This vegan ice cream cake is a moist and fluffy chocolate cake layered with dairy free vanilla ice cream! No eggs and no dairy needed, this recipe is easy to assemble and is sure to impress!
Vegan Ice Cream Cake
When it comes to elegant and delicious vegan cakes, my favorite recipes to make are death by chocolate cake, German chocolate cake, and this vegan ice cream cake.
Growing up, my family had a tradition of serving my sister and me an ice cream cake on our birthdays. The week before our respective birthdays, we’d see a box of Vienetta ice cream sitting in the freezer, ready to be sliced on our special day. This tradition lasted for most of our childhood until it was no longer stocked at our grocery store.
Since then, our birthday cakes changed and depending on what we were craving, changed year by year. However, both my sister and I have yearned for a frozen based dessert, and it’s been my mission to recreate it. As someone who loves a classic chocolate cake and loves vanilla ice cream, I thought the best thing to do was merge them together to create a showstopping cake!
I’ve been meaning to share a vegan ice cream cake recipe for quite some time. It’s the kind of cake I make whenever I am entertaining, and everyone begs me for the recipe! Now, this cake may look incredibly fancy, but I promise you it is so simple to prepare!
No eggs, no milk, and no dairy are needed, but you’d never tell. The cake texture is moist and fluffy, and the ice cream layer is smooth and creamy. It’s sweet and full of chocolate flavor, with the flavor of the ice cream really shining through!
I had some friends over for a birthday celebration the other day and served this cake for dessert and NO ONE believed me when I told them it was dairy free- They thought it had to have cream or butter in it!
How do you make a vegan ice cream cake?
- All purpose flour– Sifted to ensure there are no clumps throughout.
- Cocoa powder– 100% unsweetened cocoa powder. Like the flour, sift it well to ensure there are no clumps.
- Sugar– Either white or brown sugar.
- Baking soda– Gives the cake some depth and fluffiness. It also reacts with vinegar to help it rise.
- Vinegar– White vinegar or apple cider vinegar is best. If you don’t have vinegar, you can use lemon or lime juice.
- Vanilla extract– A must for any good cake or baked good.
- Oil– Use a neutral flavored oil, like sunflower or vegetable.
- Water– To mix everything together. If you’d like to use almond or soy milk, feel free to use that instead.
- Chocolate frosting– Just a thin layer to help the ice cream stick to the cake.
- Vegan ice cream– Any vegan ice cream of choice. I prefer using a vanilla flavored one, as it really compliments the chocolate cake.
- Vanilla frosting– Optional, but to spread on top and around the cake.
Start by preparing the cake. In a large mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the wet ingredients and mix until a thick batter remains. Next, distribute the cake batter evenly amongst two greased 8-inch cake pans. Bake the cakes for 27-30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and let them cool completely, before removing them from their pans. Cover the cakes and keep them at room temperature, until ready to assemble.
Now, prepare the ice cream layer. Remove your vanilla ice cream from the freezer and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, to soften. Once soft, transfer into an 8-inch cake pan covered in plastic wrap or tin foil. Cover the pan and place back in the freezer for at least 6 hours, to re-freeze.
Finally, assemble the cake. Place the first cake layer onto a flat surface. Remove the ice cream layer from the freezer and place that onto the cake, before adding the second cake layer on top. If desired, add vanilla frosting on top and around the cake.
Tips to make the best dairy free ice cream cake
- Work in parts. The cake and ice cream layers are best prepared the day before and assembled on the day of.
- Use a good quality vegan ice cream brand, that melts well and holds its shape. Many plant based ice cream brands are notorious for being icy and having a less than creamy consistency. Look for ice creams made with coconut milk or coconut cream.
- When slicing the cake, use a slightly wet and warm knife, for ease and tidiness.
- Chocolate– Replace the vanilla ice cream with chocolate ice cream. Frost the exterior with chocolate frosting.
- Strawberry shortcake– Make a strawberry cake for the cake portion and for an added strawberry kick, use strawberry ice cream.
- Oreo– Use vegan cookies and cream ice cream.
- Red velvet– Make a red velvet cake for the cake portion.
- Reese’s– Make a chocolate peanut butter cake and fill it with peanut butter ice cream.
- Mint chocolate chip– Make a mint chocolate cake and fill it with mint chocolate chip ice cream.
Storing and freezing the ice cream cake
- To store: Store the cake in the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to serving it. This ensures that the ice cream softens slightly, but still can be sliced into and hold its shape. The cake cannot be stored in the fridge any longer, or else it will fall apart and the ice cream will seep into the cake.
- Refreezing: Leftover ice cream cake should be stored in the freezer, completely covered, to ensure that there is no freezer burn. I recommend slicing the cake and keeping them in small containers. The cake will keep well frozen for up to 2 months.
More vegan cake recipes to try
Vegan Ice Cream Cake
- 3 cups all purpose flour gluten free, if needed
- 2 cups sugar white, brown, or coconut
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoon vinegar white or apple cider
- 2/3 cup oil any neutral flavored oil
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup chocolate frosting
- 6 cups vegan ice cream 48 ounces/1.36 kilograms
- 2 cups vanilla frosting optional
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease two 8-inch springform cake pans and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, add your dry ingredients and mix well. Add the wet ingredients and mix until a thick batter remains. Distribute the cake batter evenly amongst the two cake pans.
- Bake the cakes for 27-30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and let them cool completely. Once cooled, cover and keep at room temperature, until ready to assemble.
- Remove the ice cream from the freezer and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, to soften. Line an 8-inch cake pan with plastic wrap or tin foil and transfer the softened ice cream into it. Ensure the top of it is smooth and place back in the freezer for at least 6 hours.
- To assemble the cake, place the first cake onto a flat surface. Add half the chocolate frosting, then place the ice cream layer on top of it. Spread the remaining chocolate frosting onto the base of the second cake and place it on top of the ice cream. If desired, frost the top and exterior of the cake and place in the freezer for an hour, to firm up.
- Place the cake in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, before slicing and serving.
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Hi! Great timing on this post, making one this weekend for my daughter’s birthday! Did you have any issues using vegan buttercream frosting on the outside? I did a test run over last weekend and the frosting froze up fast and I couldn’t smooth it out. Maybe I should frost as you mention, right after assembly? Thanks!
Hi Amy! I have found that sometimes there can be an issue with it- For a foolproof method, use sweetened whipped coconut cream and that holds onto the top and sides much easier, but won’t be as thick or sweet.