Vegan Ice Cream Cake

Growing up, my mom would make me ice cream cakes for my birthday sometimes, and I wanted to try recreating that in a vegan version. I often make my own vegan ice cream and I have a really yummy chocolate cake recipe, but I wanted to try making a yellow cake. I’m so partial to chocolate cake, that I had actually never made a vegan yellow cake. I started hunting around for recipes and one in particular popped up in a few different places. I’m not exactly sure where it originated, but I followed the recipe from the blog The Ramblings and Recipes of a Vegan Goddess. It baked perfectly, rising up nicely, but not too high so it was still easily stack-able. This will definitely become my go-to recipe when I want to make a yellow cake.

I also followed the butter-cream icing recipe from that blog post. I added in some lemon extract and it tasted good and did the job, but it came out more like a thick glaze or thin icing than I was expecting. I probably need to adjust the ratio of powdered sugar to vegan butter next time, or I’ll use the chocolate peanut butter frosting that I make for the Moosewood Chocolate Cake. If you have a good vegan icing recipe that you like, feel free to post it in the comments. I haven’t found a basic vanilla one that I love yet.

For the ice cream filling, I made a basic vegan ice cream base and added in fresh strawberries and chocolate. The fresh strawberries made the texture of the ice cream a little too icy, but fresh fruit tends to do that. It was still yummy though! I would recommend using my Mint Chocolate Chip, Coffee Chocolate Chip, or Almond Pistachio recipes, or invent your own flavor! You could also use a store bought vegan ice cream.

Ingredients for Ice Cream Layer:

2 cups soy creamer
1 cup soy milk divided
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
3/4 cup of sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla
Any extracts or add-ins you choose

Directions for Ice Cream Layer:

  • Note that the ice cream needs to be made the day before so it can be frozen into the same shape as the cakes over night.
  • Mix 1/4 cup of soy milk with 2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder and set aside.
  • Heat up the remaining soy milk, soy creamer, and sugar over medium heat until boiling.
  • Remove from heat and add the vanilla and any other extracts you choose. Then add the soy milk and arrowroot powder mixture. The liquid will thicken because of the arrowroot powder.
  • Put the mixture in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours to fully cool. Freeze according to your ice cream maker directions. The bowl for the ice cream maker usually has to freeze over night before churning.
  • In the last few minutes of churning, add anything else you choose to create the flavor you want – for example chocolate chips, cookie dough, nuts, candy, etc. Line an 8 or 9 inch cake pan with parchment paper, and pour the mixture into the pan. Place it into the fridge overnight to firm up.

Cake Ingredients:

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups cold water
1 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp vanilla extract
4 Tbsp lemon juice

Cake Directions:

  • This recipe makes two 8 or 9 inch cakes for layering. Preheat oven to 375°. Line the bottom of two 8 inch or 9 inch cake pans with parchment paper. Lightly oil or grease the top of the parchment paper and sides of the pans.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, combine the water, oil, and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
  • Once the batter is mixed, add the freshly squeezed lemon juice. The lemon juice won’t make the cake taste lemony. The acidity of the lemon juice interacts with the baking soda to help the cake rise. Give the batter a quick stir to combine the lemon juice and then immediately pour the batter evenly into the two pans.
  • Bake the cakes for 25-30 minutes. They are done when a toothpick or skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes. Then, gently turn the pans over, supporting the cake with your hand, until the cake comes loose from the bottom of the pan. Flip it over onto the surface you want to ice the cake on. Gently remove the other cake from the pan and place it onto a plate or cooling rack with the bottom facing up. This will make it easier to layer the cakes once they’re cool.
  • Allow the cakes to fully cool. You can put them in the fridge to speed up the process. You don’t want them to be warm since you will be layering ice cream in the middle and it will melt.

