How We Made a Simple and Delicious Ice Cream Cake

How We Made a Simple and Delicious Ice Cream Cake

Over the last couple years we’ve started buying the girls’ a cake on their birthday in addition to whatever cupcakes they pick for their party. This last summer Ada picked an ice cream cake which eventually led to us making our own. The end result was amazing and I had to share the process with you in case you also wanted to do the same.

Pinterest image showing the post's title, main URL,  and a collage of four image also shown below.

This post goes over my version of someone else’s recipe. If you want to skip my photos and go straight to the recipe itself you’ll want to visit Princess Pinky Girl and their Copycat Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake.


This year I asked Ada what type of cake she wanted on her birthday and after much deliberation she finally decided on a Dairy Queen ice cream cake. I love ice cream cake so I was excited with her choice but, unfortunately, realized that by the time she made her choice it was under 48 hours until her birthday and the website says it needs a minimum of 48 hours to order. I wasn’t sure if that was exact or not but decided to just go visit the local Dairy Queen the next morning and see what was available.

That morning I remembered jokily mentioning previously, with the last cake we bought, that we could always try to make it ourselves so I hopped online and found a Dairy Queen copycat recipe through Princess Pinky Girl that looked amazing. I considered just making it ourselves but I wasn’t sure if Ada would love that idea or be disappointed and I couldn’t ask her as she was in school. After much deliberation I drove to Dairy Queen… just to find that they only had the really big cakes that wouldn’t fit in our freezer… and thus I decided to go back to the recipe, confirmed what it needed, and traveled to Walmart to buy the needed supplies to surprise Ada with making our own cake for the next day.

Of the ingredients listed in Jenn’s recipe I already had butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and sprinkles. The jar of hot fudge topping was super simple once I found it. The other remaining four ingredients were a bit more problematic:

  • Ice Cream: This Walmart may have had an issue with their freezer section as many of the sections were iced over… luckily for me the pint-sized ice creams were harder hit than the larger ones. I tried to find the least iced section and carefully chose both a chocolate and a vanilla container. This resulted in my next issue as the recipe called for only a single quart and these were 1.5 quarts. I planned to only use two thirds of each but in the end I just made a larger cake by multiplying the recipe by one and a half.
  • Heavy Cream: I only needed two cups of heavy cream but I could only could find the four-cup cartons. I planned, again, to only use half the carton but ended up using it all by doubling the whip cream recipe and had WAY too much whip cream; though no complaints from the kids. Next time not doubling and will measure properly.
  • Sandwich Cookies: Who knew this would be an issue. The name brand Oreos were only available in flavors that wouldn’t go with the cake so I went with the store-brand. Ended up using all of a package (minus a couple for the kids) since I figured why not since we were making a larger batch anyway.

And with that I came home, put them away, and waited on edge for Ada to be off school so she could find out the plan. At first she was disappointed but once she started helping make the main part she was on board and totally excited.

The Cake

Day Before

On the way home from school, after breaking the news, Ada was able to chose which flavor of ice cream went where. Once we got home we started thawing the chocolate ice cream, grabbed the supplies, and got started on the cookie crunch layer. After it was done I left it to cool and grabbed my 8 by 11 inch (2 quart) glass casserole dish, as I didn’t have the called for springform pan, and covered it with plastic wrap before the kids spread out the bottom layer of slightly thawed chocolate ice cream. We then followed the recipe directions using the increased amounts of cookie crunch fudge and vanilla ice cream pausing between layers to freeze it. The final cake went back into the freezer overnight so it could freeze properly and I could decorate it the next day when the kids were in school.

Image shows the baked and cooling cookie pieces.
We started out by breaking the sandwich cookies, mixing them with melted butter, and baking them in the oven. This photo was taken as they cooled on the parchment paper afterwards.
Image shows the the mostly smoothed out chocolate ice cream in the plastic wrap lined glass casserole dish with a spatula over top. The Breyers container lid is in the front of the photo while the container itsel is behind surrounded by either kid.
The kids had a blast smoothing out the ice cream layers with clean hands before licking out the emptied cartons while I did a final check and put it back in the freezer.
Image shows a moving blurred spatula and a smoothed vanilla ice cream to the top of the casserole dish.
Ada asked to do the final smooth out of the top before it went back in the freezer for the night.

