A little while ago, my 7-year-old daughter wanted to celebrate her birthday with an ice-cream-themed party (strange, I know!)
This cake was the main event.
When I brought her in on the morning of her party to show her the cake, her eyes lit up with amazement.
It was magical.
My husband even said it looked “like something off of MasterChef.”
This adaptable recipe can be used with any flavor of cake and frosting. If you want a cake exactly like mine, simply follow the instructions below!
Tools for Success
There are a few things you’ll need to make it through this process.
Pro-tip: assemble all of these things beforehand.
Then you won’t start panicking in the middle of a step looking for something.
What you’ll need:
- 4 8-inch round cake pans
- Parchment paper rounds
- Hand sifter
- Electric mixer
- Kitchen scale
- Wire racks
- 1 pot
- Silicon spatula
- Serrated knife
- Spoon or icing spatula
Overview of instructions
Here I’ve focused on the assembly of the final cake.
For my step-by-step instructions on how to make the cake, the frosting, and the ganache, scroll down to the bottom of the post.
Level the cake with a sharp, serrated knife to ensure layers stack well.
Fill and frost the cake with buttercream.
Drip the ice-cream cone in ganache and then when it’s nearly hardened roll it in sprinkles.
Put your cake pop dough on top of the frosted cake.
Pour room temperature ganache over the cake pop until it’s completely coated. If it’s too hot, it will melt the buttercream.
Position the ice cream cone on top of the coated cake-pop i.e the ‘ice cream’.
Glaze the cake with room temperature ganache, using the back of a spoon to drip the ganache down the sides of the cake.
When the ganache is almost hardened, decorate with sprinkles.
Doing this too soon will result in sunken sprinkles. Doing it too late means the sprinkles won’t stick at all.
Substitutions and variations
This cake recipe is great for any occasion, but the colors and decorations you choose can make a difference in the aesthetic you’re hoping for.
Try some of these suggestions for different occasions:
- Use dark brown frosting with gold sprinkles for a more grown-up look. Strategically place some sliced strawberries or maraschino cherries to add a finishing touch.
- Dip your ice cream cone in white chocolate. Use white frosting and fine rainbow sprinkles. A cake like this would be great for a baby shower or wedding party.
- Try dark chocolate icing with sea salt instead of sprinkles for a savory twist. Drizzle some caramel over the “melted ice cream” part, and you’ve got a unique cake for office parties.
- Try crushed oreo sprinkles with a white chocolate-dipped cone for cookies-and-cream-themed cake.
- Yellow frosting would look great with a chocolate-dipped cone covered in crushed peanuts. Place some walnuts around the top of the cake for a spring-and-summer color combo that feels like sunshine!
Tips for success
While this process sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is, having some tips to guide you might make your life even easier.
Try some of these tips for a professional-looking cake that is both delicious and beautiful.
- Freeze the finished cake before icing it with buttercream. It will prevent you from knocking chunks off your warm, moist cake as you ice it. If you do knock some pieces off, cover the sides in sprinkles, and no one will ever know.
- Apply the buttercream in excess first. Then, you can use an icing spatula to smooth it out.
- Put your cake on a parchment-lined baking sheet before you add the sprinkles. This will help you collect all the strays and put them back in the bottle! Make a cone with the parchment paper by folding it in half to funnel them back in.
- Don’t dilly dally when you’re applying the chocolate ganache. It dries quickly, and it will be harder to get the ‘drip’ look when it’s already hardened.
- Stick to bars instead of chips for the ganache. Chocolate chips tend to have stabilizers that make them hard to melt evenly.
- If you’re having trouble smoothing the buttercream, get your scraper warm by running it under some hot water. Wipe it dry, then try again. Works like a charm!
Melting Ice Cream Cake
For the cake
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder I use Valrhona
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 75 ml 2.5oz vegetable oil
- 140 ml 5oz buttermilk
- 130 ml 4.5oz espresso or strong, hot brewed coffee
- 2 eggs room temperature, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
For the buttercream frosting
- 2 cups unsalted butter 720g, softened
- 6 cups powdered sugar 450g, sifted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 tbsp heavy whipping cream 60ml, room temperature
- pink food coloring a few drops
For the ganache
- 6 oz good quality bittersweet or dark chocolate 170g, chopped (I used Lindt 70%)
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- cake pop dough buttercream, cake scraps
- 1 waffle cone
For the cake
- Preheat oven to 350° F (180°C). Prepare 4 8-inch round cake pans with butter, parchment paper rounds, and dust with cocoa powder. Tap out excess.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, sift all dry ingredients.
- Add all wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and with the paddle attachment, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed.
- Pour the batter into your prepared pans. Batter will be liquidy. If possible, use digital kitchen scale and weigh pans for even layers.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes and rotate pans in oven. Cakes are done when toothpick or skewer comes clean.
- Cool on wire racks for 20 minutes then gently invert onto racks until completely cool.
- Level the cakes with a sharp serrated knife. Don't discard of the cake scraps – keep these in a bowl.
- Chill the cakes in the fridge or freezer before frosting.
For the frosting
- Beat butter in an electric mixer for 10-15 minutes until very light and creamy in colour.
- Beat in the icing sugar one cup at a time until well incorporated.
- Add 2 tablespoons of cream and the vanilla, beat for a further 2 minutes.
- Add food coloring, and more cream if needed and beat until the coloring is uniform. The icing should be fluffy and smooth.
For the ganache
- Place very finely chopped chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl.
- Heat the cream in a separate saucepan until it starts to gentle simmer (do not boil).
- Pout the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 2-3 minutes while the chocolate softens.
- Stir gently until the chocolate is completely melted.
- Let the ganache cool to room temperature before glazing the cake, otherwise the glaze will melt the buttercream.
- Assemble as per a 4-layer cake, leveling the cake with a sharp, serrated knife if necessary.
- Fill and frost the layers with buttercream.
- To make the cake pop dough – crumble the reserved cake scraps using your fingers. Transfer the crumbs to a bowl and mix in 2 tablespoons of buttercream.
- The mixture should hold together when squeezed in the palm of your hand. Add more buttercream if needed until you reach the desired consistency.
- Make an ice-cream-sized scoop out of the cake pop dough.
- Dip your waffle cone in the ganache and wait for it to dry slightly before rolling it in sprinkles.
- Place the cake pop on your frosted cake and cover it with ganache.
- Position the waffle cone on top of the cake pop, holding it down until it sticks.
- Cover the cake with room temperature ganache, using the back of a spoon to create the drips.
- Wait for the ganache to harden slightly before adding sprinkles.