shell along with the Oreos, it will be too sticky to spread evenly between the layers. We shall see how it holds together once cut…

  161. OK, now that it’s done – PHEW – a few words to the wise. SKIP THE MAGIC SHELL! It makes your cookie layers impossible to cut. I did 2 cakes, one with and one without Magic Shell, and the one with the Magic Shell mixed with the cookies was impossible to cut. The one without could be cut into decent pieces with no problem, and tasted just as good. Also, if you don’t have a springform pan (I only had one) you can use an 8″x8″ square pan, and simply line it with parchment paper 2 ways. You can lift it out with the parchment paper right before serving so you can see the nice sides. Finally, when “pre-fudging” the cake, do a big sploosh puddle of fudge, rather than drizzling, so it comes out smooth. Finally, this is a nice alternative for birthday cakes when you have an egg-allergic child attending a birthday party. I doubt I will ever do this again, but while I was making it my husband kept commenting on the lack of words coming from the kitchen, but the occasional interjections of “Oh wow that is good!”
    In the end, I think this cake may be more fun to make than it is to serve, but boy was it fun to make!

  162. Hello everyone my name is Cindy John, i just want to share my experience and testimony here.. i was married for 7 years to my husband and all of a sudden, another woman came into the picture he started hating me and he was abusive. but i still loved him with all my heart and wanted him at all cost then he filed for divorce my whole life was turning apart and i didn’t know what to do he moved out of the house and abandoned the kids that we have, so someone told me about trying spiritual means to get my husband back and introduced me to a spell caster name prophetludaspelltemple@outlook.com. so i decided to try it reluctantly. although i didn’t believe in all those things then when he did the special prayers and spell, after 2 days, my husband came back and was pleading for my forgiveness that he had realized his mistakes I just couldn’t believe it anyway we are back together now and we are happy in case anyone needs this man, his email address prophetludaspelltemple@outlook.com his spells is for a better life.

  163. Another masterpiece from the Smitten Kitchen! Sister, you are making me look so good. I made this for my daughter’s birthday in July. Perfect. Everyone loved it. She did, the grandchildren did, my favorite husband did. A winner.

    Today, I am just making the chocolate cookies. A request, since we gobbled up the ones left over from making the ice cream cake.

    Thank you, again, for another special occasion cake.

  164. Frankly, I’m incredibly surprised that we had any leftovers. I’m 12 and I cannot thank you enough for this post. my dad seemed quite impressed as well as my sister and her friends. Also I now understand why you said there was no sane reason to make everything for it, alas it did sound very impressive to say ‘I made everything myself’ and satisfying to watch my sisters face go from astonished to mind-blown as this cake wiped her blueberry pie out of the park but, who has anything against pie? thanks again

  165. So you’ve done it again. Two years ago we had monkey cake for a 1st birthday of boy #2. Boy #1’s birthday is Sunday and he’s asked for a chocolate sundae cake. He has asked for chocolate cake as the base, but from the bottom up, that’s the cake I’m going to make for him.

    1. Bunny — These are less complicated, can be made in one FP bowl, no careful baking instructions, and have an excellent flavor to boot. Though, Medrich’s would of course be delicious here too.

  166. This is a perfect project for the long weekend. We’re having a birthday party tomorrow evening, and my ice cream is underway!

  167. made this for my mom’s birthday tonight – cookies, ice cream and fudge all from scratch. i skipped the whipped cream and cherries because my mom doesn’t like either, and decorated with some rainbow colored mini snowcaps instead. it was a huge hit! looked and tasted amazing! and i’ll go out on a limb here and say that it wasn’t even too hard to make with the right planning of each step ahead of time. yum!

  168. Warning!
    This cake melted SOOOOOO fast! I didn’t even have enough time to walk out to the table before it was a puddle (but a seriously soooo delicious puddle)
    I would recommend freezing the first hot fudge layer for more than 30 minutes and sticking it back in the freezer for 10 minutes after the second application of fudge. I am really amazed that you had enough time to photograph it because mine really lasted about 2 minutes outside of the freezer. I would think about making this cake again, but only for someone special because it was a lot of work and not so rewarding when I served really delicious melted ice cream slop.

  169. I’m making a chocolate peanut butter variation: swapping vanilla ice cream layer for peanut butter ice cream (also David Lebovitz) and using mini peanut butter cups instead of cherries to garnish. Dec-a-dence!!

  170. I made the insane version for my son’s birthday today. It came out pretty and absolutely delicious. The only trouble I had is that I wasn’t able to cut through the bottom cookie crust layer and take it out. Next time, I’ll let the pan sit on top of a warm towel for a few minutes. Deb, thanks for the great idea. I see lots of different ice cream cakes in my future.