Assembling the Ice Cream Cake:

  • While your cake layers are cooling, make your icing. Choose your own favorite icing recipe, try The Vegan Goddess’ recipe, or if you want a chocolate frosting try the Moosewood recipe.
  • Once the layers are completely cool, you are ready to start assembling. Your first cake layer should be on the tray or surface that you want to use to ice and serve the cake. If the cake top is very rounded and puffy, you might want to slice the top off to make it flat. When I made this recipe, however, this wasn’t necessary. Pop the ice cream layer out of the cake pan, using the parchment paper to help you pry it out if needed. Place the ice cream layer centered on top of the bottom cake layer. Place the top cake layer on top of the ice cream layer.
  • Ice the top and sides of the cake. You can decorate the top however you like. I decided to keep it simple, and I dusted some cocoa powder over the top and placed a strawberry in the middle. Keep the cake in the freezer until you’re ready to serve it. If it melts, the ice cream and frosting will run down the sides, so you don’t want to leave it out too long.

Vegan Gingerbread Men and Cutout Sugar Cookies

Holiday cookie baking time has arrived! Many of you have probably already made your cookies, but I wanted to share what we made this year. Both of these recipes work well for using cookie cutters because they keep their shape and don’t spread out much while baking.

The gingerbread cookie recipe (aka Moravian Spice Cookies) was given to us by my Aunt, and it’s the recipe we used when I was growing up. The only non-vegan thing in the original recipe is butter, which is easily replaceable with Earth Balance vegan butter. The sugar cookie recipe came from King Arthur’s website. Both of these doughs have to refrigerate overnight, so make sure you plan ahead. The icing recipe originally came from Vegetation, but I found it on simply.food.

Ingredients for Gingerbread Men:
4 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup softened vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1 cup light molasses

Directions for Gingerbread Men:

  • Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. In a separate large bowl, cream the brown sugar, vegan butter and molasses.
  • Stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients using a wooden spoon and then mix it with your hands until well combined. Form the dough into two or three balls, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
  • Once the dough is ready to use, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350°. Roll out one of the dough balls between parchment paper or wax paper until it’s between 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Dipping the cutters in flour can help the shapes come out of the cutter easier and using a spatula to lift them onto the pan keeps them from breaking. Once your cookie pan is filled place the cookies back in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes before baking. This keeps the cookies from spreading while baking. Then bake the cookies for 6-8 minutes until very lightly browned. Cool on a rack before moving to a plate.
  • Allow the pan to fully cool before putting more cookies on them. I placed the empty pans in the refrigerator for a few minutes in between batches. Allow the cookies to fully cool before decorating.

Ingredients for Sugar Cookies:

1 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 cup + 2 Tbsp vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1 1/2 tsp EnerG egg replacer powder mixed with 2 Tbsp water (equivalent to 1 egg)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp orange extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
2 3/4 cup all purpose flour

Directions for Sugar Cookies:

  • Combine the sugar, vegan butter, egg replacer, salt, and extracts and beat until smooth.
  • Add the flour and mix until smooth. It will seem dry, but then should come together. If not, slowly add a tablespoon of water until it pulls together. When I made it, the dough was slightly dry, but it still turned out okay.
  • Divide the dough in two balls, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or at least 2 hours.
  • Once the dough is ready to use, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350°. Roll out one of the dough balls between parchment paper or wax paper until it’s between 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch thick.
  • Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Dipping the cutters in flour can help the shapes come out of the cutter easier and using a spatula to lift them onto the pan keeps them from breaking.
  • Once your cookie pan is filled place the cookies back in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes before baking. This keeps the cookies from spreading while baking. Then bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes until very lightly browned. Cool on a rack before moving to a plate.

Ingredients for Vegan Royal Icing:

3 Tbsp warm water
2 Tbsp Ener-G Egg Replacer Powder
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon orange extract

Directions for Vegan Royal Icing:

  • With a hand mixer, beat the water and egg replacer powder.
  • Add the cream of tartar, all three extracts, and 1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar. Beat until smooth. The extracts help mask the flavor of the egg replacer powder and compliment the sugar cookies well.
  • Add in the rest of the confectioner’s sugar and beat until well combined. It will be very dry at this point. Add warm water a little at a time (usually about a teaspoon or so at a time) until it is the consistency desired. If you keep it firm, you can use it for icing designs using tips and pastry bags. I decided to water it down a bit more and use it like a glaze to coat the cookies. I am not very talented with icing however, so this was the easy option for me!