A treat like no other, this Vegan Ice Cream Cake is the ultimate no-bake dessert. Layers of creamy vegan ice cream in a cookie crust with a chocolate shell and cookie crumbles on top… Nostalgia has never tasted this good!
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Hey Internet, I’ve got a really fun one for you today, and it’s so easy anyone can make it, even if you think you’re a terrible baker or cook… I know you can make this recipe.
I love cake now that I can make it for myself (the way I want it), but I used to hate it. As a kid I always wanted ice cream cakes for my birthday.
I grew up with Carvel, while my husband grew up with Dairy Queen. This vegan ice cream cake here is basically a vegan hybrid of those two.
This thing is a delicious edible masterpiece in my opinion. No, it’s not the best looking because decorating is not my forte, but it is just epic, honestly.
First, we have a cookie crust made with those chocolate creme sandwich cookies, you know the ones I mean.
Then we have a layer of creamy vegan vanilla ice cream, then a double layer of vegan dark chocolate ice cream, and then another layer of vanilla.
Finally, we have a magic chocolate shell on top with a few more cookies crumbled on top. Wow.
It’s all vegan, all delicious, and completely simple and easy to make. Any child or adult would love to have this as a birthday cake--and it would also make a fun treat for any get together or summer meal.
Oh, and you can use whatever ice creams you want, so the possibilities are endless! I'm definitely making this with mint chocolate chip because that’s my favorite, but I also have to make a chocolate raspberry one for my husband.
What You’ll Need
- Cookies: For the crust, it’s made completely from cookies. Technically you can use any you like, but it should be a crisp hard cookie, not a soft or chewy one. I like to use those double chocolate sandwich creme cookies. Oreos are actually accidentally vegan, but if you’d prefer not to buy those, most of the generic ones are vegan too. I used Whole Foods 365 generic cookies and they worked perfectly.
- Coconut oil: We use this in two places in the recipe: it helps pack the crust together (though I’ve tried it without so it’s not completely necessary, it just gets kinda crumbly and messy) and it’s also mixed with the chocolate chips to make the magic shell. Vegetable oil could work instead in a pinch, but coconut oil is preferable because it solidifies when room temperature or colder.
- Vegan ice cream: For an 8 or 9” ice cream cake you’ll need about 5 pints of vegan ice cream. Sounds like a lot! But when you spread it all out, you could actually even fit another pint or two in there, but I found 5 was sufficient for this cake. I would go with a full fat ice cream such as cashew milk base or coconut milk base. I used cashew milk ice cream and it worked perfectly. Unfortunately I think banana nice cream would just get hard and crunchy with all the melting and refreezing, but you’re welcome to try--let me know if it works out!
- Chocolate chips: We need chocolate chips to melt with coconut oil to make the magic shell. (Again the oil isn’t required in this part but it makes a smooth luscious shell.) I get semi-sweet chocolate chips but any should work. Just read the ingredients to make sure it’s vegan. It’s optional but highly recommended because it’s delicious and fun to crack when you cut it!
- Springform pan: This is really more of an equipment item but I think this would just be REALLY hard to get out of a regular cake pan, which is too shallow for this cake anyway. Pick up an 8 or 9-inch springform pan online, at your favorite home goods store, or even a place like Walmart or Target should have them. I recommend non-stick, but get whatever you can.
- Parchment paper: Really more of a suggestion but cutting a circle of parchment paper to match the inside of your pan is a lifesaver in getting this thing out of the pan. Otherwise the moisture from the cake can freeze directly to the pan, making it hard to release the bottom.
How to Make a Vegan Ice Cream Cake
- First, prep your springform pan by tracing a circle around it onto parchment paper. Cut on the inside of the circle, about a centimeter from the line. Trim as necessary to fit inside the pan. One trick I learned from my grandmother (a Jewish caterer for 50 years) is to crumple the parchment up into a ball (after cutting it), which will make it sit nicer at the bottom of the pan.
- At this point start softening the ice cream. Take the lids off and let them sit while you do the next part.
