How To Make A Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Ice Cream Cake

One of the things I liked best about birthdays was enjoying a slice of ice cream cake. We often had them when I was younger to celebrate birthdays and special occasions. Since discovering we were celiac and following a gluten-free diet as well as being unable to digest dairy we hadn’t had an ice cream cake.

My Birthday Request

This year for my birthday my family asked what kind of cake I wanted. They knew it was going to be chocolate. They had no doubt about that. But when I told them I wanted an ice cream cake both my husband and daughter looked at me with disbelief and asked the same question, “Can we do that?”

Surprisingly Easy to Prepare

Believe it or not ice cream cakes are surprisingly easy to prepare. In fact I think they’re a lot easier to make then regular frosted cakes for someone with food allergies and intolerances because there’s less you need to prepare and do.

Step 1: Bake The Cake

You can use any of the cake recipes in my cookbook, Celeste’s Best Gluten-Free, Allergen-Free Recipes. We used the Chocolate Cake recipe on page 301. We baked it in two 8 x 8-inch square pans so we’d have 2 layers.

Two Layers of Gluten-Free Cake Laying Side-by-Side

Step 2: Freeze the Cake

Yes, you read that right. After you bake the cake and it has completely cooled you’re going to freeze it. If you’re going to make your cake that day you can simply place it on some freezer paper and put it in the freezer till it hardens. Or if you’re going to wait a few days, wrap the cake completely in freezer paper and freeze. Freezing the cake first will make it easier to frost with the ice cream.

Gluten-Free Cake Wrapped in Freezer Paper

Step 3: Make Your Ice Cream

Pick your favorite flavor. Or if you’re like me pick 2! At the time I hadn’t developed many of the terrific recipes in my new ebook, Celeste’s Best Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Ice Cream & Frozen Desserts so we just made chocolate and vanilla.

Celeste’s Best Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Vanilla Ice Cream

Celeste’s Best Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Chocolate Ice Cream

And here’s the trick – use the ice cream when it’s still soft moments after it’s finished being processed in the ice cream maker for Step 5.

Step 4: Place your Cake on Serving Dish

I often cover a piece of thick, sturdy cardboard with extra heavy tinfoil and then place a piece of parchment paper on top of that followed by the first layer of my cake. You’ll  be refreezing this cake so whatever you place your cake on it will be frozen to when you freeze it.

Step 5: Frost Your Cake with the Ice Cream

Place a large spoonful of ice cream on the base, the first layer of the cake. Using a large amount of icing to start with is key. Glide a spatula over the ice cream icing, moving it across the top and down the sides until the cake is completely covered. Gradually, as you continue to smooth it down you will be removing some of the icing from the cake as you level it all out.

Cookie Crunchy Layer on Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Cake

I’ll note here that I did try adding the crunchy layer by baking a batch of chocolate cream filled cookies minus the cream filling and crumbling them up but for all the extra work they weren’t really noticeable. I’ll work on this when I bake up future recipes because I always loved that crunchy center layer.

Cookie Crunchy Layer on Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Cake

Step 6: Add Second Flavor if Desired

If you’re adding a layer of another flavor of ice cream you would do that now. You could do this two ways. The first is to put the cake in the freezer for a few minutes till the first layer hardens slightly then take it out and add the second layer. Or you do it the messier way (though a bit fun) – the way we did it actually, scoop the freshly prepared ice cream into your hands, flatten it till it’s about 1/2-inch thick and place it on top of first layer of ice cream. Once it’s all on, then smooth it over, gently gliding the spatula over the second layer, stopping just short of the edge so it won’t mix in with the ice cream that will be frosting the sides.

Frosted Bottom Layer of Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Ice Cream Cake

Step 7: Place Top Layer on Cake

Place your second layer on the cake and proceed exactly as you did with the first layer, spreading the ice cream all around the top and remaining sides.

Two layers of Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Ice Cream Cake with Ice Cream in the middle

Square Gluten-Free Cake Fully Frosted with Dairy-Free Chocolate Ice Cream

Square Gluten-Free Cake with Top Layer Frosted with Dairy-Free Chocolate Ice Cream

Step 8: Place in Freezer

Place in freezer till ice cream hardens.

Step 9: Wrap Cake

Remove cake from freezer and loosely wrap in freezer paper.

Step 10: My Favorite Step

Let the ice cream cake stand at room temperature for 5 – 10 minutes to soften before cutting and serving. Then refreeze any leftovers.

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Ice Cream Cake with Candles

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Ice Cream Cake with Candles Beign Lit

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