How to Make the World's Easiest Ice Cream Cake

Summer entertaining season has officially started—which means there's never been a better time to add a few winners to your warm weather dessert repertoire.​

Easy Espresso Ice Cream Cake
Photo: Sarah Karnasiewicz
01 of 05

First things first: Go shopping.

Easy Espresso Ice Cream Cake
Sarah Karnasiewicz

You will need: Whipped cream, 10 ice cream sandwiches, and 2 pints of ice cream in the flavor(s) of your choice. These are going to be your cake's layers, so you can go any direction you want—Sour cherry! Salted caramel! Pistachio honey! Peanut butter! Or maybe you're a bit more traditional. Grab one pint of chocolate and one pint of strawberry to do a riff on the classic Neapolitan. Or try espresso ice cream (as we did in this photo) and aim for a decidedly adult, mocha version.

02 of 05

When you're ready to make the cake, get out a loaf pan.

Line the pan with parchment paper, leaving a couple of inches hanging over each of the long sides. These pieces will act like handles, making it easier to remove the cake from the pan once frozen.

03 of 05

Remove the pints of ice cream from the freezer and let them soften a bit.

(You want the ice cream to be spreadable but not liquid.) In the bottom of the loaf pan, place 5 ice cream sandwiches in a single flat layer, chocolate "cookie" side down, trimming them to fit as needed. Cover the sandwiches with 1½ cups of ice cream (this will be about ¾ of a pint), smoothing it out to form an even layer about ¾- to 1-inch thick. Cover that with another layer of sandwiches, and then another layer of ice cream, spreading it so that it is even. Make sure the ice cream is smooth and packed tightly, then cover the entire loaf pan neatly with plastic wrap.

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Freeze the cake until firm, ideally overnight, but at least 2 hours.

When ready to serve, lift it out of the pan using the parchment paper handles and transfer it to a large plate.

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To serve, slice cake into thick, striped pieces.

(It should yield about 8 servings.) Top each slice with whipped cream and the garnish of your choice. Brandied cherries? Espresso powder? Toasted nuts? Rainbow sprinkles? Cocoa nibs? Good news: You've got all summer to perfect your recipe.

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