This is THE vegan ice cream cake recipe to make for the summer! Super fun and easy to make, this homemade ice cream cake is like no other cake: layered with fudgy rich chocolate cake, creamy dairy free ice cream, and decorated with decadent dairy free buttercream and ganache, this is the ultimate ice cream cake for any summer birthday or party!

vegan ice cream cake on a plate

The ULTIMATE vegan ice cream cake recipe

Hot summer days, and especially summer birthdays, call for none other than the ultimate homemade ice cream cake recipe. And this ice cream cake is unlike any ice cream cake you’ve had.

This is not your Fudgy the Whale cake. This is truly a cake with ice cream layers throughout, giving you the perfect balance of both actual cake, ice cream, and frosting in every bite. With a super moist and fudge chocolate cake, layers of creamy ice cream, and homemade vanilla buttercream, this freezer cake will be an absolute crowd pleaser. Perfect at any Memorial Day party, Fourth of July get together, summer birthday party, or barbecue!

And the best part? It’s entirely and secretly vegan, dairy free, and eggless. Oh, and you can easily make this cake gluten free as well! How do I know this? Well, I’ve had several taste testers who don’t normally eat vegan treats try this cake. The verdict: the only reason they picked their jaws up off the floor was to take another bite 🙂

So forget store-bought ice cream cakes….let’s make our own!

sliced vegan ice cream cake with cone on top

What ice cream to use for an ice cream cake

For making your own vegan ice cream cake, you have a few options for the different types of ice cream! You can go the route of homemade ice cream, like using my favorite cashew milk ice cream or vegan cookie dough ice cream, or you use store bought.

For store bought ice cream, the great news is that vegan ice creams these days really taste good. I recommend either So Delicious, Oatsome, or Nada Moo. They all have wonderful flavors and offer both nut-free and coconut-free options.

You can make a vegan vanilla ice cream cake, a vegan chocolate ice cream cake, or strawberry ice cream. Or you can make this freezer cake super fun and use some other flavors like:

  • birthday cake ice cream
  • cookies n’ cream (Oreo ice cream!)
  • mint chocolate chip ice cream
  • mocha fudge ice cream
  • vegan brownie ice cream
  • peanut butter ice cream

You can also fill the cake with crushed homemade vegan Oreos, like I did, or use a homemade vegan caramel sauce!

sliced vegan ice cream cake

How to make an ice cream cake from scratch

In this section, we’ll go over the details of making this ice cream cake. While it’s straight forward and somewhat easy, it definitely is a process!

I recommend making this cake over the span of two days. This is because when we’re baking the actual cake part, the kitchen gets hot. It will take a while for the kitchen to cool down, especially on a summer day, which makes it a less than ideal situation for ice cream to be stacked in between the cake.

Your best bet is preparing the cake the day before, then assembling the cake the following day. If you’re not serving the cake the day that you assemble, then you can easily store the cake in the freezer. But more on that later!

As always, the full written recipe and instructions are found down below in the recipe card. However, we’re going to go over some helpful tips here!

Super moist vegan chocolate cake layers

The reason why this dairy free ice cream cake is so amazing is due impart to the chocolate cake layers. This is truly the ultimate vegan chocolate cake. I’ve been asked to make for countless family members’ and friends’ birthdays.

It’s an ultra rich and fudge chocolate cake that’s entirely refined sugar free, dairy free, and eggless, yet you’d never know. And some people even prefer the gluten free version, even if they’re not gluten free themselves. That’s how good it is!

The cake itself is so easy to make. We have two options: either use a stand mixer or make it by hand. You can also make this cake as a 6″ cake or an 8″ cake. Pictured is a two layer 8″ cake with 1 layer as ice cream. Either option works!

The best way to make the ice cream layer

This next section is really the key to how to make a fantastic and easy homemade ice cream cake. Have you ever tried to just scoop the ice cream onto the cake layers, only to have it melt and slosh about? Well, that’s why we’re freezing the ice cream as a cake layer.