- Next, pulse the cookies in the food processor (or put them in a sealed bag and have at it with your fist or something heavy, LOL) until they’re mostly crumbled. Stir if you need to and add about a tablespoon or two of melted coconut oil, just enough to get it to pack easily. The oil isn’t necessary, but it’s a lot easier to make it into a crust this way and it will be less messy later. Pulse it one final time so everything is mixed and add the contents into your lined springform pan.
- Using your hands (or knuckles, like my husband did) start to press out the cookie mixture so it fills the surface of the pan, and then press it up the sides. It doesn’t need to reach the top, more like about an inch from the top, but it doesn’t have to be super precise. What we’re going for is a relatively even thickness all the way around, and concentrate on really packing it in, especially on the bottom and the “corner” area (what do you call that if it’s a cylinder lol? I didn’t do great in geometry, hah.) where the bottom meets the wall of the pan. You can use a straight glass or jar to help you do this, but I made my husband help me and he just preferred to use his knuckles.
- Work as quickly as possible in this next step as the ice cream melts pretty fast. In separate medium or large bowls for each layer (so I used three bowls), add the ice cream and begin to chop and mix it up using a metal spoon. As it melts a bit, it will get easier to stir around. Once you can stir it and it looks kind of like icing, add the first layer in large spoonfuls to the crust lined pan. Use a spatula to spread it out in a mostly even layer, make sure to go to the edge of the wall.
- Repeat with the other layers and place the whole thing in the freezer. I didn’t bother covering it but if your freezer likes to act up and throw frost on things, cover this with some aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Freeze 6-8 hours or overnight.
- Melt the chocolate and 3-4 tablespoons of solid coconut oil in a large measuring cup or bowl. I like to use a 4 cup pyrex measuring cup because they can be microwaved and it has a spout for easy pouring. Either use a microwave and set it for 1 minute and stir and check (mine needed about a minute and a half but I have an old microwave with no turntable) or melt in a double boiler (or a small pot with water and fitted with a heat safe glass bowl) until a smooth and luscious chocolate sauce. Allow it to cool for 5 minutes or until it’s not even really warm to the touch.
- Working quickly once again, remove the vegan ice cream cake from the freezer, release the springform pan, and place the cake on a plate or tray. Evenly pour the chocolate shell mixture over the cake, making sure to cover the whole top. You’re welcome to completely cover the sides, or just make little drips over the edges, whatever you prefer. Crumble some of the reserved cookies (or just do sprinkles) on top while it’s still wet and then get that thing back in the freezer for about an hour, or until you’re ready to serve.
- When serving, allow the cake to sit for a few minutes, then use a sharp knife to cut the pieces. Serve and enjoy! I don't think I have to tell you to get it back in the freezer when you’re done serving, but I’ve been known to forget things like that LOL.
- Wrap or cover the remainder well so it doesn’t get freezer burn and store up to 3 months or so. I think it could probably last longer, but not sure how anyone could wait that long.
More Vegan Summer Food
When I’m not making vegan ice cream cake I love all kinds of no bake/no cook or just summery foods in the warm weather. Here’s some of my favorite things to cook and make in the summer time:
- Vegan Strawberry Shortcake
- Vegan Chocolate Bliss Balls
- Watermelon Salad with Homemade Vegan Feta Cheese
- Vegan Ricotta Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes
- Vegan Lobster Rolls
- BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich
- Vegan Smores
- Vegan Ceviche
- Asparagus Risotto
- Vegan Steak
- Vegan Fish Tacos
- Lavender Nice Cream or Mango Nice Cream
- Vegan Sausage
As always, I hope you love this recipe–I know I do and so does Mr. Zardyplants.
This vegan ice cream cake is:
- Super easy
- Shareable (if I have to, gosh)
- And the perfect dessert for kids and adults!
Let me know in the comments below if you make this recipe or tag me @Zardyplants on Instagram so I can see your beautiful recreations! If you tag me on IG, I will share your post in my stories :)
Also, one quick request: if you love how this recipe looks or tastes, please leave me a 5-star rating and a nice comment–ratings help more people find my recipes which helps me keep providing them! Thank you!