Strawberry Crunch Ice Cream Cake combines fluffy yellow cake, strawberry ice cream, and whipped cream for a nostalgic treat. Coated with strawberry cookie crumble for that signature crunch!
We have many summer birthdays in our family. That means I’m always looking for chilly desserts that are worthy of sticking some candles into. Cake and ice cream are birthday essentials, and this Strawberry Crunch Ice Cream Cake combines the best of both worlds! It’s a super easy fix that can be made ahead and kept frozen until party time.
Mix up the yellow cake batter and spread it into a greased 13×9-inch baking dish. I’ve scaled down my yellow cake recipe to fill the pan halfway when it’s baked. This leaves just enough room for the creamy/crunchy toppings.
Use your favorite store-bought strawberry ice cream. You’ll need a standard 1.75 quart container. Let it stand at room temperature for 20 minutes, then stir it until it has the spreading consistency of buttercream frosting. For easier work, you can paddle it in your stand mixer for about 1 minute until the texture is just right.
Plan ahead, because the ice cream will need to refreeze until solid, about 4 hours. When the ice cream is firmed, spread on some homemade unsweet vanilla whipped cream. The other components of this recipe are pretty sweet so this layer really doesn’t need any sugar.
The crumble is super easy to whip up, especially if you use a food processor. Pulse together vanilla wafers, freeze-dried strawberries, a touch of powdered strawberry Jello, and a smidge of melted butter. If you don’t have a food processor, crush the dry toppings together in a bag with a rolling pin, then stir in the butter.
This dessert was inspired by the Good Humor Strawberry Shortcake Bars, which is a nostalgic favorite for many. It has bold strawberry flavor, and that crumbly topping… well. I could eat it by the spoonful.
This is such an easy cake to make, and if you cut it into ‘party size’ pieces (wedding cake-size pieces) you can serve up to 24 people! My serving size is generous, so I ended up with about 16 servings.
Enjoy this cake on a hot summer’s day. It’s like a slice of air conditioning.
Related recipe: Strawberry Delight
Strawberry Crunch Ice Cream Cake
- 13×9 inch pan
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup whole milk room temperature
Ice cream fillings and whipped topping
- 1.75 quart container strawberry ice cream
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream whipped to stiff peaks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 oz. mini vanilla wafers 1/2 package, such as Nilla
- 1/2 oz. freeze dried strawberries 1/2 package
- 1/2 tablespoon strawberry gelatin powder such as Jell-O
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- Beat the butter and granulated sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer. When the butter is lightened and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time. Mix until incorporated and smooth. Add in the vanilla and beat to combine.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour and milk alternately to the creamed butter mixture, mixing until just combined with each addition. Begin and end with flour.
- Pour the batter into prepared baking sheet and spread evenly.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until golden brown on top and a toothpick tester comes out clean. Cool completely.
Ice cream filling and whipped cream
- Allow the ice cream to soften at room temperature 20 minutes. Stir it in the carton with a large spoon until the ice cream has the consistency of thick buttercream frosting. The ice cream will lose a little volume – this is normal. Alternatively, you can beat the ice cream in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle for 1 minute on low speed, or until it comes to spreading consistency.
- Pour the ice cream over the cooled yellow cake. Spread evenly. Freeze until solid, 2-4 hours.
- Whip the heavy cream with the vanilla extract to stiff peaks, about 5 minutes. Spread the whipped cream over the frozen strawberry ice cream layer.
- To prepare the strawberry crunch, place the vanilla wafers and freeze-dried strawberries in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until just combined. Add the strawberry gelatin powder. Pulse to fine crumbs. Pour the butter through the feeding tube as you pulse 3-5 more times, or until crumbs clump and cling together. (See note for doing this by hand.)
- Sprinkle the strawberry crunch mixture generously over the whipped cream. Freeze, covered, until firm, 4 hours or overnight. Remove cake from freezer. Serve slices from the dish.