Mocha Ice Cream Cake features homemade coffee ice cream sandwiched between layers of rich chocolate cake – all drenched in a chocolate ganache. The perfectly decadent sweet treat!
If you read my blog, you know that we LOVE ice cream in our house. I make homemade ice cream almost every week. It doesn’t need to be summer for my family to crave ice cream. Once in a while, I like to elevate my ice cream game and make an ice cream cake. Two delicious desserts in one! Who’s going to argue?
This mocha version combines dark chocolate cake and coffee ice cream. And did I mention there is also ganache involved? Rich and decadent. Yes, please!
This cake is not difficult to make, but it does take time, so plan ahead. It’s best to make the cake and ice cream one day and assemble the cake the next. Freezing the individual components ahead of time helps with assembly and ensures clean, distinct layers when finished.
If the cake is soft, it will soak up the ice cream and get soggy. Ice cream that is too soft will ooze everywhere and the cake will not have thick, even layers of ice cream. When I’m taking the time to make a layered dessert, I want to have pretty layers when I’m done!
Tips for making ice cream cake
- Prepare the sheet pan for the cake with cooking spray and parchment. This makes it easy to turn the cake out onto a cutting board once cooled.
- Allow the chocolate cake to cool completely before the next steps.
- After cutting three layers of cake to fit the loaf pan, pre-freeze the cake layers. This prevents the cake from getting soggy from the ice cream when assembling. This also helps to keep the layers clean and distinct.
- After churning the ice cream, freeze for 1 – 2 hours until firm but still spreadable. When churned, the ice cream is soft-serve consistency, which is too soft for layering. Thicker, more frozen ice cream will create thicker, more distinct layers.
- For best results, freeze for an hour or so in between layers of ice cream.
- For the chocolate ganache, before pouring over the cake, let cool for an hour or so until thickened but still pourable.
- Place the frozen cake on a sheet pan fitted with a rack. Coating the rack with cooking spray will prevent the frozen cake from sticking. Pour ganache over the entire cake, allowing it to run down and coat the sides of the cake. Place the sheet pan in the freezer and allow to freeze completely before transferring to a container or wrapping for storage.
- Store-bought ice cream can be also be used. Allow it to soften slightly before assembling the cake.
- Ganache is typically made with heavy cream, but half-and-half works just fine in this application.
Ice Cream cakes are perfect for celebrations and birthdays but are fun on any occasion. The presentation is impressive and everyone loves cake and ice cream! Slice up and enjoy! If you try this recipe, please leave a comment below and tag me on Instagram @mycasualpantry. I love to see what you are making.
Other chocolate recipes you may enjoy
- Glazed Chocolate Chunk Scones
- Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Double Chip Cookies
- Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies
Layers of chocolate cake and coffee ice cream covered in chocolate ganache.
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup oil
- 1 stick butter
- 1 cup water
- 4 tablespoons cocoa powder, like Hersheys Special Dark
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups half and half
- 2 cups heavy cream, divided
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons espresso powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 10 ounces 60% bittersweet chocolate morsels
- 1 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare the baking sheet. Coat a half-sheet pan with cooking spray and line with parchment. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, sift together flour and sugar. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, add the oil, butter, water, and cocoa powder, stirring to incorporate. Bring to a gentle boil. Pour the chocolate mixture over the flour and sugar mixture and stir to combine. Add the buttermilk, baking soda, salt, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Add the eggs and mix well to incorporate.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 15-18 minutes until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool.
In a medium saucepan placed over medium heat, combine the half-and-half and 1 1/2 cups heavy cream. Add the sugar, espresso powder, and salt, and whisk until sugar is dissolved.
While the cream mixture heats, add the egg yolks to the remaining 1/2 cup heavy cream, whisking to combine. When the cream is hot, slowly ladle some of the hot cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. This tempers the eggs so they don't scramble when added to the hot cream.
Slowly pour the egg yolk mixture into the hot cream mixture while whisking. Cook over medium-low heat until slightly thickened, being careful not to boil the cream mixture.
Strain the mixture into a heat-proof bowl. Stir in the vanilla extract. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap directly on top of the cream mixture. Refrigerate until completely chilled.
Transfer to an ice cream machine (this is my go-to machine) and churn until the mixture is the consistency of soft serve. This takes approx. 45 minutes in my machine. Transfer to a freezer-safe container. Freeze until firm but still spreadable, approx. 1-2 hours.
Once the cake is cooled, flip the cake out onto a cutting board. Cut three pieces of cake, approx 4" x 8" to fit in a loaf pan. Transfer the cut cake pieces back to the sheet pan and place in the freezer until firm.
Line a 4" x 8" loaf pan with plastic wrap. Place one piece of cake in the bottom of the pan. Cover with ice cream in a layer 3/4 - 1 inch thick. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until ice cream is firm, at least one hour.
Remove pan from freezer and top with the second piece of cake and another layer of ice cream. Cover with plastic wrap and return to freezer until firm.
For the ganache, add the chocolate morsels to a heat-proof bowl. In a saucepan, heat cream or half-and-half until hot but not boiling. Pour over chocolate and let sit for 60 seconds. Stir until chocolate is fully melted and the mixture is smooth. Let cool until thickened but still pourable. Approx one hour.
Place a rack on a sheet pan and spray with cooking spray. Remove the third piece of cake and the loaf pan from the freezer. Place the last piece of cake on the rack. (This piece of cake will become the bottom of the cake.) Invert the loaf pan on top of the piece of cake and remove pan and plastic wrap. Pour the ganache evenly over the top of the cake, allowing it to run down the sides to coat. The ganache will start thickening quickly from the cold cake. Transfer the sheet pan to the freezer to allow the ganache to firm up. The ganache will not freeze rock-hard, so it is easy to slice the cake right out of the freezer.
Slice and enjoy. Wrap leftover cake in plastic to store for a few days.