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Lemon Ice Cream Cake

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With creamy, no-churn lemon ice cream stuffed between two layers of lemon cake, this Lemon Ice Cream Cake is the perfect sweet-but-tart dessert for spring and summer! It uses a few shortcuts, like box cake mix, for a super easy homemade ice cream cake!

A slice of lemon ice cream layer cake topped with cool whip

An Easy Lemon Dessert for Spring

As the weather begins to warm, I start turning my attention to all things fruity and refreshing – like this Lemon Ice Cream Cake. Ice cream cakes have been a staple in my house since we were kids. Everyone had a choice of regular cake or ice cream cake for his or her birthdays (we always chose ice cream cakes!) and my dad still makes himself an ice cream cake for his birthday every year!

This layered Lemon Ice Cream Cake is one of our favorite ice cream cakes, especially for spring and summer. It features two layers of lemon cake with a no-churn lemon ice cream layer sandwiched between them. It’s covered in whipped cream and garnished with candied lemons.

The cake layers are quick and easy, just grab a box of lemon cake mix and instant lemon Jell-o, plus a few other miscellaneous ingredients. I baked these using 8-inch pans, which helps make each layer nice and thick!

Then there’s the middle layer, which is a no-churn lemon ice cream, which just so happens to be the same filling I use for my Lemon Ice Cream Pie. I’ve been wild about that one ever since I made it.

The easy lemon cake layers combined with the creamy ice cream, all finished off with a smooth layer of Cool Whip make for the perfect spring or summer dessert. It’s the perfect contrast of textures and flavors, both sweet and a bit tart, and so brightly colored and fun.

Lemon ice cream cake on a stand with one slice missing

What You’ll Need

The lemon cake uses all things lemon. Lemon cake mix, lemon pudding, and lemon zest! Plus a handful of baking staples.

For the Cake Layer:

  • Lemon cake mix
  • Lemon pudding – Use a box of instant pudding.
  • Milk
  • Vegetable oil
  • Eggs – You’ll need 3 eggs plus an additional egg white.
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • Lemon zest – Adds extra fresh lemon flavor to the cake.

For the Lemon Ice Cream:

  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Powdered sugar
  • Cream cheese
  • Instant lemon pudding
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • Lemon zest

For the Frosting:

What Pan Should I Use For Ice Cream Layer Cake?

These were baked in 8-inch pans, but I also use my 8-inch springform pan to build the cake. Then I can just remove the edges. When building an ice cream cake, it’s most helpful if you can bake the cake and build it in the same size pans.

If you don’t have the 8-inch pans, then you can use 9-inch pans; your cake just won’t be as tall. Lastly, if you don’t have the springform pan, that’s okay too, you can just line the pan with plastic wrap so it can easily be removed. Regardless of the pan being used, I recommend putting a cake board on the bottom of the pan.

A frosted lemon ice cream cake with cool whip and lemon slices

How to Make Lemon Ice Cream Cake

Both the lemon cake and no-churn lemon ice cream are easy to make. Just be sure to plan plenty of time for the cake layers to cook and the assembled cake to chill before frosting and serving.

  1. Make the cake batter. Combine all of the cake ingredients. Beat until well mixed. Pour into greased cake pans.
  2. Bake. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center, comes out clean.
  3. Allow cakes to cool. The cakes need to cool completely before adding the ice cream.
  4. Make the whipped cream. Beat the heavy cream in a chilled metal bowl until it thickens. Add the powdered sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Place in the fridge.
  5. Make the cream cheese mixture. Beat the softened cream cheese until free of lumps. Add the pudding mix and 2 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream. Beat for 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and lemon zest.
  6. Fold in the whipped cream. Fold the whipped cream into the lemon cream cheese mixture.
  7. Assemble the cake. Place a cake board in the bottom of the pan and wrap the edges of the pan in plastic wrap. Place the first cake layer in the pan. Evenly spread the ice cream mixture over the top. Place the second cake layer inverted on top. This means the bottom of the cake will actually be on top, giving you a nice smooth surface.
  8. Chill: Freeze for 2-4 hours until the ice cream is frozen.
  9. Frost the cake. Cover the surface of the cake with an even layer of Cool Whip. Pipe a border around the top with an open star tip. Return to the freezer until it’s time to serve.
A slice of lemon ice cream cake on a white plate

Tips for Assembling & Decorating

These tips may be helpful if this is your first time making homemade ice cream cake!

  • Tort each cake layer. Use a cake leveler or serrated knife to tort the top of each cake so it’s completely flat.
  • Remove any extra ice cream. Sometimes the cake shrinks when it’s baked, so you might find that the layer of ice cream is wider than your cake. That’s ok! Just take a serrated knife and run it under hot water, then shave off the extra ice cream that hangs over the edge. You can then use an angled spatula or knife and smooth it out before frosting.
  • Freeze between layers of frosting. If you want a thicker frosting and decide to apply more than one layer, it’s easier to add a crumb coat layer, refreeze for a half hour and then add another layer and freeze again. I personally like to do two layers of frosting and sometimes I use more than one container of Cool Whip.
  • Cool Whip vs whipped cream. Speaking of frosting, it’s up to you if you want to use Cool Whip or whipped cream. I find Cool Whip is easier because it can easily be handled multiple times. Whereas the whipped cream is more
  • Make a day in advance. Ice cream cakes like this one should really be made a full day in advance. While you can technically prepare it in the morning for dessert, it’s much better when the cake has plenty of time to cool and the ice cream has hours to chill. It’s also good to chill it again after adding the frosting.
Angled view of a slice of lemon ice cream cake on a white plate

How to Store

Lemon ice cream cake will last for up to a week in the freezer. Store in a freezer-safe cake container or other tall, freezer-safe container. Once you cut into the cake, cover the exposed part with plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn.

