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homemade ice cream cake

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!



Vegan Chocolate Cake:

  • 1 cup (240 grams) dairy-free milk, room temperature
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cups (375 grams) all purpose flour or gluten free 1:1 baking flour, sifted
  • 1 cup (100 grams) cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup (220 grams) coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) vegan butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (190 grams) unsweetened applesauce, room temperature
  • 1 cup (85 grams) boiling water + 1 tsp espresso powder (or 1 cup coffee)
  • 1 cup (130 grams) vegan chocolate chips

Vegan Ice Cream:

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.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350F, and prepare three 6″ cake pans. You can use 8″ cake pans if you’d like. Grease the bottoms and sides of the pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Set aside. Prepare the vegan buttermilk by mixing together the dairy-free milk and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl and set aside for 5-7 minutes to curdle. You can prepare the batter while the buttermilk is forming. 
  4. Make the batter: in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside. In a stand mixer with paddle attachment or a large bowl and a hand mixer, cream the vegan butter until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add in the coconut sugar, and cream together again until the sugar begins to slightly dissolve into the vegan butter, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and bottom of the bowl as needed. Then add in the applesauce, and mix again on medium speed until combined. To the mixture, add in about half of the flour mixture, along with half of the buttermilk. Mix on medium speed until the flour starts to combine with the wet. Add in the remaining flour mixture and buttermilk, and mix again just until there are no more dry streaks. Slowly pour in the hot espresso, and mix on medium speed until the coffee has just mixed into the batter. If using a stand mixer, remove the bowl from the stand mixer. Add in the chocolate chips and fold until they are just distributed throughout the batter.
  5. Bake the cakes: pour the batter into the three cake pans evenly. Place the cakes into the oven and bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. If using three 8″ cake pans, the cakes will bake a bit quicker. 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.
  6. While the cakes are cooling: in a casserole dish that’s at least 15″ long and 2″ deep, pour and spread the vegan ice cream into the dish until it reaches the edges. Cover the dish, and place it in the freezer to set overnight. 
  7. Once the cakes are cool: wrap the layers separately in plastic wrap and store in the fridge overnight.
  8. The next day, create the ice cream layers: set the ice cream out to come to room temperature for 15 minutes. Then use the bottom of one of your 6″ cake pans and a butter knife. Place the cake pan on top of the ice cream and use the knife to trace the cake pan, creating the ice creamy layer that will go between the cakes. Repeat for the second ice cream layer and leave the ice cream in the dish. Place the ice cream back into the freezer for 15 minutes.
  9. Assemble the cake: when your ice cream is ready, you can begin to assemble the cake. Place the first cake layer down, then carefully remove an ice cream layer by using a spatula to transfer the ice cream on top of the cake layer. Place the second cake layer on top of the ice cream, and repeat with the remaining ice cream layer. Place the last cake layer on top of the ice cream layer, and dowel the cake. Place the cake immediately into the freezer to set for at least 45 minutes. 
  10. 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. 
  11. Assemble the cake: when your ice cream cake is set, frost the ice cream cake as you would a regular cake. You can crumb coat the cake, but make sure to place it into the freezer in between layers. Decorate the cake with ice cream cones, piped buttercream, vegan ganache, and vegan sprinkles.
  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!

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