This delicious vegan ice cream cake is made with a moist chocolate loaf cake and layers of vegan vanilla ice cream and fresh berries. It’s way easier to make and manage than a standard ice cream cake as it’s wrapped up inside the chocolate cake loaf pan and cut into thin cake slices that are easy to plate and eat. This recipe is also easy to customize by subbing in your flavor vegan ice cream!
What makes this the best vegan ice cream cake?
There are many things I love about this recipe – from its ease to its flavor, especially because it’s not overly sweet like some ice cream cakes can be. It’s the perfect balance of creamy, tart, and deep with the dark chocolate loaf.
Ice cream cakes can also be daunting because you have to time it just right. Everything must be at the right temperature and the cakes are often so massive that it’s hard to juggle it all. That’s why I decided to make this recipe entirely in one loaf pan. After the chocolate loaf cake is baked, it’s sliced into thirds and layered inside that same loaf pan. The walls of the pan hold the cake together, so even it if does start to melt it still stays in tact.
And because the base of this ice cream cake consists of a delicious vegan chocolate cake, this recipe is easy to customize to your liking. Simply swap out the vanilla ice cream with ANY flavor you like. Chocolate goes with everything!
Tips for baking a vegan chocolate cake
The cake portion of this recipe is delicious on its own as its moist and rich with a deep chocolate flavor. To ensure yours turns out just right, here’s what you need to know:
- Properly measure the flour – I say this in every post, and for good reason. It’s the number one reason why most recipes fail. If there’s too much flour, the cake will turn out dry and crumbly. If you can, measure the flour with a food scale. Otherwise, to ensure you use the exact amount needed, gently spoon the flour into your measuring cup and level if off with a flat edge. If you scoop directly into the flour container, it packs it down into the cup which could leave you with 1/4 cup or more of added flour.
- Make your own buttermilk – The acidity in buttermilk reacts with baking soda to create little bubbles all throughout your cake. This reaction provides lift and structure and also acts as an emulsifier to help bind the batter. To make dairy free buttermilk, mix vinegar into any milk alternative and let it sit and curdle.
- Don’t over mix – With loaf cakes, it’s very common for the center of the cake to sink in. This is often due to over mixing. If you mix the batter TOO much, the gluten strands begin to strengthen which makes it more difficult for the cake to rise. Since the batter is mixed all by hand, just take your time and stop right when the ingredients are mixed in.
Tips for layering your vegan ice cream cake
After the cake has baked and cooled, it is then sliced into thirds hamburger bun style. There’s probably a better way to describe this way of slicing, but hamburger bun is just how my brain works! For reference, see the top left photo above.
Then its loaf pan is fully lined with a large sheet of plastic wrap. This not only contains the ice cream cake, but it allows for easy removal once it’s completely frozen. Just lift it out by the plastic wrap, unwrap, and slice.
The entire layering process is fairly straightforward, but here are some tips that will help you along:
- Make sure your ice cream is the perfect consistency – not too firm but not completely melted. Soft ice cream will be easy to spread without disrupting the layers. Note that vegan ice cream tends to take longer to thaw, so set it out about 30 minutes before you start assembling. If it gets TOO melty, place it back into the freezer before moving on.
- If you don’t want whole chunks of frozen berries in your cake, feel free to chop them up into smaller pieces. I find that the raspberries thaw nicely within the cake, but the blueberries and blackberries remain somewhat firm. I like this contrast in texture, but some may not!
- Allow the cake it freeze completely. If you try to remove it before it’s frozen solid, there’s a good chance it will slide apart. For good measure, I like to freeze mine overnight just to be safe.
How to customize your chocolate vegan ice cream cake
I honestly had so many flavor ideas swirling around in my head when developing this recipe. I ultimately landed on berries & cream because berries are in season and it’s perfectly festive for any summer holiday. If you want to switch things up and customize this recipe to your liking, here are a couple more ideas:
- Mint Chocolate Chip – I think vegan mint chocolate chip ice cream would taste DELICIOUS inside this ice cream cake. Use 2 pints of your favorite kind, about 1 pint between each cake layer.
- Peanut Butter Cup – 2 pints of vegan peanut butter ice cream between 3 layers of chocolate cake?? Sign me up. Add swirls of melted natural peanut butter between each layer for even more peanutty flavor.
- Cookies & Cream – Keep the vanilla ice cream, but swap the berries with crushed Oreos since they’re naturally vegan.
- Double Berry – Instead of vanilla ice cream, go with strawberry or raspberry ice cream and sprinkle in some fresh strawberries and/or raspberries.
- Cookie Dough – Make the cookie dough from my healthy cookie dough easter eggs and crumble it on top of each layer of vanilla ice cream. YUM!
Now that we’ve ran through these ideas, I want to make 10 more ice cream cakes!
For more of my favorite vegan dessert recipes, check out my:
- Vegan Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake Bars
- Fudgy Vegan Chocolate Cake
- Raw Vegan Snickers Bars
- Vegan Banana Cake
- Soft Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
- Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
Make sure to tag me @butternutbakery on Instagram and comment below if you make this Vegan Ice Cream Cake. To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can use the button on the recipe card or on any of the photos above. Happy baking!Print