  171. Made it this weekend. The cookies were easy and great, both flavors of ice cream were delicious and the vanilla in particular had the best, creamiest texture of any I have made so far (guess I’ll be sticking with it (-: ) One tip I got from one of my older cook books was to add 2 tbsp of powdered milk to the whipped cream with the powdered sugar if you need to make it in advance or use it as frosting. It will not get watery that way and it does not alter the taste (-: All my friends said I had outdone myself – and after also having had the Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake from this site that is saying something! Thanks for yet another stellar recipe!

  172. I just made this for my husband for his birthday — it was a total hit! I have to confess that I made it the “shortcut” way, but it still got rave reviews and the assembly instructions were soooooo easy to follow. Thank you so much!

  173. I made this cake for a party with a bunch of friends – followed the recipe exactly and made every piece from scratch (except the cherries). It took me 3 days. I totally agree with Deb – while it was fun (especially making the ice cream and that EXQUISITE hot fudge recipe) – it takes a crazy person to do all of this from scratch~! My friends thought I was raving mad – but we all enjoyed how rich it came out!

  174. Dear Deb,

    I “made” this this week for my son’s 15th birthday. I made the hot fudge sauce, which was amazing by the way. I bought premium ice cream, Graeter’s, which is a brand from Cincinnati, OH, which is also in Columbus. If you’re in our part of the country you’ll have to try it. I used black raspberry chunk and their vanilla. I also used oreos. If it was summer I would have made everything, but I’m a music teacher and Dec. is the busiest for us. It was truly amazing and he loved it, he had two huge slices, oh to be 15 and burning calories faster than you eat them. My husband said it looked just like the picture. It doesn’t have to be summer to enjoy ice cream. Thanks for the inspiration, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do for his birthday this year.

  175. hello! i am working on this in stages over the course of a week for my husbands birthday. i only have a small two cup food processor and always struggle with the recipes that seem to require a much larger one. any suggestions for making these cookies without one?

    1. Hi Rachael — You could make the cookies the way others are made — creaming the butter with the sugar, adding the egg, etc. The FP just makes it easier. Hope that helps.

  176. I must be dumber than a bag of hammers, but…are the amounts in the ice cream recipe per batch or totasl that are then divided in half in the preparation – one for the chocolate and one for the vanilla. So, for instance, is it 10 egg yolks for the vanilla batch and 10 for the chocolate, or 5 each? I’ve just infused the vanilla cream and can’t figure out the amounts I’ll need for the next step. Thank you!!!

  177. Is it just me, or do those reverent childhood memories get dashed when you try the commercial ice-cream cakes as an adult? In the past year, we’ve had two from two famous New England brands (which shall remain nameless), and both were so disappointing, even to my eight-year-old. All the bells and whistles mean nothing if the flavor isn’t there. On that note, thanks all the more for providing a DIY option. I’ve asked for an ice-cream maker for my birthday, and I can’t wait to have a crack at this recipe.

  178. Yum! My mom always made a version of this when I was growing up, using store bought ice cream and hydrox cookies, but with a twist. She used four flavors and both cookie crumb and cherry layers. Cookie crust, pint of vanilla, cookie layer, pint of chocolate, cherry layer, pint of strawberry, cookie layer, pint of mint chip. It always looked pretty and tasted delicious. I was thinking of making it for my son’s seventh birthday party if our pool’s snack bar will keep it for me in the freezer. But now I might use your version instead.

    And I still love Carvel. In fact, at my wedding, Fudgie the Whale was our groom’s cake!

  179. I decided early in the week to make this for Father’s Day. I was planning on full on insane make everything but at the very last minute we found we were hosting 6 more people and my house was a mess. I hit the grocery store at 6 am, bought Oreos, Ben and Jerry’s and went on my way. I did make the hot fudge sauce but I just assembled the rest. It was so,so good. My 9 year old nephew said it was the best cake he ever had. High praise indeed.

    I’m sure I’ll try it all homemade but it’s just as good if you buy stuff and assemble it.

    Thanks for the recipe!

  180. Hi Deb,
    I’m a little late in commenting on this recipe, but I have a question about adapting it.
    I have a pretty severe allergy to chocolate (tragic, I know!) and was hoping to get some advice on making a chocolate free version of this cake. I’m not as worried about the ice cream and cookie crumbs, I’m used to making those kinds of substitutions (I’m thinking something like a snickerdoodle in the middle, as cinnamon has become my new chocolate, so to speak!). More I was wondering how to “pre-fudge” the top of the cake as you suggest given that my cake would need to be “fudge-less”. Any ideas on an alternate sauce that would freeze enough to protect the top of the cake?
    Also, as snickerdoodle recipes usually result in a chewy cookie, is there a reliable way to adapt a cookie recipe to make them crispier other than just baking them longer?
    Thanks, as always, for your amazing recipes!

