Sunday, February 27, 2011

How to Make an Ice Cream Cake



Soooo....Mr.Sweetshack had a birthday Friday...and has been sick with the flu all week. His birthday cake request was an icecream cake. The man is very particular. He wanted chocolate cake with chocolate chip icecream and a chocolate cake layer on top. Vanilla icecream for "icing" on the outer layer, whipped icing borders and chocolate chips but NO buttercream (he is not a fan...). So, this is what he got:





On Friday. His actual birthday day. I gave the man 6 storebought mini-refridgerated petitfours and stuck a candle in them. Because I had been running errands all day. Because an icecream cake, while not difficult, can be complicated. Because it has many layers, requires working in short spurts, and, well...it's icecream. So yes, I, horrible wife that I am, gave my sweetie the storebought mini-refridgerated petitfours on his birthday because I ran out of time and his icecream cake was still...processing.

But no worries, we're good...I think I made it up to him on Saturday...




Now I want to share with you the method I have perfected (err...somewhat) over the years.

How to Make an Ice Cream Cake:

You will need:

No life. Or atleast a day or two to work on this in short intervals.
Cake mix, and ingredients required
Icecream - I use one flavor for the layer, and one to "frost/ice" with
Icing - you can make this yourself or use storebought (I used whipped icing for the borders)
Ganache - (optional) to write the message and decorate inplace of buttercream.

What to do:

Bake your cake. I used a boxed chocolate cake mix - reality check: it's going to be frozen, so "scratch cake" is kind-of a waste of time here...

Cool cake completely, then trim the tops so they are level (I used this tool found at most craft shops, but a knife works just fine). Wrap layers in plastic wrap, place in freezer.



Set icecream out on counter and let soften for approx. 30 minutes, until it is soft enough to scoop and spread.

Wash your cake pan, place a large layer of plastic wrap horizontally over the pan, gently press down allowing the plastic wrap to take the shape of the pan. Repeat with a vertical layer of plastic wrap. Scoop icecream into the same cake pan that was used for your cake layers (you know after you've washed it. Or don't wash it...whatever.)




Spread the icecream around in the cake pan (using an icing spatula) until it is smoothe and level. Fold the layers of plastic wrap over top of icecream layer, place pan in freezer to set for several hours.



Prep your cakeboard. After the icecream layer has had time to set, set out the second flavor of icecream, which will need to thaw for about 30 to 45 minutes (you want this to be soft enough to spread, like icing).



Stir the "icing" icecream until blended, then remove your cake layers and icecream layer from freezer, and begin to stack. I usually put a smear of "icing" icecream onto the cakeboard to help the cake layer adhere. Then carefully remove cake layer from plastic wrap and place on cake board. Place a thin smear of the "icing" icecream on top of the cake...



then carefully unwrap the icecream layer from the plastic wrap and place on top.





Ok. Moment of truth. For this particular icecream cake I used a sugar free cake mix. He asked for it. It behaved - weirdly. It shrunk away from the sides of the pan ALOT after cooling. So, when I stacked my cake, I noticed that my icecream layer was much bigger than my cake layers. It was protruding and would not have been pretty if I had left it how it was and just iced it anyway. Had to do some trimming. You may not need this step, just use your judgement.

I carefully trimmed the icecream layer by holding a knife against the side of the cake, turning my turntable slowly and sawing with the knife. The excess icecream pieces will fall to the cakeboard and you will feel compelled to eat them so they don't melt there. It's ok. Happens to the best of us...(so I'm told).



If you have a second layer of cake, place on top of the icecream layer now. (I usually only do 2 layers for an icecream cake - one layer of cake, one layer of icecream. But I was following a "request"). See? Told you. Particular.

You may find it necessary to now trim again, so that all 3 layers are flush with each other. You may not need to. I did. Whatever.



Now that your cake/icecream sides are even, you can "ice" your cake. I like to use a large icing spatula, and just pretend that the icecream is icing. Except that it melts. When you get a good base coat/crumb coat, place it back in the freezer for an hour or so. Also place your "icing" icecream back into the freezer (you want it to be soupy spreadable, not melted).



