As the self-proclaimed ice cream lady in all my friends’ lives, it’s no surprise that when it comes to birthday cakes, I’m a fan of the frozen variety—especially in summer when the last thing I really want to do is turn on the oven and bake a cake. Having a handful of solid no-bake options in my arsenal makes celebrating every occasion that much more fun. Enter: mini ice cream cakes.
With my mom’s birthday coming up next month, I knew I wanted to create a fun recipe that was both festive and a nod to summertime. While I’m basically a sugar monster, she could go the rest of her life without ever eating dessert again. I know, blasphemy. It’s become a tradition for us to get a cake of some kind—sometimes homemade, sometimes from HEB—then for her to have one tiny bite after we sing happy birthday before my brother, dad, and I demolish the rest of it.
But because birthdays absolutely require cake, the idea of making mini cakes for her minimal sweet tooth felt like just the right move. After some flavor brainstorming and engineering consideration, I created these miniature ice cream cakes that are perfect for any and all celebrations you’re sharing this season.
I’m all about shortcuts these days that save time without compromising on flavor. If I can use some pre-made ingredients and upgrade them a bit, I’m all in. For these ice cream cakes, I used store-bought pound cakes in two flavors; vanilla and chocolate, and two different flavors of ice cream; summer strawberry and my favorite vanilla ice cream.
To keep things from being too sweet, I used a generous helping of my favorite tangy jam from Ayako and Family and then topped everything off with some homemade chocolate magic shell complete with some chocolate shavings and fresh strawberries for an extra bite of summer flavor.
So yes, technically this is a no-recipe recipe, but those are some of the best ones because they leave so much up to interpretation and customization!
Here are a few other flavor combinations I want to try:
Chocolate and Hazelnut: Use a brownie or chocolate cake base, double chocolate ice cream, layer with Nutella, top with magic shell, and chopped hazelnuts
Vanilla and Chocolate Orange: Use a pound cake base, vanilla ice cream, layer with orange marmalade and fresh orange zest, top with chocolate magic shell
Summer Fruits: Use a pound cake base, raspberry ice cream, strawberry ice cream, and cherry ice cream, top with whipped cream and fresh berries.
The combinations are endless!
To get clean and even layers, I highly recommend using ring molds. These will help you layer everything to the exact same size and thickness and get clean sides when you unmold them. If you don’t have ring molds, you can layer everything into a mason jar and eat straight from the jar for easy transportation!
These cakes really couldn’t be easier and I can’t wait to make these for my mom to celebrate her summer birthday. Even if you’re not making these for some big celebration, they are the perfect individual-sized treat packed with flavor.
If you eat them all yourself, I promise I won’t tell.