Copycat Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake

Guaranteed to be the hit of the party, this copycat of my favorite Dairy Queen ice cream cake includes fudge filling, chocolate crunchies, and all. There’s also a worthy gluten-free option for those who need it—and nobody will detect a difference!

Guaranteed to be the hit of the party, my favorite Copycat Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake includes fudge filling, chocolate crunchies, and all.  There’s also a worthy gluten-free option for those who need it—and nobody will detect a difference! 

 

On birthdays and hot summer nights, cake and ice cream really hit the spot.  The following dessert combines the best of both and is my homemade rendition of a Dairy Queen favorite.

I vividly remember my first piece of ice cream cake.

With sparklers aglow, the dessert made a festive entrance at my grade school friend Mary’s summer birthday party.  As I dug in with my plastic fork, the crunchy cookie layer sandwiched between two classic ice cream flavors and topped with creamy icing seemed too good to be true.

As a mom, I shared my love of this frozen treat with my children, serving it regularly for my elder son’s June birthday.  As my younger son grew older, he didn’t let the small detail of a February birthday stop him from requesting this perennial favorite that truly knows no season.

Though I would never complain about a store-bought cake, they can be expensive, especially when serving a crowd.  Likewise, doing-it-yourself allows for customization in terms of ice cream flavors and add-ins; it also allows for allergy accommodations, especially where worries of peanut cross-contamination and gluten are concerned.

When I started making my own ice cream cakes, I found them to be surprisingly simple. They do require advance preparation, but this can be done in steps that are all very easy.

Guaranteed to be the hit of the party, this copycat of my favorite Dairy Queen ice cream cake includes fudge filling, chocolate crunchies, and all. There’s also a worthy gluten-free option for those who need it—and nobody will detect a difference!
Guaranteed to be the hit of the party, this copycat of my favorite Dairy Queen ice cream cake includes fudge filling, chocolate crunchies, and all. There’s also a worthy gluten-free option for those who need it—and nobody will detect a difference!
Guaranteed to be the hit of the party, this copycat of my favorite Dairy Queen ice cream cake includes fudge filling, chocolate crunchies, and all. There’s also a worthy gluten-free option for those who need it—and nobody will detect a difference!

Upon serving this cake, I’ve often been asked where I bought it.  Trust me, the compliments are a nod to the recipe’s inherent simplicity, not my cake decorating skills!  This dessert is a classic example of a few basic ingredients totaling more than the sum of their already tasty parts.

True to the Dairy Queen original, the cookie crumb center is coated with a tasty layer of chocolate sauce. I use an easy-to-make salted hot fudge sauce, which keeps in the refrigerator for weeks so can be made well in advance.  Alternatively, you may use your favorite store-bought option.

On occasion, I vary the ice cream flavors or mix up the add-ins, but I find myself returning to the following tried-and-true combination.  (That said, I grant full permission to customize according to taste—and then let me know if you come up with a winning combination!)

Throughout the instructions, I include lots of tips, tricks, and substitutes that have proved helpful to me over time.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

 

Guaranteed to be the hit of the party, this copycat of my favorite Dairy Queen ice cream cake includes fudge filling, chocolate crunchies, and all. There’s also a worthy gluten-free option for those who need it—and nobody will detect a difference!

My brother’s birthday coincided with the Super Bowl this year. As a lifelong Eagle’s fan, the team’s win was the best present ever. He liked the cake, too! (Note: the ice cream will start to seep out around the edges only if you leave it out of the freezer too long trying to take pictures.😂)

Guaranteed to be the hit of the party, this copycat of my favorite Dairy Queen ice cream cake includes fudge filling, chocolate crunchies, and all. There’s also a worthy gluten-free option for those who need it—and nobody will detect a difference!

…and it was a special request on a brief weekend home from college!

Guaranteed to be the hit of the party, this copycat of my favorite Dairy Queen ice cream cake includes fudge filling, chocolate crunchies, and all. There’s also a worthy gluten-free option for those who need it—and nobody will detect a difference!

Mini versions are a fun option and perfect if you don’t want a whole cake!

Guaranteed to be the hit of the party, this copycat of my favorite Dairy Queen ice cream cake includes fudge filling, chocolate crunchies, and all. There’s also a worthy gluten-free option for those who need it—and nobody will detect a difference!

Copycat Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake
Yield: 12 servings
Guaranteed to be the hit of the party, this copycat of my favorite Dairy Queen ice cream cake includes fudge filling, chocolate crunchies, and all.  There’s also a worthy gluten-free option for those who need it—and nobody will detect a difference! 
Ingredients
  • 1 (1.5 quart) container chocolate ice cream, softened*
  • 1 (1.5 quart) container vanilla ice cream, softened
  • 2 cups (8 ounces or 18-20 cookies) Oreos, finely chopped**
  • 1 cup hot fudge sauce (from a 10- to 12-ounce store-bought jar or my Salted Hot Fudge Sauce)
  • 1 (8-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed (like Cool Whip)
  • Optional decorations: crumbled cookies, sprinkles
Instructions

Place a layer of parchment paper over the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan, and lightly grease the sides.  (You can cut a round piece to fit the bottom of the pan or, better yet, anchor a larger sheet with the ring of the pan, allowing the parchment to stick out the sides as shown in the prep photo. See Tip #2 and #3, below.)