  181. Welp, this was originally posted the day before my birthday last year. This year on my birthday my sister made it for me. We took the easier route (aka store bought ingredients), and it was still quite possibly one of the best tasting treats I’ve ever had, and very quickly made it’s way onto my last meal request list if I’m ever unfortunate enough to need one of those. Bluebell must know about this cake because “The Great Divide” half gallon is the perfect purchase to make this cake. We made it with Oreos for the cookie base and filling, and for someone whose favorite ice cream is Cookies and Cream, it was just divine. Thanks Deb, as always, for the fantastic creations.

  182. I’m making this for my birthday cake this year! I’m using two (different) David Lebovitz ice creams – the chocolate (with corn syrup & corn starch, to differentiate from the several on his site!) and the salted butter caramel. My oreos didn’t come out as well as they have in the past, which was a little disappointing… but who gives a toot? They’re (delicious) crumbs now! I may end up making marshmallows and/or Fluff with the spare egg whites – hopefully they freeze and defrost well! Right now everything except the fudge is in the freezer resting while we go on vacation. :D

    @Julie in Boston – maybe you could make biscotti? I’ve never made them but since I think you have to double bake them anyway maybe they would be dry/firm enough to crumb up. I know there are pins out there showing different results from using too much/too little of this or that (brown or regular sugar, baking soda v baking powder, melted v solid butter, etc.) so maybe you could do some Googling or Pinterest-searching. Of course you could also overbake the snickerdoodles since they’ll be pulverized anyway! I’d say start checking at 1-min intervals for a better level of done-ness. And I am very sorry for your chocolate allergy. If I developed one now I would be … unhappy, to say the least.

  183. Hey Deb!

    I have been counting down the days until I could make this as you posted it just before my birthday last year and I wanted to make it from scratch, and didn’t have a nice cream maker. I love that you do crazy thighs like this. Anyways, got my ice cream maker and this is how I am breaking it in! I was making the egg custard portion and it never really thickened and it kind of separated? I used 2% milk, do you think that could be why? Or probably I added the warm (hot?) milk mixture too quickly? I saw Kate from the mid-100 comments didn’t have hers thicken and it still made great ice cream so I am going to still try tomorrow I am just worried bc there is a weird like “curdled” texture, but really small tiny pieces.

    PS good luck with the move!

  184. Haaaaaaalp! I missed a step and want to know if I ruined it! After I beat the warm (mine was simmering) milk into the egg yolks, I didn’t put it back on the stove to thicken!!! I don’t know what I was thinking! Is it going to work/am I going to kill my guests with raw yolks? Can I just warm the two bases back up to cook the yolks a little more? UGH.

  185. This cake tasted great, although it was tricky to cut it, and it didn’t hold together great (because of the cookie layer). But it looked great before it was cut. I ran out of time to make the hot fudge sauce, so used leftover chocolate peanut butter ganache from your chocolate peanut butter cake that I had previously made to go on ice cream. I think I might put that stuff on everything I make.

  186. This is so beautiful. I keep coming back to just look at the picture. I made it with lactose free ice cream. Amazing. Happiness. Mmm.

  187. I made this over the weekend; figured it was the perfect Labor Day summer send-off. It tasted great, but I had a few problems with the process. Despite briefly washing my ice cream bowl (I use the Kitchen Aid attachment) in cold water and getting it back in the freezer quickly, it was nowhere near cold enough to churn the vanilla batch, even 8 hours later; after 30 minutes in the machine I still had vanilla custard swirling around, with nothing like ice cream forming. I wound up having to start over and make another batch of vanilla, which made me thankful that I had given myself an extra day to prep. So, to those who may use the Kitchen Aid attachment: unless you have a super cold freezer, you may need a whole 15-hour re-freezing period (the manufacturer’s rec) for the second batch. Then, when I served the cake, the crumb crust would NOT release from the base of my springform pan. No amount of chipping at it, even with my sharpest knife, worked, so we just ate it without the crust, which bummed me out – the cookies were so good, it was tragic to lose any! Any recommendations for helping to ease the crust out? Line with parchment? Since it’s frozen, I doubt butter/greasing would help, but maybe I’ll give that a try? In any case, my two-year-old didn’t mind a bit and enjoyed the ice cream thoroughly! The cake melted quite a lot while sitting out after I served it – today was a scorcher – so I churned the remains lightly into a fudge-swirled-vanilla-chocolate-cookie delight that I refroze. I have a feeling it’ll be my family’s new favorite flavor!

  188. Has anyone had trouble with the fudge? My cocoa (Dutch, Penzey’s) left lumps and I think will have to be sifted next time. Otherwise it was wonderful.

