Pink Lemonade Ice Cream Cake

Ice cream cakes were a favorite of mine growing up, so this pink lemonade ice cream cake seems like a natural cake flavor to make!

Ice cream cakes are still a family favorite, but I found myself avoiding them as I began to bake.

I was mainly concerned about the ice cream melting. Also the idea of decorating an ice cream cake seemed like a nightmare. But this past month I finally broke out of my comfort zone and made my first ice cream cake.

summer ice cream cake

Step 1: The Lemon Cake Layers

As you can tell from the pictures, this cake is made with lemon cake layers.

I really wanted the flavors in this cake to pop, so I added fresh lemon juice and loads of lemon zest to the cake batter.

In my opinion, it’s the zest that really gives the cake layers that wonderful lemon flavor so I added lots!

I also added some yellow gel food coloring to make the flavor of these cake layer super evident.  

Step 2: The Strawberry Ice Cream Layers

To add the ice cream into this cake, I decided to make ice cream discs. There are two major benefits of going this route.

The first benefit is that the cake is a breeze to assemble. The second benefit is that these can easily be made in advance! You can shape them weeks ahead of time.

I found that following the process outlined below was the best and easiest way to make them.

stacked cake with strawberry ice cream and  lemon cake layers

The Easiest Way To Make Ice Cream Layers for a Cake

Step #1: Line a slightly smaller pan than you used for your cake layers with plastic wrap. I like to use pans that are 1 or 2 inches smaller if possible.

Step #2: Fill the pan with a few large scoops of softened ice cream and flatten using the back of a large spoon or a small offset spatula. The disk should be a similar height to your cake layers.

Step #3: Pop the cake pan into the freezer for about 15 minutes or until the top is firm, then fold over the overhanging plastic wrap to cover the ice cream disc.

Step #4: Repeat to make however many layers you need! I wanted to make this cake with five thin cake layers, so I made 4 ice cream discs.

Step 3: Decorating This Ice Cream Cake

Now that we’ve sorted out the cake filling, it’s time to discuss the decoration!

Frosted pink lemonade cake with pretty sprinkle blend sweetapolita

Whipped cream frosting is easy to cut when it’s frozen, so it’s a prime candidate for ice cream cakes. It’s light and fluffy, and tastes wonderful with the ice cream layers in this cake.

If you want to color your whipped cream frosting, I recommend using gel food coloring to create bright colored frosting like mine.

In addition to using colorful frosting, I added a few more fun decorations.

A pretty sprinkle boarder combined with the yellow chevron straws and strawberry hearts gave this cake a cheerful and summery look, which is exactly what I was going for.

pink lemonade cake

Step 4: Cutting the Cake / Actually Eating It

Now that hours of time and effort have been invested into this pink lemonade ice cream cake, it’s time to think about actually eating it.

I popped the cake into the freezer for about 20 minutes after I was done making it to help it firm up.

pink lemonade ice cream cake sliced

When it’s time to dive into your ice cream cake, run a sharp knife under super-hot water (and dry it) before cutting the cake.

This helps the knife glide through the frozen ice cream layers.

Tips for Making The Best Pink Lemonade Ice Cream Cake:

  • Chill your cake layers in the freezer for about 20 minutes before assembling the cake, to make it easier to stack and frost. It helps keep the ice cream layers cold!
  • To create the ice cream layers in this cake, make ice cream discs with softened ice cream! Once the layers are frozen they make assembling this cake a breeze.
  • Be sure to properly measure your flour (spoon into the cup measure then level) or use a kitchen scale to measure your dry ingredients.
  • When making the cake batter, remember that ingredients at room temp mix together better. Be sure you set out any cold ingredients ahead of time.
  • Mix your cake batter just until the ingredients are incorporated. This will ensure your cake layers are tender and fluffy.
  • Get creative with the decoration! I created a pretty standard ice cream cake look, but you can do whatever you want!

Making This Ice Cream Cake in Advance:

  • This pink lemonade ice cream cake can be made ahead of time! Store it in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
  • Make your cake layers in advance and freeze them. It breaks the process up and make it more approachable.
  • I do not recommend making the whipped cream frosting in advance. It can deflate overtime and lose its shape.

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you try this pink lemonade ice cream cake recipe, please tag me @chelsweets. Also use the #chelsweets so that I can see what your baking!

