Copycat Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake

This Copycat Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake has layers of chocolate and vanilla ice cream around the iconic layer of chocolate crunchies and chocolate fudge. It is so easy to make and tastes just like the real thing!

ice cream cake collage

Easy Copycat Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake

As a kid, I rarely had the same birthday cake twice. I like all kinds of cake too much to stick with one. Regular cake, cheesecake, ice cream cakes – you name it. The only one I didn’t need to have for my birthday was a cookie cake, because I knew I could depend on my dad for that one at his birthday. So naturally, I’ve tried quite a few cakes – including ice cream cakes.

So, these days I feel like I’m a bit of an ice cream cake connoisseur. There’s definitely something to love about all the different kinds available, but when it comes to a Dairy Queen ice cream cake, that middle layer of chocolate fudge along with the chocolate crunchies is pure heaven. Often, I’d just dig that right out from between the ice cream and eat it alone. So darn good!

When I started playing around with ice cream cakes several years ago, I did a fair amount of experimenting with that middle fudge layer and finally perfected it. I’ve shared it before, but never for this copycat cake so I’m excited to share it with you today.

slice of Copycat Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake with a bite takenadding ice cream to a cake pan

How to Make An Ice Cream Cake

First let’s talk about the cake pan. I used an 8 by 3 inch cake pan, because I prefer a taller cake. You could definitely use a 9 inch pan though, and a springform pan would certainly be convenient. All according to what you’re going for.

Once you’ve got your pan, you’ll want to line the inside of it with clear wrap. Now it’s time to make your cake!

  1. Chocolate Ice Cream: Add your chocolate ice cream and spread it evenly into the pan. Pop the pan and ice cream into the freezer for about 30 minutes so it firms up just a bit.
  2. Chocolate fudge layer: You’re actually going to make chocolate ganache – it’ll just be a little thinner than normal and have some corn syrup in it. The corn syrup is really essential here. It helps it stay softer even when frozen, giving it that fudgy consistency. It’s not too firm and not too soft and drippy. The fudge layer is added on top of the ice cream and then frozen for another 10 minutes or so.
  3. Chocolate crunchies: You’re going to use Oreo crumbs and some melted butter for this layer. Mix the crumbs and butter together, spread them evenly onto a baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes. As it cools, break it up into smaller pieces so you have the perfect little chocolate crunchies. They are seriously perfect! They aren’t big chunks of Oreos (yay!), but because they’ve been baked a bit they still keep their crispiness even when added to the ice cream cake. Perfection!

    Add the chocolate crunchy layer and then pop it back in the freezer for about two hours, so the cake can firm up and the layers stay even.

  4. Vanilla ice cream: Add the vanilla ice cream on top and freeze the cake until it’s firm. When it’s done, frost it with my homemade whipped cream. It uses some powdered sugar to keep it from wilting. It stays stable for days and days making it ideal for an ice cream cake. Decorate the ice cream cake as you like for your occasion and you’re ready to go!

This is seriously the BEST Copycat Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake! The middle fudge and crunchy layer is pure perfection. You will love it. And just like when I was a kid, you will want to eat the chocolate fudge and chocolate crunchy layer right out of the center!

overhead slice of Copycat Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cakefull Copycat Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake with a slice cut out

HOW TO STORE AN ICE CREAM CAKE

This ice cream cake is actually a great recipe to make ahead. You can layer everything together, cover it and leave it in the pan you built it in. It should be fine sitting in the pan for about a week ahead of time. Then you can frost it the of or the day before you need it so that the decorations looks nice and fresh.

After decorating, it’s ideal to store it in a container (such as a cake box or cake carrier) in the freezer. If you don’t have a container that size or space in your freezer, it’ll be fine for a few days in your freezer.

slice of Copycat Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake

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Image of slice of Copycat DQ Ice Cream Cake
Recipe

Copycat Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 5 hours 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 hours 25 minutes
  • Yield: 12-14 slices
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Copycat Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake has layers of chocolate and vanilla ice cream around the iconic layer of chocolate crunchies and chocolate fudge. It is so easy to make and tastes just like the real thing!


Ingredients

Chocolate Cookie Crunchies

  • 3/4 cup (100g) Oreo crumbs (about 9 Oreos)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter, melted

Ice Cream Layers

  • 1.5 quart container vanilla ice cream
  • 1.5 quart container chocolate ice cream

Chocolate Fudge

  • 6 oz | 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy whipping cream

Whipped Cream

  • 2 cups (480ml) heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 1 cup (115g) powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Sprinkles

