From as early as I can remember, we always had a Dairy Queen ice cream cake for my birthday. At first, they were classic with layers of chocolate and vanilla sandwiching fudge and crunch; later they were the iconic blizzard cakes, stuffed with toppings galore. It was a tradition I looked forward to every year.
In my teens, Dairy Queen played an even bigger part in my life—it was my first job. I was now building the ice cream cakes that we’d enjoyed at birthday parties. Now, I’ve finally put all of that valuable knowledge to good use developing this Oreo ice cream cake recipe.
Inspired by one of my all-time favorite ice cream flavors—cookies and cream—this cake combines everything I know about ice cream cakes with Oreos to create the cake of my dreams. Perfect for ice cream lovers, cookies and cream fanatics, and children and adults alike, this ice cream cake is a dreamy make-ahead dessert for all your celebrations, from birthdays to summer BBQs.
Tips and Tricks for Making Oreo Ice Cream Cake
This Oreo ice cream cake is easier to make than meets the eye, but if you’ve never made an ice cream cake before (especially at home), it can seem daunting. Here are all my tips and tricks to make the process easier:
- Clear space in the freezer before starting!
- This cake perfectly fits in an 8-inch springform pan that’s 3 inches tall. If your pan is shorter, you can line the sides with a tall strip of parchment paper, wax paper, or (better yet) a strip of food-safe acetate to extend the height.
- I like using store-bought hot fudge topping in the cake for its convenience and because it maintains some of its softness when frozen, but homemade can definitely be used here. Just make sure it is at room temperature.
- What makes these crunchies reminiscent of the crunchies in a store-bought cake is the chocolate shell. Coating essentially seals the crunchies, helping them maintain their texture. If you don’t have chocolate shell, you can skip it, but for that true ice cream cake feel, I recommend it.
- Getting clean slices is easiest when the cake is straight out of the freezer. A sharp knife should do the trick, but if you find it hard to cut through, run the knife under hot water, wipe it dry with a towel, and then use the hot, dry knife to cut the cake.
Make It Ahead
This cake takes a bit of time and patience, but the wonderful thing about an ice cream cake is that it’s the perfect make-ahead dessert! Here’s everything you need to know to plan ahead:
- The whole cake can be made from start to finish (including decorating) the day before you plan on serving. Alternatively, the cake can be built the day before serving and finished the next day.
- The crunchies can be baked the day before you plan on building the cake. If using the chocolate shell, coat the crunchies right before adding them to the cake.
Shortcuts and Substitutions
No-churn ice cream takes this cake to another level. Although delicious, sometimes time is short, we don’t have ingredients on hand, or we just want something a little different. Luckily, this cake is super adaptable and ripe for substitutions, shortcuts, and variations wherever you see fit.
- Swap store-bought vanilla and cookies and cream ice cream for the no-churn. You’ll need about 2 3/4 cups of each flavor. Let the ice cream sit out at room temperature until soft but not melted.
- Don’t want to buy vanilla and cookies and cream? No problem! Fold crushed Oreos into softened vanilla ice cream for a semi-homemade cookies and cream.
- Not a fan of plain vanilla? Try swapping the vanilla layer for chocolate, peanut butter, coffee, or mint ice cream.
- Lean on the convenience of store-bought hot fudge and chocolate shell.
- Skip the chocolate shell decoration if you don’t have it or swap it out for chocolate syrup or melted chocolate.
Storing and Freezing
The finished, uncut cake can be stored in the freezer uncovered for 1 day or covered for a week. Leftover cake can be stored in the freezer with plastic wrap pressed against the cut side and covered with plastic wrap for 3 days or sliced in an airtight container for up to 7 days.
Frozen Treat Recipes
- Strawberry Ice Cream
- Baked Alaska
- Classic Ice Cream Sandwiches
- Lemon Icebox Pie
- Banana Nice Cream
Prepare the pan:
Line a round 8×3-inch springform pan with plastic wrap. Use one sheet of plastic wrap to cover the base of the pan and another longer sheet of plastic wrap to line the sides. Clasp the ring and base together and put the pan in the freezer while you make the ice cream.
Make the no-churn ice cream:
Place 6 Oreos in a resealable plastic bag, seal, and use a rolling pin to crush the Oreos into small pieces, no bigger than 1/4 to 1/2-inch. Set aside the Oreos and reserve the bag for later use.
In a large bowl, stir together the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract, and salt to combine. In another large bowl, whip the cold heavy cream to stiff peaks using an electric hand mixer on medium speed, 3 to 4 1/2 minutes. Alternatively, you can use a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment.
Add 1/3 of the whipped cream to the bowl with the condensed milk mixture and fold in using a rubber spatula until almost fully combined. Fold in the remaining whipped cream in two additions until fully combined and there are no streaks.
Spoon half of the ice cream into a separate bowl and set aside. This will be the vanilla layer. Fold in the crushed Oreos into the remaining ice cream. This will be the cookies and cream layer. Place the cookies and cream base into the fridge while you work on the bottom layers of the cake.
Start building the cake:
Remove the prepared pan from the freezer. Using a small offset spatula or the back of a spoon, spread a very thin layer of the vanilla ice cream, about 1/4 cup, over the bottom of the pan.