To do so, we’ll soften the ice cream to spread into an 8″ spring from pan (or if you made a 6″ cake, you’ll use a 6″ springform pan). Then once we’ve re-frozen the ice cream, we’ll use the frozen ice cream as an ice cream layer.

ice cream layer in a springform pan

How to soften ice cream for an ice cream cake

We discuss how to soften an ice cream cake for slicing in the sections below, but before we do that, you’ll need to know how to prepare the ice cream for the actual freezer cake making process.

I recommend bringing the ice cream out to soften at the start of the cake baking process. As soon as the cakes are in the oven, your ice cream should be soft enough to spread into the casserole dish.

Then when you’re slicing the ice cream cake for the layers, about 10-15 minutes at room temperature (less time if it’s a hot summer day) should work for bringing the ice cream to a softer state, making it easier to move.

Assembling a homemade ice cream cake

And now for the best part: assembling the vegan ice cream cake! The key to making an ice cream cake is working in a cool environment. So as long as your kitchen is cool, you’ll be good to go!

  • You’ll assemble this cake in stages. Again, the full instructions are in the recipe card, but we’re going to go over some tips here, as well as provide some visual references. We also have a video tutorial, so be sure to check that out below!
  • Like we discussed above, slicing the ice cream into the perfect sized layers is the key to making even and non melty ice cream layers. You’ll stack the cake up as cake layer, ice cream layer, cake layer.
  • I also recommend using a dowel for this cake as well. This will help ensure that your cake stays standing as you’re transferring it to the freezer and back. Here is a great article on how to dowel a cake if you haven’t before. Don’t worry! It’s super easy!
  • Once you’ve stacked the cake, you’ll place the ice cream cake back into the freezer and allow it to set for at least 45 minutes. This will ensure that the ice cream has hardened once again, and will keep the cake from melting. If you’re worried about drying out the cake, don’t worry- 45 minutes to even an hour will still be fine for your cake, and it will be super moist! If you’re concerned with drying out the cake though, you can use a simple syrup drizzled on the tops of the cakes before stacking them.
  • Right before you’re about to take the ice cream cake out of the freezer, you can make the buttercream. I used our vegan vanilla buttercream, but I’ve given an option for vanilla and chocolate in the recipe card! I do recommend doing a crumb coat first, placing the cake back into the freezer for 15 minutes for the cake to set, then doing the final frosting coat. It will make it much easier for you to decorate the cake, as the ice cream will have a chilly insulation to keep it cool as you decorate.
  • Once you’ve frosted the cake, it’s time to decorate! I used vegan ganache, vegan gluten free ice cream cones, vegan sprinkles and a scoop of actual ice cream on top. You can decorate the cake as much as you’d like! Check out these fun ice cream cake designs on Pinterest.

How to store an ice cream cake

Once you’ve decorated your cake, you probably want to store it before you’re going to serve. I recommend storing the cake in the freezer with the decorations on. After 15 minutes in the freezer, you can gently and carefully cover it with plastic wrap, but generally, the cake shouldn’t dry out, as the buttercream offers insulation to keep it moist.

About an hour before you’re ready to serve the ice cream cake, transfer the cake to the fridge to start to thaw. This will allow the cake to become soft again. Then serve and slice the ice cream cake.

slice of vegan ice cream cake

You are just going to love this homemade vegan ice cream cake! I cannot wait to see your beautiful decorations and hear how it came out for you. Trust me, this will be your go-to ice cream cake recipe to make!

If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and a rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below so that others can find this recipe.

As always, I absolutely love to see your beautiful creations on Instagram and Pinterest, so be sure to tag me there!

Happy freezer cake making!

Want to save this recipe for later? Add it to your favorite recipe board on Pinterest!

vegan ice cream cake Pinterest pin

If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and a rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below. This helps others to find the recipes! As always, I absolutely love to see your beautiful creations on Instagram and Pinterest, so be sure to tag me there as well!

Watch how to make a vegan ice cream cake:

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vegan ice cream cake on a plate

BEST Ever Vegan Ice Cream Cake (Gluten Free!)

