We love our original flag cake, but we don’t always love turning the oven on around the 4th of July. Ice cream cake to the rescue! We used vanilla, strawberry, and blueberry ice creams for a cake that will taste as good as it looks. Three cheers for the red, white, and blue! —Erin McDowell
You’ll need the outer ring of a 9-inch springform pan, ideally 3 inches tall. If it isn’t, tape an extender “ring” out of parchment or wax paper and secure it to the upper edge of the pan.
Place the prepared pan on a small baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Make sure it fits (easily) into your freezer—you’ll be in and out a lot.
For even layers, use an ice cream scoop to count the number of scoops for each layer. Repeat that same number when you do the next. I use a medium ice cream scoop to dollop 9 scoops of ice cream into the base of the prepared pan, then use a small offset spatula to spread the ice cream into an even layer. Freeze until firm, 20-30 minutes.
Scoop the same number of strawberry scoops over the firm vanilla layer and spread into an even layer. Freeze until firm, 20-30 minutes.
Repeat this process: Another layer of vanilla ice cream, freezing until firm, then a layer of strawberry ice cream, and freeze until firm.
Next, you need to make a ring of blueberry ice cream around the outside, leaving the center empty for additional vanilla and strawberry layers later. The best way to do this is using the outer ring of a smaller springform pan (ideally 6 inches). You can also make a temporary border out of tinfoil—use it to keep the center bare while you put a blue ring of ice cream around the outer edge.
Scoop the blueberry ice cream into the pan, and spread into an even 2-inch wide layer around the outside edge. The blueberry layer should be almost twice as tall as previous layers (I used the same number of scoops for the base layers as I did for the blueberry ring). Freeze until firm, 20-30 minutes.
When the blueberry layer is firm, gently pull away the guide—you may need to apply a small amount of heat to get the guide to pull away cleanly. A kitchen torch is handy here, or use your actual hands (or a warm kitchen towel)!
If the cake needs to be chilled again, chill it until firm. If not, apply another layer of vanilla, this time just inside the outer blue ring. You’ll need fewer scoops (I used 4). Keep track of the number so you can repeat it with the final layer of red. Freeze until firm, 20-30 minutes.
Add the final layer of strawberry, using the same number of scoops you did for the vanilla in the last step (I used 4). Freeze until firm, 30 minutes to an hour.
Remove the outer paper ring, if using. Lift the cake up (including the springform ring) and peel the parchment paper covering the pan away from the base of the cake.
While the cake is still in the mold, transfer to a cake stand or platter.
To remove the main cake ring, you’ll need to apply a little heat. Again, you can use a kitchen torch (the best!) or a towel warmed in very hot water (wrap it around the ring and let it sit for 10-15 seconds, repeat as needed). Once the ring is warmed, loosen the springform buckle, then slide the ring up and off the cake. Return the unmolded cake to the freezer.
For the frosting, whip cream and powdered sugar to medium peaks with an electric mixer and whip attachment. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.
Frost the finished ice cream cake generously with whipped cream, using a small offset spatula to shape swirls. Freeze for 15 minutes again before slicing and serving.
I always carry three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's pie. My first cookbook, The Fearless Baker, is out on October 24, 2017.