More Lemon Desserts:

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A plated slice of lemon ice cream cake garnished with a candid lemon slice

Lemon Ice Cream Cake

  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 60 minutes
  • Chill Time: 6 hours
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 8 hours
  • Yield: 10 servings

Description

With creamy, no-churn lemon ice cream stuffed between two layers of lemon cake, this Lemon Ice Cream Cake is the perfect sweet-but-tart dessert for spring and summer! It uses a few shortcuts, like box cake mix, for a super easy homemade ice cream cake!

Ingredients

For the Cake Layer:

  • 1 box (15oz) lemon Cake Mix
  • 1 box (3.4 oz) Instant Lemon Pudding
  • 1 cup (236ml) milk
  • 1/3 cup (79ml) vegetable Oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 large egg White
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 lemon, zested

For the Lemon Ice Cream:

  • 1 1/4 cups (296ml) heavy whipping cream, plus 2 to 3 tablespoons, divided
  • 1/2 cup (65g) powdered sugar
  • 8 ounces (226g) full-fat cream cheese
  • 1 box (3.4 oz) instant lemon pudding mix
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 lemon, zested

For the Frosting:

  • 2 containers (8oz/226g)) Cool Whip 

 

Instructions

For the Cake Layer:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans. Wrap with bake even stripes if desired. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine the cake ingredients: cake mix, pudding mix, milk, vegetable oil, eggs, egg white, vanilla extract, and lemon zest. Beat on medium-high speed until all of the ingredients are well mixed.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pans, dividing evenly. Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes. Test your cake for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, then the cake is done. Allow the cake to cool completely.

For the Lemon Ice Cream:

  1. Prepare the whipped cream first. Place a medium-sized metal mixing bowl in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to chill. Pour 1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream into the chilled bowl and beat on medium-high speed until the heavy cream has thickened to soft peaks
  2. Next, add the powdered sugar and continue beating at high speed until stiff peaks form. Set the whipped cream in the refrigerator. 
  3. Beat the softened cream cheese on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes until the cream cheese is smooth and free of lumps. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. Add the dry instant lemon pudding mix and 2 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream. Beat on medium-high speed for two minutes until pudding is well mixed into cream cheese. The cream cheese will thicken. You can add additional tablespoons of heavy cream until the cream cheese is softened so it will easily mix into lemon filling.
  5. Add the vanilla extract and lemon zest. Beat on medium speed until well combined.
  6. Finally, fold in the prepared whipped cream, turning the filling over from the bottom to the top and continuing to stir until it’s well mixed.

To Assemble the Cake:

  1. Use a springform pan or your cake pan that is the same size as your cakes (8 inches). Wrap the edges of the pan with saran wrap or cake collars. Place a cake board in the bottom of your pan.
  2. Tort the top of each cake layer so that it is flat using either a cake leveler or a serrated knife. Place the first layer on top of your cake board.
  3. Pour the ice cream base over the top of the cake and spread evenly with a spatula.
  4. Place the second layer of cake on top, inverting it so the bottom of the cake layer is now the top. Freeze for at least 4 hours until the ice cream layer is completely frozen.

To Frost the Cake:

  1. If needed, shave the edges of the ice cream e using a hot serrated knife until they’re even with the cake layer.
  2. To add a crumb coat, spread a thin layer of Cool Whip with an angled spatula, covering the surface of the cake as evenly as possible. Use and offset spatula or bench scraper to remove excess frosting. Freeze for 15-30 minutes. 
  3. Add a final layer of Cool Whip, pipe the frosting along the outside edge of the cake using a large open round tip or a cake icer tip. Then use an offset spatula or icing smoother to create a smooth edge.
  4. Decorate the top of the cake using a large open star tip. Return to the freeze for at least 1 hour until the cake is completely frozen. 

Notes

  • Cake Mix Substitute: If you’d prefer to make a homemade lemon cake, try this cake recipe, and bake in two 8-inch pans for 25-32 minutes. 
  • Cool Whip Substitute: You do not have to use Cool Whip for the frosting. Try using a homemade whipped cream or try it with a mascarpone whipped cream instead. 
  • To make the candied lemon, I followed this tutorial using one lemon. Note that these need at least 24 hours to dry.
Nutrition Information:
1/10 of recipe
657
53g
688mg
27g
13g
78g
0g
7g
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: homemade ice cream cake, lemon dessert, lemon cake

This recipe originally appeared on Food Fanatic

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating

5 Responses
  1. Lydia M

    Absolutely phenomenal, I’m not a fan of lemon cake but it’s my boyfriends favorite and I was looking for a recipe for his birthday cake , and was not disappointed! This was sooo good!!!! Thank you so much for sharing!!!

  2. Leslie

    Hi, it says in the description (article) to use instant lemon jello. But the recipe calls for pudding. I just wanted to verify it’s Jell-O brand pudding, not lemon Jell-O. Thank you.

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Sorry for the confusion it should be pudding. I used JELL-O brand Pudding & Pie Filling Instant Lemon flavor

  3. Sheila

    This really looks good. I was thinking of what dessert to serve guests who are not really into chocolates and this is just perfect. Something fruity and refreshing would be an awesome choice.

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