A few weeks before my graduation from BYU, my sister Allison sent me this recipe recently posted by one of our favorite food bloggers, Smitten Kitchen. It was this gorgeous, mouth-wateringly beautiful ice cream sundae cake. She said, “That looks like a happy graduation cake, doesn’t it?” I couldn’t help but agree! This isn’t my first attempt at homemade ice cream cakes, but it may be my favorite yet! It’s the closest recipe I’ve found to replicate the perfect Dairy Queen cake of my youth. 2 layers of ice cream, a fudgy cookie base and center, finished off with the best hot fudge sauce I’ve had. Are you drooling yet? This was a huge hit with the family.
The beauty of this recipe is you can customize it depending on how much work you want to do. This is perfect for someone like me who has food allergies up the wazoo: I love having complete control over my food products! However, some people may not relish the idea of making a recipe over the span of several hours (I love those kind of challenges, myself). The only element I bought was the chocolate ice cream. As you can see in the picture, I didn’t include the whipped cream, cherries, or sprinkles like the original recipe suggested because I didn’t have time to make them, and I was afraid I’d give my dieting mom and mother-in-law a heart attack. Feel free to add them if you need even more of a sugar rush.
Here’s the recipe for the sane person: 2 pints or 1 quart chocolate ice cream + 2 pints or 1 quart strawberry ice cream + about 14 ounces chocolate cookies, ground (like Oreos) or 2 3/4 cups ground cookies + bottled hot fudge sauce. I’ve included the recipes below for all of the recipes except the chocolate ice cream (try Smitten Kitchen’s recipe if you’re interested). Pick and choose whichever element you’d like to make or buy and go from there. It’s like choose your own adventure!
I recommend making this cake the day before because it was quite soupy when we served it the same day I made it. When we ate leftovers the day after, the ice cream cake had a more classic firm texture. It depends on how you prefer the texture! I liked it better the second day when it wasn’t melting everywhere.
Strawberry Chocolate Hot Fudge Ice Cream Cake
Yield: 6–10 servings
Chocolate cookie crumbs:
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. plus 2 Tbsp. (1 1/4 sticks), cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1 large egg
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
Strawberry ice cream:
1 lb. fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and sliced
3/4 c. sugar
1 c. sour cream
1 c. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Hot fudge sauce:
2/3 c. heavy or whipping cream
1/2 c. honey, light corn syrup, or golden syrup
1/3 c. packed dark brown sugar
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder, ideally Dutch-processed
1/4 tsp. table salt
6 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray two baking sheets with cooking spray.
- Blend flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a food processor until combined. Add butter chunks and blend until the mixture is powdery. Add egg and run the processor again until the dough starts to clump and ball, about 30 seconds.
- Scoop cookies out onto baking sheets. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes. They will appear underbaked, but they’ll finish cooking after they leave the oven.
- Leave cookies on sheets for 2 minutes and then transfer to cooling racks to let cool completely.
- Grind about half of the cookies in a food processor or blender until they’re just crumbs. To make our crusts, we need a total of 2 3/4 cups of crumbs.
- Mix 1 1/3 c. chocolate cookie crumbs (about 6 ounces whole cookies, or about 12 of the homemade cookies) and melted butter together in a bowl.
- Spray bottom of 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Press the crumb evenly onto the bottom of the pan. Freeze until firm, about 10 minutes.
Chocolate ice cream, i.e. first cake layer:
- If you’re making the chocolate ice cream, make it according to the recipe using an ice cream maker. Although most ice cream recipes require you to freeze the ice cream after you’ve made it in your ice cream machine, skip that step because we want the ice cream to be creamy like soft serve ice cream. If you are using store-bought ice cream, dump out the ice cream in a bowl and let sit, stirring occasionally, until the ice cream is a smooth, soft-serve consistency. This process usually takes about an hour or so, in my experience.
- When your ice cream is at this consistency, spread it over the frozen chocolate crumb crust. Freeze for 1 to 2 hours until firm. Once firm, smooth the ice cream with a spatula if you’d like to make it more even.
Cookie crumb filling:
- Wipe off any ice cream smudges from the first layer with a paper towel so it doesn’t bleed into the second layer. Spread 1 1/4 cups chocolate cookie crumbs (about 6 ounces whole cookies, or 11 to 12 homemade cookies) evenly over the firm chocolate ice cream layer.
Strawberry ice cream, i.e. second cake layer:
- Combine the sliced strawberries in a medium bowl with the sugar and stir until the sugar begins to dissolve. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a blender or food processor and add the sour cream, heavy cream, and lemon juice. Pulse briefly until almost smooth but still slightly chunky. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Transfer mixture to an ice cream container and make ice cream according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- Pour the strawberry ice cream on top of the cookie crust and freeze for 1 to 2 hours until firm. If you decide to pause at this part (like I recommend), press a circle of waxed or parchment paper against the top layer so it doesn’t dry out.
Hot fudge sauce:
- This step should be completed on the same day you want to serve it. In a 1 1/2 to 2-quart heavy saucepan, bring cream, honey, sugar, cocoa, salt, and half the chocolate to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in remaining chocolate, butter, and vanilla extract and stir until smooth. Cool the sauce to lukewarm before serving to allow it to thicken.
- Pour a puddle of lukewarm hot fudge sauce over the top of the freezer and let it freeze for 30 minutes. This is an important step because it will help the final hot fudge not melt the top off of the cake.
Serving the cake:
- Once the hot fudge has firmed up, remove the cake from the freezer and carefully cut around the sides before removing the cake from the springform pan. Transfer cake to a separate serving plate.
- Pour more lukewarm fudge on the cake, letting it dribble down the sides a little (reheat the fudge a little bit if it is too firm).
Serve immediately and watch jaws drop. Seriously folks, this one’s a knock-out.