berry vanilla ice cream cake

July is a very special month… and not just because my birthday falls in it :) Nope, July is National Ice Cream Month! And what better way to celebrate than with a gorgeous (and delicious) ice cream cake?

I love to make ice cream, and we actually make it pretty frequently around here.  You’d never know it based on the blog, though, since I have like 1 ice cream post up! That’s not for a lack of great recipes – but more because something about photographing ice cream intimidates me :) Well, for the rest of the month (and thereafter!) I promise to try to get over that fear – because we could all use a little more ice cream in our lives.

So back to the cake.  Growing up, birthdays were more often than not celebrated with an ice cream cake.  The kind we always got had 2 flavors of ice cream, separated by a layer of yummy chocolate crunchies (you know what I’m talking about!) If we were really lucky, our parents would let us get the Haagen Dazs cake that was surrounded by the pirouette cookies.  That always made for a great ice cream cake :) This cake is a little bit different from those cakes, because, well, it has actual cake in it.  I had never heard of doing that before recently – maybe last year.  My first reaction was frozen cake – why would you want to eat that? But this cake recipe really holds up well to freezing, and still tastes great.  I wouldn’t say I’m a total convert – but I think there is a place for both types of ice cream cake in our lives :)

In this case, the 2 layers of vanilla bean cake sandwich a layer of rich, creamy vanilla bean ice cream and a layer of fruity blueberry and strawberry sauces.  The whole thing is topped off with some whipped cream and some beautiful fresh berries.  My only regret about this cake is that I didn’t get it posted before the 4th of July, as it clearly lends itself perfectly to the holiday! Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 2 cups (8 ounces) cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 11 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups (9 1/8 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2½ cups vanilla bean ice cream, slightly softened (homemade or store-bought)

Blueberry sauce

For the strawberry sauce:

  • 4 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled, rinsed and coarsely chopped
  • 1½ tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

For the whipped cream frosting:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Fresh strawberries and blueberries, to garnish

*If you use homemade, you can use it right out of the ice cream maker so it’s already softened.  Recipe coming soon!


To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Grease and flour the sides of 2 8-inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder and salt.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar and seeds from the vanilla bean pod.  Beat on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Add in the eggs and egg yolk one at a time, mixing each until well incorporated.  In a liquid measuring cup, stir together the buttermilk and vanilla extract.  With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing each just until incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for 15 seconds longer.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake, rotating the pans halfway through, about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn the layers out onto a wire rack to cool completely.  Remove the parchment paper and allow to cool completely.  Before assembling, briefly freeze the cake layers (about 30 minutes).

To make the strawberry sauce, combine the strawberries and sugar in a bowl and stir well to combine.  Mash the berries slightly with the tines of a fork, then stir in the lemon juice, cover and chill.  Let the berries macerate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

To assemble the cake, level the cake layers as necessary.  Place one of the chilled cake rounds in the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan (if you don’t have a springform pan, you can make it work with a regular cake pan – just add a parchment round to the bottom of the pan).  Wrap a piece of parchment or wax paper around the outside of the cake, between the cake and the pan to act as a collar for the ice cream layer.  Be sure the ice cream is soft enough to spread smoothly and easily, then spread the vanilla ice cream in an even layer over the bottom cake layer.  Freeze briefly to harden the ice cream – about 30 minutes (this step isn’t totally  necessary, but will keep the berry and ice cream layers separate).  Spoon the strawberry and blueberry sauces over the ice cream layer, adding as much as you would like.  Top with the remaining cake layer and transfer to the freezer to set.

Once set, make the whipped cream by combining all of the ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (a hand mixer would work fine here too).  Whip on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.  Remove the sides of the springform pan and peel away the parchment collar (alternatively, if you used a regular cake pan, you can invert the cake out of the pan, and then invert again to get it right-side up.  It may stick in the pan a little, so just coax it out with a butter knife and be patient – it will slip out eventually!).  Frost the sides and top of the cake with an offset spatula, then add additional accents using a piping bag as desired.  The cake can be garnished with the additional berries at this point (the berries will be frozen), or you can wait until just before serving to keep them from freezing.  Transfer the cake to the freezer until ready to serve.  Allow the cake to sit at room temperature for 10-20 minutes before serving.

Yield: about 14 servings

Source: Annie’s Eats

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