Pretty Easy Ice Cream Cake

I love to make birthday cakes for my kids, though it's not always easy to find the time, plus there's always the risk of a panic attack-inducing flop just hours before the party starts. (It's happened.) This year I decided to try making an ice cream cake for my daughter Lemlem's party. I'd be able to prepare the cake a few days ahead of time, which would cut down on last minute stress. I also liked the idea of saving the $40 or so I'd spend for a similar cake from Baskin Robbins or Cold Stone Creamery. Really, how hard could it be?

A little recipe Googling turned up this helpful video on The Better Homes and Gardens website. (I wish I could embed the video for you. I really wish you could hear my excellent imitation of the Test Kitchen Lady's distinctive voice, though my husband was unamused by my fabulous copycat narration as I was making my own cake.)

From the video I learned that I'd need:

An 8 inch springform pan
Three 9 inch layer cakes (to allow for baking "shrinkage")
Parchment paper
Two quarts of ice cream, softened

Here's the process:

Slip some parchment paper into the bottom of the springform pan as shown in the video, then drop in a cake layer. Top with half of the softened ice cream and add the next cake layer. Spread the rest of the ice cream, ending with the last layer of cake. The cake will look like a giant, ugly ice cream sandwich at this point. You'll be worried about failure. Have faith. Throw the mess in the freezer and leave it overnight.

Better Homes and Gardens suggests frosting your cake with Cool Whip just before serving, but I'm not a Cool Whip fan, so I did some more Googling. I learned that when you buy ice cream cake, the "frosting" is usually just another layer of ice cream, so I decided to go that route. You'll need an additional quart/quart and a half of ice cream for this.

Soften the ice cream "frosting" on the counter for a few minutes and stir it into a frosting consistency; you can even use a mixer to stir it if you have one. Remove the frozen cake from the springform pan and slather on the creamy goodness. Freeze again for at least two hours. You're done!

I ended up making two cakes to accommodate a broader range of tastebuds. The Birthday Girl requested chocolate cake with chocolate mint ice cream, a concoction I frosted with plain chocolate and topped with colorful mints before freezing.

My oldest daughter inexplicably hates chocolate, so my second cake had golden layers, strawberry ice cream filling, vanilla ice cream frosting and a few strawberry jelly candies on top.

I made my cake layers from scratch, but you can use cake mix, brownie mix, or even a pre-baked angel food cake from the grocery. Making your own ice cream cake demands some time and planning, but very little talent. My cakes didn't look Martha Stewart good, but they tasted delicious.


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