Chocolate Caramel Ice Cream Sandwich Cake
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This easy to make Chocolate Caramel Ice Cream Sandwich Cake Recipe has become my kids’ most requested birthday cake, with three layers of frozen bliss!
Every year, my kids spend months deeply contemplating how they plan to celebrate their birthdays. The painstaking forethought put into whether they’ll have a small sleepover, or go to the movies with friends, and what kind of cake and snacks they’ll have, always amazes me.
This is serious business.
My youngest, Carson, just turned eleven years old.
It’s bittersweet to watch my tiny tornado of a man-child grow into adolescence. I miss his chubby cheeks, and endless desire to cuddle. Yet, it’s such a join to watch him mature and make responsible decisions.
He’s still vivacious and carefree, yet with a touch of wisdom blooming within.
After much consideration, he decided he wanted to take a few friends to the pinball museum for his birthday party this year.
Endless play of vintage pinball machines and other retro arcade games were the highest priority.
Yet the second priority was his birthday cake…
He told me it must be a Chocolate Caramel Ice Cream Sandwich Cake, with rich chocolate cake layers, salted caramel gelato sandwiched in the middle, and decadent chocolate ganache over the top.
Over the top, being the key phrase here.
This was no surprise to me.
Actually this Chocolate Caramel Ice Cream Sandwich Cake is a recipe I’ve now made several times with various ice cream flavors in the middle to suit each child and year.
Both of my kids are CRAZY over this cake, which is just fine with me, because it is so easy to prepare and requires no fancy decorating skills.
The key to making not just an okay ice cream cake, but a fabulous ice cream cake, is the cake batter itself.
This is not the place to fudge and use a cake mix. That sort of cake will firm up so much in the freezer that it’s hard to cut and enjoy with a fork. (Trust me, I’ve tried it!)
Instead, I made an old-school “hot liquid” style chocolate cake batter and added sour cream to the mix to provide a little more moisture and substance.
The result is a tender small-crumbed chocolate cake that freezes well, yet is soft and supple once thawed for a few minutes.
Once the cakes are baked, I wrap them individually in plastic and freeze the layers so they are hard and easy to assemble.
Then I use one of the cake pans to mold an ice cream disk to sandwich in between the cake layers.
Once assembled, pour simple glossy chocolate ganache over the top and let it run down the sides. A little messy is not always a bad thing!
Then the whole Chocolate Caramel Ice Cream Sandwich Cake goes back into the freezer until it’s time to serve it.
Chocolate Caramel Ice Cream Sandwich Cake is a sure-bet when making a birthday cake for anyone who loves chocolate… or ice cream.
In fact, your family may start asking for it every year, just like mine do!
Chocolate Caramel Ice Cream Sandwich Cake
For the Chocolate Cake:
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil or coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup hot coffee
- 2 pints salted caramel ice cream or gelato
For the Chocolate Ganache:
- 8 ounces dark chocolate
- 1 1/2 tablespoons corn syrup, for shine
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two 8-9 inch round cake pans with nonstick baking spray. Cut parchment paper circles to fit in each pan and press them again the bottoms. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir to blend. Add the sour cream, eggs, oil and vanilla. Beat to combine. Then scrape the bowl, turn the mixer on low, and slowly add in the hot coffee. Beat until the batter is thin and smooth.
- Pour the batter evenly into the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans for 5 minutes. Then flip the cakes out onto cooling racks, remove the parchment paper, and cool completely.
- Meanwhile, line an 8- to 9-inch cake pan with plastic wrap. Scoop the ice cream into the cake pan and press down with a spatula to make a smooth solid ice cream layer. Place the ice cream layer back into the freezer to firm up.
- Once the cakes are cool, wrap each layer individually in plastic and freeze them until they are cold and hard to the touch, around 2 hours.
- For the ganache: Heat the cream until it nearly simmers. Then remove from heat and add broken chocolate pieces to the cream. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes. Then add the corn syrup and gently stir until completely smooth. (Whisking adds bubbles, so stir gently instead.) Allow the ganache to cool to room temperature before proceeding.
- To assemble: Unwrap the frozen cakes. Lay one cake on a cake stand then flip the ice cream layer on top of it and peel off the plastic. Top with the second cake layer and press down a little to level the cake. Use a flat spatula to smooth out the seams between the ice cream and cake all the way around the edges. Then pour the ganache over the top. Spread to the edges, if needed, to help the ganache drip over the sides. Freeze until ready to serve.
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It turned out perfect, and I’m not all that skilled as a cook. :) I followed the recipe precisely. Thank you!
This recipe is fantastic- the cake and ganache are soft even right out of the freezer. And the recipe steps and ingredients are minimal and straightforward but tastes so good. Thank you! We have found our family summer birthday cake recipe! I made mine with a whipped topping frosting as well (2 cups cold heavy cream, 4-6 tbsp powdered sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract) which added a nice texture but not sure it was needed.
I made this cake today for my sons 12th birthday and it was so delish! I made mine with brownie batter cookie dough ice cream and added some whipped topping mixed with powdered sugar and cocoa powder for some frosting
plops around the bottom and on the top. Everyone loved, it especially the birthday boy.
I made this for a friend for her birthday and everyone is now asking for it. I’ve also been asked to make the cake without the ice cream due to taking it to a restaurant for a gathering. Is this cake as good without freezing or will it be too dry? Was going to make a butter cream frosting to top it off.
Oh, it’s GREAT without freezing! This is my favorite chocolate cake base for any cake recipe.
Can I preassemble and freeze for a week? Would need to hold off on ganache till party?
Yes, you can! Just wrap it very well to avoid freezer burn. I would add the ganache before serving so it looks nice. :)
i made this and it was sooo good but the only thing it was not as pretty :( any tips? lol
Thank you for a great recipe. I swapped sour cream for Greek yogurt because that’s what I had and used water instead of coffee for the children. The cake tasted great with my David Lebovitz’s chocolate ice cream. This ice cream cake is reminiscent of the ones you’d find at Baskin Robbins.
How long do you recommend thawing it before cutting?
Hi there! I really want to make this cake but im not a coffee fan, what would you recommend instead of adding the coffee?
Cant wait to try it :)
You really can’t taste the coffee in the cake. It just helps intensify the chocolate flavor. However, if you want to take it out, add hot water in place of the coffee. Happy Baking!
Thank you for such a great ice cream cake. I made this for a fun dessert contest at work and I won Best Overalll. The only change I made was to us Haggan Daz coffee ice cream. The cake is so good and perfect for the freezer. I made the cake and set the ice cream in the cake pan a few days ahead of time and just kept in the freezer. I normally freeze my cakes overnight anyway as it makes them so moist. Thank you again.
LOL! So glad everyone liked it!! :)
This is hands down genius!! Ben loves ice cream cakes – I love that trick to get the ice cream filing!
Those layers look absolutely perfect!! I have always thought that ice cream cakes were the best! Your kiddo has some great taste!
It must be something in the air. My husband’s birthday is this weekend and requested an ice cream sandwich cake! I’ve never made one and love your tip on which cake to use for the layers. Hot batter, got it!
Thanks for sharing Sommer!
Happy belated birthday to your not-so-little boy
This looks so delicious and wonderful. I wish my birthday was sooner.
I’m with Carson, I want this cake for my birthday! YUM!
Really awesome Cake- anyone would love it!
I would like that with a layer of coffee ice cream and some caramel fleur de sel sauce. I am drooling just at the thought of it.
Looks perfectly delicious!
Well, today isn’t my birthday , but I’m thinking this cake needs to be actioned!! LOVE!