When you get time again, set out your icing icecream again and thaw to the same consistency. Or do what I did...I finally figured out that at this point it's much faster to pop it into the microwave for 30 second intervals (stirring in-between) until it reacehes the desired consistency. Working as quickly as possible, get a good even coat of "icing" icecream on the sides and top of your cake. This will be your final coat. Pop cake and "icing" icecream back into the freezer.

When you feel that your cake has set thoroughly, remove from freezer to decorate. I used a #22 tip and whipped icing for the borders. You can use storebought buttercream or whipped, or just make some yourself.

I had refridgerated the ganache I had leftover from making the flourless chocolate cake (if you did not make that...insert guilt trip and bakers' remorse here). So, I placed that into a piping bag with decorator tip #3 and used it to write the "Happy Birthday" message, then just did some streamers along the top. Because I thought it might need more chocolate, fat and calories...plus I had to make up for all of the lost sugar in the "sugar-free" cake mix =)

Here's how it looks cut:



YUM!! Sooo worth all the time and hassle. If you have questions, or if I've totally lost/confused you, please feel free to comment so I can help out.

Happy Baking!

Julie

Linked to:

Sweet Tooth Friday


90 comments:

  1. This is such a helpful post for me. Your instructions are so easy to follow and your finished cake looks amazing. Thanks for linking this up to Sweets for a Saturday.

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  2. Wow that's genius! I tried making ice cream cake a while ago and, of course, the cake went all soggy! Thanks for this post!

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  3. This looks lovely ... thanks for the heads up ... will try this out only when I have nothing else planned!!!

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  4. This looks so good! Thanks for the detailed instructions! I like to feel like I know what I am doing when I embark on a new recipe :)

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  5. I can't wait to try this!! I found your blog through Lisa's Sweet Treats and I'm putting a link to your blog on my post! http://joy-southernsocialite.blogspot.com/

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  6. Thank you all for your sweet comments and encouragement! We have all had the flu this week and are still dealing with it, so I haven't done much baking, but I am enjoying drooling over everyone else's sweets and planning more baking adventures :)

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  7. Thanks so much for linking this up to Sweets for a Saturday. You made the Top 5!!!

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  8. Wow, I bet this cake was amazing. I have never made an ice cream cake, but I might try now thanks to your step-by-step photos! I love that Mr. Sweetshack knew exactly what he wanted! That's better than being like "oh, I don't care", when you know they really do care!

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  9. LOL Jenn, you're SO right - it makes it much easier when I know what he wants, because if he pulls the whole "oh, I don't care", then I am stuck deliberating what to make, and I'm not a great decider :)

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  10. I have never seen an ice cream cake like that before!! Looks absolutely wonderful :)

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  11. So glad you posted this as my kids ADORE ice cream cakes and would rather have an ice cream cake over a conventional cake. This is also on my 50 things to make in 2011! Bookmarking this!

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  12. Yay! Hope you enjoy it ;) if you make it be sure to link back so we can check it out!

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  13. I just found you from Sweets for a Saturday. My husband loves ice-cream cake, I'm definitely going to be trying this. Thanks for the great directions!

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  14. Thanks Melissa, let us know how it turns out!

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  15. Just googled in... Loving your cake.. I didnt realise how easy it could be! Thanks

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  16. Just a question. When we freeze the cake, doesn't the cake portion become rock hard. Is that how it's supposed to be? Sorry for being ignorant about ice cream cakes :-)

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  17. Hi cutecruella - sorry to be late getting back to you - I haven't been getting comment notifications lately for some reason... to answer your question, the cake portion becomes hard enough to cut easily, but not "rock hard..." and as you begin to serve it, it will begin to soften slightly, somehow the two just compliment each other perfectly :) hope you'll try it!

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  18. thanks nightowl and strat - let us know if you try it!

