Hot Fudge Ice Cream Cake

Our son, Noah, doesn’t really care for traditional birthday cakes.  Noah is allergic to artificial food coloring/dyes so when he does have cake, he has to scrape off the frosting.  A few years ago, Noah asked if he could have shakes instead of cake for his birthday and the shakes have stuck ever since.  He loves them and his friends love them too!  With a summer birthday, shakes are a sure hit!
We had shakes for his birthday party and I made a homemade Hot Fudge Ice Cream Cake for our family celebration.  He used to love Dairy Queen cakes but they have food coloring and wheat in them so we make our own sensational hit! 
The recipe I adapted comes from a dear old college friend, Jodi Stilp (Who BTW also blogs.  Her blog is called Sole Sisters about running, faith, family and should check it out!) 
Do you have any smells that trigger memories?  Every time I make her Hot Fudge Sauce recipe, I remember having great conversations in Jodi’s kitchen, with her standing at her stove, stirring the hot fudge and the amazing aroma filling the air.  I think of her now every time I make the fudge or cake.  Her original recipe was a Buster Bar Dessert (which my “DQ Peanut Buster Parfait Loving Mom” would love – she is not allergic to nuts).
Warning:  The Hot Fudge Sauce is dangerously yummy!  Temptations of eating the hot fudge by the spoonful may be irresistable.  Not that I would ever do that!

Hot Fudge Sauce

1 can evaporated milk
1 c chocolate chips
1 stick butter
2 c powdered sugar
1 T vanilla

1.  Pour evaporated milk into saucepan.  Add chocolate chips, butter and powdered sugar.  Stir constantly over medium heat.  Bring to boil and let boil until it thickens.  Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.  Then, stir in the vanilla.  Allow to cool to room temperature before adding to the cake.

Ice Cream Cake

2 pkg Schar Chocolate O’s Cookies, crushed
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 gallon ice cream, any flavor, softened
Trader Joes’ Cocoa Pearls, optional (A photo of this crunchy addition is at the end of this post)
Hot Fudge Sauce
1 pkg cool whip (or homemade whipped cream)

Grease 9 x 13 pan.  Spread crushed cookies evenly over the bottom of the pan.  Then, pour melted butter over the cookies to create the crust and pat down gently.  Spread half of the softened ice cream over the crust.  Next, pour the cooled hot fudge sauce over the ice cream.  Sprinkle generously with Trader Joes Cocoa Pearls (optional).  Freeze for approximately an hour.  Top with the other half of ice cream, then “frost” with cool whip and sprinkle with more cocoa pearls for decor.  Freeze again until ready to serve.  Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving.

Trader Joes Cocoa Pearls
These cocoa pearls provide a similar crunch and taste to the crunch layer in Dairy Queen’s Ice Cream Cakes, but they are gluten free!


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  1. 1
    gfe--gluten free easily

    Hi Melanie–I just love the photos with your son beaming so! I have featured your Hot Fudge Ice Cream Cake recipe over at All Gluten-Free Desserts. 🙂 I know folks are just going to love it. 😉 There will be many more smiling faces for sure when other gluten-free folks make/enjoy your Hot Fudge Ice Cream cake!

    Thanks so much for this one, dear!

  2. 2
    Cindy Gordon

    Melanie your son looks so happy! Great recipes and also great tip on the sprinkles!! I am always looking for safe ones! Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! 🙂

    Hope your week is great!

    Cindy from

  3. 3
    Maria Lamb

    This looks great! I'm going to make this for my daughter's birthday party, as her BFF has celiac disease. One question though: In the photo of your cute son with the cake, it looks like a 9 x 9" pan. Did you halve the recipe, or should the recipe read 9 x 9" instead of 9 x 13"? I'm going to be fixing it for a crowd, so 9 x 13" is what I need! Thanks!

  4. 4
    Melanie Pitts

    Maria, that is a great question. The recipe is for a 9 x 13, I had just cut the recipe in half for Noah's birthday cake. You are so thoughtful, your daughter's friend will feel so blessed and cared for (I'm sure her parents will be touched as well). Way to go! Hope you all love the cake!

  5. 5

    Thank you for this recipe! My husband's b-day is this weekend. We always struggle with cakes, as I am GF and he doesn't want a cake just for him! I am SO excited to try this and thrilled about the cocoa pearls. They just sound perfect 🙂

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