This easy tutorial will teach you How To Make an Old School Ice Cream Cake with Cookie Crumble. This version is gluten free and can be made with any flavor ice cream!
We have a new birthday tradition in our family and it involves a lot of ice cream. My older son turned seven last week (7!!). He is a huge ice cream lover and requested an ice cream cake this year instead of regular cake. He was very specific about it and wanted three layers – strawberry, vanilla bean and mint chocolate chip. My husband started talking about old school ice cream cake – like from Carvel and my son was immediately sold on the idea of crumbled cookies being involved.
I did a bunch of research and played around with the recipe. The version I made for his birthday party was a big rectangle cake with three layers (as requested). It turned out really good but I made a few mistakes and really learned a lot about making the perfect ice cream cake along the way.
At least making the perfect old school Carvel style ice cream cake. First things first, you need cookies. Oreo style cookies. Since my son is gluten free, I used gluten free Oreo style cookies from Trader Joe’s. There are others out there but I can’t vouch for them as I haven’t tried them. If gluten isn’t an issue, Newman’s Own makes a great organic Oreo style cookie.
Next up, you need to make some homemade whipped cream. It’s easy and takes minutes. I include the instructions for that below in the recipe.
As for the ice cream, Carvel uses soft serve. I experimented with whipping the ice cream to get that softer texture before re-freezing. It does lighten up the final cake a bit and the texture is nice but overall, I do not think it is worth the extra effort, time and mess it takes so I say skip it.
I can’t wait to hear what flavors / combos you guys make!
- I used Tillamook Ice Cream and their large containers are 1.75 quarts. I had a third one not shown to make each layer a full 2 quarts.
- While this Ice Cream Cake is very easy to make, it does require some empty flat freezer space and needs to be made the day before you plan to serve it to allow for the layers to set and then for the cake to set properly so make sure to plan ahead!
- SUGGESTION: Lower the temperature of your freezer to as low as possible to help set the layers and cake properly.
1 hrPrep Time
1 hrTotal Time
- 4 quarts ice cream (see NOTES), softened
- 1 package gluten free oreo style cookies, creamy middles discarded and cookies crushed
- whipped cream
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup organic sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- pinch finely ground sea salt
- 2 (9 inch round) cake pans
- saran wrap
- parchment paper
- stand mixer or hand mixer (for whipped cream)
- large stainless steel bowl
- cake stand or serving plate that is freezer safe
- Begin by separating the cookies from the creamy insides and discard.
- Place cookies in a gallon size ziploc bag and seal - leaving a nice pocket of air. Use a rolling pin to crush the cookies. You want them to be crushed but not powdery.
- This is a good final consistency. NOTE: I do NOT recommend using a food processor to crush the cookies as they wind up becoming too powdery, which makes the ice cream layers separate.
- Next, set your ice cream on the counter and allow to soften for 10 to 15 minutes. While the ice cream is out, line two 9" round cake pans with saran wrap and then parchment paper. The saran wrap is my secret weapon to make the cake release without having to use a springform pan. The saran creates a slippery layer between the cake pan and the parchment and the solid ice cream cake layer slides right out!
- Dump 2 quarts of softened ice cream into each round cake pan. Use a spatula to spread out until smooth and even.
- Use half of the crushed cookies to top one of the cake layers, slightly pressing to make sure the cookies are not just sitting on top of the softened ice cream. Leave the other cake layer plain. Reserve the other half of the cookies to decorate the outside.
- Immediately place both cake pans flat in the freezer - do not set tilted - and freeze for 3 to 4 hours or until solid. This is also a great time to stick a large metal mixing bowl and the beaters from your hand mixer or stand mixer in the freezer. Leave them there until you are ready to make the homemade whipped cream.
- When you are ready to assemble the cake, start by making whipped cream. Pull mixing bowl and beaters from freezer. Pour whipping cream, sugar, vanilla and salt into chilled mixing bowl. Start on low and quickly increase to a medium high mixing speed and continue to beat the cream until firm peaks begin to form, total time about 7 to 9 minutes. Set aside in the fridge for the next few minutes while you layer the cake.
- Grab a cake plate or other serving plate. I like to place strips of parchment paper on the plate that I can later slide out and help keep the plate clean as I am decorating the cake. NOTE: the glass and vanilla in the picture are just to hold down the parchment until I am ready to put the cake on it.
- Lift the cookie-topped cake layer out of the cake pan. Set on the counter and gently peel off the parchment paper. This layer is the "bottom" of the cake and should be placed on the cake plate first.
- Next, repeat with the plain layer. Gently flip this layer onto the cookie layer so that the cookies are now effectively in the middle of the cake and the flat bottom side is now on the top.
- Grab the whipped cream and begin "frosting" the cake using either a spatula or an off-set spatula. I suggest working quickly so the layers do not melt too much and change shape.
- Finally, finish by pressing the remaining cookie crumbles onto the sides of the cake. Slide the parchment pieces out from underneath the cake and place into the freezer (flat!) for 12 to 24 hours until ready to serve.
- When ready to serve, allow cake to sit at room temperature for 5 minutes to make easier to cut. Use a sharp knife to cut into 12 or 16 pieces, serve immediately and Enjoy!