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  19. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! My son asked me on Friday night to make him an ice cream cake for his birthday (Saturday). I started looking on line for a recipe on Saturday morning. Your instructions and pictures are awesome - better than any other website I could find! I made a 3-layer round cake (chocolate cake on the bottom, his requested ice cream flavor in the middle, and another chocolate cake layer on top). I then "iced" it with chocolate ice cream and decorated that with chocolate icing. He loved it, and I got so many compliments on the way it looked and tasted. :)

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    1. Yay!! That is awesome, I LOVE feedback! I am so glad that you tried it! I would love to see your work, feel free to post or link back :)

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    2. Thanks so much! You girls are my heroes! I have 10 days to get it together and show my granddaughter that I really care by making one of these! I used to bake a little but lately haven't had real good results (brownie mix cookies for team-closure lunch turned into one big mess - daughter rescued me by bringing more eggs to make another box -thank God I had another). I think I can, I think I can, I think I can....Yes! I know I can!

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  20. My husband has requested this for his birthday cake... Too bad his birthday isn't until august. I want to try it now. Great instructions!

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  21. LOL - plenty of holidays you can try it for - mother's day, father's day, graduations, memorial day, July4th...you can use one of them as an excuse to do a practice run ;)

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  22. I've never made an ice cream cake and I'm thinking about making one of my favorite cakes into an ice cream cake and even making the ice cream from scratch. Why don't you think that's a good idea?

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  23. No, I meant that I wouldn't waste time making the cake itself from scratch, because all of the qualities people most love about scratch cake (freshness, quality, moisture, etc) might be lost in the freezer and the difference then between a scratch cake vs. a box mix might be so suttle that it wouldn't be worth the hassle...

    As for the icecream, I think it should be fine...you might have to adjust your time as far as you'd probably need to freeze the icecream that's in the cake pan much longer for it to set fully, and I would think you might have to work much faster to "ice" the cake with the icecream, to prevent too much melting of the icecream layer and of the "icing" (because typically homemade icecream seems to melt much faster and not be quite as solid as store-bought). Let us know how it turns out, I am sure it will be delicious!

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  24. Do you think Chocolate syrup would work to write the message?

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  25. I think it would be fine to use for squiggleys, etc (like I did along the top border) but it is probably too thin to get a clear message - you could experiment with mixing small amounts of powdered sugar into chocolate syrup until you get a consistency that is like toothpaste that would be thick enough to pipe words that would hold up...let us know how it works if you try it!

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  26. Sounds so easy! Will have to make this!

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  27. I tried making it today & It's so freaking hot in my house the icecream kept melting! So I was doing sort of a ice some , freezer , ice a little more , freezer :c Lol But other than that everything was easy peasy! I'm glad I found this recipe! :D

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  28. Also I used vanilla icing instead of icecream to ice the cake. That might be part of the reason of it melting so fast :c

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  29. Thanks for letting us know, Courtney! I'm in Texas so it's always hot ;) Really a key to the whole icecream cake process in general is work as fast as you can, then when it gets too melty, put it in the freezer...I find that I usally have to leave it in the freezer for a while, then repeat...hth!

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  30. @ Donna - thanks so much, I hope you do, and let us know!

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  31. this looks awesome....so if just put the ice cream on the cake in the pan and then put it in the freezer will the cake get soggy??? I'm wondering for time's sake if i can combine those steps?

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    1. I'm not sure I'm following you - it's really important for the icecream layer to freeze in the cake pan so that it can take on the shape of the pan...you could try putting the cake layer on top of the pan that has the icecream in it and putting that in the freezer - I think that might work...

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  32. First of all, LOVE the photos + instructions!! so helpful!! Secondly, I'm kinda of confused on what you used for icing? you mentioned it was ice cream icing? Do you have a recipe for the icing you used? THANKS!! :)

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  33. Hi Connie,

    Thanks for your sweet words! For the icing on the sides and tops of the cake, that was actual melty icecream - I called it "icecream icing" because it was actually icecream that I let melt alittle longer than the layerd icecream, so that it would be icing consistency then slathered it on the sides and top of the cake/icecream layers just like you would real icing...the poofy white icing that I used for shell borders on the top was a store bought whipped icing. The chocolate writing and strings was left-over chocolate ganache. Hope that helps some, let me know if you have any more questions!