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside.
2. Combine the Oreo crumbs and melted butter and stir until well combined. Spread the crumbs evenly onto the prepared cookie sheet.
3. Bake for 8-10 minutes, then allow to cool. Use your fingers to break any big clumps into smaller ones. Set aside.
4. Line an 8×3 inch cake pan* with clear wrap that covers the bottom and goes above the sides of the cake pan. I used two pieces.
5. About 20 minutes before you need it, set the chocolate ice cream out to soften. Add the softened chocolate ice cream to the prepared cake pan and spread into an even layer. Freeze for 30 minutes.
6. To make the fudge layer, add the chocolate chips, corn syrup and vanilla extract to a medium sized bowl.
7. Heat the heavy whipping cream just until it begins to boil, then pour it over the chocolate chips. Allow to sit for 2-3 minutes, the whisk until smooth.
8. Remove the cake pan with the chocolate ice cream from the freezer, then pour the chocolate fudge over the ice cream and spread into an even layer. Freeze for about 10 minutes.
9. Add the cookie crumbles to the top of the fudge layer, then freeze for about 2 hours, until mostly firm.
10. About 20 minutes before you need it, set the vanilla ice cream out to soften. Add the vanilla ice cream to the top of the cake, then freeze until firm, 2-3 hours.
11. Use the clear wrap to lift the frozen cake out of the pan, then place it on a cardboard cake circle or a serving plate. Set it back in the freezer.
12. To make the whipped cream, add the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract to a large mixer bowl. Whip on high speed until stiff peaks form.
13. Frost the cake with the whipped cream and decorate as desired. I used Ateco tip 844 for piping the borders.
14. Freeze the cake until ready to serve. Cake is best when stored well covered and eaten within 4-5 days.


Notes

I like using the 8×3 inch cake pan and having a taller cake, but if you don’t have one of those pans on hand and don’t want to purchase it, you could also use a 9 inch pan (including a springform pan). The cake just won’t be as tall.

Keywords: dairy queen ice cream cake, ice cream cake recipe, homemade ice cream cake, how to make ice cream cake, best ice cream cake, chocolate ice cream cake, dairy queen ice cream cake recipe

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Recipe rating

282 Comments
  1. Yvonne

    Great recipe. I made it in a 6 inch high pot, about 9inches in diameter. I lined the pot with plastic wrap as you said. I used 3 types of ice cream-vanilla, chocolate and salted caramel. I doubled your ganache and the crumble amounts so I had enough to use between all 3 layers (I saved a little bit of ganache to streak on the top of the cake at the end). I finished off the cake with the whipping cream topping as in your recipe and I used whipping cream in the aerosol can to make little peaks around the edge of the cake. To finish it off, I streaked a melted caramel drizzle and the remaining chocolate ganache drizzle over the top of the cake and used pecan halves on the top instead of sprinkles. The little bit of chocolate and caramel drizzle over the pecans was delicious! The plastic wrap made it easy to remove from the pot. Taste incredible and it looked beautiful. Thanks for this recipe.

    1. Lindsay

      The options are endless. People have mentioned a number of different combinations they’ve used in the comments. Truly any ice cream you can find that you think sounds good together will work.

  2. Barb Schmitt

    I made this for my 16 year old triplet grandchildren’s birthday. I used a 9 by 13 dish. They were thrilled with the end result. Said it was even better than the original. I have had 3 requests to make it again.

  3. Laurene Paul

    I have made several of these and they never fail, always a hit. My Mother is diabetic so I use sugar free ice cream, sugar free chocolate chips, and sugar free cookies to cut down on the amount of sugar for. Now it is her favorite birthday cake.

  4. Sarah

    This recipe was great! My daughter wanted a chocolate chip cookie themed cake, so we used chocolate chip cookie crumbs in the middle instead of oreo, and chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. The only thing I would say is that with the warm weather, it was challenging to decorate on top of the whipped cream without it melting. Next time I’ll throw it in the freezer again after completing that layer. Everyone raved about it though!

  5. Holly N.

    I’d give this recipe 10 stars if I could! I made this for my son-in-law’s 30th birthday today. The recipe was easy to make and the flavor was spot on! Everyone loved it (especially the chocolate fudge filling!). We will definitely be making this again.

  6. Petinna

    Curious Could I use a bowl for the ice cream? Was thinking bottom layer in round pan, crunchie layer on that then using the bowl ice cream layer on topTrying to make a cake with doll in the middle and the cake is her dress.

    Thanks

  7. Patricia Butler

    Made this for my husband’s birthday and he was thrilled. Can the whipped cream be used to frost regular cakes as well? Or does it need to be frozen to remain stable?

  8. Audrey

    Love this recipe, only problem I had was the icing kept running down the side of the cake when I was trying to decorate it.

    1. Marina

      You can make regular whipped cream into chocolate whipped cream by adding a couple tablespoons of cocoa powder and carefully stirring then in. When I make chocolate whipped cream, I usually slightly reduce the amount of icing sugar also to help with consistency and just because I personally don’t enjoy overly sweet chocolate.

  9. Amy J Wick

    The base recipe is great and such a hit last summer I was asked by the two birthday boys (my son and dad!) I was asked to make it again. I made a coffee themed one for my dad, and my only suggestion to others is to NOT use flavored chips. Use chocolate. The coffee chips did not harden enough and made a mess!

