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 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

275 Comments
  1. Remi

    Thank you so much for sharing. I was looking for inspiration for my daughter’s birthday cake and just found it!
    Quick question regarding the oreo crumbs: do you keep the oreo filling or do you scrape that off before make it into crumbs/ bake it?
    Thank you!

  2. Donna

    I cannot wait to try this recipe. My husband’s family is coming for a week at Easter, I am going to surprise everyone with an ice cream cake the kid’s are going to flip!!!

  3. Courtney

    Have you ever made this recipe but even taller? Like maybe three ice cream cake layers two Oreo layers? Was wondering if you could stack them after they were frozen.

    1. Lindsay

      I haven’t, but I did try stacking the layers after freezing them once and the problem was that they didn’t stick together super well. You could certainly try it though.

  4. JLMiller

    Made this for a birthday celebration this weekend. It was amazing! We made homemade ice cream for it. If you do this, you may want to have the cake in the freezer longer than a couple of hours after icing, as it was a bit on the soft side. When we had more later, it was firmer. The fudge was a bit rich, but good. The only issue we had was that when we went to serve it, the top layer didn’t stick to the cookie crumble layer, but that didn’t make a difference to us. My niece says that we have to do this for all birthdays now and my nephew thought we had bought it!

  5. Pam Bennett

    Made this twice now really good but the frosting was thin and was difficult to hold to sides .I used less whipping crean the second time but didn’t seem to help also whipped the cream for a good five minutes. Any thoughts maybe more icing sugar?

    1. Lindsay

      I’d make sure you’re using HEAVY whipping cream and not just whipping cream. The heavy whipping cream will give you a more solid whipped cream. Beyond that, yes, you could try more powdered sugar. But it should be plenty as is.

    1. Lindsay

      Store bought syrup probably won’t stay in place when you slice the cake. Plus, if you really do like a DQ ice cream cake, there’s a certain texture to their fudge layer, which I did my best to replicate. A store bought sauce won’t be like that.

    1. Lindsay

      Store bought syrup probably won’t stay in place when you slice the cake. Plus, if you really do like a DQ ice cream cake, there’s a certain texture to their fudge layer, which I did my best to replicate. A store bought sauce won’t be like that.

  6. Emillie

    I am getting ready to make this and realized I don’t have a round cake pan. I do have a glass rectangle casserole dish or a square glass casserole dish. Would either of these work?

  7. Shauna

    I’ll never buy an expensive DQ cake again!! This recipe is amazing! Very easy to make. I made multiple cakes at once as well as one with gluten free cookies (I was very excited to be able to share in the cake eating!)
    Thank you for this recipe, it’s a keeper!

  8. Rose

    What a wonderful recipe! I followed it exactly as written (except that I used strawberry ice cream instead of chocolate) and it worked perfectly. I decorated it as a snowman and it turned out really cute. Our granddaughters were thrilled. They love ice cream cakes so I am excited that I know how to make them now. They thought it was delicious! Thank you for sharing the recipe. It is a keeper.

  9. Rebecca

    My 42 year old husband has requested this cake for his last two birthdays! It always turns out great for me! I had no trouble with the cake melting while I frosted it with the whipped cream, but I made the cake the night before, then froze it overnight and frosted it in the morning. Also, it probably helps that my husband’s birthday is in the middle of December and we like in a drafty MN farmhouse! 🙂 i’m taking him horseback riding this morning and then we get to enjoy his ice cream birthday cake and celebrate! 🙂 Thanks much.

  10. Ashley

    This may be ice cream cake blasphemy, but I wondered if you could replace the Hot fudge sauce with caramel sauce (store bought with corn syrup in it)? 

    1. Lindsay

      Technically you could. But the caramel sauce may be more runny than the chocolate and may run all over the place.

  11. Bean

    I have made this cake 3 times now and they have been a hit every time! I cut the recipe in half and make them in 6” pans that are 2” high.  I play around with the ice cream flavors every time and do one flavor in one pan and then the other flavor in the other.  I have found it best when doing it this way to put the ganache and Oreos in one side, let them chill (not freeze) and then place the other ice cream layer on top by just putting the cake pans on top of each other.  I then take the top cake pan off give the ice cream a firm press and place the pan back on to freeze evenly! Go to bday cake, 1/2 the recipe is perfect for birthdays! 

    1. Melissa

      The details you include are so helpful especially for the second layer. I’m planning to make my first ice cream cakes next week for my daughter’s birthday. I’m going to use the 6′ pans like you’re saying for different flavors.

  12. Pam

    This cake is way better than Dairy Queen! The chocolate fudge layer is delicious. I double the cookie layer and added some caramel to it. Highly recommend this recipe! 

  13. Stephanie

    Hi Lindsay
    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe with us. I made it for my three year old son’s birthday here in France and everyone just looooved it! I had tried before other ICE cream cake recipes but this one is THE best! I’ll do it again next year for sure😄

  14. Rae

    Thank you so much!! My best friends 18th is coming up, she says it’s no big deal but I wanna make it special for her. She really hates cake but loves ice cream cake and this is just perfect

  15. Jen Little

    Hi Lindsay! I have 2 8″ pans that are 2″ deep. Do you think it would work to do the chocolate layer in one pan (topped with the ganache/oreos) and then do the vanilla in a second pan. Then once they’re fully frozen I’d stack them and frost them? Or do you think the vanilla layer would slide around too much when trying to frost?? 

    1. Lindsay

      The problem ends up being that the two halves don’t stick together well. So when you cut into the cake, the two halves kind of fall apart a bit. If you really want to do it that way, you could try adding some whipped cream between the two halves to hold them together.

  16. Rubeena

    Thank you for this recipe, its so easy and amazing! The first time I made this cake, I only had 18% cream and the fudge layer came out a little runny. The second time I made sure to buy heavy whipping cream and the fudge layer was perfect! Both times everyone LOVED and devoured the cake! I am thinking of making cupcake sized individual cakes next time.

  17. Vicki

    BETTER than DQ!  Mine was not quite as pretty but it was delicious and my DQ ice cream cake loving family LOVED it.  I used a spring form pan.  Will make again and again!

  18. Vicki

    Made this as directed, using a springform pan.  RAVE reviews from my taste testers!  This was fabulous and fun to make. The fudge layer recipe can be used in so many other recipes.

  19. Vicki

    RAVE reviews from my crew.   All around votes of “way better than DQ”.    Easy to make, so much cheaper and delicious.  I used a spring form pan.

  20. LG

    Hi! I don’t know if I just didn’t tamp down the ice cream enough or something, but there’s no way I can fit the second ice cream layer in my 8×3 pan. I’m planning to lift out the original layer with the toppings so I can use the pan again to form the second layer, but I’m not sure how to combine the layers once I get to that point? Should I try to stick them together with whipped cream or something? This is supposed to be for my twins’ birthday party on Saturday and I really don’t want to mess it up!! Thanks!!

    1. LG

      Nevermind, I think I figured it out! Once the base layer was frozen, I just flipped it over on top of the soft layer of ice cream, so hopefully that will work!

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