My daughter doesn’t like cake. Weird, right? A couple of years ago she asked if I could make her a mint chocolate chip ice cream cake for her birthday instead of a regular cake or cupcakes. I figured it couldn’t be that hard – I had no intention of making the actual ice cream part (although I have made homemade mint chocolate chip ice cream in the past) – and so I browsed recipes for ideas and came up with the following ice cream cake.
It’s now a family favorite and is requested for most special occasions, and it’s SO easy! Best of all, it needs to be made at least 24 hours ahead of time to give the ice cream plenty of time to refreeze, but it can easily be made a couple weeks ahead of time if you have room in your freezer for it. That means you can check the dessert off your list and have plenty of time for the food and party planning for your birthday, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, Graduation Day, or any-other-day upcoming summer celebration!
At the end of the recipe, I will also give you other variations that we’ve used in case you aren’t a mint chocolate chip fan. This is a fun cake to play around with. Enjoy!
Do you have a favorite dessert for your summer celebrations? Share it with us in the comments section, below!
1 package of Oreo cookies (mint-filled if you want an extra kick of mint, but regular is fine)
1 box of graham crackers (3 packages)
½ cup granulated sugar
2 sticks butter, melted
3 quarts mint chocolate chip ice cream (I recommend Breyers – this is equal to two of their 1.5 quart containers)
1 package of Grasshopper cookies, frozen and crushed
1. Preheat the oven to 375°. You will need an 11-inch springform pan (the kind where the outside edges come off – this is very important), as well as an 8x8 square pan.
2. Separate the creams from the cookies of your Oreos. Give them the old twist, and use a paring knife to scrape out the middles. I have yet to come up with a use for the creams, so while it pains me (and the kids), I just throw them away – you only need the cookie part for this recipe.
3. In the bowl of a food processor, and in batches if necessary, break down the Oreo cookies and the graham crackers into fine crumbs and dump them all into a large bowl.
4. Add the sugar and melted butter to the crumbs and mix well. I find that using the back of a large spoon to cream them together (as though it were sugar and butter) works well to get it all mixed together.
5. Measure four cups of the crumb mixture into your springform pan, and press firmly. Use either your hands, or you can cover the crust with plastic wrap and use a flat-bottomed drinking glass to do this, but it needs to be FIRMLY pressed in, including all around the edges, to make a flat surface before being baked. Do the same with the remaining crumbs in the 8x8 pan.
6. Bake the crusts for 15 minutes, or until they are slightly browned around the edges, and allow to cool completely. Break the 8x8 pan of cookie crust into small pieces and set aside.
7. You will need to remove the ice cream from the freezer at least 20-25 minutes before you are ready to assemble the cake. Or, if you forget like I do, in a pinch I’ve microwaved it on low for 30 seconds at a time until I get it to the very soft stage you need to be able to spread it on the cookie crust without damaging the crust. It needs to be an almost pourable consistency.
8. To assemble the ice cream cake, spread an entire container of ice cream over the cookie crust in the springform pan, making sure to spread it all the way to the edges in as even of a layer as you can. Top with the crumbled cookie crust from the 8x8 pan, covering the ice cream layer completely and pressing it gently down. If your bottom ice cream layer is super-soft and seems to be coming up through the middle cookie layer, pop it all back in the freezer for 15 minutes at this point to firm it up a bit before trying to spread the second layer of ice cream. Otherwise, top the middle cookie layer with the second container of ice cream, again making sure to spread it evenly all the way out to the edges of the pan.
9. Finish the cake by pressing the crushed grasshopper cookies into the top. Freeze for at least 24 hours before serving.
Serving Hints: Remove the cake from the freezer 10 minutes before serving – this will let it soften just slightly – enough to make cutting it easier. Run a knife all the way around the outside (and all the way to the bottom) to release the ice cream and cookie layers from the pan before trying to open the springform and/or removing the pan’s edges. If you are using this as a birthday cake, use a chopstick to poke candle holes into the ice cream cake. I’ve broken many candles trying to shove them straight into a hard ice cream cake – the chopstick seems to do the trick. And use a sharp knife to cut the cake! If it’s still not cutting well, either let it soften for a few more minutes, or run the knife under hot water before cutting.
Variations: And now for the fun part, because I’m sure there are one or two people out there who aren’t mint fans. This is an EASY recipe to change! Whether in size or flavor, play around with it.
First, if you don’t want an ice cream cake this large, you can easily halve the recipe, and make a single-layer ice cream cake in a large, 10-inch, deep-dish pie plate. You only need to make half of the cookie crust recipe (there will be no middle cookie layer), and you’ll press it all into the bottom of the pie plate, bake it as directed, and only use one container of ice cream (topped with the same amount of grasshopper cookies).
Second, if the mint is the problem, use any flavor of ice cream, and try your favorite candy bar for the middle and/or top layers (freeze them first, and smash them with a meat tenderizer to get small pieces) – Snickers, Skor bars, Twix, Kit Kats, etc. would all work well. Try drizzling some caramel or fudge into the middle layer, as well, just be sure to freeze it for a little bit to set it before spreading the second layer of ice cream. Then top it with your favorite cookie crumbles – they don’t have to be grasshopper cookies – more fudge, whipped cream, sprinkles, whatever sounds good to you! You could even try a banana split version with sliced bananas in the middle and fudge sauce and whipped cream on top!
Finally, the crust also works well with either all graham cracker or all Oreo crumbs, depending on what flavor combination you are looking for. You’ll just want to be sure that you start off with about 6 cups of crumbs before adding in the sugar and butter.
Have fun with it, and let me know what combination(s) you come up with!