Ice Cream Cake Recipe

Ice cream cake with cherries on top

The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 60 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Chill Time: 48 hrs
Total: 49 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 16 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
623 Calories
34g Fat
73g Carbs
9g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 623
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 34g 44%
Saturated Fat 20g 102%
Cholesterol 144mg 48%
Sodium 192mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 73g 26%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 41g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 3mg 17%
Calcium 213mg 16%
Iron 3mg 15%
Potassium 318mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The secret to creating perfect layers in this sky-high ice cream cake? Freezing all the layers individually before assembling. The cake takes a bit of patience as you wait for the ice cream to set in the freezer, but when it is time to stack, it all comes together in a snap! Just be sure to use the same size pans for baking the cakes as well as for freezing the ice cream layers. This will ensure perfectly consistent layers.

This recipe is a great make-ahead cake that will wow at a party. Feel free to personalize the recipe by using any combination of ice cream flavors to create the layers.

“I loved making this cake and I think it would be the perfect summer family activity. Just make sure you have patience as freezing each layer individually will set you up for success. You can also swap out the ice cream flavors if you wanted to try something different.” –Tracy Wilk

ice cream cake/tester image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


For the White Cake Layers:

  • 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened, more for the pans

  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • 4 large eggs

  • 3 cups cake flour

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1 cup milk

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Ice Cream Layers:

For the Topping:

  • 2 cups heavy cream

  • Multicolored sprinkles

  • Maraschino cherries, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients to make ice cream cake

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350 F. You'll need three round 9-inch cake pans. Grease and flour two of the cake pans and set the third one aside. Alternatively, use baking spray with flour.

    three greased and parchment lined cake pans

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  3. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

    beaten cake batter in a mixing bowl

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  4. In a medium bowl, stir together the cake flour and baking powder. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat until just combined after each addition. Stir in vanilla.

    cake batter in a mixing bowl

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  5. Pour the batter into the 2 prepared pans, smoothing the tops if necessary. Bake until a wooden skewer inserted in center comes out clean, 28 to 30 minutes. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and allow to cool completely on wire racks.

    two baked cake rounds

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  6. Split each cake to create 4 equal layers. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze the layers.

    cakes rounds sliced in half

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  7. Using the same two cake pans, plus the third that was set aside, make the ice cream layers. Cover a clean and dry cake pan with plastic wrap. Soften the pistachio ice cream so it is easy to spread, but not melted. Spread in the cake pan, cover with plastic wrap and flatten. Freeze solid. 

    frozen ice cream in a round baking pan

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  8. Repeat with the chocolate and strawberry ice cream. All three layers of ice cream, as well as the split cake layers, should be frozen solid. 

    frozen ice cream in round baking pans

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  9. To assemble the cake, unwrap one of the cake layers and place it on the bottom of the serving plate. Unwrap the pistachio ice cream layer and place it on top. Place another cake layer on top of the pistachio layer, followed by the chocolate ice cream layer. Place the third cake layer on top of the chocolate ice cream layer. Place the strawberry ice cream layer on top. Finish with the final cake layer. Press gently and wrap with plastic wrap to freeze all the layers together. 

    cake and ice cream layer stack

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  10. In a large mixing bowl, whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks. Remove the assembled ice cream cake from the freezer. Frost with whipped cream. Freeze solid until ready to serve. 

    ice cream cake frosted with whipped cream

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  11. When ready to serve, top with sprinkles and garnish with maraschino cherries. Slice and serve directly from the freezer. 

    ice cream cake with whipped frosting and topped with cherries and sprinkles

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck