Nothing screams summer quite like a gluten-free ice cream cake! This one is complete with a rich chocolate cake base, a dairy-free espresso ice cream layer, coconut whipped cream on top, and a generous drizzle of homemade caramel. Have your ice cream and cake all in one with this tasty summer recipe!
Four (!!!) layers make up this gluten-free ice cream cake. But don't let the excessive number of layers deter you. This cake is easily assembled and totally worth it! It all starts with a gluten-free cake base, then a layer of dairy-free ice cream, followed by a layer of coconut whipped cream. This cake is basically as all-in-one as you can get. Just grab a slice and fork (or a spoon?) and dig in!
- Coconut cream - This is used in both the homemade caramel sauce and for the whipped cream. Make sure you use full-fate coconut cream.
- Coconut milk - Used in the cake to add some moisture. You want to use full-fat coconut milk for this recipe.
- Coconut sugar - To provide some sweetness to the cake. If needed, you can substitute light brown sugar.
- Almond flour - This is the flour used in the cake base. If nut-free, refer to the nut-free version in the notes section of the recipe card below.
- Hot coffee - This what adds that deep chocolate flavor to the chocolate cake. I promise your cake will not have a strong coffee taste. If needed, you can use hot water instead.
This gluten free ice cream cake contains 4 incredible layers!
Paleo Chocolate Cake
This is my tried and true chocolate cake recipe. It's rich and chocolatey and made completely gluten-free, paleo-friendly, and dairy-free! There are a few tips and tricks to really elevate the chocolate flavor. We take advantage of them all in this recipe!
Espresso Chocolate Chip Vegan Ice Cream
Homemade espresso chocolate chip ice cream hits a little different in the summer am I right? This flavor combo is light and sweet with subtle hints of coffee. Furthermore, it pairs super well with the chocolate cake and caramel drizzle!
Coconut Whipped Cream
With two flavor-loaded layers beneath, the simple creamy coconut whipped cream is (literally) the icing on top of the cake. Making coconut whipped cream is incredible easy and only requires a few ingredients.
Homemade Vegan Caramel Sauce
Because every cake deserves some pizzazz, why not top this one off with caramel sauce? This dairy free caramel sauce is one I've made and stand by for the past 5+ years. I love to whip up a batch and enjoy it with apples, on top of ice cream, or swirled in yogurt.
Making a gluten-free ice cream cake may look daunting but it's much easier than you may think! Here are a few tips to ensure your gluten-free ice cream cake is absolutely delectable working from the base all the way to the top.
- Chocolate Cake - To ensure your cake is still moist and flavorful after it's frozen, we want to undercook it just a tad. Insert a toothpick in the middle and it should still come out fairly clean though - we don't want a batter-y cake! The cake should have risen and there may be little cracks in the top layer, this is the good part.
- Espresso Chocolate Chip Ice Cream - You can make the ice cream at home, either with an ice cream machine or no-churn style, or store-bought works just fine! Set it out for a few minutes to soften before layering it on the cake. Use a springform pan like this one so it is easy to get out after it's frozen. If you don't have one of these, a simple cake pan will also work when lined with plastic wrap, again, so it's easy to remove once frozen.
- Coconut Whipped Cream - For the cream, make sure you are using full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream. The stiff part on top is what makes this cloud-like whipped cream. I have some tips on coconut whipped cream in this post. Nature's Charm is my go-to for making coconut whipped cream lately!
- Caramel Sauce - The caramel drizzle on top is the last part of this gluten-free ice cream cake. The key is to make sure your caramel sauce is NOT hot. In the directions below I actually recommend starting with making the caramel sauce if you choose to make it at home. This is to give it time too cool off in the fridge before we drizzle it over an ice cold cake.
