Ice cream cakes are one of the best summertime desserts out there. While a cold mousse or a simple strawberry tart might make the covers of food magazines, nothing lights up a gathering of hot, hungry people like a gorgeous ice cream cake – especially if there are kids involved. And, of course, I feel that a homemade cake is always better than an store bought one (especially considering that ice cream parlors are not necessarily known for the quality of their cake). When I outlined the process of making an ice cream cake the other day, it was a teaser for this recipe for the whole ice cream cake.
This cake uses mint chocolate chip ice cream sandwiched between two chocolate cake layers and topped with vanilla buttercream. In my book, it’s the best that ice cream cakes get. The green-tinted of the ice cream immediately lets guests know what flavor they’re in for and it looks quite nice set against the dark chocolate-colored cake.
I like this cake recipe for ice cream cakes because it is tender, has a good flavor, and stays very moist even after it has been frozen and refrozen repeatedly (since leftovers need to be kept in the freezer). I credit the cake’s excellent texture to the use of vegetable oil instead of butter. The chocolate/cocoa flavor of the cake is strong enough that you will never miss the “buttery” flavor of butter and vegetable oil does a much better job of preventing baked goods from drying out than butter does.
The frosting here is my real vanilla bean buttercream. The recipe makes just enough to put a thin layer all over the cake and it tastes wonderful with the chocolate and mint layers. It holds up quite well to freezing, too. When cold, it becomes quite firm, but like the ice cream layer, it becomes soft and easily sliced when the cake warms up even slightly.
This recipe makes a big cake – three 10×15-inch layers – so you might want to keep this fact in mind before you bake it. It is fantastic for parties, barbecues and pretty much any summer gathering where a freezer will be available for storage. If it’s too big, use my how to make an ice cream cake tutorial to make an ice cream layer for a smaller cake.
Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake
Ice Cream Layer
2 gallons high-quality mint chocolate chip ice cream
Line a 10×15-inch jelly roll-type pan with plastic wrap. Lightly grease.
Soften ice cream until it is easy to scoop, then spread it into an even layer in the prepared pan.
Freeze for at least 6 hours, or until very firm.
Once it is firm, the pan can be removed and the layer can be stored in plastic wrap.
Chocolate Cake (make 2)
2 cups sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup hot water
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 10×15-inch jelly roll-type pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper. Leave some paper overhanging the edges of the pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, buttermilk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Pour into flour mixture and stir until just combined.
Pour hot water (not quite boiling) over batter and stir until smooth. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for about 25 minutes, until cake springs back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let cake cool in pan for 15 minutes, then use the parchment paper to transfer cake to a wire rack to cool completely. Do not remove parchment paper.
Repeat recipe to make a second cake.
2 cake layers
1 ice cream layer
1 recipe vanilla buttercream frosting
Place one cake layer on a large serving platter or cake board, using parchment paper to help move the cake without breaking it. Peel off parchment once cake is in place.
Top cake with ice cream layer and top ice cream layer with remaining cake layer.
Freeze for at least an hour, until firm and cold.
Meanwhile, make buttercream frosting.
Frost chilled cake with a thin layer of frosting and freeze until ready to serve.
Makes 1 cake. Serves about 30.