The appeal of ice cream cake is obvious: These two beloved desserts belong together, and a cold, creamy slice of ice cream cake is far more satisfying than a scoop of ice cream haphazardly dolloped onto a slice of cake.
We wanted to develop a basic ice cream cake that would be a hit at any party. We started with three crowd-pleasing flavours—chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry—to create a striped Neapolitan cake. Oreo crumbs served as a sturdy bottom crust and also provided a welcome bit of chocolatey crunch between each layer of ice cream.
When it came to assembling the cake, we found that the key was patience. We didn’t start until the crust was completely cool, and allowing the ice cream to soften to a spreadable consistency ensured it wouldn’t mar the crust. For clean lines and to avoid a melty mess, it was essential to freeze each layer before adding the next.
We dressed up our cake by pressing party-ready rainbow sprinkles into the sides, but you could also use chopped nuts or crushed candies or cookies. You can also pipe a greeting on top once the cake is fully frozen. Use the entire Oreo—filling and all—for the crust. Before removing the cake from the springform pan, run your paring knife under hot tap water for 10 seconds or so.
BASIC ICE CREAM CAKE
Start to finish: 10 hours
25 Oreo cookies, broken into rough pieces
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 pint strawberry ice cream
1 pint vanilla ice cream
1 pint chocolate ice cream
1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 F. Process Oreos in food processor until finely ground, about 30 seconds. Add melted butter and process until mixture resembles wet sand, about 10 seconds.
Using your hands, press 2/3 cup crumb mixture evenly into bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Using bottom of measuring cup, firmly pack crust into pan. Bake until the crust is fragrant and set, 5 to 10 minutes. Let crust cool completely on wire rack, about 30 minutes.
Scoop strawberry ice cream into large bowl and, using large rubber spatula or wooden spoon, break up scoops of ice cream. Stir and fold ice cream to achieve smooth consistency. Spread softened ice cream evenly over crust. Sprinkle 2/3 cup Oreo crumbs over ice cream and pack down lightly. Wrap pan tightly with plastic wrap and freeze until ice cream is just firm, about 30 minutes. Repeat with vanilla ice cream and remaining 2/3 cup Oreo crumbs; wrap tightly and freeze for another 30 minutes. Soften chocolate ice cream, spread evenly in pan, and smooth top. Wrap cake tightly in plastic and freeze until firm, at least 8 hours or up to 1 week.
To unmould cake, run hot thin knife around edge of pan. Remove sides of pan and slide thin metal spatula between crust and pan bottom to loosen, then slide cake onto platter. Press sprinkles onto sides of cake. Serve immediately.