Ice cream cakes are cakes composed either of hard serve ice cream or a combination of cake and ice cream. The overall appearance of any ice cream cake is similar to that of a layer cake or a sheet cake. Cakes of this type can be prepared for many different situations, with use as a birthday cake being one of the most popular applications.
The exact origin of the ice cream cake is unknown. However, there are indications that cakes of this type were prepared as early as the latter part of the 19th century. At the time, ice cream was considered a luxury item that was often enjoyed only by the wealthy. It would not be until well into the 20th century when the mass production of ice cream became common that the idea of an ice cream cake came into vogue.
A number of ice cream parlors and stores offer versions of the cake. Baskin Robbins offers cakes made with any combination of their various types of ice cream. The fast food chain Dairy Queen also offers cakes that can be customized for just about any occasion, from a birthday celebration to an office party. Generally, the cakes are made available are prepared as two round layers and covered with a soft serve ice cream icing, although it is also possible to order sheet cakes of this type.
In most versions of the cake, hard ice cream is used to create the layers of the cake. These layers can be used to create the entire body of the cake, or placed between layers of traditional cake that has been cooled sufficiently to not melt the ice cream. To cover the exterior of the ice cream cake, soft serve ice cream serves as the icing. Additional decorations can be made from traditional cake icing or formed using various types of soft serve ice cream.
While it is possible to order an ice cream cake from a local ice cream parlor or store, people sometimes prefer to create their own unique cakes at home. The simplest homemade variety is created using a sheet cake pan. The bottom layer of the cake is composed of ice cream, following by a thin layer of yellow cake. A second layer of ice cream is placed over the yellow cake, with the soft serve icing placed on the top. To add a bit of visual interest to the homemade cake, crumbled cookies, chocolate shavings, nuts, or even cut sections of fruit may be added as toppings.