  • Author: thebananadiaries
  • Prep Time: 180
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 3 hours 25 minutes
  • Yield: 18 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


This is THE vegan ice cream cake recipe to make for the summer! Super fun and easy to make, this homemade ice cream cake is like no other cake: layered with fudgy rich chocolate cake, creamy dairy free ice cream, and decorated with decadent dairy free buttercream and ganache, this is the ultimate ice cream cake for any summer birthday or party!


Units Scale

Vegan Ice Cream Cake Decorations:

  • 1 batch vegan chocolate buttercream or vegan vanilla buttercream
  • Vegan sugar cones
  • Vegan sprinkles
  • Vegan ganache


  1. I recommend making this cake across two days. Day One is making the cake and setting the ice cream in the casserole dish, Day Two is assembling the cake. Please see note for why I recommend this.
  2. Be sure to read all instructions before beginning. Measure out all ingredients for the cake. Take out the ice cream to soften at room temperature while you’re baking the cake. Prep two 8″ cake pans with parchment paper and grease the sides.
  3. Day one: Make the chocolate cake batter: Follow the instructions for making the vegan chocolate cake, using the gluten free option as needed. 
  4. Bake the cakes: pour the batter into the two cake pans evenly. Place the cakes into the oven and bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool in their pans for 10 minutes. Then carefully transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely, about 45 minutes. Then cover the layers with plastic wrap and let sit overnight at room temperature.
  5. Day two: assemble the ice cream cake: In the morning, take the ice cream out to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes or until soft. While the ice cream is softening, line an 8″ springform pan with plastic wrap. 
  6. Make the ice cream layer: Spoon the ice cream into the springform pan, and smooth the ice cream to the edges. Then freeze the ice cream again for 3-4 hours, or until completely hardened again.
  7. While the ice cream is chilling: Prepare the vegan Oreo cookies through the baking step. Once cooled, you can crush the cookies to become a cookie crumb. If there’s any warm to the cookies, place them covered and in the freezer to chill until ready to assemble the cake.
  8. Assemble the cake: When your ice cream is ready, you can begin to assemble the cake. Place the first cake layer down, then sprinkle about half of the cookie mixture on top. Carefully remove an ice cream layer by using a spatula to transfer the ice cream on top of the cake layer. Sprinkle more crushed cookie on top of the ice cream layer, then place the second cake layer on top of the ice cream. Cover the cake in tin foil or plastic wrap very tightly, being sure there are no air pockets, and place the cake into the freezer to chill for 1 hour.
  9. While the cake is setting, prepare the buttercream: you can prepare the frosting towards the latter half of the ice cream cake setting time. Prepare your desired vegan frosting according to the instructions in the post. 
  10. Assemble the cake: when your ice cream cake is set, frost the ice cream cake as you would a regular cake. Please do so quickly, though, as you don’t want the ice cream to soften. Then chill the frosted cake in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  11. Decorate: Decorate the cake with ice cream cones, piped buttercream, vegan ganache, and vegan sprinkles. Then store in the freezer until ready to serve. 
  12. Storage: It is safe to store the cake in the freezer whole until ready to serve. After 20 minutes in the freezer fully decorated, you can carefully wrap the outside of the cake with plastic wrap and keep it in the freezer for up to 7 days. When preparing to serve, transfer the ice cream cake to the fridge to allow the cake to temper for 1 hour before serving. Slice and enjoy!


Making this ice cream cake: I recommend making this cake over two days, as kitchens will tend to overheat when you’re baking a cake. This will make it very difficult to make an ice cream cake, as the ice cream will quickly melt and you’ll risk losing any ice cream layers. Spreading this baking process across two days will ensure that you’re not rushed for time and that your ice cream won’t melt!

Gluten free: you can easily make this ice cream cake gluten free by swapping in gluten-free 1:1 baking flour for the cake and using gluten-free ice cream cones, such as the ones by Edward & Sons.

Nut-free: to make this cake nut-free, please ensure that all dairy-free products you’re using are nut-free (so coconut or oat based!). 

Please read the blog post for all tips and tricks on making the best vegan ice cream cake!

Keywords: vegan ice cream cake, ice cream cake, homemade ice cream cake, dairy free ice cream cake, how to make an ice cream cake