Pour the milk into a small bowl. Working with one at a time, submerge each flat side of the 14 whole Oreos into the milk until soaked but not falling apart (about 6 seconds per side). Let the excess milk drip back into the bowl and place in a single layer on top of the thin layer of vanilla in the pan. Spoon any leftover milk over the Oreos and let fully absorb.
Spoon the rest of the vanilla ice cream over the Oreos and smooth into an even layer. Transfer the pan back to the freezer and freeze until the surface is firm, 45 minutes to 75 minutes, depending on your freezer. It doesn’t have to be solid all the way through, but firm enough that spreading fudge over the surface won’t make it collapse.
Make the crunchies:
While the vanilla layer freezes, make the crunchies. Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack set in the middle. Line a small rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the 10 Oreos in the resealable plastic bag, seal, and use a rolling pin to crush into fine, sandy crumbs. Alternatively, you can pulse the Oreos in a food processor. Transfer the crumbs to a medium bowl along with a pinch of kosher salt and the melted butter and toss until combined.
Spread the Oreo mixture onto the baking sheet in an even layer and bake until fragrant and matte, about 8 minutes. The Oreo crumbs will be soft when they come out of the oven and firm as they cool. Let cool.
If using the chocolate shell, transfer the crumbs to a bowl, breaking up any big clumps. Drizzle the chocolate shell over the crumbs and toss with a spoon until well coated. Set aside until you’re ready to use.
Prepare the fudge:
The fudge needs to be easily spreadable, but not hot. If using store-bought fudge from a new jar, it likely won’t need to be heated. Just take care to give it a good stir. If using fudge that has been refrigerated, reheat the fudge in the microwave in 5-second intervals, stirring between each, until the fudge is spreadable but not hot.
Add the fudge and crunchies to the cake:
Once the surface of the vanilla layer is firm, working quickly, remove the pan from the freezer. Use a small offset spatula or the back of a spoon to spread the fudge in an even layer over the vanilla ice cream. Sprinkle the crunchies over the fudge. Return the pan to the freezer and chill until the layer of crunchies is firm, about 15 minutes.
Finish building the cake:
Remove the pan from the freezer and the cookies and cream ice cream from the refrigerator. Spoon the cookies and cream ice cream over the crunchies and use an offset spatula to spread it into an even layer. Cover the pan in plastic wrap, taking care not to create any dips in the ice cream. Return the pan to the freezer and freeze the cake until solid, at least 6 hours, but ideally overnight.
Prepare your board, plate, or platter:
If using a platter or plate to frost and decorate the cake on, refrigerate for 30 minutes, or if freezer space allows, freeze for 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can finish the cake on a 10-inch cardboard cake round.
Make the whipped cream:
When the cake is frozen solid and you’re ready to decorate, prepare the whipped cream. Add the cold heavy cream, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and a pinch of kosher salt to a large bowl with a hand mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on medium speed until the cream is just about to reach stiff peaks, about 4 minutes. You should have about 3 cups. Reserve 1 cup for piping.
Unmold the cake:
Take the cake out of the freezer. Leave the top piece of plastic wrap laying on top of the cake (this will act as a barrier from the heat of your hand when you flip the cake). Unlock the clasp to release the ring from the base and remove the ring.
Working quickly, with one hand under the base and one hand on top, flip the cake over, remove the base from the springform pan, peel the plastic wrap away, and flip it onto your cake board, plate, or platter. The vanilla and Oreo layer should be back on the bottom. Remove all the plastic wrap.
Frost the cake:
If you have one, place the cake on a turntable. Scoop the whipped cream onto the top of the cake and use an offset spatula to work the cream across the top and down over the sides. Use a bench scraper, offset spatula, or another straight-edged tool to scrape a thin layer of the whipped cream and smooth out the sides.
For a bit of finesse, hold a small offset spatula or small spoon with the tip just touching the center of the top of the cake. With your other hand, continuously rotate the cake stand. As the cake stand is rotating, slowly start to pull the spatula back towards the edge of the cake through the whipped cream to create a spiral design.
Carefully transfer the cake back to the freezer to firm up the whipped cream, about 15 minutes.
Decorate the cake:
Transfer the reserved whipped cream to a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch star tip. Finely crush 1 Oreo in the resealable bag with a rolling pin for sprinkling over the top border, if desired. If using chocolate shell, transfer it to a plastic piping bag or resealable plastic bag with a small opening cut from the tip.
Remove the cake from the freezer. Using the piping bag with chocolate shell (or alternatively small spoonfuls), create the chocolate drips around the perimeter of the cake by carefully piping the chocolate around the edge and letting it drip and set. Use the piping bag filled with whipped cream to pipe large rosettes over the top border of the cake. Sprinkle the piped border with crushed Oreos and add the remaining 8 to 10 whole Oreos to the top as desired. Return the cake to the freezer for one final freeze for at least 20 minutes, or until solid.
The finished, uncut cake can be stored in the freezer for 1 day uncovered until serving or a week covered. Leftover slices can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for a week.
Love the recipe? Leave us stars and a comment below!