  189. Definitely sift the cocoa powder ESullins. I’m pretty lazy with recipes and will only sift flour with fork. However cocoa powder is so lumpy that it always needs proper sifting.

  190. Hi Deb–I know this is an old post but I have a question about ice cream technique: do you know what some recipes have you mix the sugar with the egg yolks and some don’t? I can guess–the sugar + yolks, when whipped, add air; it makes them easier to temper, etc.–but haven’t been able to find an actual conceptual explanation of why. And then this recipe goes ahead and doesn’t do it. Just curious :).

  191. Tim — Do you mean sugar and egg yolks, mixed or just that some ice cream bases use egg yolks and some do not? If the first question, I’m not actually that familiar with any ice cream recipes that don’t mix the sugar into the yolks. If the second, there are two (primary) approaches to making ice cream, frozen custard-style (i.e. yolks, cream, forming a custard and churning it) and something called Philadelphia-style, which is more about just freezing and churning cream. Hope that helps.

  192. Deb–thanks! I was wondering about the first question (sugar and egg yolks, mixed vs not mixed). I am pro-yolk when it comes to ice cream, and thought it was curious that this recipe doesn’t mix the sugar and the yolks like most others I’ve seen. I should just try it and report back…if I do I’ll let you know

  193. Tim — It shouldn’t make a difference. Sometimes, it’s yolks + sugar, then liquid added. Here, the sugar’s in the milk. It shouldn’t change the outcome. Sugar and yolk ribboning together is more of an important step in some cakes.

  194. I love tackling insane DIY dessert projects! Made this last year for my mom’s birthday and it was insanely good. My cousins who live further away were quite jealous when we described the cake. So tomorrow we’re celebrating one of my cousin’s birthdays, the whole family will be there, and I’m surprising him with this ice cream cake :)

    i made everything homemade and honestly, it wasn’t that hard. The fudge sauce can easily be made probably up to a week in advance. I bet the cookies could be made a few days ahead and just frozen until needed. I like to churn the first layer early in the morning the day before it’s served, and churn the second layer in the evening. I’ve had no trouble with refreezing the Kitchenaid attachment with an 8-10 hour interval. I would recommend putting a parchment round on the bottom of the springform pan and spraying so your pan doesn’t get scratched up though!

    Thanks for the recipe. I’m thinking of doing a chocolate and peanut butter or chocolate and coffee adaptation next!

  195. Made it for our son’s birthday party today – here are some comments. based on the number of serves suggested, I decided to increase the cake size by half and did this by adding another layer. As it was, at the end of a light lunch, over twenty plates were served and over a third of the cake was left. the cake is rich and larger servings would have been too much. While everybody absolutely raved over the cake, no one could face seconds. I cut sugar from the cookie recipe, reducing to one cup, and from the fudge, reducing both sugar and honey (instead of corn syrup). I used Ben and Jerry’s ice cream (plain chocolate and plain vanilla) and the total outcome was plenty sweet. Again, I believe any sweeter could have sickening. The butter in the fudge sauce separated slightly and I may consider reducing or omitting it next time. Regarding the fudge sauce, I followed the recipe suggestion and pre-fudged. This did go towards making the cake prettier, but The Big Hot Fudge Wow came from ladling it warm over each plated slice. For flavor alone, I would keep the sauce for ladling and drop it from the topping of the cake. And yes, this is probably going to be The Birthday Cake from now on.

  196. Made this for my son’s birthday today (shortcut ice cream and cherries, but everything else according to recipe). It was delicious! But getting the technique right to make it look beautiful is going to take some work. I really admire your patience, Deb! And I’m fairly new to NY state (they don’t exist in the West), so am glad you’re letting me skip the real Carvel cakes. :)

  197. Just made this cake for the SECOND time for my birthday party! When I first saw this last year it seemed impossible. Here is a little tip for everyone, especially the moms who don’t have all this time on their hands, don’t make your own ice cream. Buying a pint or two from Ralph’s, while may not taste quite as good, is much easier and still has tasty results. I am a young chef and this is my favorite place to get recipes.

  198. My twins really want this for their birthday! I see above you said it could be halved in a 6″ springform; is a 4.5″ just too small? Thank you!

  199. I worked off this recipe for a cake for my sons birthday and it was awesome! I used a 9×13 Pyrex to keep it clean/simple. 10oz of smashed Oreos on the bottom, then a half gallon ofwhipped vanilla Breyers, the this fudge recipe (mmmm!! I cut the sugar a bit) plus diced Twix and crushed graham crackers, then ~2 pints of whipped chocolate ice cream. I used a chocolate whipped cream frosting for the top and decorated it with a small truck and candy rocks. AWESOME!!