With both chocolate and vanilla ice cream, that crunchy fudge layer, and tons frozen whipped cream, this easy Ice Cream Cake tastes JUST like Dairy Queen!

I once used a Dairy Queen cake as a tool in courtship.

I had been dating my husband for a month or so, and he indicated an interest in making things “exclusive.” I rebuffed his advances. It had only been a month! SLOW DOWN.

Exactly one month later, I had reconsidered. I needed a cute and clever way to let him know, so I ordered a Dairy Queen ice cream cake.

I had it personalized with: “Will you be my boyfriend?” And then a “Yes” and a “No” piece.

I presented the cake, and I told Jim to eat his answer.

Easy ice cream cake on a white plate.

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4 houses, 2 states, and 2 kids later, I set out to make my own Dairy Queen Cake from scratch.

Our anniversary isn’t until next June, but I wanted to get it right. The cake turned out to be EASY and I’m way ahead of schedule.

I know Jim never reads the blog, so I’m not worried about spoiling the surprise in advance, either. He’ll never know what I’m up to!

In lieu of courtship phrases or OREO cookies (pictured above), you can substitute sprinkles and maraschino cherries, nuts, crushed candy of any kind, or fudge and caramel sauce.

There are no wrong ways to decorate an ice cream cake! Just add love.

Easy ice cream cake on a white plate with a slice on a blue plate with a fork.

Easy ice cream cake on a white plate.

Easy Ice Cream Cake (DQ Copycat)

With both chocolate and vanilla ice cream, that crunchy fudge layer, and tons frozen whipped cream, this easy Ice Cream Cake tastes JUST like Dairy Queen! 
4.94 from 16 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 12 hrs 40 mins
Total Time 13 hrs 10 mins
Servings 16 servings
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 674


For the cake:

  • 2 quarts vanilla ice cream
  • 1 package OREO cookies coarsely crushed (3 cups)
  • 2 cups chocolate fudge sauce
  • 1 quart chocolate ice cream

For the frosting:

  • 1 quart heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Sprinkles for decorating, optional
  • Maraschino cherries for decorating, optional


To make the cake:

  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or wax paper. Set a cold spring form (9-inch or 10-inch) pan ring (no bottom) on top.
  • In a standing mixer fit with the paddle attachment, beat vanilla ice cream until fluffy but still frozen, about 2 minutes. Spread thickly around the sides of the springform pan, then use the rest to cover bottom of pan.
  • Top evenly with crushed cookies, pressingly the crumbs lightly in to the vanilla ice cream.
  • Carefully heat the fudge sauce just enough for it to pourable. Pour evenly over the cookie crumbs. Freeze at least 8 hours or overnight.
  • In a standing mixer fit with the paddle attachment, beat chocolate ice cream until fluffy but still frozen, about 2 minutes. Spread on top of the fudge-cookie layer, smoothing the top (should be even with top of springform pan). 
  • Cover with parchment paper or wax paper. Freeze at least 4 hours or overnight.

To unmold the cake:

  • Peel the top layer of parchment away. Place a large plate or serving platter on top of the cake. Gently flip the cake and plate over so the cake is right-side up on the plate (chocolate layer should be on the bottom, vanilla on the top). Peel the second piece of paper away. 
  • Gently loosen the springform pan and wiggle it until it slides smoothly off the cake. Freeze while preparing the whipped cream.

To decorate the cake:

  • In a standing mixer with the whisk attachment, whip together cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla until soft peaks form. Frost the cake completely.
  • Use a piping bag with extra whipped cream to add flowers or other designs if desired. Or, top with sprinkles and maraschino cherries.
  • The cake can be eaten immediately, but for best results freeze at least 8 hours or overnight before serving. Cover and freeze up to 1 month in advance (or keep it in the freezer and continue eating it for up to 1 month).

Recipe Video


  1. One package OREOs has 36 cookies and yields about 3 cups crumbs.
  2. Adapted from The Kitchn's How to Make an Ice Cream Cake.


Calories: 674kcal
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Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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  1. Megan
    This cake sounds wonderful. What substitute would you recommend in place of the heavy whipping cream?
    Thank you

    1. 9-inch or 10-inch! Either one works. Obviously the layers would be *slightly* thinner in a 10-inch, but not noticeably so. I’ll update the recipe with this info. Thanks Sierra!

  2. Meggan–this looks amazing! I was going to buy an ice cream cake for my boyfriend’s birthday, but this looks even better! Planning to try the recipe this week, and also curious to try the magic shell addition mentioned in the comments!

    Which chocolate fudge sauce do you use or do you make your own?

    1. Hi Jenny, I just bought the jarred fudge sauce when I made this. I do have a recipe to make my own, but this recipe had enough going on that I decided to buy fudge sauce while shooting it. But here’s my recipe if you want to try it!
      4 Tbsp butter
      1 cup heavy cream
      ¼ cup light corn syrup
      Pinch salt
      8 oz. finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
      In a small sauce pan, melt butter over medium-high heat.
      Add cream, corn syrup, and salt and bring to a boil.
      Remove from heat, stir in chocolate, and cover for 5 minutes.
      Whisk until chocolate is smooth.

      Good luck and thank you so much!

  3. I am going to serve this delicious recipe tonight for dessert.  Wondering how long I should take  it out of the freezer before serving it. 

    1. Hi Cathy! I’d say at least 30 minutes. And, feel free to use a knife dipped in hot water to make slicing easier! Thanks. :D I hope you enjoy it!

  4. Magic shell in addition to the fudge. When I worked there (admittedly a lifetime ago!) they used to use half Oreo chunks and half crumbs, like you would use to make pie crust. I usually blend some Oreos up into crumbs in my food processor then crush more Oreos in a ziploc bag and mix the two. I think if you use all larger chunks, the magic shell would freeze them into something too hard to cut or bite through. I’m sure it is delicious without the magic chill, I just Helen to love that stuff. 
    I do like your method of building the cake better then mine, so I am going to change my ways! Thanks for the inspiration. 

  5. My first job in high school was at a DQ! They add some “magic shell” chocolate coating to the crushed Oreos before putting them into the cake. I do this with my ice cream cakes and it adds extra chocolate richness. Your cake is lovely. :)

    1. Hi Heather! Thank you for this! So it’s Magic Shell instead of hot fudge, or in addition to? Sounds like I’m going to have to, sigh, recipe test again. :D DQ is my favorite, one of my good friends from college worked there too (in Baraboo, Wisconsin which is the middle NOWHERE). Thanks again and take care!

  6. Your post made me smile and brought back giddy feelings when I was a teenager (LOOONGG time ago!). :-)  Thank you for this recipe,  I can finally make my own DQ ice cream cake — here in Stockholm! 5 stars