Morning Of


The next morning I wasn’t quite sure how to approach the cake so after making the whip cream I ended up transferring the cake to a larger (9 by 13 inch) casserole dish, then a cookie sheet, and then back to the same casserole dish deciding I could just fill in all of the open spaces on the sides with whip cream. Looking back, next time, I plan to make a few changes such as:

  • Using more plastic wrap so I could more easily pull the cake out… or purchase the called for springform pan.
  • My casserole plan is slanted so if using it again I plan to assemble the cake upside down so I can decorate the bottom as the top. Unfortunately Ada had asserted chocolate on bottom and I hadn’t planned ahead so the top was larger than the bottom.
  • Plan out a sturdy piece of cardboard or something flat to decorate the cake on but still be manageable enough to pack up and put in the freezer.
Image shows the smoothed out cake with plastic wrap sticking out the sides and a spatula and another glass dish in the background.
I took the frozen cake out of the freezer and grabbed a larger casserole dish to transfer it to.
Image shows the cake in a larger dish with the dirtied spatula, butter knife, casserole dish, and plastic wrap in the back.
After going along the edges with the spatula and attempting to hoist it out with the plastic wrap I managed to finally lift the cake into the larger casserole dish.

Dying Whip Cream

At one point in all of that I paused the cake drama by putting it in the freezer and followed the recipe to make the whip cream. I wanted to make the whip cream special so I decided to add food dye directly to the piping bag so the rosettes would be dyed with streaks of pink (using red) and purple (using red and blue together). This ended up dying my bag so looking back I should’ve used something disposable instead like a ziplock bag. The color also wasn’t crazy apparent so maybe I should have dyed the whip cream itself pink and used blue on the bag to dye sections a more purple-y tint.

Image shows a piping bag with the tip already in it and both red and blue food coloring.
After making the white whip cream I grabbed my supples!
Image shows the top of the bag with streaks of red going to the top (and out the bottom onto the napkin)
Ada wanted pink and purple so I started by dripping red down the sides (to make pink) and quickly grabbed some napkins to catch the excess.
Image shows the top of the bag with streaks of red and blue going to the top (and out the bottom onto the napkin). The blue streaks are overlapping with the red ones in the hope to make purple.
I wanted some of the streaks to be purple (mixture of red and blue) so I dribbled some blue over half of the red streaks.
Image shows the inside of the piping bag filled with red and blue dabbed whip cream. In the back some mixed to make a dark purple.
I then used a spatula to fill up the bag with the whip cream. In doing so some of the red and blue was transferred with the spatula.
Image shows the outside of the closed piping bag with obvious blue and red streaks showing from the outside.
After filling it as full as I could I realized there was too much whip cream. I used an elastic to tie the end closed and put it in the fridge to keep it cold while I figured out what to do with the rest.

Coating the Cake

With the whip cream piping bag put into the fridge it was time to ready the cake. I had the smart idea to line a cookie sheet with plastic wrap, using the underside so there was no lip on the edge, and flipped the cake onto it thinking it would be easier to decorate there. Ada had told me she wanted lines on the side so I unearthed an old tool I bought years ago and tried to smooth out the whip cream with the tool. I finally realized it wouldn’t work and flipped it back into the casserole dish which cracked the cake as I did. At this point I gave up and just plopped the rest of the whip cream on top and smoothed it out allowing the excess to fill in the sides. Once smoothed I decided this was good enough for the decorating prep and it was time to bring out the piping bag.

Image shows a line streaked whip cream covered cake laid out on the underside of a cookie sheet with plastic wrap on it.
I next flipped the cake onto the bottom of a plastic wrap covered cookie sheet and coated it in whip cream. Ada wanted lines so I attempted to add them to the sides with a tool I bought years ago and hadn’t used.
Image shows the glass casserole dish with a cracked white-ish cake with space around the edges.
I gave up and flipped the cake back into the glass casserole dish and, in the process, cracked the top.
Image shows the curved cake filling the casserole pan a bit better with lines coating most of it and the top smooth-ish. The cookie sheet, plastic wrap, edging tool, and knife lay behind it.
Once I had all the whip cream on the cake I smoothed it out as well as I could with the spatula then added lines to the top since the tool was dirty anyway and Ada wanted lines.


I had bought blue icing with a thin tip as a just in case for Zoey’s party which I hadn’t used yet and Ada remembered. I opened it up and carefully wrote out Happy Birthday Ada over the smoothed top. I then grabbed the piping bag from the fridge and carefully added swirled flowers around the letters being careful not to overdo it. That said, I had more whip cream in the bag than I had realized so I just kept making more and more flowers eventually filling up the cake top until I had to add the last ones on top of other flowers. Finally I grabbed some sprinkles and carefully placed some Xs and O sprinkles around the letters and then shook some unicorn sugar sprinkles over the flowers.

