Copycat Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake

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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 1x
  • 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!


Scale

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

240 Comments
  1. Elle

    I’m at the part where everything’s assembled in the pan, I went to take it out though, and I don’t stand a chance at it being firm enough to lift and transfer from the plastic and base of the spring form pan.

    I guess I’m just going to trim down the plastic and leave it in place…

    Any other suggestions?

    1. Lindsay

      Is the ice cream just not fully frozen? There isn’t really anything in the recipe that wouldn’t firm up, since it’s store bought ice cream.

      1. Kelly

        I just tried to make the cake and used Friendly’s ice cream which will not I repeat not set hard. There’s something in the ice cream the keeps it soft. I would suggest not using that brand.

    2. Katie

      I am so excited to try this recipe! A friend requested an ice cream cake for their birthday, and I’m going to make homemade ice cream for the layers. I am thinking I will churn the ice cream then immediately put the layers in springforms instead of packing them into pints to save myself a step. 

      Do you have any suggestions for the best way to store this cake, or at least the layers before I assemble and frost? I have a carrying stand I use to transport regular cakes but it’s not very airtight and I need some way to store them before assembling. I was thinking I could put the springforms in gallon ziplocks, or would it be better to use plastic wrap? 

      1. Lindsay

        I usually just leave them open in the freezer. But you could cover them with foil. They should be fine as long as they’re not sitting in there for an extended period of time.

    3. Stacey Heisterkamp

      I’m making letting my chocolate ice cream freeze up and my Oreos cool as I type this and I had a question. I read through I think all the comments first but didn’t find a good answer. When I put the chocolate ocean in my 9” springform pan it filled it up to the top. To add the vanilla later do you use a different pan or how do you get everything layered without falling over?  

      1. Lindsay

        Sounds like you might have used more chocolate ice cream. But you could use a second pan for the vanilla ice cream. Or, if you don’t have one, you should be able to use the clear wrap to remove the chocolate ice cream from the pan (put that in the freezer) and then use the same pan again for the rest of the ice cream, then put it all together. I hope that helps!

    1. Lindsay

      The chocolate mixture might end up a little thinner, but otherwise would be ok. You try reducing the heavy cream amount by a tablespoon or two to offset that.

  2. Corrina

    I made this for my daughters birthday and we loved it. I made an alteration and did a devils food layer of cake for the bottom, but the frosting, fudge and cookies layers from this recipe were perfect!

    1. Tricia Murphy

      Corrina, I was just about to ask if anyone had used the fudge and cookie filling with a regular chocolate cake! I’m going to try it for my son’s birthday party this weekend.

    2. Shery Sullivan

      Corrina, thanks for posting about the layer cake on the bottom. I always thought Dairy Queen’s should be like that. It’s called a cake but there’s no cake.

  3. Heaven

    Hi, i was just wondering if you could do a cheesecake with the fudge and cookie filling 🙂
    or how to maybe incorporate it. Those are my favorite parts but i rather cheesecake

    1. Lindsay

      What a fun idea! It’s hard for me to say exactly without trying it, but you could certainly add those toppings on top of a cheesecake or even try layering it into a cheesecake. You could even make mini cheesecakes and use those as the toppings.

      1. Mackenzie

        I loved it but when I ice it with normal frosting it doesn’t stick. I’ve tried cool whip from the store it works on side better but still slides off any suggestions. Also this time around I’m adding a bit of fudge to cookie crumbs to make it stick together this time around 

      2. Lindsay

        Buttercream would have a tough time sticking to ice cream, which is why I used whipped cream. As for the cool whip sliding off, it shouldn’t unless that ice cream is starting to melt. Just be sure to frost it as quickly as possible and pop it back in the freezer before there’s too much melting.

  4. Danielle

    Delicious! I was afraid the chocolate fudge was going to be too chocolatey, but it was perfect! Thanks so much! I love your cookbook!

      1. Linda

        I made this with gluten-free oreo cookies – it was perfect for the celiacs in our family!

    1. Lindsay

      I would suggest still using it. It will keep ice cream from seeping out of the pan when you soften it to add it to the pan and it will keep the ice cream from freezing to the sides of the pan, allowing you to remove the layers from the pan much more easily.

      1. Hayley

        The whipping cream ran off of the cake as I tried to ice it. I tried putting the bowl of whipping cream into the freezer for 30 min and tried again with slightly better results. I whipped it longer than usual so the peaks were quite well formed. Should I add more sugar? Chill the cream to a lower temperature first? What went wrong? Also, do not skip the steps of re-freezing in between. The layers will all mix of you do.

      2. Lindsay

        There wasn’t anything wrong. The ice cream did exactly what you’d expect – melt. It happens quickly so you have to work quickly. Popping the whipped cream in the freezer makes no difference. The whipped cream doesn’t melt – the ice cream does. Make sure the ice cream (cake) is super chilled before frosting.

    2. Shadow

      Do you use the entire 1.5 qt of both I’ve creams? Looking at my spring form pan it seems a stretch for that all to fit in. 

    3. Katy Welford

      Just about to start making this for my son’s 3rd birthday! In the UK so can’t get hold of corn syrup so hoping it’s ok! … My question though is I’m making it 2 days in advance … Can I leave the ice-cream cake in the tin overnight until I need to ice it? Or should I take it out of the tin overnight? My thought is probably it needs to stay in but I’m not feeling very intelligent about this at the moment!

      1. Lindsay

        Either way would be fine. If it were me, I’d just leave it in the tin until you’re ready to frost it.

      2. Cliolane

        Hi 
        Dr oetker glucose syrup tubes , you can get them in Sainsbury’s for about £1.50, that is corn syrup 

      1. Lindsay

        Heavy whipping cream has a higher fat content so it whips into a more sturdy whipped cream that it less likely to wilt. As long as you don’t leave the cake sitting out too long though, regular should be fine.

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