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  34. Julie -

    Thank you so much for these instructions. I'm not much of a baker so I took none of your baker's remorse comments to heart. : )

    I'm going to make your ice cream cake for my son's birthday in a few weeks. I figure box cake mix and ice cream will taste great no matter how bad a baker I am. I have high hopes for my ability to decorate. I have two questions:

    1. Do you bake two cakes for the two layers?
    2. Can I decorate the cake the night before and then freeze the decorated cake? If so, do you recommend a particular type of icing that will hold up in the freezer?

    Thanks!!

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    1. Hi Poweki-

      Yes absolutely a box mix is perfect for this and leaves little room for error as far as the actual baking part ;) I'll try to answer your questions and hope it will help, let me know if you have any follow-up questions.

      1. For this particular cake, I used one (Pilsbury) mix and divided it in half between the 2 cake pans. I do notice that Betty Crocker brand has recently changed the amount of cake mix in their boxes which in turn changed the yield, so a box of Betty Crocker doesn't go as far for me as it used to, and certainly doesn't yield as much batter/cake as good 'ole Duncan...that being said, you can simply bake one layer of cake and do one layer of icecream, or do two mixes, fill cake pans about 2/3 full of batter and use the remaining batter to make cupcakes for the kiddos (I have even successfully frozen cake batter, then unthawed and baked cupcakes for the kids - it works)!

      2. Yes absolutely you can decorate the cake the night before and freeze the decorated cake. Honestly any type should be fine in the freezer, but I do what's tried and true for me - melty icecream on the sides and tops of the cake in place of icing, then you can used a store bought whipped icing or homemade ganache to do the finishing touches (writing, borders, etc).

      Hope that helps, thanks for posting and good luck!

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  35. Wait...wait...wait!!! You ICED THE CAKE WITH ICE CREAM???!!! That is EXCELLENT!!!

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    1. lol - yes Georgeanne, icecream as icing - fun for the whole family ;)

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  36. Replies
    1. Thanks Colleen - let us know if you try it!

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  37. I am making this right now for my husbands birthday... started early this morning ... the ice cream layer has been freezing for 5 hours and is still incredibly soft ... what should the texture be - does it have to be super solid? How long do you normally freeze it?

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    1. Hi Gretchen, it should be solid enough that you can easily remove it from the pan in one piece like a layer of cake, but it is icecream so ofcourse you need to work fast and it will get melty. When you are working on it and see that it is starting to melt/get too soft, pop it back in the freezer for awhile. I would think that 5 hours should be enough time for it to set up enough to be removed from the pan and stacked onto the cake layer, but it might also depend on your freezer settings and how often that freezer is opened/used, etc ( I use my stand-up deep freeze, not sure if that makes a difference...)Hope it works out for you!

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  38. hi. may i know how much ice cream will we need roughly?

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    1. I usually use 2 1/2 gallons because I like to do a flavor for the layers and a smoothe flavor (like plain chocolate, vanilla, etc.) for the "icecream icing" on the outer layers of the icecream cake. Hope it works out for you!

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  39. Thanks so much! Just made one for my daughter's 6th birthday party tomorrow. It worked out well - and I think was pretty easy. Appreciate your instructions (popped up on google for me)!

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    1. Awesome, you're so welcome! I love success stories!

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  40. I just have one question. If I use two 9" round metal pans to bake the mix, do I use one 9" pan for the ice cream center or two? This is one of the best detailed cake instructions I've read. Thank you for your work.

