Ice Cream/Frozen Desserts

Chocolate Coffee Ice Cream Cake

August 23, 2013

Every other Friday, we'll be sharing dessert projects that demand a little extra time and effort. Because weekends are the sweetest part of the week.

Today: Yossy shows us that tackling ice cream cake at home isn't that hard -- all you need is a sturdy base, a great ice cream recipe, and a little garnish. 

Chocolate Coffee Ice Cream Cake from Food52

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Ice cream cake, beloved at birthday parties everywhere, is one of those things that seems like it might be too hard to try at home. But with a little planning and a clever no-churn ice cream recipe, it can be done in an afternoon. 

The trick to a good ice cream cake is solid construction, so it’s best to start with a sturdy base that is easy to slice. I used my very favorite nibby brownie recipe, which I know from experience is also incredibly delicious frozen. Then I topped it with a traditional, custard-based coffee ice cream, some extra brownie bits, and a final, billowy soft layer of no-churn ice cream topped with more cacao nibs for crunch.

Chocolate Coffee Ice Cream Cake from Food52

The no-churn ice cream is great here because it doesn’t require you to refreeze the bowl of your ice cream machine in between flavors, meaning that you can make this entire cake in an afternoon. Just make sure you leave ample time for the whole thing to chill before you slice it. And be warned: this is rich and sweet, so a small slice will do the trick. If you have some more time, try topping the slices with this easy Magic Shell and a little sprinkle of salt to really take this dessert over the top. 

Chocolate Coffee Ice Cream Cake

Serves 10 to 12 

For the brownie layer

8 ounces bitterweet chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup plus one tablespoon flour
1/4 cup cacao nibs

For the coffee ice cream layer

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1/4 cup coffee beans, coarsely ground
3/4 cups sugar
5 egg yolks
2 tablespoons Kahlua or other coffee liqueur
A few pinches of salt

No-churn ice cream

14 ounces can of sweetened condensed milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons bourbon
A few pinches of salt

To make the brownie layer, preheat your oven to 350º F and line an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper; grease the bottom and sides generously. Put the chopped chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until the chocolate and butter are completely melted. Let cool.

Chocolate Coffee Ice Cream Cake from Food52

In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, vanilla, and salt until the mixture is lighter in color, about 3 minuntes. Pour the melted chocolate mixture into the eggs and whisk to combine, then fold in the flour and 2 tablespoons of the cacao nibs. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the rest of the cacao nibs over top. Slide it into the oven, and bake until a toothpick inserted into the brownies comes out clean -- it should take about 25 to 30 minutes.

Once the brownies have cooled, remove the outside of the springform pan and slice the brownie-round in half horizontally. I find the brownies are easiest to slice after a few minutes in the refrigerator. Leave the bottom half of the brownies in the pan and put the outside of the springform pan back in place. Break the top layer of brownie into 1-inch pieces and set aside. 

Chocolate Coffee Ice Cream Cake from Food52

Next, make your coffee ice cream. Once it's been chilled and churned, spread the soft ice cream mixture over the trimmed brownie layer that's still in the pan. You want to fill the pan so it is about halfway full, which means you will probably have a bit of extra ice cream; freeze it in an airtight container to enjoy later.

 Chocolate Coffee Ice Cream Cake from Food52

 Top the coffee ice cream with the broken brownie pieces. 

 Chocolate Coffee Ice Cream Cake from Food52

Put the pan in the freezer to firm up while you prepare the no-churn ice cream. First, whisk the sweetened condensed milk, bourbon, and salt together. Whip heavy cream into stiff peaks, and fold it into the condensed milk mixture. 

Top the coffee ice cream and brownies with the sweet cream mixture -- you may have a bit leftover -- and freeze overnight before slicing.

Chocolate Coffee Ice Cream Cake from Food52  Chocolate Coffee Ice Cream Cake from Food52

Just before serving, sprinkle with a few teaspoons of cacao nibs and top the slices with chocolate sauce. I like this Magic Shell with a pinch of salt.

Chocolate Coffee Ice Cream Cake from Food52

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here

Photos by Yossy Arefi.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Alicia Denham
    Alicia Denham
  • FishbonePirate
  • ec
  • Marian Bull
    Marian Bull
  • fiveandspice
Yossy Arefi is a photographer and stylist with a passion for food. During her stint working in restaurant kitchens, Yossy started the blog Apt. 2B Baking Co. where, with her trusty Pentax film camera, she photographs and writes about seasonal desserts and preserves. She currently lives in Brooklyn but will always love her native city of Seattle. Follow her work at &


Alicia D. April 27, 2015
How deep does the pan need to be for this?
FishbonePirate August 27, 2013
I am so excited to make this! What a beautiful cake!
ec August 26, 2013
I am drooling...this looks delicious!!!
Marian B. August 25, 2013
My favorite part of ice cream cake was always the cookie crumbs -- those brownie pieces are genius!
fiveandspice August 23, 2013
This looks amazing Yossy! A perfect weekend project for sure.
Lauren K. August 23, 2013
Drooling. Might have to go out and buy an ice cream maker today!