Normally, an ice cream cake is a simple dessert consisting of ice cream that's layered and decorated much like a cake would be. These layers can either be built with just different frozen flavors or with some real cake in between. Obviously, a recipe can be quite boring to put together as long as confectioners have some desserts conveniently lying around. However, the marriage between an ice cream and a cake can also be a delightful union to the tongue and the simplicity is all the excuse to try it.

Today's recipe is a simple Neapolitan style version consisting of three frozen layers - chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla flavors - followed up with a buttercream frosting top. Sorry, no cake with this one but that's what makes this recipe simple. That and the fact that everything can be bought ready-made from the store.

However, for the real foodies out there who want to make some of their desserts from scratch, there will be a recipe for the buttercream frosting included here. Word of advice: Building the ice cream cake takes time as each layer has to be frozen almost solid before moving on to the next layer. This could take several hours in between, so make sure to adjust any schedule if needed.

The recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 quarts Neapolitan ice cream, softened
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • Rainbow sprinkles or berries (optional)

The directions

  1. Let the Neapolitan ice cream sit out in room temperature long enough for it to soften before using it for the layer.
  2. Cover the inside of an 8" round cake pan with plastic wrap, with excess lapping on the outside. Transfer one of the softened ice cream (any flavor as desired) to the bottom of an 8" round cake pan in dollops using a large ice cream scoop. Smush the dollops together and smooth the surface evenly with the back of the scoop. Cover the top of the cake pan with plastic wrap and place in the freezer to chill for 4 hours. Repeat both steps with the other two flavors to make three layers.
  3. Remove the cake from the refrigerator. Warm the bottom and sides of the cake pan by dipping half of it in warm water or heating the sides with a blowtorch for a few seconds. If using a blow torch, let the cake pan cool for a few minutes. To remove, place and hold a flat 9" plate on top of the cake pan while holding the bottom with the other hand, invert and place it flat on a rotating cake stand. Lift the cake pan straight up to reveal the cake.
  4. To make the buttercream frosting, beat the softened butter, sugar and vanilla extract with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the milk by the tablespoon until the desired consistency is reached.
  5. Scoop 1/2 of the buttercream frosting on one side of the cake's surface with a metal spatula. Hold the spatula flat on the frosting mound and slowly rotate the cake stand to spread around the cake's surface. Continue rotating the stand while moving the spatula inward to completely spread the frosting across the surface. Stop rotating and smooth down the frosting evenly with the spatula.
  6. Spoon the remaining buttercream frosting into a piping bag with a star tip. Pipe a circle of frosting--twirling the tip gently to form a decorative pattern--around the top of the vanilla cake layer. Garnish the center of the ring with the rainbow sprinkles or with berries of choice.
  7. Slice and serve or refrigerate for later use.

Serves: 12

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