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    1. Agh sorry to be just getting back to you so late - in this case it's really a matter of preference and how tall you would want your cake to be. I typically do one layer cake one layer icecream, but as I mentioned in the blog post that was my first time to do 2 layers cake one layer icecream (at my hubby's request)...if you want a really tall cake for a gourmet look I'd say go for it, just becareful to level your cakes so hopefully it will be even and won't crash ;)

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  41. Thanks so much Julie! This was actually very helpful! You rock!

    Nicole
    Sugar and Stitches

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    1. Awe you're sweet ;) Thanks so much!

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  42. Thanks for all of your help. Without your instructions I would not have had the answers for the problems with making ice cream cakes. I did modify your recipe. I baked two Lemon Supreme cakes, one raspberry bars crumb cake. I have the raspberry bars mix as the base, (because I only had 1/2 gallon of butter pecan and vanilla ice cream),the next layer was the 1/2 filled 9" pan with vanilla and butter pecan mixed, cake layer, filled 9" pan with butter pecan ice cream(they wanted nuts as well), and the other cake layer. Used vanilla ice cream icing. The flavors are very nice together. One last thing, I did have to turn my freezer setting up to set the ice cream. Thanks.

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    1. Sounds delish! Thank you for sharing your experience with us!

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  43. I'm joining the ranks of "moms whose sons have asked for an ice cream cake for their birthdays" and have a question about the icing part. My son wants a Boba Fett cake, so I need to work with colors. Do you think buttercream will work to ice a cake like this instead of the ice cream icing? I'm guessing I'd have to work quickly, of course! I'd love your thoughts if you have a minute. Thanks!

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    1. I would still ice the cake/icecream in actual icecream and then pipe on the character in buttercream - the reason is I'm not sure that the buttercream would spread easily for you over icecream, it might get cold/hard and become difficult to spread, where as the melty icecream will spread smoothly, then pop in the freezer for awhile, after that icecream icing has set you can begin to work on the piping in buttercream, you may have to work in short spurts and take freezer breaks in between...hope that helps, best of luck to you! Be sure to come back and let us know how it turned out and what worked for you!

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  44. I made this cake, and it turned out great. The only thing is i did not have any extra ice cream to ice the outside, so i just did regular frosting. My questions are: would the cake have turned out better if i used ice cream to ice it first, and also what exactly is the point in doing that?

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    1. Hi Rara,

      I'm guessing you might have had issues spreading the regular frosting on the outside of the icecream cake? The reason I use icecream for frosting on the outside of the icecream cake is because it spreads easily when partially melted and is not affected by the fact that the icecream/cake underneath it is already frozen (I would expect regular frosting to be tough to spread against the frozen cake/icecream because it will likely start to get cold spots and thicken itself) also the icecream icing will freeze again easily when put back in the freezer. I hope I explained that well (hard to put into words what I am thinking lol)...but to answer your question, yes if you have it nextime I would definitely ice the outside in icecream as I think it will perform better as a base icing than regular icing and just use the regular icing for the final details like borders and piping =)

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  45. Replies
    1. Hi Tracey,

      Thanks for visiting. As soon as possible, I put it back in the freezer...it will keep for a few weeks, but it never lasts that long in my house (family of 7 lol).

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  46. I'm making this cake for my Dad's birthday tomorrow. About how long should the baked cake layers stay in the freezer? How long should the ice cream layer stay in the freezer? I want to make sure I can make it set and ready by tomorrow. I loved your intructions and pictures! They are the best instructions for this type of cake by far!

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  47. I'm making this cake for my Dad's birthday tomorrow. About how long should the baked cake layers stay in the freezer? How long should the ice cream layer stay in the freezer? I want to make sure I can make it set and ready by tomorrow. I loved your intructions and pictures! They are the best instructions for this type of cake by far!

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  48. So sorry I couldn't get back to you sooner - hope it turned out alright for you! For future reference, the baked cake layers just need to move from "fresh" to "frozen" - no specific minimum time, but you should be able to trim them with a knife and they should cut smoothly (frozen) and with very few small crumbs. The icecream layers need to be individually completely frozen in order for you to stack them, even as you stack them you will have to put them back in the freezer probably 30 minute intervals so that as you are stacking/icing the icecream cake it will not melt too much. When you are finished I would put it back in the freezer until all of it is set up again (Including the icing layer)...hope that helps!