Spread the vanilla ice cream in an even layer over the bottom of the pan, making sure to fill all the edges. Place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. Sprinkle the cookies evenly over the vanilla ice cream, lightly pressing them into the ice cream.  Spread the hot fudge sauce over the cookie layer (if it’s chilled, you’ll likely need to warm briefly—but avoid making it too hot). Return to the freezer for at least 30 minutes more. Next, evenly spread the chocolate ice cream over the fudge layer. Freeze for at least 8 hours or overnight.  Tip:Place your serving platter in the freezer now, too.  It helps to have a very cold surface for the next step.

At least 1-2 hours before serving, unmold the cake. To easily release the cake from the pan, invert it on a platter and wrap a hot kitchen towel (I run very hot water over the towel and then quickly wring it out) around the sides of the pan, keeping it there just long enough to loosen the cake from the ring. Remove the ring, and then pry off the bottom of the pan with the help of the parchment paper. Immediately return the cake to the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

Spread the whipped topping on the cake, working quickly so that the ice cream doesn’t melt. (If it gets soft—which can happen quickly, especially when the weather is warm—return it to the freezer to firm up.) Decorate with reserved cookies or sprinkles, if desired, and return to the freezer.

Remove the cake from the freezer 5-10 minutes before serving (depending on how long it’s been frozen and how warm/cool the room is), to soften it enough to slice. A hot, dry knife will produce the cleanest cuts. To do this easily, dip the knife in a tall glass of hot water, wipe it clean with a towel, and cut a slice. Repeat before cutting the next slice.  Enjoy!

Notes

*I usually stick with the classic vanilla and chocolate, but you could substitute your favorite ice cream flavors.

**I place the cookies in a zip-top bag (an empty cereal bag works really well for this purpose, too) and crunch them with a rolling pin or soup can.  I aim for coarse crumbs with some slightly bigger chunks.

**I have made a gluten-free version of this cake using an 8-ounce package of KinniToos Chocolate Sandwich Crème cookies with great success.  The last time, my husband (who is a big fan of Oreos) commented that the gluten-free cookies maintain their crunch better than Oreos. Realistically, you can’t go wrong with either!

**Sometimes I reserve 2-3 cookies and sprinkle the crumbled pieces over the top of the finished cake for decoration.  I find it difficult to write “Happy Birthday” or a similar message amidst the peaks of the creamy frosting so tend to keep the adornments simple.  A dusting of colored sprinkles provides a whimsical and festive option.

Tips
  1. Make sure you have room in your freezer for the serving plate with the iced cake on top.
  1. I’ve tried plastic wrap in lieu of parchment to line the pan, but it doesn’t adhere well to the metal. Because parchment doesn’t mold to the pan, it is best used to line the bottom of the pan only.
  2. I recently tried lining the pan with a large sheet of foil, thinking it may be easier to lift the cake from the pan. This worked well and is a good method when it’s warm outside and you don’t want to apply heat to the pan to free the cake.  The only downside to this method is that the foil tears when being removed, so you have to be sure there aren’t any little pieces of foil sticking to the cake before you frost it.
  3. Freeze the serving plate prior to turning out the cake.  This prevents the bottom of the cake from softening upon contact and sliding around on the platter.
  4. Leftovers keep very well.  To cover without making a mess of the whipped topping, place the cake, uncovered, in the freezer until the topping refreezes and then lightly wrap with aluminum foil or cover with a large bag (a clean plastic grocery bag works quite well).

Serving a large group?

Recently, I wanted to double the recipe for a large group.  My first thought was to use a 9×13 metal cake pan.  The depth, however, is not sufficient to fully double the recipe and achieve the desired thickness for each layer.  I ended up making two separate cakes in my springform pan, which is easy to do if you plan ahead.  Also, because I only have one cake plate, I cut out a sturdy cardboard round (slightly larger than the cake) and wrapped it in foil.  I then used that as a base on which to freeze my first cake.

Serving a small group?

I’ve made single serve versions using 8-ounce ramekins that are just short of two inches deep and four inches in diameter.  You could use something similar.  Removal is slightly more difficult, so it’s helpful to line these and use the overhang (and the tip of a dinner knife if needed) to pry out.  Transfer to a plate or dish that has been lined with parchment so you can move them easily at serving time. For an 8-ounce ramekin, I use just over 1/3 cup of each flavor ice cream and about 2 tablespoons of the cookie crumbs and fudge sauce.  You can eyeball these measurements.

 

The Fountain Avenue Kitchen https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/

 

 

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