This homemade gluten-free ice cream cake is layered with chocolate and vanilla ice cream and filled with chocolate cookie crumbles and freeze dried raspberries. No baking is required for this simple, festive ice cream cake.
No-Bake Ice Cream Cake
I like to keep my recipes as simple as possible. So this cake does not have any actual baked cake in it. Baking and cleaning up after making a cake adds a lot of time to this recipe and I don’t love the texture of a frozen baked cake.
Making an ice cream cake is already is a long process. With each layer, there is time in the freezer. When you add in the time of baking a cake, it’s it’s more time than I want to spend on a cake. So this cake is just ice cream layered with chocolate crumbles, freeze dried raspberries and fudge sauce and it is still divine!
How to Soften the Ice Cream
One of the most important steps in making an ice cream cake is to soften the ice cream so that it is easily spread in the pan. If the ice cream is too firm, it will be difficult to spread and and you’ll end up with air pockets. Softening it in the carton, will give you soupy ice cream around the sides and solid ice cream in the center.
The best way to soften the ice cream is to put it in a large bowl and mix it every so often until it’s soft and creamy – like the texture of soft serve. This will allow you to spread it easily and evenly in the pan.
How to Build an Ice Cream Cake
Here are the steps:
- Soften half of the ice cream and spread it in an even layer in the pan.
- Sprinkle the cookie crumbles and dried raspberries on top. Swirl them in with a fork and freeze for 2 hours.
- Soften the other half of the ice cream until it is very spreadable.
- Spread a layer of fudge sauce on top of the frozen layer.
- Spread the remaining ice cream over the fudge sauce and smooth out the top.
- Freeze for 4 hours or as long as overnight.
- Frost with with whipped cream and garnish with fresh raspberries, cookie crumbles and crushed-freeze dried raspberries.
The best way to build an ice cream cake is with an 8″ springform pan. This makes removing the cake from the pan super simple. No plastic wrap liner or parchment paper is needed. A springform pan will pull the side of the pan away from the cake. This means that you’ll end up with and ice cream cake with nice smooth sides.
If you don’t have an 8″ springform pan, use an 8″ round cake pan that is 3″ tall. A lining of plastic wrap will help to more easily remove the cake from the pan. But unfortunately the plastic wrap will inevitably wrinkle and cause the sides of your cake to mold to those wrinkles. If you are going to frost the sides of the cake, this is not a problem.
I simply live with the wrinkles and drizzle a little bit of fudge sauce on the sides.
This cake calls for three quarts of ice cream. I prefer to use one layer of chocolate ice cream and one layer of vanilla ice cream. Really you could use any flavor that pairs with chocolate and raspberry. Cookies and cream, strawberry, cookie dough and chocolate chip would all be good options.
Ben and Jerry’s makes several gf ice cream flavors. Alden’s and Turkey Hill both have a gluten-free cookies and cream.
And if you need a dairy free ice cream cake, So Delicious makes a dairy-free, gluten-free chocolate cookies & cream ice cream and a gf, df cookie dough ice cream.
Luckily there are many options for gluten-free sandwich cookies cookies. Oreo, Goody Girl and Glutino all make excellent gluten-free chocolate sandwich cookies.
Freeze dried raspberries are the best way to get raspberries into the cake. They are crushed so that they can be swirled into the ice cream. Fresh raspberries would become icy when frozen.
Fudge sauce – A layer of fudge sauce in between the layers of ice cream makes it ooey gooey and helps to bind the layers together. You could make hot sauce from scratch, it’s not too complicated, but I prefer to keep things simple and use a jarred fudge sauce.
Whipped cream steps in as the “frosting” for an ice cream cake. If you’re feeling super motivated, you could definitely whip up some homemade whipped cream. All you need is heavy cream, powdered sugar and a little vanilla. But I prefer the quicker method of using prepared whipped cream. Cool Whip holds its form a little better than dairy whipped cream but you can use either.
Fresh raspberries make for a a nice finishing touch on the cake.
Frosting an Ice Cream Cake
Ice cream cakes are coated with whipped cream as the frosting. There are options for how you coat the cake – there’s no right or wrong answer. I prefer to frost just the top of the cake. If you plan to coat the sides, I recommend Cool Whip as it will hold up a little better and can be used when it’s still slightly frozen.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream Cake
- 3 qts ice cream, all one flavor or 1½ qts each of 2 different flavors* dairy-free options ok
- 10 gluten-free chocolate sandwich cookies GF Oreos, Goodie Girl and Glutino are all good options
- ½ c crumbled freeze dried raspberries, about half of a 1.25 oz bag Target carries them
- ⅓ c fudge sauce, plus extra if using for garnish
- 3 c whipped cream (Cool Whip holds its form best)
- 10 fresh raspberries
- Important Notes:Whichever pan you use for this cake, be sure that you have enough space in your freezer for it.The easiest way to build an ice cream cake is by using an 8 or 9 inch springform pan. The sides of the pan are easily removed and the cake can be left on the pan's bottom for serving. If you don't have a springform pan, a 3" high, 8" round cake pan will work too. But to allow easy removal of the cake from the pan, you'll need to line it with plastic wrap. The plastic will create some wrinkles on the sides of the cake. These can be hidden with whipped cream frosting or fudge sauce.
- Transfer half of the ice cream (1½ quarts) to a large mixing bowl. Break it into a few pieces and let it sit at room temp. Stir it every 10 minutes. This will thaw it more evenly so you don't end up with some soupy and some solid ice cream.
- Continue to stir and thaw until it is creamy and spreadable (similar to the texture of soft-serve). The time required will depend on the temp in your kitchen. It took me 45 minutes.
- While the ice cream is thawing, into a small bowl, crumble 8 of the cookies into small bite sized pieces. The other 2 will be used for garnish.
- Gently crumble the freeze dried raspberries into a separate bowl.
- If using a cake pan, line it with plastic wrap leaving 6" extra all the way around.
- Transfer the softened ice cream to the springform pan or plastic wrap lined cake pan and spread it evenly all the way to the sides. Apply some pressure to remove any air pockets.
- Sprinkle most of the freeze dried raspberries on top (save a little for garnish). Use a fork to swirl them into the ice cream.
- Sprinkle the cookie crumbles evenly on top and gently press them down to adhere them to the ice cream.
- Place the pan in the freezer for 2 hours (or as long as overnight).
- 75 minutes into the 2 hours, thaw the other half of the ice cream using the same method as you did for the first. Be sure that it is soft and spreadable like soft serve.
- When the first layer is frozen, warm the fudge sauce just enough for it to be spreadable. It should not be hot. Spread the fudge sauce on top of the frozen layer, ¼ inch short of the edge of the cake.
- Transfer the softened ice cream to the pan and spread in an even layer.
- Freeze for 4 hours or as long as overnight.
- If using a springform pan, use a sharp knife to loosen the sides of the cake. Remove the outside of the pan. (You can leave it on the pan's bottom for serving.)
- If using a cake pan, gently pull on the plastic wrap to loosen it from the pan. Invert the pan onto a cake plate or cake board and firmly tap the top and sides of the pan with the back of a utensil. Lift the pan and shake if needed to release the cake. Peel off the plastic wrap.
- If the outside of the cake is getting a little melty, place it back in the freezer for 20 minutes. Then coat the top, and sides if desired, with whipped cream.
- Garnish with the remaining crumbled cookies and freeze dried raspberries.
- Freeze for 20 minutes.
- Remove the cake from the freezer 15-30 minutes before serving. If it's a warm day, 15 minutes may be enough. Garnish with fresh raspberries when you're ready to serve.