With a paleo chocolate cake bottom, espresso chocolate chip ice cream in the middle, and cool coconut whipped cream on top all drizzled in a homemade caramel sauce, this gluten-free ice cream cake is no joke! A thick slice with friends is the perfect way to pay tribute to summer.
What is a Gluten-free Ice Cream Cake?
Four (!!!) layers make up this ice cream cake. But don't let the excessive number of layers deter you. This cake is easily assembled but does require a bit of patience because, well we're dealing with ice cream. It all starts with a cake base, then a layer of ice cream, followed by a layer of 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!
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 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.
Tips when Making this Chocolate Espresso Gluten-free Ice Cream Cake
Making an 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.
How to assemble the Ice Cream Cake
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!
Ice Cream Cake Substitutions
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).