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  49. I love your tutorial. Great pics and description. I love decorating cakes, but plain cake is so, ew... not worth the calories. I will be attempting my first ice cream cake this weekend for my DDs 5th b-day. Thanks!

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    1. Lol - I hope you find this one worth the calories ;) Thanks so much for your kind words, let us know how the icecream cake turns out for you, happy birthday to your daughter!

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  50. This tutorial helped me finalize plans for my son's birthday party. He's the youngest of four and the only to request an ice cream cake, which I also need to make gluten-free, but I feel confident about the technique now. Thank you!

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    1. So happy you found the tutorial helpful...Wow - I have not attempted gluten-free anything, but if you can get the products (cake mix and icecream) GF then I am sure you can make it work - happy birthday to your baby! Let us know how it turns out for you!

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  51. Thanks for this tutorial! Like Green V-Neck, I will be making this gluten free as well. :) I have a couple GF cake mixes I really like. I will make the ice cream myself. I'm also going to buy a glass cake dome to make/store the cake. I think this is something I will be making often!

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    1. Thanks so much for commenting, hope it works out well for you!

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  52. Thank you so much! I think like you it's going to take me a few tries. this is my first right now and I have one big round cracked and crumbled that I tried to saw in half. . .that was my stupidity. But thankfully I made 3 tiny loaf pan sized with left over batter, cut them in half horizontally and they are now hardening in the freezer with the ice cream in between. I think the Icing it after it's all together is the hardest part! My cake is just wanting to crumble to nothing. Maybe I had too much liquid in my cake or something. :o\ Oh well, it's just for the hubby and my girls, so I'm sure they will still love it as it looks like it will taste amazing, and hopefully someday I can make mine as pretty as yours!

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    1. Awww sorry you had issues with crumbling! I get very few crumbs when I freeze the cake layers for a while after baking...I would freeze a few hours or longer, the cake is much easier to trim and handle this way. Keep trying, don't give up ;)

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  53. Just discovered this after researching places to get ice cream cakes in my area -- they are all too expensive or ridiculously inconvenient. Thanks to your detailed instructions, I'm looking forward to trying to make one myself!

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  54. Hi, question on when to serve the cake. Obviously it will have to be kept in the freezer until it's time to serve. But then won't the cake layers be too hard to eat?

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  55. Hi!

    Thanks for posting instructions. I am looking forward to making this, but I have a quick question. I am going to try a cake like the one you made with three layers and I was wondering if you had to keep it covered in the freezer after icing and between serving. If so, any suggestions as to what I can use to cover it with?

    Thanks,
    Liz

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    1. Eh sorry for getting back to you so late! I do not cover it in the freezer at this point :)

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  56. Super helpful! Thank you so much!! Trying this out this weekend! Can't wait!

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  57. I made one of these last year for my son's birthday and it was such a hit that I'm doing it again! This time with three layers of cake and two thinner layers of ice cream - hopefully it will be easier to cut.

    : )

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  58. Thanks for the tutorial! I've never made an icecream cake before, but I'm going to attempt it now. :)

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  59. hi Julie, I just saw this recipe. because you are freezing this cake, will the hardness of the frozen cake be affected if I use a normal choc cake rather than a sponge? I wouldn't want to have a hard cake.

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    1. Hi,

      Thanks for visiting :) I have never tried it with a sponge, in fact I always just use a boxed mix for this, so you shouldn't have a problem with that :)

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  60. I made this recipe with raspberry ripple ice cream and I decorated it with whipped cream.

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  61. Amiable articles and the blogs really helped me a lot, thanks for the valuable information.
    snow ice machine

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  62. Great creative work!! I have never made a cake, but I might try now this attractive cake. It looks so yummy.

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