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Yield: 24

Pink Lemonade Ice Cream Cake

pink lemonade cake

This pink lemonade ice cream cake is made with layers of moist lemon cake and strawberry ice cream, and is just as refreshing as a glass of pink lemonade!

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 23 minutes
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 28 minutes

Ingredients

Lemon Cake

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (390 grams)
  • 3 cups granulated sugar (600 grams)
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder (10 grams)
  • 1 tsp salt (6 grams)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (226 grams) - 2 sticks
  • 1 cup pasteurized egg whites from a carton (or about 7 egg whites) (235 grams)
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature (345 grams)
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil (28 grams)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (8 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon zest (6 grams)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (30 grams)
  • yellow gel food coloring (if desired)

Strawberry Ice Cream Layers

  • 2 containers (48 oz. each) of strawberry ice cream
  • plastic wrap

Whipped Cream Frosting

  • 1 cup (8 ounce block) full fat cream cheese, cold (225 grams)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (125 grams)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4 grams)
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream or heavy whipping cream, cold (575 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon zest (6 grams)
  • yellow and pink gel food coloring

Decorations

  • Yellow and pink sprinkle blend
  • 1 pint strawberries
  • yellow paper straws

Instructions

Strawberry Ice Cream Cake Layers:

  1. If possible, make the ice cream layers in advance! It breaks up the process and makes assembling and decorating the cake so much easier.
  2. Line the same size of pan used for your cake layers (or 1 inch smaller if you have one on hand) with plastic wrap.
  3. Fill the pan with a few large scoops of softened ice cream, and flatten using the back of a large spoon or a small offset spatula.
  4. Add more if needed, until you have a disk that is a similar height to your cake layers.
  5. Repeat until you've made enough discs to fill your cake (I used 5 cake layers, so I made 4 ice cream discs).
  6. Pop the cake pan into the freezer for about 30 minutes, or until the ice cream layers are fully frozen.

Lemon Cake Layers:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line five 8-inch cake pans with parchment rounds and grease with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Mix together 3 cups all purpose flour, 3 cups sugar, 2 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp salt in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or hand mixer until fully combined.
  3. Mix in 1 cup of unsalted butter slowly into the dry ingredients on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain and the mixture looks crumbly.
  4. Pour in 1 cup of egg whites and mix on low until just incorporated. Mix in 1 1/2 cups buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed.
  5. Add in 2 tsp of vanilla extract, 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil, 2 Tbsp of lemon juice and 1 Tbsp fresh lemon zest. If you plan to color your cake layers, add in a few drops of yellow gel food coloring. Mix at a low speed until fully incorporated.
  6. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then beat on a low speed for about 30 seconds to make sure everything is properly mixed together.
  7. Divide the batter evenly between your prepared pans. I like to use a digital scale to make sure each pan has the same amount of batter, so that each cake layer is the same height.
  8. Bake for 20-23 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs. Allow the pans to cool for 10 minutes, then run a small offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan.
  9. Place cake layers into the freezer for 30 minutes to accelerate the cooling process. Once the layers are fully cooled, carefully flip the pans and remove the layers.
  10. Use a serrated knife to level the tops of the layers right before you plan to assemble your cake, or you can wrap and freeze them if you're making them in advance.
  11. If you make these cake layers in advance and freeze them, let them thaw for about 20 minutes before making your cake. The cake layers should still be slightly cold to the touch, which will make it easier to assemble your cake.

Lemon Whipped Cream Frosting:

  1. While the cake layers bake and cool, make the lemon whipped cream frosting.
  2. Chill your mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for 30 minutes to help this whipped cream frosting whip up better.
  3. Place 1 cup (8oz. block) of cold cream cheese into the chilled mixing bowl and mix on a medium low speed until smooth.
  4. Pour in 1 cup of powdered sugar, and mix on low at first to avoid an powdered sugar clouds / explosions. Increase the speed to medium high once the powdered sugar is incorporated, and mix for about 1 minute. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed throughout this process.
  5. Add in 1 tsp of vanilla extract and 1 Tbsp fresh lemon zest, then turn the mixer to a medium high speed and gradually pour in 2 1/2 cups of cold heavy cream. I like to do this in about 4 additions, and focus on pouring the heavy cream down the side of the bowl to prevent it from splattering.
  6. Watch the mixture closely once the heavy cream is fully mixed in. It should thicken and take shape shortly after this (mine usually does within about 30 seconds of mixing in the heavy cream). Take care not to overmix your whipped cream frosting!! It will become soupy and sadly you won't be able to fix it.
  7. As soon as you see the frosting start to take shape, turn off your mixer and do a quick whisk test. Dunk your whisk attachement into the frosting, then put it out and flip it upside down. The frosting should keep its shape and form a nice peak. If it doesn't, continue to mix the frosting on a medium high speed for 30 second intervals until it does.
  8. Divide into two bowls and color one pink and one yellow with gel food coloring. Mix just until the frosting is colored evenly to avoid deflating the frosting.