  10. KH

    Have you ever tried using store bought Cool Whip for the icing? Trying to save time and wonder if it would work as well?

    1. Lindsay

      I think it would be very hard to get an ice cream cake out of that type of pan unless you lined it extremely well.

  11. Rachel G.

    I used this recipe over the weekend to make a chocolate peanut butter ice cream cake, and it was a HUGE HIT!! I ended up using a 9″ springform pan, chocolate peanut butter ice cream for both layers, doubled the amount of chocolate fudge, and used peanut butter chocolate oreos for the cookie crunchies. I used a different frosting recipe (a marshmallow fluff buttercream icing) and while that icing was delicious, it was a pain to spread over the ice cream cake so if I were to make another ice cream cake in the future, I will definitely be using a different frosting!

    The chocolate fudge and cookie crunch layers were my favorite, and I have to say your recipe has made me appreciate ice cream cakes in a new light! Thanks again for sharing this awesome recipe!!

  12. Julie

    I made this recipe for the first time last year for my twins’ birthdays, using mint chocolate chip and chocolate ice cream, and everyone absolutely loved it! I wanted to share in case anyone was like me and all of my pans were 2-2.5 inches high and I just didn’t think it’d be high enough. So I took an almost 8 inch pot and used that to build the cake. I added slightly more ice cream for each layer (maybe about 2 pints instead of 2.5) since I had the room, but definitely did not go to the top of the pot. The boys requested it again this year but with mint chocolate chip and cookie dough ice cream, so we’ll see how that turns out but I bet it’ll be delicious. I’m even thinking with the pot I could try 3 ice cream layers, and double the cookie/fudge layer (which in my opinion is also the best part). The possibilities seem endless now that we’ve been given such an amazing and easy to follow recipe. Thanks because I know we will be using this for years to come!

  13. Taylor

    I just came across this recipe and I’m super excited to try it! Is there a certain brand of ice cream that you would suggest using in order to almost get that Dairy Queen flavor?

  14. Lori

    This recipe is easy to follow and turned out perfectly! It was a real crowd pleaser, and people were amazed that I made it myself! I love this original recipe, but I made it with blue moon and cookie dough ice cream, Sander’s caramel topping, and Golden Oreos because my son isn’t a chocolate guy (how is he my kid?!?! 😉 ) and it was VERY good too! Thank you so much for sharing this with your readers!!!

  15. Cherene

    Hey there! I love this recipe! I’ve actually been debating doing an ice cream cake for my daughter’s 5th birthday next week – and I was considering doing a mint chocolate chip one. Do you have a mint chocolate chip ice cream cake recipe? Or maybe could you give me suggestions on how to do it (for the first time)? 🙂 Thank you so much!

    1. Lindsay

      I don’t have a mint chocolate chip ice cream cake recipe, but you could easily switch out the ice cream in this cake.

  16. Cathy

    I always made my children’s birthday cakes when they were growing up, so they matched whatever “theme” they had chosen for their party. Now I have grandchildren and my daughter buys their cakes. More than once the cakes were not correct, so I requested to start making their cakes. My oldest granddaughter only likes ice cream cakes. I need to know if you have ever tried making this cake using a 13×9 cake pan?

    1. Lindsay

      I have not made it in a 9 x 13, but there are several people in the comments who have said that they have. I believe you want to make one and a half recipes worth.

  17. Hayley

    Just made this for my boyfriend’s birthday, it was a huge hit! I substituted the vanilla ice cream with caramel moosetracks ice cream, and substitued oreo cookies with Shiela G’s Brownie brittle (baked for only a few minutes) and it complimented so well! You are definitely on to something with the chocolate ganache, I have made this before with stor-bought chocolate fudge and it got really hard, but this chocolate layer stayed nice and gooey. Thanks!!

  18. Mary

    I have made this twice. Party favorite I made it each time in a 9×13 pan for easier traveling. Super easy but time consuming. Best if started the night before and finishing up the vanilla layer and frosting early the morning you plan to eat it.

  19. Elyssa

    I love this recipe
    I’ve been following it and making it for my sons birthday this will be year 3 it never fails! Always looks amazing and tastes exactly like the dq version. I do following this recipe to try exact “t” and it’s pure perfection

    1. Lindsay

      Even with a springform pan, you will likely need to line it. Unless your springform pan is really completely leak proof, the ice cream will seep through.

  20. Sandy

    Hi, to finish the cake, do you smooth a layer of ice cream around the outside of the cake or is it all frosting?

  21. Mary

    I made this ice cream cake for my husband’s birthday. My family didn’t believe I made it. It was very good. Loved the ganache fudge layer. It was time consuming because of the freeze times but I started two days ahead of time to make sure the ice cream was solid before adding the layers.

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12