Step by step assembly directions
Assembling this gluten-free ice cream cake is very straight-forward and easy with a little patience. If you'd like to make it even easier, you don't need to make all the layers from scratch (I totally get it). I list out some substitutions in the section. Once you have all your layers ready, follow these steps to assemble:
- The first step is to place your cake in a springform pan with a cake collar around it. Both of these will make it easy to assemble the cake and remove it from the pan when ready to serve. If you don't have a springform pan, you can use a standard cake pan and line it with plastic wrap to make it easy to remove once frozen. The cake collar is also not required but will make things easier if you can get your hands on one.
- Next, scoop your softened ice cream on top of the cake and spread until you have a nice level layer. Place in the freezer for about an hour to harden. This is when you can make your coconut whipped cream.
- Once frozen, take the pan out of the freezer and layer on the whipped cream. Again, spread over top of the ice cream until as level as possible. Depending on the consistency of your whipped cream, you may want to place it back in the freezer for 10 minutes or so to firm up. If it's not too thin, you can proceed to the drizzle
- Remove the cake from the springform pan and collar. Place on a serving disk. Drizzle the cooled caramel sauce over top, slice, and enjoy!
Frequently asked questions
Yes, any ice cream will work with this recipe. You can even change up the flavor if you'd like.
Yes, regular whipped cream will work here as well. A thin layer of vanilla ice cream is also a great option.
Although homemade caramel is where.it's.at. I totally get not everyone has time or wants to wait for caramel sauce. This is a great recipe for vegan caramel sauce that comes together in minutes! You can also simply drizzle some melted chocolate on top in leu of the caramel (just make sure it's not too hot).
For more summer favorites, check out my:
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Chocolate Espresso Gluten-free Ice Cream Cake
- Spring form pan
- Cake Collar
- 2 eggs
- ⅔ cup coconut sugar
- ½ tablespoon vanilla
- ½ cup full-fat coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup coconut oil - melted and cooled
- 1 ½ cup almond flour
- ⅔ cup cacao powder
- ⅔ cup tapioca flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup hot coffee - you can substitute 1 teaspoon espresso and ½ cup hot water
Espresso Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
- 13.6 oz can full-fat coconut milk
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon instant coffee
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ⅓ cup dark chocolate - chopped
Coconut Whipped Cream
- 15 oz can coconut cream - refrigerated over night (this brand is one of my favorites)
- 2 - 3 tablespoon honey - sub. maple syrup
- See directions for homemade vegan caramel sauce here. If making at home, prepare this first and set in the fridge to cool while you prepare the rest of the cake
- Preheat oven to 350 F. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl, beat the eggs and coconut sugar together well. Add the vanilla, full-fat coconut milk, apple cider vinegar, and coconut oil and continue to mix until well incorporated; set aside
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond flour, cacao powder, tapioca flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Slowly fold the flour mixture into the bowl with the eggs and stir until no flour clumps remain. Finally, stir in the hot coffee (this will make the batter a tad thinner)
- Pour the batter into a greased 9-inch pan or springform pan. Bake for 27 - 30 mins until you can insert a toothpick into the center and it comes out relatively clean. Let cake cool while you prepare the ice cream
Espresso Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
- Add all ingredients to a blender except the chocolate and blend until well mixed.
- Pour mixture into your ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer instructions. If making no-churn style, pour batter into a container, stir in chocolate, and store in freezer overnight (move to step 4).
- Once done churning, manually stir in the chocolate. Pour batter into an ice cream container and store in freezer until ready to assemble the ice cream cake.
To Assemble (part 1)
Coconut Whipped Cream
- In a bowl, beat the coconut cream (it should be fairly stiff from being in the fridge overnight) until thick and creamy,
- Add the honey, starting with 2 tablespoon and adding more if needed. Continue to beat until desired, consistency is achieved. Place in fridge if the cake needs longer in the freezer to solidify,
To Assemble (part 2)
- Once the ice cream has hardened in the freezer, take the cake out and spread the coconut whipped cream on top. Again, level it with a spatula,
- Remove the springform pan and collar from around the cake. Drizzle the cooled caramel sauce over top, serve, and enjoy!