Pink Lemonade Ice Cream Cake Assembly

  1. Stack alternating layers of cake and frozen ice cream disks on a greaseproof cake board. Be sure to work relatively quickly, so that the ice cream layers don't melt.
  2. Add a thin coat of frosting around the cake to fully cover the cake and ice cream layers. Quickly smooth using a bench scraper, then chill the cake freezer (10 minutes) until the frosting is firm to the touch.
  3. Add a second, thicker layer of frosting to the cake, creating an ombre gradient of pinks and yellows.
  4. Add the pink frosting to the base of the cake. Continue up the cake with it, transitioning into the yellow frosting. Blend the two colors together with a small offset spatula.
  5. Smooth the frosting using a bench scraper.
  6. Add sprinkle blend around the base of the cake.
  7. Place the remaining frosting into a large piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1M.
  8. Pipe large swirls on top of the cake, and top with sliced strawberries and paper straws if desired.

Notes

Yield: This 8 inch ice cream layer cake feeds about 24 people.

Tips for Making The Best Pink Lemonade Ice Cream Cake:

  • Chill your cake layers in the freezer for about 20 minutes before assembling the cake, to make it easier to stack and frost. It helps keep the ice cream layers cold!
  • To create the ice cream layers in this cake, make ice cream discs with softened ice cream! Once the layers are frozen they make assembling this cake a breeze.
  • Be sure to properly measure your flour (spoon into the cup measure then level) or use a kitchen scale to measure your dry ingredients.
  • When making the cake batter, remember that ingredients at room temp mix together better. Be sure you set out any cold ingredients ahead of time.
  • Mix your cake batter just until the ingredients are incorporated. This will ensure your cake layers are tender and fluffy.
  • Get creative with the decoration! I created a pretty standard ice cream cake look, but you can do whatever you want!

Making This Ice Cream Cake in Advance:

  • This pink lemonade ice cream cake can be made ahead of time! Store it in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
  • Make your cake layers in advance and freeze them. It breaks the process up and make it more approachable.
  • I do not recommend making the whipped cream frosting in advance. It can deflate overtime and lose its shape.
  • frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a month. The frosting locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!
  • If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any leftover frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the freezer for up to a week.

Nutrition Information

Yield

24

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 427Total Fat 18gSaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 45mgSodium 242mgCarbohydrates 64gFiber 1gSugar 45gProtein 4g

5 thoughts on “Pink Lemonade Ice Cream Cake

  1. That looks beautiful! Usually BC cakes need to come to room temp for best cake texture…. would you say this is still the case with a frozen ice cream cake? Or did it taste amazing anyway?

    1. Thanks Martha! The way I torted the cake layers, they were pretty thin! They were definitely still chilled when I ate my slice, but I thought it still tasted good! I actually eat my cakes slightly chilled most of the time (because they’re easier to cut that way!) Maybe I just have strange taste preferences though 😛

  2. I LOVE you and your site! This is cake is gorgeous. I’m making it this weekend but instead of using strawberry sorbet, I’ve decided to use your strawberry buttercream recipe! I’ll be sure to share my end results. <3 <3 <3 🙂

    1. Haha I think that’s a much better / less stressful idea!! It sounds like it’ll be delicious 🙂 Let me know how it goes, happy baking Jyl!!

  3. Hi. I was wanting to make a Similar ice cream cake for my husbands birthday. Not pink though lol.
    Would it be possible to make the whole thing and assemble it and leave it in the freezer for a day or two.
    It’s quite warm where we are so any tips for making sore the buttercream wont become all wet. Thank you.

Let me know what you think!