Closeup view of the top of the cake with lines in the top and blue letters saying "HAPPY BIRTHDAY ADA".
After the top of the cake was smoothed out I grabbed a small tube of Wilton sparkle blue gel and carefully wrote out the birthday message.
Another close photo of the cake with the entire cake coated in white, blue, pink, and purple dappled swirled flowers with an opening for the text saying "Happy Birthday Ada". In the background you can see the tube of blue gel icing, the cookie sheet, the dyed piping bag, and the tip.
I then grabbed the piping bag from the fridge and carefully added various sizes of swirled flowers over the entire cake. At this point I took a final photo and then put the cake back in the freezer (uncovered so it wouldn’t be damaged)…
Image shows the actual final cake coated in pastel colors, pink and red Xs and Os, and the birthday message.
… where, just as I got comfortable, I realized I forgot the promised sprinkles. I grabbed some Xs and O sprinkles and carefully placed them in the remaining spaces between the letters. I then took the leftover unicorn sugar sprinkles from her party and shook it over the entire thing.

And the cake was finally done! I carefully put it back into the freezer and couldn’t wait to surprise Ada with the final cake after supper.

I wanted to pause quickly and share the original recipe I followed to make my cake: Princess Pinky Girl’s Dairy Queen copycat recipe. She made her’s look so much more professional and I had to share an image from it here.

Image shows Jenn's amazing and so professional looking ice cream cake all bright and colorful. Check out her website for more images:
Screenshot of Jenn’s amazing cake taken from her website Princess Pinky Girl on September 15th, 2022. Doesn’t it look incredible!!!

Ada’s Birthday… And Leftovers

Closeup of the words not eh cake with the small X and O sprinkles around it and surrounded by the swirled flowers and sugar sprinkles.
The final lettering.
Carefully place in the freezer.
And the final cake hidden away in the freezer for after a birthday supper.

The girls absolutely loved the final cake and Ada immediately asked for her name giving her a larger piece than I had expected. Then Zoey asked for the birthday part and as I started cutting and deliberating over it she changed her mind. In the end both girls couldn’t finish theirs so they packed up their leftovers for dessert the next day in smaller containers while I cut up and packed up the rest of the cake in sealed containers and Stasher bags so the cake could last a long time and take up less room in my freezer.

Image shows a Happy Birthday message with the Ada missing and cuts around the word Happy.
The kids immediately requested what they wanted and funky shapes were cut out from the cake.
On the left are two containers the kids used for their leftovers while the containers and Stasher bags on the left are fuller with the rest of the cake. The corner of the emptied and dirtied casserole pan sits at the bottom of the image.
Overall the cake was cut up and placed in containers or Stasher bags before going back in the freezer… and taking up so much less room.

While packing up the cake I had carefully cut off some of the whip cream topping and placed them in smaller Stasher bags as I pictured carefully placing them on top of hot chocolate mugs in the future.

Image shows an overview of the cut up cake with some of the top missing and those missing bits in two smaller snack sized Stasher bags.
Before cutting up the rest of the cake to pack up I skipped some of the frozen whip cream flowers and sprinkles off with images of perfect pieces floating in hot chocolate.

When we finally got around to trying this, on top of steamed milk with added hot chocolate powder, I ended up letting the kids decorate their own mug and so it didn’t quite match my imagined perfect mug image. That said, they had a blast decorating the mug, snaking whip cream snacks, and then drinking the hot chocolate. As they had fun I snapped these three photos:

Short and wide image showing the mugs with whip cream and sprinkles placed in it while the kids reach for more in their Stasher bags.
Image is taken from above and to the front while they place whip cream in their mugs.
Ada is placing more in her mug while Zoey pops some in her mouth.

Overall this was an easy to follow recipe that I’m really glad I came across. It was so much cheaper to make than to buy and tasted so much better. I can see investing in a springform pan just for this recipe and I want to make it exactly the same again. That said, I could also see playing with the flavors with maybe a chocolate and a cherry or strawberry together. Ada likes mint chocolate chip but I’m worried that it’s too random of a combo that we’d be stuck with if Zoey and I don’t like it. Overall though I’d definitely make this recipe again!

If you want to make this recipe check out Princess Pinky Girl. It’s so easy! And if you do I’d love to hear how it went and how you changed it up to fix your holiday! Hope you’re having a great day.

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