How To Make and Decorate an Easy Ice Cream Cake

The cost savings alone is enough to make you scream with joy.

This homemade ice cream cake goes way beyond plopping ice cream on cake and calling it good. Nope. Here, you're getting a thick, chocolaty layer of crunchies between the cake and the ice cream, plus a real whipped cream frosting to top it all off.

Nicole McLaughlin, aka NicoleMcmom, shares her recipe along with decorating tips to make an ice cream cake that looks amazing, tastes great, and costs far less than store-bought.

Get the recipe for Nicole's Easy Incredible Ice Cream Cake

homemade ice cream cake topped with candy sprinkles

Perfect for summer parties or birthdays any month of the year, this simple ice cream cake is better and less expensive than any store-bought version! Layers of moist cake, crunchy cookies, rich ice cream, and a smooth, buttery-like icing deliver sweet perfection in every bite.NicoleMcmom


  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 (15.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ gallon vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
  • 2 cups chopped chocolate sandwich cookies (such as Oreo®)
  • 1 (7.25 ounce) bottle chocolate shell topping (such as Magic Shell®)
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • decorating icing (optional)
  • candy sprinkles (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly coat the bottom and sides of two 8-inch round cake pans.
  2. Blend cake mix, water, oil, and eggs in a large bowl until moistened. Beat with a mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour into the prepared cake pans.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 32 to 38 minutes.
  4. While the cake layers are baking, line a clean 8-inch round cake pan with plastic wrap, allowing the sides to hang over about 6 inches all the way around. Peel down the sides of the ice cream carton and slice off several big pieces; press them into the prepared cake pan. Wrap plastic over the top of the ice cream and continue to form until it's in an even layer. Freeze for 1 hour.
  5. Remove cakes from the oven and cool for 10 to 15 minutes in the pans. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  6. Place one cake layer on a freezer-safe plate. Reserve remaining layer for another use (you can freeze it for up to 4 months.)
  7. Combine chopped cookies and chocolate topping in a medium bowl. Spread cookie "crunchies" evenly on top of the cake layer. Invert frozen ice cream layer on top of cookie layer with the bottom (smooth side) up. Return to the freezer for 1 hour.
  8. Add cream to bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whisk on medium speed. Gradually mix in powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread icing evenly over cake and freeze for 1 more hour.
  9. Decorate cake with icing and sprinkles and return to the freezer for at least 30 minutes (or up to 1 week) before serving.
side view of a slice of homemade ice cream cake with a chocolate cake base, crunchy cookie filling, vanilla ice cream top layer, and whipped cream frosting with candy sprinkles

Nicole's Top Tips

  • When you spread the "crunchies" on the cake, try to keep within the border of the cake itself and don't extend beyond the edge. This helps keep things smooth when you're applying the icing layer.
  • Ice cream melts quickly, so once you put the ice cream layer on the cake (smooth side up!) return the cake to the freezer for 1 hour. Don't skip or shortcut this step!
  • When you frost the cake with the sweetened whipped cream, apply a thick, even layer all the way around and on top. The thick layer on the sides will come in handy when you do the next step.
  • Nicole recreates the iconic ridged pattern on the ice cream cake simply by holding the edge of a serrated knife against the side of the cake as she rotates the cake. (Be sure to watch the video to see how she does it.) #genius
  • For best results, freeze the cake overnight.
  • To make the ice cream cake party-perfect, Nicole pipes a ring of store-bought frosting around the bottom edge and strews candy sprinkles around the top.
  • To slice your ice cream cake: Remove the cake from the freezer and let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Fill a tall glass or pitcher with hot water and place your knife into it to heat the blade it before slicing. Wipe the blade and return the knife to the hot water before making the next slice.

You can connect with Nicole as NicoleMcmom on Allrecipes and on Instagram @nicolemcmom.

More tips, tricks, and ideas from Nicole:

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